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Monsters Inside Me: A Dangerous Beauty (pt 2)
I open my eyes and blink groggily. The damp ground seeps into my clothes, making them stick to my skin and chilling me to the bone. I sit up and look around. Pitch blackness surrounds me. Dark is truly the absence of light, I think. The moon and the stars are hidden behind layers of black velvet sky. There are no feeble airplane lights masquerading as stars. Just darkness.
A loud, lonely wolf howls far off in the distance, followed by the rustling of the trees behind me. I stand up quietly, fumbling around in the darkness. My mind is foggy, I shake my head and try to focus. Walking to school. The woods. The cop. Fragments of my memories are piecing themselves together.
I remember what he told me, his hands shaking while he gauged my possible reaction. He couldn’t have been right, I think. But he was. I know he was. I feel it deep within my consciousness, gripping onto the edges of my mind. I try to gather my thoughts, and I swear I hear something whispering in the back of my mind. I know I’m not crazy. If I know it’s there then I can’t be crazy.
How long has this been going on, I wonder? I stumble forwards, searching for something to guide me in the darkness. The darkness presses down on me, suffocating me, and rendering me blind. I stumble over something and fall, landing on something soft.
I realize with horror that I landed on top of a body. I scramble away, pushing myself off of the cold, stiff body. Body? Is this person alive? My hands shake violently as I search for a pulse. Nothing. Instead, hands smudge with blood. It isn’t fresh, either. The officer. No, it can’t be…
I vomit and rest my head in my hands. My head is spinning and pulsing. Think, think, think! I force myself to take deep breaths. I reach for the body again, Officer Turner’s body, and search him for some type of utility belt. Bingo. I tug a heavy flashlight and a nightstick out of his belt. I don’t touch the gun. I don’t even want to imagine what I could do with one.
I wait until I’ve climbed over his body and I have my back to him to turn on the flashlight. The thick, yellow beam scatters the darkness. I begin to run, my legs pumping steadily, the flashlight beam bouncing up and down in the darkness.
One thought utterly paralyzes me. There must be other police officers looking for me. I switch the flashlight off and scramble up a nearby tree.
The early morning hours are grey and solemn. The morning air is thin and cold. I lower myself quietly from the tree.
I cautiously make my way through the trees, and I spot two deer eating dewy grass in a small clearing. They bolt away when I snap a branch.
The sound of a rushing water leads me to a beautiful waterfall. Water cascades over the rocks, spraying cold mist everywhere. Slabs of rock jut out from the churning waters. A dangerous beauty.
“Don’t move, or I will shoot you.” A voice growls behind me. “I know who you are, Leah.”