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The Young Girl and The Path
The red autumn leaves crunched under her feet as she walked along the path. There was a cool, light breeze in the air, making her long red hair flow gently. The sun was in the middle of the sky, making it so she had no shadow for a short time. Her jeans were slightly ripped at the knees, probably from hopping a fence or getting caught in that bush earlier. Her blouse was low cut, showing a bit of skin. She was a runaway.
She didn’t know where she was going, but she kept walking on the path, it had done her no harm so far.
As she walked, she couldn’t help but think back to her life. Her life had been hell before. Her family, it seemed, didn’t care for her. At least, not in her eyes. She hated school, hated her friends, and hated everything in her life. Everything except her boyfriend; he was the only one who was actually nice to her, the only one who actually seemed to care and try to pick her up when she was down. He wasn’t happy though, and it was all her fault. He’d deny it all the time, but she knew better. She had been moody lately. It wasn’t because it was that time of the month or because she was secretly pregnant, it was just because of how bad her life was going.
Her diabetes never seemed to give her a break, kicking her every time she was down. The doctor getting angry and yelling at her all the time didn’t help, nor did her mother. It was like having someone slap you in the face every single day.
She wasn’t happy.
Forget them, that life is done, she thought to herself.
She didn’t know where the path led, but she planned to change her name whenever she got to the end of it, start over with a clean slate. No one would know her; no one would judge her for her past.
As she walked along the path, the sun, unmoving, was stuck in the center of the sky, following her, ever vigilant.
Up ahead on the path, she notices an old man, sitting, perhaps resting; maybe he knew the way. He was bald and seemed to be at peace with the world.
Maybe he’s a monk or something, she thought. Wouldn’t that be interesting…
“Hello old man,” She said as she approached him. “What are you doing here?”
The man just sat there with his eyes shut. He was as still as the sun.
“Hello? Are you there?”
“Are you even alive?” She asked as she moved closer to poke his arm.
At that moment, he grabbed her arm and looked her dead in the eyes. The once peaceful man showed years of terror and dismay in his eyes, his grip saying how much he trusted others. After a few moments, he let her go and went back to his previous statuesque form.
“Umm, what are you doing just sitting here?” She asked him.
“Not all paths in life require you to be walking down them,” he said in return.
“Well, guess that’s not true for me,” the girl responded. “If I don’t move, my past will catch up to me.”
“You can never hope to run from the past, child, “The old man told her.
“We’ll see about that…”
“Do you even know where it is you are running to?”
“No, I just figured I’d follow this path until I got somewhere.”
“You don’t know where you are going, yet you hope to avoid running into your past…”
“Do you know where this path leads, old man?”
“I do.” He told her.
The girl waited a moment before asking, “Can you tell me?”
“Oh no child, it is better for you to find out on your own.”
She again paused.
“Well, would you at least be willing to take me to where the path ends?”
“No.” The old man told her.
“Why the hell not?” She demanded.
“Though our paths have crossed, we do not walk the same path.” He said. “Where my path ends, yours does not.”
“Useless old man…” She began walking away.
“Beware child, you cannot run from the past. Your path leads only to the source of your pain, not the remedy.”
“Yeah, whatever you say, lunatic,” She said, already out of earshot of the old man.
She walked for what felt like hours before she sat on the ground, exhausted and beaten by the sun, which kept its position in the sky as it had all day.
A small bird flew past her, followed by a hawk looking to have a bite to eat.
“Keep flying little friend, you’ll make it!” She shouted to the bird.
She sat there for ten minutes watching the bird and the hawk, until suddenly, the bird smacked beak first into a tree trunk. She watched in awe as the hawk tore through the bird’s feathers, ripping its flesh, breaking bones, not stopping until there was nothing but a bloody mess of bones and feathers. Something about it sent a chill down her back.
She looked in the sky, trying to avoid the horror in front of her, only to see the sun, ever vigilant, still there in the center of the sky, burning bright as before.
The girl felt the need to keep walking; sitting here would do her no good.
After walking with the sun beating down on her for a few hours, she needed to rest. She found herself a big tree trunk to lie against and closed her eyes.
She thought it would be impossible for her to fall asleep because of the sun, however, she drifted off almost instantly.
Her dreams were vivid. They told tales of her past.
In one, she was sitting at a football game, her soon to be boyfriend with his arm around her. It was cold out, with everyone’s breath visible. The score of the game was something to something. To her, the score didn’t matter, she was happy just being with him. Every time they looked into each other’s eyes, she pictured them kissing. In truth, he had wanted it too, but he had his reasons to keep distant.
Tomorrow would be Homecoming, their first actual date. The date was October 17, 2012. She remembers how the night went, the air cool, the moon high, and her hand in his. They danced the entire night, slow dancing to all the songs, no matter the speed. By the end of the night, they were in each other arms kissing each other sweetly; their first kiss. She’d never forget it. She felt like her life was perfect. Later that night, he asked her out and she became the happiest girl on the planet.
At that moment, she woke up. The sun was still there in the sky, making her question how long she had been asleep. She still felt exhausted, and now she missed her boyfriend. She missed everyone. She wanted to head back. The one problem being that she didn’t know which way was back; everything seemed to be the same the entire time she had walked. She just started walking in one direction.
She walked for hours without stopping. The landscape before her didn’t seem to ever change, nor did the sun’s position in the sky. Nonetheless, she kept walking. After a few hours, something strange happened: she was home. She didn’t know how, but she was home at last. The streets, the houses, the buildings, everything was familiar to her now.
She hurried home, passing the cars, flying down the street, not even noticing that it was deathly quiet. When she finally made it home, there was no one there waiting for her, just an empty house.
This is strange she thought to herself. Where is everyone?
“Mom? Dad? Anyone there?”
She decided she’d run to her boyfriend’s house, maybe he’d know where everyone was.
She sprinted down a few blocks to where her boyfriend lived. She was met again with an empty house, but this time she felt something pulling her upstairs, to her boyfriend’s room. She walked up the stairs, feeling a strange chill up her back. As she approached the door, she slowly turned the doorknob and pushed the door open. She fell to her knees.
In the room was her boyfriend lying on his bed, a knife in his chest, dried up blood all over the sheets. He did not move.
The girl could not believe it. She returns home and finds this, this tragedy. And where was everyone else? She tried to remember where they would be right now, but she couldn’t even figure out what day it was. She couldn’t help but walk over to him. She took his cold, lifeless hand and held it and cried. She didn’t know how much time had passed before she finally stopped. She had been thinking, and she had come to a decision.
She reached for the bloody knife, pulling it carefully out of her boyfriend’s chest. She curled up next to him, cuddling as they had before. She proceeded to slowly bring the knife to her abdomen, tears started flowing again. The knife slowly and precisely made a slit in her flesh, causing blood to start coming out. She stuck the knife in further and further, until the hilt of it was the only visible piece. She died slowly.
The next time she opened her eyes, she was staring into those of her boyfriend’s. They were bright and full of life. The nightmare was over.