chapter four: stranger
skyla; by xkatieshepherd
It was a full two weeks before I saw him again.
The night that he had first entered my life is one of the sharpest memories I have of him. First impressions to me were incredibly important and he'd made such a lasting impact I found myself slowly becoming obsessed. It started off small, just a few casual thoughts about him but this intensified over time. I would lay awake each night staring at my ceiling, wondering, praying that I would see him again. I was sure he was staying away to feed my obsession; to tease me.
Just when I thought I was going insane, he turned up.
I remember arguing with my father, yet again. It was about his drinking, as was most of our arguments.
'Mind your own business,' he slurred, sloshing his glass of whisky in an exasperated manner.
'I'm just looking out for you,' I protested. 'I'm all you have and you're all I have. We have to take care of one another...'
'It's your fault,' he sneered, his face reddening. 'Your fault!'
'No it's not,' I disagreed quietly. I could see where he was heading; he'd said it many times before. I should have been used to it, but the words still cut like daggers through my heart as he spoke them.
'Your fault your mother's dead. Murderer.'
I fought the tears back, swallowing the lump rising in my throat. My mother had died giving birth to me, a terrible loss. But my father liked to remind me of this. He always implied it was my fault. In a way, I suppose it was...
'I'm getting another drink,' he mumbled, stumbling past me back into his room where he slammed the door.
I followed his departure with blurred eyes, wishing in that split moment that he was dead. Of course I never meant it, the guilt would tear me to pieces and I'd scold myself for thinking such violent thoughts.
I headed off to my room, miserable and weary. All I wanted to do was curl into a ball and let the tears fall. Let them fall on endlessly. I didn't care anymore; nothing mattered. Why couldn't it all just be over already? Why was I having to endure the same living nightmare each day?
It wasn't worth it.
Something clicked inside me. It wasn't worth it. What was I still doing here? Why hadn't I taken action?
You could, a small part of me whispered. You could take action. Do it now. It'll all be over.
The lake looked completely black in the night; the moon was obscured by the thick clouds that had rolled in. The chill of winter caused me to shiver in just my thin cotton dress, but I didn't truly feel. I'd feel nothing soon.
'What are you doing?'
The voice behind me caused me to whirl round in surprise, my hand flying to my chest.
It was him.
After two full weeks, he had re-appeared. The delight that coursed through me was staggering, overwhelming. My heartbeat quickened and my breath caught. He seemed amused by my reaction. His eyes became mocking as he crossed his arms.
'Don't look so surprised.'
'What are you doing here?' I squeaked.
'Taking a midnight stroll,' he replied dryly. 'What about you?'
'Taking a midnight swim,' I challenged his tone.
He laughed slightly, a deliciously appealing sound that I committed to memory.
'It's a bit cold for that...'
'I don't care,' I frowned, turning round again to face the placid surface. My barefoot submerged halfway beneath the icy water. The coldness bit at my skin, spread through my body and I trembled again.
'Skyla,' Harry spoke.
My heart flipped as he said my name.
'Don't...' He whispered.
'Why,' I breathed, not caring how he knew what I was about to do.
A hand touched my shoulder lightly. I turned around to find him inches away from me.
'It's not the right thing to do,' he looked at me, one hundred percent earnest, one hundred percent mesmerizing.
'Who are you?'
'Harry,' he replied, nonchalantly.
'No, really. Why do you care so much what happens to me? I have no idea who you are.'
It was true. I may have been slightly obsessed with this wonderful stranger, but I didn't know a thing about him, bar his name. I wanted to though.. Oh how I longed to get to know him, to figure out how his mind worked, how he saw things.
The corners of his mouth tilted upwards into an alluring smile, one that had a slight edge to it. He lowered his head slowly, his lips pulled back over his teeth.
I stayed rooted to the spot.
He kissed my neck softly. My heart seemed to go into override at his touch. I blushed furiously at my reaction and he laughed against my throat. His breath was cool and I fought another shiver.
'Do you want to escape?' he murmured, trailing his hand up my arm, back down again.
I nodded, completely caught up.
'Are you sure?'
'Yes,' I whispered. 'I do.'
'Very well. This'll only hurt for a second.'
What happened next is not one of my strongest memories. It all seems like a bit of a blur, a hazy, painful blur. I remembered the red hot feeling as he sunk his teeth into my flesh, the searing pain that started to rise and the panic that seemed ready to take over. Then all at once, the pain stopped.
The next thing I remembered was his face, looking at me with something mixed between anguish and grief. I had never seen him look this way, it was baffling.
And then darkness.