December 6, 2017
“No, leave me alone!” I screamed, my voice shaky with fear.
I dashed through the woods, pearls of tears streaming down my cheeks. He was gaining on me, I could feel his cold, hollow breath on my neck, smelling of blood and sweat. Branches from the trees clawed at my nightgown, ripping the bottom portion off, as the cold pierced my whole body. I looked behind me to see how far away he was, but the fog made it too hard to see. I turned back around only to trip on a root of a tree sticking up from the ground, and tumbled down a steep hill. On the way down my foot rolled over a rock, and I howled out with pain, and with a crack coming from my ankle I knew that my life was over.
“Please, please no, no!” I pleaded as I attempted to scoot away from him.
He loomed over me, a satisfying smile stretching across his face.
“Say Goodnight Gracie” he said as he revealed a dagger from his jacket pocket that was stained in rich blood.
“No!” I wailed as he brought down the dagger onto my exposed stomach.
I woke up with a start, my sweater drenched in sweat and tears. I had another nightmare, again. They had been coming more and more frequently since I started high school, and it had been the same dream over and over and over. I curled up on my side in my twin sized bed, and began sobbing violently. Taking a deep breath I sat up and opened my nightstand drawer to retrieve my iPhone so I could read an ebook. I dragged my finger across the home screen and my iPhone unlocked.
“2:36. Ugh,” I complained as I settled back in my bed reading my ebook.
A wave of uneasiness crested over me and I paused, waiting for the sound again.
The ebook disappeared and was replaced with a grey wallpaper with a text box at the top of my phone reading, “Incoming Call from Unidentified Contact.”
“It’s okay, just don’t answer the phone,” I said in a shaky tone.
I didn’t want to answer, but something inside me commanded me to answer the phone.
I held my breath then tapped the green answer button.
“Uhh, Hello,” I answered cautiously. “Is anyone there?”
“Meet me at the park in five minutes, if you want to stay alive.” Then the line went dead.
I remained still, frozen with shock and panic. A million thoughts coursed through my mind, as I assessed my options. I could call the police, wake up my parents, but wait, an alarm started blaring inside my mind, they were at a charity banquet for my school.
“Oh no, this isn’t good, 2:38. Three more minutes until I have to be there. The park is right across the street, so, wait a minute why am I doing this?” I asked myself with a snort of laughter.
“This is probably just a prank call.” I assured myself, but I still wasn’t convinced.
Watching the clock for the next three minutes seemed like the longing period of my life. But when it reached 2:32, I sighed a breath of relief. I wasn’t quite ready to fall back asleep, so I tried logging back into her phone to read, but my phone was dead.
“Hmm, that’s weird I could have sworn just a couple of minutes ago it was fully charged. Oh well.” I said to myself.
I rolled to my side and turned on the light to my antique lamp. The light remained on for a good forty second and then started to flicker until it went out.
I stiffened up.
It sounded like someone was trying to pick the lock to her front door.
I threw the covers aside, scampering to the dining room where I retrieved a knife from a set that my mother usually uses to cook.
Creeping silently and carefully I made it to the lounge room and hid behind a basket of blankets next to the hearth where the front door was ajar. I gripped the knife as firmly as I could, until I felt blisters begin to form on my palm. I had absolutely no experience with a knife. I had seen characters on television perform with a knife before, but that was on TV, those actors didn’t actually have someone trying to kill them. The floorboards made a creak, and I snapped my head to the right where I heard the sound. Then a new idea sparked in my mind, I knew it was risky, but it was worth a shot. Slowly, I grabbed a piece of firewood that was lying in a neat pile next to the tools for kindling. I drew a sharp breathe in, then threw the firewood into the family room. I heard the clunking footsteps of my opponent; I knew this was my only chance to run but my feet were glued to the ground, and that’s when I saw him. It was an middle aged man with a wild expression, as if he was a young mustang, not yet tamed. His eyes were yellowed, and fierce, and when my eyes went down to his lips, I became alarmed. Blood, fresh blood drenched his lips, staining them a dark red, as it dripped down his chin.
“Did he drink it, how does he smell like that?” I thought in my head
He wore a tattered up orange jumpsuit, with a peeling name tag reading, Carl. His boots were splashed with a foul smelling odor that made my eyes water. Picking up the firewood, he came to a realization that this was a trick, and darted his head back and forth, looking for the person who threw the firewood, until he locked eyes with me and gazed into my eyes. He smiled, and I stifled a scream as he lunged towards me. Before I realized it, I was out the the front door, and into the darkness. I dashed across my lawn, covered in wet dew, not daring looking back over my shoulder.
“GET BACK HERE!” The man shouted after me, trying to jog after me.
I cursed under my breath, coming to the irritating conclusion that I didn’t have a clue where I was going, I just knew I had to escape him. The cold burrowed into my skin, having only my light nightgown to keep me warm. My breath was visible from the cold, presenting itself in front of me like fog on a rainy morning. I just kept on running forward for what it seemed like miles, until I came to an old park that was long forgotten about, hidden away from the world. When I was five years old, I ran away from home when my parents had yelled at me, and I found the abandoned park. I had burrowed under the bushes and found a tiny utopia that I would use nearly every day. Whether I was in a sad mood, or wanted a place to gather my thoughts, I always had a place to be myself. Now, I plunged through the bushes and into my park. As soon as I realized he couldn’t find me here I allowed myself to take a soothing breath in.
“Whew” I said aloud.
I went inside a tiny little plastic house that used to be my “secret” hiding spot when I was young. I organized the things that I had put in there by size, either that be a toy, a sketchbook, scissors, pencils, sharpeners, glue, or a survival backpack I placed in there not to long ago, in case anything like this should ever happened. I rummaged through my pack, grabbing a thick jacket I’d bought a couple years back and put it on my shivering body. I knew that I was still being tracked so I decided to create a diversion. I stomped a path with my bare feet into the sand and made a trail to one out of the three ways out of the park.
“Crap,” I said audibly, “the time, what time is it?”
I ran back to my plastic house and tore through the backpack, but to my surprise, nothing was in it. That’s when fear crept its way through me; it was definitely full when I first got here.
I walked towards the swings and plunked into the seat drawing a shaky breath. I examined my surrounding and was instantly drawn to the huge hole, where I came through, it wasn’t even noticeable before, and that’s when I saw the droplets of blood, trailing from the hole to the back of the house. The swing beside me started to teeter back and forth, creaking ever so slightly. I just sat there, terror surrounding me. All of a sudden, a burly thick pair of hands in black gloves came from behind me and covered my mouth with a strange smelling cloth. I snapped to life, understanding that at this very moment I was being kidnapped. I quickly grabbed a sharp stick lying by itself next to the swing, feeling a surge of power and drove it behind me putting as much force as I could muster into my attack. I heard a grunt, as the man stumbled backward. I turned around, somewhat eager to see where I cut him. The stick was protruding from his bicep in his right arm and I saw from the leaking sunlight of daybreak, that I had made a deep incision.
He clutched the stick and ripped it out, a chunk still nestled in his bicep and scrambled to his feet. It was too fast for me to react. He took a rock, about the size of his fist and pummeled me continuously, on my frail skinny arm.
“No, no stop, stop!” I screamed, but he kept on going.
I was in so much pain I just sat there as he beat me, mouth wide open, ready to scream but no sound would come out. He continued doing that, until he felt I understood that I was helpless, powerless, weak, and nothing I did could ever stop him. He threw the rock aside and shoved the cloth into my face. I didn’t resist this time, the smell comforted me, sucked all the pain out, and took me back to when I was a little girl lying on a blanket next to the hearth, cuddled up next to my mother. With that memory I smiled, my breathing hollowing, and was pulled under a sea of darkness, and not even trying to swim to the surface one time.
I awoke, standing up strapped to something. It was dark out, the sky, a murky navy blue. <It was night, how long have I be out? > I felt an uncomfortable pain in my arm and moved it, creating a whole new level of pain. My arm wailed in agony, as it tried to find a way to get rid of this intolerable pain. It dangled loosely at my side, useless.
“AHHHH!” I cried out as torture gripped my arms and refused to let go of it.
My arm was swollen like crazy. It curved up in a bizarre way, and instead of my olive skin color, it looked like a pansy, the ones beside my house, bright purple. I looked around, but my vision was blurry and unclear leaving me dazed and confused. I smelled pine, fresh, inviting pine.
“Trees, Trees!” I said aloud in a startled voice.
Then it was as if I had hit the windshield wipers, and everything came into view. There was a forest, a wide stretch of pine trees and they were calling to me. These was unmistakably the forest in my nightmare. I looked down at my body, I was still in my silky nightgown, my jacket nowhere to be seen. I was strapped by metal chains to a sketchy looking truck with slashes all over it. I skimmed through my surroundings, then my blood curdled as I saw what lyed next to me. Children, innocent, defenseless children. Strung up by their feet to the top of the truck. Their throats, slit, bleeding down there clothes. Mouths, bounded by brown bandanas. Eyes, wide open, still frozen with fear. A bloody knife was lodged in the truck, a few feet to my right with a note reading, “Don’t try to escape, or I will find you”.
I closed my eyes, “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.” I told myself, horrified beyond control.
I didn’t want to die that way, I didn’t want the thing that people remembered about me was that I was part of a group of children who were slaughtered.
“No.” I announced making a decision.
I started working on the chains, wriggling my body, to try to loosen them, bit by bit. About half way through my attempt to free myself, I smelled it again, that horrible, foul odor of blood and perspiration. I began to work furiously on the chains, as the smell began more and more strong. I slipped out of the chains, and unbound my legs, and once I was done, I darted from the truck. I wanted to put as much distance between me and that truck, and the foul odor that marked my kidnapper. As much as I didn’t want to run into that forest and make my nightmare come true, I knew it was safer than being out in the open. As I sprinted through the trees, my nightgown flapped through the wind, making me more visible than I wanted to be. I heard a vociferous sound coming from behind me, he knew where I was, he knew. I made a quick right, and immediately jolted to a stop at a peak of a cliff. There was a lake, a huge lake in front of me. I looked over my shoulder, and there he was right behind me. I turned to face him, and the same smile as the one in my nightmare appeared on his face.
He brought out the knife that was lodged in the truck, and swung it at my stomach. Shocked I looked down at my stomach, a big gash through my nightgown, a dark red escaped from my body and poured down into the dirt ground. He lifted up his foot and kicked me into the lake. Everything seemed to go in slow motion. I fell backwards, off the cliff, and into the icy water, watching him grin, pivot his foot and head back into the forest.
I guess I’d never really taken the time to admire the water. A sparkling blue aura rimmed the perimeter of the lake. Bubbles escaped my mouth, heading to the surface where they settled on top and popped. Schools of tiny fish, with white scales glided past by me in a hurry. A small turtle, with a brown shell, and black skin with yellow stripes paddled up to the surface to retrieve a breath of air, and plunked back down into the water, swimming off. I watched the many animals full of life, as mine quickly ebbed away. As I sunk, I started to think to myself, Hey, this might not be a bad place to die, and I closed my eyes and was enveloped into the darkness.