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The End (Part 4)
“Good evening, sleepy-head,” a hoarse voice whispered above my face. I looked up into Haley’s eyes couldn’t believe what I was seeing. When I’d fallen asleep, I wasn’t sure I would wake up to find her alive but now her eyes were bright and she was sitting up. “You slept through the day, but it’s alright, Dominic hasn’t come back.” She was rational and calm, she didn’t even look like she was in pain.
“What happened?” I couldn’t piece together what in the world was going on.
“Dominic came in and tore us both to pieces, remember?” She looked worried now.
“No, no. I remember that part,” I said with a cringe, “I meant how are you… When did you get so…” I just couldn’t phrase it right. That’s when I saw her glance down and pain came into her eyes again. When she looked up she looked calm again. She was putting on a mask for me now too.
“I slept. My body had a chance to get better, I guess,” she lied.
“No. Please don’t put on that face for me. How bad is it?” I didn’t want to know how much pain she was in but I wouldn’t make her hold in her pain to spare me. But she shook her head and bit her lip. “Here, at least lie down. There you go,” I whispered, and tried not to gasp when I finally got a good look at her. Her arm and throat had hand print bruises all over and her stomach was stained red. I took her hand and she stared back at me, her eyes wide. Then she tightened her had around mine and her eyes squinted shut while her lips parted and she let a tiny groan escape her. My hand was probably in danger of breaking but I clenched her hand back until she let go, gasping.
“I’m…sorry,” she gasped, tears in her eyes.
“No, it’s alright,” I said, flexing my fingers behind my back. “Just tell me what hurts.”
“My stomach,” she whimpered.
“Alright,” I said, trying to be the calm one, “Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong with your arm?”
“Dominic pulled it out of socket the third day I was here. Don’t worry about it,” she said when my eyebrows lifted, “I can’t even feel it anymore.” This did far less than reassure me but I let it go. “Other than that, I’m in good shape,” she said with an ironic smile.
“Yeah,” I snorted. She was such a martyr, it was ridiculous.
“How’s your leg? And what did he do to your face?” she said, changing the subject.
“It’s fine. Well, no, I think it’s broken,” I corrected when she scowled. Saying it, I realized what kind of shape we were in. My leg broken, her arm dislocated and her stomach slowly bleeding out, we weren’t going to last a whole lot longer. “Haley?” I asked nervously.
“Yeah,” she answered, looking up at me curiously with those doe’s eyes.
“Have you ever thought of escaping?”
“Of course. That’s why my arm’s dangling like a rag doll. I tried to sneak out the window in the next room over and Dominic caught me and made me pay for it. We could try, I suppose,” she said but she looked doubtful. But I just couldn’t see another way. So I plotted in my head over and over. She would jump and run and I’d stay here to fight off Dominic. I could never jump and then run for help with my leg in such bad shape. We could both jump and she could run for help while I just laid there, hiding in the shadows. That really seemed like the only solution. When we heard Dominic snoring downstairs, I ran the plan by Haley.
“I don’t know, Nick. He caught me last time in a split second. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to someone fast enough. But we can always try,” she said, lifting her chin, determined to fight for her lost cause.
“Alright, let’s go,” I said. I used the wall to push myself into a standing position and offered my hand to Haley but she refused. She rose gracefully, like she wasn’t inches from passing out.
“C’mon, I’ll help you,” she said, pulling my arm around her shoulder and helped me limp out of our prison. When we got to the window, she gasped.
“What?” I was worried. Was this her final breaking point, did helping me to the window finally push her over the edge?
“It’s brilliant…I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before…Okay, you jump first and get out of the way because I’m coming down right after,” she said, sounding excited. I was skeptical but we were way past second-guessing each other. She helped me get on the windowsill then I took a deep breath and jumped. I landed and knew that my leg was long past broken.
“Roll over!” Haley whispered down to me. I wanted to make the pain in my leg go away but I rolled over anyway, forcing down a scream when my leg protested in agony. Haley landed beside me, on her feet. Ridiculous child. “Are you alright? I’m sorry, I’ll be right back,” she said running off immediately. I laid there alone for all of a millisecond when Dominic’s light flicked on and I heard him roar. No words, really, just an angry screech. I knew he was going to fly out the front door and run around to the side of the house any second and find me. I heard the door slam shut and his heavy footfalls racing around the house. He turned to corner and continued racing towards me, looking enraged and crazy. I was going to die. If one thing went right in this mess it was that Haley got out. She was free, she would find help before Dominic found her, I knew it. He was directly in front of me now and I was ready for him to just kill me already.
“You think…you can just…run?” he asked, pulling me up, holding me against the side of the house. His breath reeked of alcohol and I knew he wasn’t showing any of this to Lauren. His eyes were bright but in a drunk way, not in his usual twisted, cruel way that meant that Lauren was watching. So I decided to tease him a little.
“Yup. And Haley’s gonna get away, you know. She’s running for it right now.” It was bull, Haley would return here in a couple of minutes. I could only hope she’d have the sense to get out of here. He slammed me against the house to let out his frustration. I saw stars. But there was something important peeking through the stars. I cleared my head and saw Haley swing a fire extinguisher over Dominic’s head. He dropped me as he fell to the ground, unconscious. My leg exploded all over again and I felt myself start spinning away into nowhere.
“Nick, Nick. Look at me,” Haley’s voice commanded. So I did. The eyes that were normally full of fire or ice were now full of worry. I tried to stop flying away but it was hard to find anything to hold on to. Haley knew what I needed and took my hand. “Hold on, okay. Help’s coming. I told the neighbor’s to call the police before I ran to get the fire extinguisher.” Her voice was growing more and more desperate. And, I noticed, farther and farther away. But there were things I needed to say, I remembered that I wanted to tell Haley something but I didn’t know if she was close enough to hear me.
“Hales?” I couldn’t hear my own voice but apparently she could hear me.
“I’m right here Nick. I’m right here,” she said and I felt something soft stroke my cheek.
“Love you,” I said, feeling warm and sleepy. The soft strokes paused for a second, then resumed.
“I love you too Nick.” Her voice was shaking hard and she was gasping again.
“Lay down,” I told her. No need to be brave. Love you. Lay down. I couldn’t distinguish between what I was saying and what I was thinking any more. I just felt her hand on my cheek and her tears on my forehead. Haley sang me to sleep, and Beauty and the Beast was the last thing I heard.