I stared blankly at the crumpled pile on the floor, not really recognising that once it had been a girl. Her blonde hair splayed gently out behind her like a halo, soft curls framing her beautiful face. She looked so angelic, the sunlight lit fire to the golden locks, although some of it was now dank and matted with blood.
Her mouth hung slightly open, relaxed as though she was merely asleep. Her wide staring eyes told another story, and I knew that she was dead.
I had finally fulfilled my wildest dreams.
My gaze was dragged from her crumpled, broken body to the fireplace behind her. Made of solid old bricks, worn smooth by centuries of use. The mouldy carpet leading up to the hearth had been singed by embers flung from the leaping, dancing flames from some distant past.
I loved that fire place like I loved no other part of this house. The rest was silent and cold, filled with malice. Silent ever-watching malice.
I liked to think of my old self as being like that fireplace; ornate, beautiful, strong and resilient against the decay and destruction of time.
My eyes moved to rest on the ornate mantle piece; unblemished, carved mahogany.
The post card still rested against the tarnished mirror on the mantle. The only reminder of my past. The image on the front showed a beautiful open field, protected from the world by a huge stone wall, broken only by an ornate iron gate. A small path meandered through the field of waist high grass and wild flowers, towards purple-hued mountains.
I dragged myself from my place on the floor beside the girl and drifted across the room. I picked up the card and turned it over in my hands.
There were just two words scrawled across the back. "Remember this?". Such a simple question from one I knew so long ago.
"Of course I remember, how could I forget?" I whispered out loud, wondering if he would hear me, and if it would satisfy him to know that I still though of him every day.
He held my hand so firmly as we wandered together. The gate lay open before us, with a path stretching into the distance.
"I love it here," he told me quietly. "The endless open planes and the road that stretches forever, I feel like this is my life laid out before my very eyes."
My spirit soared with the beauty of the place. He was right, he always was.
Trees lining the road were like friends. Guiding us down the road together, ensuring we did not stray from our path.
I jumped with surprise as the gate swung shut behind us. I was alarmed momentarily at the thought of only having one direction to go, not being able to turn back. But his persistent hands led on, they always did. He was the leader, and I would always follow.
The mountains loomed ahead of us. Great hulking masses blocking out the northern sky, darkened by the clouds that had rolled in from the west.
My heart filled with foreboding as the thunder tore through the heavens.
Unshaken, he pulled me on.
The trees grew taller, interlocking above the track. They blocked out the sky and made my world darker still.
"The place feels so familiar, but so unwelcoming," I whispered, trying to find reason for my growing dread.
The path rose and feel gently over the foothills beneath the mountains. It was then that I noticed the silence. Jay had not spoken to me in hours. Silence has shrouded our meandering journey into this place.
Roughly he pulled me to face him. His eyes shone like diamonds. Ice blue and yet fire hot. Passion burned within his heart. Contorting his face with animal lust. I had seen this face before, not in memory, but in my dreams. This road too, it was all the same. Terror gripped my heart and took hold of my body. I knew his intentions. He had always wanted more from me, but respected that I was not ready. Now that had changed, his gracious acceptance had merely covered his bitter resentment, and now he would take what he thought was his. I knew he would. He had done so in my dream, and left me beaten and broken at the end of the road.
I nearly jumped from my skin the the thunder roared in anger. But as it rose its voice again, I roared with it. The blows rained from my fists, my legs and my knees. All working to find some vulnerable place on his body. He fell to the ground, shocked by my resistance. He kicked out at my feet and I fell backwards into the soft decaying leaf litter. He advanced towards me, towering as high as the mountains, a cold laugh barely audible above the storm raging on above us. I lay there, searching knowing he would be upon my in a second.
My hand found solidity, a rock buried in the leaves. I lunged at him, hurling the rock at him with all my might, all my will to live. A sickening crack was my just reward.
He fell back twitching and then just lay there, staring, broken. His sky blue eyes were glazed and overcast. I knew he was gone. In terror I ran from that place, onwards down the road, deeper into the mountain. I knew I could not go back, the gate was shut, my past was lost.
Those ice blue eyes haunted me as I ran, and as the rain began to fall, so did I. Exhaustion took over. My legs were aching, and my breathing was ragged and sharp, but my eyes were dry. That man, that monster, would never get my tears.
I barely noticed the pain, but I noticed the blood. The place I had fallen was littered with scraps of metal, one piece sharp enough to have cut into my hand. The sight awoke me to the pain, to the cold of the rain seeping through my skin and into the deepest parts of my soul.
Needing to find shelter, I got up and blindly I began to walk through the rain, blood still dripping from my fingers.
That day changed my life, it brought me here to this old decrepit house where I had lived since, twisted and broken, just like Jay. I had lived in this house for 7 years since that day. Seven years, alone.
I did not hate myself for what I did, nor did I regret it. But it had left me as a hollow and empty shell of the girl that I used to be. The cold that had leaked into my heart on that fateful day had never left me. It was now my only companion as I passed my time in this desolate house, walking in silence from room to room, waiting for death to find me.
It had been a few days ago that the post card had appeared on the mantle. At first I couldn't believe it. How could he still be alive? Had I not seen his blood stain the ground and his eyes staring without sight?
I knew that he was dead, but since the day the postcard arrived, I had felt eyes upon me.
Coming back to myself, shivering against the mantle piece with only a dead girl for company, I release Jay from my memory and the card from my fingers. As I dropped the card I watched it's slow flutter to the air. As it fell it started to fade and before it could reach the ground it dissolved into nothing.
Looking in up in horror, I didn't really know what to expect. But I was greeted only by the same old house, the same beautiful girl still laying broken on the floor.
Kneeling down beside her I saw thick silver scars encircled her slim arms in the soft blue moonlight. Welts and ridges of pain, criss crossing her skin in the dance of purest sorrow, so similar to mine. I looked deep into her eyes for the first time and wept at the sight.
My own eyes looked back at me.
Understanding burnt the tears down my cheeks. That was me laying broken on the floor, my physical self at least. I had finally done what I had wanted to do for so long. The cold had overtaken me at last.
The gates opened silently before me, the path stretching on forever, and lines of trees guiding me on to the end. My end. The one I had waited so long for.
At last I would be free....