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Our House goes Dark

by Heather Stanton 5 months ago in Series

Conclusion

“Teresa Kristine, come out, come out, wherever you are.”

Who am I? Where am I? Confused, I study the bright green dense woods. The last thing I remember is searching for someone. Instinctively, I know it’s not the same one who is chasing me. I have to run and hide.

Turning to look behind me is a mistake. As I run, the roots grab ahold of me, trying to trip me and stop me. If he catches me, I’m dead. Forcing myself to face the front, I sprint down a sharp incline.

The low tree limbs smack me in the face as the roots grab ahold of my feet, trying to pull me to the ground. With my breath wheezing in and out, I frantically look for somewhere to hide. Any dark hole or ditch will do.

Concentrating, I try to remember what I was doing. The last thing I recall is driving. Where was I going? Who am I searching for? Think Kris, remember. I was going to the only place in the world I have ever been safe. Searching for the only person who has never hurt me.

“Brian! Where are you?”

His name catches in my throat as a thick root trips me, and I tumble down the slope. As I fall, I’m hit repeatedly with low-hanging branches that scratch and tear at my face and clothes. Rolling into a ball is my only defense as I travel quickly down the hill.

Brian is the only thing I can think about, as the one who chases me calls out for me. His voice surrounds me and echoes through the trees. At any moment he will catch me, then my life is over. If I can’t be with the one I love, what’s the point of living? My head smashes into a hard surface hard and my world goes dark.

I wake up slowly, staring up at the beautiful stars and light misting rain that is falling. My mouth opens and I drink my fill before it stops. My name sounds from a distance. I remain quiet, unsure if it’s Travis or Brian.

As much as I want it to be Brian, deep down I know it can’t be. He’s too far away to call for me now. We were going to meet at our special spot, the place where our lives changed and became one. For better or worse, for all time. Closing my eyes, I will the memory to take me into a dream of our magic moment.

The pain doesn’t let me escape, so instead, I stare at the constellations. The only reason I can pick any of them out is Brian showing me his favorites. He loved to teach me the secrets of the night sky. I only wish I had paid closer attention. Now I have nothing but time.

Sitting up, I look at my body, feeling the wetness on my face. When I put my hand up it comes away red and sticky. Blood makes me queasy, and as quick as I can, I rub it clean in the rotting leaves and damp grass. My ankle got turned at an odd angle, and when I try to stand, I fall to the ground hard. My head spins, turning the stars into a kaleidoscope, and my eyes close as darkness envelopes me once more.

“Teresa, where did you run off to this time. Girl, I work hard all day long, and the only thing I ask is for you to have dinner on the table when I get home.”

“Mama, what are you doing here?”

“Worthless brat, I’m starving. Dry your tears before I give you something to cry about.”

“I’m sorry about dinner, it scared me to use the stove after last time.”

“One minor burn and all’s you do is cry about it. Come here so I can teach you a lesson that will really bring tears to your eyes.”

“No, not the belt, mama, please. I’ll do better next time.”

The bright light of day pulls me out of my dream memory. I’m alone, and my mother passed a long time ago. My life with her was wonderful. My false memories make me sad. She was an excellent mother, no matter what anyone says.

Straining my ears, I listen for my name, for any noise at all. Birds chirping and squirrels yelling are the only sound I hear. I lick my dry lips, staring up at the white clouds, searching for pictures the way I did when I was a child. That was always my favorite game to play, laying in the sweet grass.

Buster’s face jumps out at me, and I reach my hand up, wanting to pet him. Love and comfort are far from the ditch I landed in, and I desperately search for them now. Time drifts slowly past like the leaves falling from the tree. My mind wanders to better days. If Brian could come and meet me, all will be well again.

“Teresa!”

My eyes open wide as I hear his frantic calling and burrow deeper into the decaying leaves. Any fate is a better one, as long as Travis doesn’t find me. I will his voice away as I study the stars once more. They are bright and beckoning. I reach out one arm, trying to touch one of them. Knowing if I manage that, then I will be safe once more.

The ground is cold and wet; the stars disappear as thunder, claps, and lightning shots across the sky. I open my mouth wide to drink as much as I can before I go away once more. The days and nights blend, and I lose track of how much time I have spent alone and broken in the woods.

His breath is hot and rank on my neck and face. I reach out with my hands, willing to claw him to death if only he will leave me alone. My finger sinks into his cheek and I kick out with my weak legs. I’m just happy they are working. He stumbles away from me and I take off, not questioning my strength and ability to stand.

I have to get away from him, is my only thought. In the distance, the sun is rising in a beautiful meadow, and I head for that. The closer I get, I pick out all my favorites, sunflowers, daisies, and daffodils. The soft petals brush against my skin but don’t fall to the ground.

His rapid steps are right behind me as I search for somewhere to hide or defend myself. There is a slight hill I run towards. The closer I get, the larger it becomes. His howls reach me and I turn to stare behind me.

The sight frightens me more than words. As he runs through the meadow full of thriving flowers, everything he touches withers and dies. The sunflowers droop and lose their petals, the daisies turn black; the daffodils fall over to the ground. He is toxic, making everything he comes into contact with sick and dead. I must not let him touch me.

The slope is gentle and easy. At first. The higher I go, the more the roots trip me, the rocks jab me, and the tree branches slap and cut me. I have to make it to the top. I can’t let anything stop me. Sharp fingers dig into my injured ankle and I cry out, stumbling to the ground.

When I look behind me, I see nothing, not even Travis. He’s here somewhere. Even if I can’t see him, I hear his sick laughter. Wheezing and crying, I fight harder than I have ever before. I will not let him take me down with him.

Kicking out hard, I connect and am rewarded when he grunts. Quickly, I scramble to my feet and take off running. The small hill has turned into a steep slippery mountainside. Every time I grab ahold of something to help pull me up one more inch, it tears out of the ground with a laughing sound. My feet slide out from under me, and I’m falling with no way to stop or help myself.

Travis jumps on top of me, hooting and laughing as we slide down the slope into the now-dead meadow. At the last second before I reach the bottom, I jamb both feet into the slick ground and buck him off me. He goes flying as I scramble up the steep hill again.

My whole being screams, ‘get away, don’t look back.’ But I do, just in time to see the ground open up. It resembles a great big mouth with sharp white rocks that look eerily like large monster teeth. From this angle, the rocks are feasting on him. His face contorts, and I’m mesmerized. How did I ever find this man handsome when he was so hideous inside and out?

I don’t stick around to see if I’m next, instead; I turn and run, clinging to the ground in places. If I can reach the top, I know that I’ll be safe. My energy flags, I lay on the ground panting, unable to go even one more step.

The rocks turn into soft grass that caresses my cheeks. The mountain is no longer steep but a soft, gradual slope. Drying my eyes in the tall sweet grass, I stand and look around. Behind me, the meadow is a perfect garden once more, with flowers sweeping from one end to the other. The colors are vibrant and even from this high up; I smell their sweet scent.

The top is just beyond my reach, and I can see the great big tree standing alone. I know what I will find once I reach it. I only have a couple more steps to go. The past is no more; the future is all that matters.

Feeling strong and excited, I walk quickly, then run. Now I know where I am, and who is going to be there waiting for me. When I reach the top, I’m not winded or tired. I look around and behind once more. My perfect meadow surrounds the small hill. Not a single flower is blemished or dying. Everything is bright and healthy.

Fruit hangs low and ripe on the tree, and I place my hand over the carving that I knew I would find. B loves K. He carved that into the pear tree after we said our vows. It was the sweetest, most romantic gesture anyone had ever done for me. I’m safe now. I just have to wait for him to find me and hope I’m not too late. We always said that we would meet under this tree, no matter what happened in our lives.

Loud barking has me spinning in a circle. Buster cries, whines, and dances his way towards me. I sink to the ground, opening my arms wide. He runs to me, knocking me over and licking me everywhere. They have brought one true love back to me. To complete the circle, I need the other.

“Kris, we have been waiting for you. What took so long?”

Laughter bursts out of me as tears stream down my face. I run to him, much the way Buster ran to me.

“Brian, I love you. I have been searching for you for so long. “

“Wife, what did I always tell you. I will be here waiting till the end of time, and even after that if I can.”

The three of us hug, then I sink into his arms and lose myself in his love and kisses. I am finally home. The three of us are where we should be. No matter what happens, or where we live, we will be together, and that is all that matters.

Series

Heather Stanton

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