Keys To My Cuffs

By: Lani Lynn Vale

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the killing glare he turned on who must be his parents, and I barely contained a shiver.

Doing my best to ignore the intimidating man at my back, I led him down the hallway and started my usual chatter about the funeral home, and what the company’s goal was.

When we finally made it to the first viewing room, I was extremely relieved to find that the other fifteen men didn’t follow us.

“Do you have any special requests on what you’d like to see?” I asked him.

“Actually, I’d like to see the very back room. We have a lot of people coming, and I’d like as much privacy as possible,” He said.

So it went. I showed him what he wanted, and he asked questions.

Then the officer and his dog showed, freezing me in my tracks.

My lungs froze in my throat, and I about had a panic attack on the spot.

It didn’t help, either, that the dog was going nuts, barking and straining at the officer’s hold.

Everything seemed to dim out, and I stared in horror at the man and his dog.

“How do you get to the back?” The police officer all but snarled at me.

I started at the question, stepping back until my back hit the podium and I could go no further.

With a shaky hand, I held up my finger and pointed towards a door that was partially covered by a long curtain at the back of the room.

The man’s big arms strained to hold the dog back, and finally, he let the dog go.

The dog dashed off, shooting like an arrow towards the door, only to come to a stop with barely restrained violence.

I watched it all in a fog. What the hell was going on?

When the K-9 officer arrived at the door, he cursed and bellowed at me.

But my eyes and mind were no longer on the man yelling at me, but on the man who’d just entered the room.

He was wearing his badge on his left hip and his semiautomatic Colt .45 on his other. He had a black polo shirt tucked into his jeans, and black sunglasses sitting on top of his head. His eyes were all for the dog though, completely disregarding me.

I was going to be sick.

My neighbor was a cop.

“Ma’am,” the K-9 officer snapped at me. “Come open this door.”

His demanding voice brought me out of the sinking hole of seeing the one person that I’d felt attracted to in years was a cop. Exactly like the one who’d nearly raped me. My God, but he was even dressed the same.

Walking quickly to the man and holding my breath, I punched in the code to get to the back room and backed away quickly. Placing my back against the wall and pushing as far into the corner as I could to get, I deep breathed, hoping to hold off the panic attack that I could feel rushing me. I wasn’t successful. It consumed me.

Dropping down to my knees, I hunched my body over on itself and rocked back and forth, but I was too far gone.

The panic attack and memories had me now.


Ten years ago

“Oh, my God. I’m going to be in so much trouble,” I groaned under my breath.

I watched as the officer approached my car with strong confidant strides.

He was dressed in jeans, and a black t-shirt. He had his gun on one hip, and his badge on the other.

The bad thing was that not only was I speeding, but I was also out past the curfew that the city put on all new drivers ages sixteen to eighteen.

I had to be in by ten on weekdays and eleven on weekends; it was now two forty in the morning. Things were not looking up.

When he finally approached my passenger side door, I rolled the window down and looked at his scary face.

He didn’t really look like a cop, but who was I to say what a cop should look like?

Although, I was fairly certain that unkempt beards were not on the list under professional.

“License and insurance,” the cop demanded sharply.

Handing him over the papers, I waited for him to walk back to the car, but he didn’t.

Instead, he stayed stooped down, staring at me.

“Step out of the car please. Have you been drinking?” He asked suspiciously.

Startled, I released the latch on my door and stood, walking to the back of the car.

He didn’t stop at the back of my car, though; he stopped at the back of his.

“Come over here and stand at the back of the car. Don’t move,” he instructed.

It was then that the scary factor started to kick in.

I was on a side street that ran beside the high school with no lights, and a police officer who wasn’t in uniform was way too close to me for comfort.

Did everyone have to step out of the car as I did? What was he going to make me do?

Thoughts flitted through my head at a mile a minute, and when he started to walk closer to me, my uncertainty became a full fledge panic.

“I’m n-not comfortable being this close to you.” I stuttered.

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