The wind whispered in my ear as I rolled onto my back. Abruptly, I realized the last place I should be was where wind was trying to wake me.
I opened my eyes and slid back, shocked by my surroundings. I was in a field, next to a stream. A dead female body floated in the water, skin patchy from a beating. The girl’s hair was long and dark, flowing around her head, which was hidden by her locks. Shimmering beside the corpse was a cup, half full of some kind of dark, mysterious liquid.
I wanted to jump up and flee, running from this place of death, but my feet refused to move from this image of the floating horror in front of me. A noise caused my eyes to leap away from the scene, making sure the killer wasn’t near, planning to make me his next victim.
But it was only the wind, whispering a sorrowful message through the leaves, the trees humming a melancholy hymn for the death of this poor soul.
I closed my eyes, praying for her unfortunate passing. A memory raced through my mind: I was in school, Freemont Junior High, standing in my classroom, hand across my heart as I gazed at the American flag while singing the National Anthem, admiring my father with genuine
I suddenly remembered him: my father. Strong, tall, and brave, he was a Marine. He was on his way home, just before I woke in this strange place of death. My mother would light a candle and say a prayer for his safety every night he was gone. My older brother and I would join her in prayer, wishing our father protection and peace. We had never been to a war zone, but we knew it was something to fear.
A large hand, a jagged scar on the arm. I remembered something frightening. Had the man who murdered this poor girl also hurt me?
I surveyed my body. I was bruised. My long dark hair was full of knots and leaves, but I wasn’t severely injured. I must have been the lucky one. This other girl was the one who he chose to beat, drown, and kill.
Without getting too close to the corpse, I grabbed the cup and sniffed the contents. I recalled the smell. I had been terrified of the man, fighting back as he tried to hurt me. He had forced me to drink this concoction. I was instantly relaxed, too relaxed. I couldn’t fight anymore, couldn’t move; could only watch as he hurt me.
I closed my eyes, but the truth came to me as tears trickled out.
After he finished hurting me, he dragged me through the woods, so close to the small city where I lived, close to the cabin he had taken me after kidnapping me from school. I couldn’t move, couldn’t cry out for help; could only watch as he dragged me through dirt and foliage.
When he finally stopped, I had been so relieved. This ordeal was finally over. He would leave me in the forest, until I could move again. He would get away, and I would survive. But then he laid me in the stream, head in the water. He whispered, “You were my favorite.”
A new terror crept through me as I hesitantly moved to the corpse. Timidly, I brushed the hair from the corpse’s face and cried out as I recognized my own. I was dead. Some monster had abused and murdered me. I looked up, tears seeping from my eyes. What was happening to me? How was I still here? What was I? There was no light, no darkness to enter. I was stuck. Every book I read and movie I watched suggested I was still here for a purpose. I stood; I had to find the reason I was still here. The next chapter of my life, after death, had just begun.
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