"She's everything. Looks, brains, wit, the list goes on and on."
She felt her eyes begin to fill with tears. Against her better judgment, she stole a glance at the woman across the room. Indeed, she was gorgeous. Something about her, the way she carried herself, the tinkling sound of her laugh, the waves of amber hair cascading down her back. She looked back at him. His glance shifted, he couldn't look her in the eye.
She heard the voice so clearly in her head. One thing at a time, she had to slow down her mind if she was going to make it out of this with any shred of dignity.
It insisted again, more forcefully this time. She would not allow herself to lose control. There must be another option, she thought.
Escape. A far better option. She took a deep breath, held her chin high and turned for the door.
"You'll be ok, won't you?" he asked, more a statement than a question.
Silently, she fumed. If it helps him sleep at night, "Sure." she responded, the heat apparent in her voice.
It always ends in pain. Don't say I didn't warn you. You left yourself wide open for this.
She pushed hard against the door with both hands. It swung open and released her into the cold. She couldn't hold them back any longer. Her tears poured down her cheeks, hot and wet, freezing slowly as they trickled down her face. She began to run. She clenched her hands into fists in her pockets, her nails cutting tiny crescents into her palms.
You can't escape this pain by hurting yourself.
She cried as she ran, and ran until she was lost. The looming edge of a massive redwood and pine forest stood at her feet. She pulled her coat tighter around her waist and reached in her bag for her knife. Can't be too careful, she thought. The moon shone bright tonight but its light was eliminated, almost completely, by the foliage overhead. She walked slowly between the massive trees.
You should have listened. I can't believe you were stupid enough to think this wouldn't happen again.
Walking so slowly left far too much time for her thoughts and emotions to run free. The tears came again. Not for pain this time, but for her own foolishness. She was angry, but not at him. The voices won over, she believed them. This was her fault for giving in, for letting go, for letting someone in close enough to hurt her. Silently she cried as she walked along.
Something moved in the brush off to her right. She paused. "Hello?" she called, but there was no answer.
She continued on, slowly, gripping her knife that much tighter.
She heard it again, a rustling sound, closer this time. Breathing. She could hear something breathing. She began to back up slowly, towards an enormous redwood. The breathing followed. In this light, her eyes were nearly useless. She reached the tree and pressed her back against it. She was shaking, gripped by the fear of the unseen adversary she faced. Her pulse quickened, she held her breath. She could feel heat, breathing, heat, against her face.
She could hold it no longer. Slowly she let out her breath. The moment the sweet scent of her air left her lips, it struck. She felt a white-hot pain in her side, teeth at her neck. It growled at her, pinning her against the tree. For a moment she was paralyzed. Her mind reeled. Suddenly she remembered the knife in her hand and sunk it deep into the side of her attacker. It shrieked in pain and released her. She fell to the earth, landing on top of the creature. Still unsure of what it was, she could feel it dying beneath her. It's breath became shallow as it slowly stopped moving. A final breath hissed from its chest, the stench of blood and sulfur surrounded her.
She put a hand to her side. The wound was deep. She tried to raise herself from the ground but she was unable to move. She felt the hot thick liquid pour from her side and tried in vain to press her hands into the source, to slow the bleeding. Again she cried. The tears slid slowly from her eyes. Her face pointed to the heavens, she remarked on the thickness of the branches overhead. She could see no stars, no moon, only darkness.
She chuckled, weakly, to herself. "You can't escape this pain by hurting yourself." she whispered. "You can't escape this..."