It was warm, balmy, and almost dark when Jan waved down a taxi while waiting outside the weather-worn beach hotel. The cab pulled up to where she was standing and then Jan climbed into the vehicle and said, “The Voux, please.” Soon they were cruising past the last of the houses and businesses before coming to an open stretch of shoreline. Jan could make out the silhouette of a line of vegetation that grew on dunes that separated the rough road from the beach.

It startled her when the driver slowed and then pulled over on the shoulder.

This cab ride isn’t over,” she said to the burly driver.

But it is,” the man said. “We’re going to take a little walk, see the beach.”

The road was dark and deserted. Jan’s anxiety levels were peaking. “No, I’m not getting out of this car. Take me to the Voux, now!”

*    *   *

Nearby a man treads water and the full moon rises above the horizon. Jose stopped his swimming strokes when he saw headlights approaching and then turn off on the other side of the barrier dunes. He was in the middle of his nightly swim and wondered why the vehicle stopped, plus he thought he might have heard a scream. Then he saw the silhouette of a large guy manhandling a woman over the dunes in the light of the low moon. The woman was struggling to get free and cried out repeatably, “Let go of me!”

The man easily controlled the much smaller woman. He forced her down in the sand and sat down on her, straddling her hips. The woman was struggling and screaming, “No,” over and over. He released her hands, ripped her top open, and laughed loudly as she started hitting his chest.

Jose was already cutting through the surf and up onto the beach. He saw the man strike his victim on the side of her head, and yelled, “Hey, get the fuck off her!”

“Mind your own damn business,” the man shouted back.

The woman, who had started whimpering, got up the fortitude to punch the guy in his jaw. Between that and seeing Jose running his way, the man got up and hurried over the dunes toward the road. Jose heard a door slam and a vehicle speeding away by the time he got to the woman.

“Are you okay? Jose asked. “Who was that guy?”

“A taxi driver. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

“Damn asshole. I’m Jose.” He extended a hand towards her.

Taking his hand, she let him pull her up. “I’m Jan. I think he would have raped and maybe killed me if you hadn’t come. Where’d you come from?” She realized that he was glancing at her exposed chest and pulled the two sides of her top together.

“I was swimming, exercising. I live a little way down the road. We can call the authorities from there.”

Jan looked around and observed that they were in the middle of nowhere and there were no other people or cars around. It was dark with just a low moon, so she concluded that she didn’t really have a choice.

Jan cautiously headed down the road with the man that would become her future husband toward her future house.