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The sound of leaves crunching beneath her feet echoed and re-echoed in her head, along with the raspy noise which she assumed was the sound of her breathing - there was no way to be certain.
(Keep moving, keep moving...)
She hadn't a clue as to why she run like that, or maybe she had, but it didn't matter. Not anymore, and not yet.
(Where are you going?)
All that mattered is that she had to keep running. The pounding rhythm of her feet and deep, rapid breathing were the only defense she had against her thoughts furious attempts to invade her mind, crippling her will.
(What are you doing? There's nowhere to run.)
What the F*** is going on?
She slowed, unable to continue her mad dash to nowhere. Clutching her head, the girl stopped and spun around, eyes squeezed shut, blind to the world.
This isn't supposed to happen! Who does that self-righteous b**** think she is, anyway? Who the hell is Jenna to assume she knows what I want? I don't even know what I want!
Surrendering to the raging torrent of thoughts bombarding and voices screaming at her, the girl stumbled to a nearby boulder and sank to the ground. Fighting the nausea that had arisen in the pit of her stomach, she leaned with her back to the boulder, gasping for air.
And for a moment, her mind was quiet. Every voice in her head waited in hushed silence for the one that could bring hope or an end to all of them - the Voice of Reason. Though usually its mere presence and the comforting, if false, sense of security that accompanied it was enough to lull her into a state of quiet attentiveness, she didn't even seem to acknowledge its existence. The smell of the forest filled her senses as she unknowingly savored the sanctuary that the Voice's presence offered. Absently, she picked a clover from beside her and twirled it in between her fingers, studying the patterns on its leaves. Pushing the others aside, the Voice cautiously made its way to the forefront of her consciousness, whispering.
With a start the girl realized who was there. Quickly recovering from the shock, she embraced the Voice like a long-lost sibling. Resisting the urge to indulge once again in its sanctuary, she listened.
(Well if she doesn't know what you want, who does? Do you?)
Abandoning her clover, the girl sat upright and considered this for a moment.
What do I want? I've always assumed that I know...
The Voice spoke more fervently now, becoming increasingly eager with the knowledge that it was getting through to her.
(Isn't that what you're angry at Jenna for? Maybe her telling you what you want isn't such a bad thing. Maybe that's what you needed, what you wanted.)
Resting against the cool stone surface once again, she turned these thoughts over and over in her mind, and slowly it dawned on her like she had been in a river swimming toward the surface of the water and had finally broken it, and just as she did, she saw. She saw what she had failed to realize she'd wanted.
No sooner did the thought form than she jumped up from her stone refuge and sprinted back toward town, this time welcoming all the excited voices and thoughts buzzing around in her brain. Once she reached the edge of the trees, she stopped and sifted through all the ecstatic voices to find the one that had made her realize her desire. And there it was, smiling fondly at her.
"Thank you," she whispered, eyes shining. “Thank you so much."
The Voice didn't speak, didn't say anything for a moment, it just beamed at her. Then, in a gentle, musical tone like the tinkling of wind chimes, answered.
You are more than welcome. But this is no longer the time or place for me. Now go to her.
And with that, the Voice of Reason returned to the recesses of her mind. As the girl felt its presence retreat into the unknown, she took a deep breath, and headed down the road into town, with only her own voice in mind, and it had only one thing to say: