The frozen December chill brushed against my face as I ran helplessly through the pitch-black starless night. Breathless. I ran until my lungs screamed to be rescued by the kiss of oxygen. I ran until my legs were numb and lagging pounds of lead. I ran until my heart thumped straight into my head. I ran until the whole world around me ceased to exist. I existed in the nothingness of the night. I focused only on the breathing of my lungs, the pumping of my heart, and the shooting pain that consumed my body. Breathing, pumping, pain. Breathing, pumping, pain.
Breathing. Pumping. Pain.
When the fuzzy darkness of exhaustion began to absorb my vision, I stumbled upon a fairly new Seven-Eleven gas station. The luminous red, green, and white neon sign stood as a single beacon of hope, a beacon of safety, for I had been running from a monster; a two-headed demon that stole my sanity.
I burst into the fully stocked store.
Clock, I need a clock. My eyes dashed around the room, in search of the relic of time.
10:42. 10:42. 10:42. Pain. I need fixers. Fixers. Fixers? What are they called? Bandages. The thoughts raced like spirals in my head, much like a merry-go-round. They pieced together like a rigid jigsaw puzzle, only clear to my own mind. My legs carried me to the inefficiently supplied aisle for medical artifacts.
Pain. Pain. Pain. My hand scavenged over my trembling body, in search of the source of the red stain seeping through my clothes. My breath staggered as my fingers stumbled upon the gash. A stinging pain consumed me, the feeling of raw skin that came into contact with the textured shirt.
I need those bandages. Bandages heal. They protect. I need protection. My shaky hands danced over the neatly arranged boxes of bandages laid out in front of me. In the blink of an eye, my hands carried a couple of single gauzes to the front of the store.
I'm running out of time. Time. I need more time. Time. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. I tossed all the packages of gauze onto the register counter, along with a box of cheap bandages meant for children. The cashier had a concerned frown upon his face, but my frantic anxiety left me oblivious to what others could think of me. All I cared about was to get away from… Him.
Him. He who stole my sanity. He who rose up from the dirt and mud. He who was created from nothing and somehow procured all the power. He who has had control over me for so many years now. He whose words are a piercing lance, poking and prodding and destroying what little left I had of myself.
But what I had left of myself is all gone now. All gone.
Slipping in and out of consciousness, I was able to ask where the restroom was. Countless emotions swirled throughout my body. Out of desperation, I shoved open the door of the one-person women's bathroom and slammed it shut behind me. I locked it, mostly as a form of security and protection from the evils lurking outside. I glanced in the mirror.
Dehydrated chapped lips, puffy red eyes, green and black bruising and scratching that lined the hollows of my cheeks. I… was broken.
I lifted up my shirt and gashes of exposed skin and tissue bled out. I fumbled for the gauzes I had purchased, trying to salvage the whole entire bruised side of my body.
Then I heard the familiar faint jingle of the bells on the door.
My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. I froze. Eyes wide, I waited and listened. After a few seconds, I heard the kind voice that He would use to hide the monster behind the mask; the façade He always wore. He pleasantly asked the store clerk, "Have you seen a girl?" But I could hear the plan that He hid behind that soft, charming voice.
The quiet noise of his shiny black dress shoes tapping against the beat-up tile came closer and closer. Then one familiar sound echoed in my ears; a sound I've heard countless times before. Through the door, I heard the fatal click of the metal clip being loaded into his concealed weapon of choice.
I stood there, silent. No words could formulate in my mind. Seconds after, there was a hollow pounding on the door, just like the pounding in my head. I could not breathe. Everything stopped. I stood there, silent, as I had my whole life; never saying a word, always taking the abuse and brunt of it all. I stood there, silent, just like my weeping had always been in the dead of night. I stood there, silent, as my whole body trembled and shivered in horror. I stood there, silent, waiting for a glimpse of hope, but it never came.
I stood there.