Zach’s dorm room was, at the moment, a haystack, and the needle was the address of tonight’s party. Zach didn’t think he could find anything in this pig-sty, let alone a small slip of paper. What had he done with that stupid thing? He yanked open the third drawer of his plastic organizer that doubled as a dresser. How it could have possibly ended up in his junk drawer, Zach didn’t know. But he’d looked everywhere else.
And it smacked him in the face.
Not the address. His Bible. There is was, buried beneath the tools, junk mail, and dozens of miscellaneous receipts. Zach slid a file folder over it. If he couldn’t see it, maybe he wouldn’t feel so guilty.
Zach had reason to feel guilty. He hadn’t opened his Bible since he started college. Actually, probably not even for a year before that. His mother slipped it in his suitcase, no doubt hoping he’d stay inside and read scripture all night while his friends were partying.
Whatever. This was college, not a monastery. There was plenty of time for church and all that later. Now it was about having fun. Partying. Girls.
“Never mind, dude.” Scott, his roommate, stuck his head in the door. “Vinny told me where it is. Let’s go. Hot chicks await.”
Zach closed the drawer, shutting his Christianity inside. If his friends saw that Bible, they’d never let him live it down.
The party was rocking. First things first. Zach made his way to the keg. Before he knew it, he was being pulled by Caitlyn and Karina onto the dance floor.
An hour later, he stepped outside to get some air. He’d been keeping an eye out for Nikki, his Computer Lab partner. Zach was trying to work up the nerve to ask her out. He felt a pang of disappointment; she must have decided not to come.
Someone spun him around, causing him to spill his beer. Nikki.
“Hey!” Zach smiled. But his smile disappeared when he saw the look on Nikki’s face.
“Zach, come quickly. Please.” A look of desperation. She tugged his arm and led him through the maze of people and up the stairs, stopping in front of one of the bedroom doors.
“They took Caitlyn in there,” Nikki whispered. She looked up at him with moist eyes.
Zach frowned. “'They?’”
“Scott, Brian, and Vinny. You’ve got to go in and help her.” She was weeping now. “They won’t let you in if I’m with you. I’ll wait downstairs. Zach, please,” she sobbed. “Help Caitlyn. She’s had too much to drink...” Nikki swiped at her tears.
Zach watched as Nikki made her way back down the stairs then disappeared.
He looked at the closed door and felt himself start to sweat. Did he even want to know what was going on inside?
He knocked lightly. The door opened just a slit and Scott’s face appeared. “Oh, dude, it’s you. Get in here!” Scott nervously peered around the door and glanced down the hallway before opening it wide enough for Zach to enter.
Vinny’s back was to him, blocking the bed. As Zach stepped forward, he heard the whimpering. Then he caught sight of Caitlyn, half dressed, Brian holding her down, his hand clamped over her mouth. Zach’s eyes met the terror in Caitlyn’s. She pleaded with him, begging him with her eyes to make them stop.
His spirit convulsed. The sight nauseated him and he swallowed back the bile. He looked at Scott and Vinny for indication that they felt the same. He couldn’t believe they were actually egging Brian on.
Scott sneered. “She’s begging for it, dude!”
For one split second, Zach considered the ramifications of his actions. He knew once he took a stand, things wouldn’t be the same for him.
But no more waiting.
From somewhere within, a fury burst forth with a vengeance. “STOP!” With newfound strength, Zach grabbed Brian off the bed and threw him to the ground.
Within seconds, a shocked and angry-looking Scott and Vinnie were shoving Zach against the wall. But at that moment, Zach didn’t care what they did to him.
He glanced at the bed. Caitlyn was gone. That was all he needed to see.
An hour later, Zach staggered back to his dorm room. Tomorrow he would go to the police station and give his statement. Right now he had some packing to do. And it was time to take his Christianity out of the drawer.
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