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She landed hard on the worn sofa, wincing as the old springs dug into her back and regretting that decision. After a moment of discomfort, she stood with some effort, clawing her way from the grasp of sinking cushions. She peered around the space, which she had always tried so hard to ignore, picturing the corner which had once been a part of her, where cardboard boxes had been stacked high with a blanket on top to protect her. She had practically lived in that tiny nook, cradled by ratty dolls and ancient toys, finding comfort there.
As she aged, she had been forced out. The blanket was ripped off, the boxes torn away with a cruel word and an icy breeze of reality. They had been thrown onto the street, and it poured all the next day, the cool drops trickling down the smudged window with a sort of empathy. Only the raindrops understood the tears streaming just as heavily down her face on the other side of the glass. Without her haven, her home, she was lost.
But that was years before. Now she stood, looking at the reality that she had hid from as a child, and looked at what it had made her. Rapidly, she halted this path before it turned toward self reflection. She was ashamed of herself, loathed everything she had become, turning from her fantasy-filled, ignorant childhood to a practically worthless coward, beaten and worn. Still, she tried to smile, pushing forward, refusing to dwell, but that smile refused to come. She could not lie to herself any longer.

Malymn ran through the woods as quickly as she could, dodging trees and undergrowth as she sprinted away from it. She flew swiftly. She flew well.
Flaming black, a sight to behold, trailed behind her on the wind. It was a color worth remembering, like spilt oil on a dark blue winter cloak, like a demon’s eyes. That demon’s tails streamed through the cool night air, leaving an alien warmth in their wake. Gathering closer to her neck whenever she stumbled or slowed, they advanced on her, pulled onward by furious velocity. There was such cruelty in Newton’s betrayal, setting laws to assist Malymn’s capture, but he could not have known. Those eerie tendrils, linked to her demon, raced after, shimmering in the growing sunlight of early morning.
Footsteps whispered through the ferns and grass, deceivingly quiet in the magnitude of the moment. A soft, allegro pitter; a wordless staccato patter. Pale feet sunk fleetingly into the moss before lifting off again. They hushed so noiselessly, one would think none was there at all. But Malymn knew. She knew from what she was running; why it was worth fleeing.
A swathe of fabric was barely visible in the faint light, straggling behind her as she soared over logs and brambles. It fluttered in her wake, now faded to light grey with a hint of lavender. It was caught many times, to be ripped free, leaving countless tears in the gossamer cloth. Travelling down the sheer shroud was an inky black stain, flashing a myriad of colors when it passed through a break in the trees.
She ran frantically, attempting to be free of the inescapable. Understanding flashed across her face as she realized she would faint before her flight succeeded. Malymn’s grief enveloped her, and she halted in a small clearing, sinking to the forest floor. It had been her home since birth, and now she had found her escape, could finally chew off her foot and leave this steel-jawed trap.
Malymn sighed for the last time, having finally been released from her bindings. As consciousness faded, she smiled slightly, knowing that her struggle was over, content for the first time in years.
The sun, peering through the trees, fell in patches across a pale body. In a delicate white gown, torn at the hem and dirtied with mud, she made an ethereal picture. A raven black mane of thick hair spread across the earth around her, the heavy contrast making her look ghostly pale.
There was no doubt she was beautiful, with perfect features and a peaceful face, but upon looking closer, one can see lines of struggle and pain. If one would gaze at her for long, they would notice the thin white lines decorating her body, the chewed nails, the deep shadows beneath her snowy eyelids. The dagger, old and rusty, that sat next to her palm, told the story. It told the truth.

A man staggered into the room with a shout of fury and disappointment. He jerked back, tripping over his feet. The sound of glass breaking resounded throughout as his bottle hit the floor, mixing the torrent of his crutch with the scarlet whispers of her freedom.

As the light grew, the earth began to awaken. The birds sang; the wind blew. Predators returned to their lairs. Soft murmurs came from the creek nearby, whispers of secrets untold. All in a moment’s time, one world saw a peaceful demise. All in a moment’s time, another world let out only a quiet sigh, before continuing on through the morning.
And a pallid body lay on the forest floor, but the earth paid no heed. It would lie there for years, and no one mourned. Nobody cried for Malymn, the torn.




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