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The mall was packed with last-minute holiday shoppers. The last couple minutes of my shift at Starbucks ended and I walked through the crowd of employees, out the cafe's rear door. My coat kept my upper body warm and my hijab saved my ears and neck from the late December-night chills. While I waited for my mother to come and pick me up, I leaned against the brick wall, scrolling through Instagram. In my head I cursed myself for not listening to mum when she told me the weather was too cold for my thin Autumn jacket. My blue jeans and black mukluks were doing a marvelous job keeping my legs and feet warm (note the sarcasm). I could feel the tip of my nose redden as I exhaled steam from my mouth. 'Reindeer ' , I unintentionally whispered to myself remembering nearly two years ago. I did that often, remember those days, I mean.  

Like a young child, I felt a whiff of fear in the dark so I walked a bit further where there was a light shining above me. Charles, one of the janitors came from around the corner with the waste bin he emptied.

"Hey, princess," he greeted with a big, warm smile. I laughed at the old man's humor and ran to keep the heavy door open for him.

"Mum late again?Wanna come in?" he inquired at the door.

"No, she'll be here soon I'll wait outside. But thanks, Charlie." I replied. He nodded his head and I closed the door, returning to my old spot.

I had made good friends at the mall, one of which was Charlie. He was a chubby almost 5'7 man with a scruffy beard and round glasses topped with an amazing sense of humor. He reminded me of Santa Clause sometimes. When I told him, he laughed and said," Tell the kids that and they will loose all hope in Christmas."

I smelt marijuana from a distance, my favorite smell followed by tobacco cigarettes. Sure, go ahead and judge me. A Muslim girl who loves the smell of drugs. How many of us are out there?

I wasn't stupid to look around and see who was smoking so I stood and inhaled the smell.

I heard many voices coming from around the corner and soon, my vision made a group of boys that consisted of about four or five smokers. Weed, I assumed. a couple of them looked towards me while walked around the other corner of the building. My heart was beating fast as the fear built up inside me. A little portion of my heart wanted one of them to be him. But I wished that too many times and every time, I was disappointed. I never saw him again and I knew it was best if I never did.

I tapped my boots and rang my mom.

"Salaam, where are you??", I asked as soon as she answered.

"You're done? I'm leaving the house now," She replied in her thick Afghan accent.

"Ok, bye. Don't rush and drive safe." she hung up and I continued tapping my boots. I was scared to death of being gang raped and not being believed so I looked up to make sure a camera was near. Thankfully, there was.

I could still hear there voices so I assumed they hadn't gone far. They may have stopped at the corner.

"HEY, BABY!" A man came towards me and almost hit me with his beer bottle. Instead of my head, he hit the wall and broke the glass bottle. Curse Friday nights. He was definitely drunk or high. Or both. I staggered back and saw him fall on his knees then stand up again. He had long hair and a  beard that looked like it hadn't been groomed for nearly a year and his clothes were rags. He looked at me and smiled, revealing his loss of three front teeth. I was gonna get raped tonight. It's official.

He walked towards me two steps at a time while I walked backwards as fast as I could. I threw my hand bag at him hoping he would take it and leave, but it seemed he had other plans in mind. As soon as I hit the wall behind me, I new I was going to die.

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