She knew she was head over heels in love with him. How else could she entrust her life and, after tonight, a whole lot more? He had told her they wouldn't reach the cave until sunset. She knew it would be beautiful. Nothing would be the same again. He was going to take care of her; hadn't he told her that time and again?
He reached his hand down to help her up a steep climb, but didn't let go. He pulled her into his arms and kissed the breath out of her. He felt a shiver course through her body and he put his black leatherjacket on her shoulders. "We're almost there. Once we reach the top of this next summit, I'll set up camp and build a fire."
Oh yes, she was in love with him and she was going to prove it to him tonight. She couldn't wait. It's cold up here, she thought. She was anxious to reach the cave so that she might take some of his warmth.
The sun was rapidly descending, leaving a ruby glow in its wake. She glanced over her shoulder and her heart stopped. It was the most breathtaking, exquisite sunset she'd ever seen. The expanse of land spread out like a carpet across her view until it melted into the horizon and became the vivid, violet sky. She turned around to look at him. He had a smile on his face, as if he was about to reveal a long-kept secret. Goose bumps grew on her flesh. That smile looked almost evil. She berated herself for such thoughts. This was the man who had captured her heart, who had pushed her over the cliff of love and life. She had fallen in love with him, had fallen into his arms and she felt he would never let go. Now it was time to embrace him back, to give him what he wanted, what he deserved. She was ready to devote her life, her love to him. She could feel her anticipation rise as she climbed the last of the mountain.
There stood the monstrous cavity, the entrance into the cave. With midnight's darkness creeping up, it looked all the more mysterious and vaguely foreboding. He took her hand silently and led her into the cave. He could not see more than a few feet in the murky cave, but he knew where he was going, what he was doing.
"Are you ready?" he asked her. She nodded. She was more than ready and willing to give him the most valuable thing she owned - her body, for it was all he had not captured yet. He led her over to the point of ultimate darkness. She looked out and saw nothing. If she hadn't known better, she would have thought they were on the precipice of a great chasm.
"You have my heart, my soul, my devotion and my love, and now you shall have my body," she promised.
He vehemently shook his head. "I don't want any of what you offer. I only want your life and that I shall have."
She didn't understand. Her life? What did he mean? Then her eyes opened wider in realization. How naive she had been thinking he loved her back! How foolish she had been entrusting her life to him. She could feel his hands on her shoulders, the pressure almost painful. He hauled her toward him and kissed her roughly. Whispering a final farewell in her ears, he gave her a violent shove. Clawing at his shoulders, she tried to cling to life and to the edge of the abyss.
She was falling. She wondered how long it would last, how long before she hit bottom. Wind rushed against her ears as she plummeted but it was not enough to drown out the maniacal laughter drifting down to her.
He was disappointed. She was so weak in spirit, but she didn't scream. Stupid. Did she think she was being noble with her silence? But, it was over! He was ecstatic that he had finally taken what he wanted so much, that he had waited for so long - her life. All the while, he knew he could never get caught. He was invincible.
He waited until he heard her body hit the rocks in the ravine before he left the cave to make camp. Stretched out on top of his sleeping bag, he fell asleep almost instantly, with a smile curving his lips. He imagined her body hitting the ground, lying stiff in a puddle of blood - with the others.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.