Heather lost her innocence at the ripe age of ten. What happened on that day set sail for a whole slew of rather interesting events, thus leading to her final walk through the forest.
And it's still in progress!
Midnight walks through the forest were always something Heather partook in to get the day’s happenings off her mind. The cool air whipped at her cheeks and jostled the loose leaves from the branches on the trees around her. The night was silent, moon full and illuminating everything in her wake. There was no sound save for the crunching of branches under her feet, and something dragging behind her.
A light wind blew again, shifting the shadows and weaving around her as if she were nothing. Heather paused her lumbering steps to heave a breath, slouching to stretch and then stand straight again. She cast her glance up to the sky and felt a smile pull at her lips. She loved nights like this. She felt so relaxed.
Even the fact that she was pulling a dead body behind her was irrelevant in this moment.
It hadn't always been this way, she recalled. She had her mother to thank for that. The woman had been a brute to say the least, hair always disheveled and the stench of death lingered from the morning’s slaughter on the farm.
Heather had just had her tenth birthday no more than a day prior, and her mother decided it was time to make use of the young girl. But she hated to see her friends killed so easily. Heather kicked and screamed, the vice like grip locked on her small arm the only force able to move her from the house to their destination.
She was dragged to the chicken coop and tossed inside, her mother’s massive body hovering in the entrance, blocking it. “Pick. Now.” Her words were sharp.
Heather was in tears, head shaking vehemently. “I can't, mama. I can't!” She sobbed, hands curled up at her mouth.
The woman rolled her eyes and strode over, plucking up the first foul she could get her hand around. It fluttered and squawked as she shifted to hold it up side down, then turned on her heel. “Come.” She commanded.
And Heather couldn't disobey. Her blood ran cold and her feet suddenly felt as if they weighed ten pounds. She followed her mother to the stump off to the side of the house, the machete used to decapitate the chickens stuck firmly in the wood. In no more than a second her mother had the bird pinned to the stump, and her small body was nearly crushed between the woman and the remains of the tree. One of her hands was forced to hold the chicken, a bigger hand covering it to ensure it stayed in place, and her other hand was wrapped around the handle of the blade.
The rest was a blur, the tool coming down on the chicken; the frenzy of the now headless body and the shock from the girl too much to keep it down any longer, sending a spray of blood all over Heather’s face as it flew back. A scream caught in her throat as she thrashed to get away from her mother.
She darted back in to the house, shoulders hiked up to her ears and her arms stuck out stiffly. She couldn't think, her mind a wicked storm of of thoughts and feelings. She quickened her pace, turned a corner too fast, and tripped face first on to the hard wood floor. She didn't make a sound, didn't flinch, the storm coming to a halt. Heather noticed one thing and one thing only: since the second she entered the house, she had been smiling. She screamed.
Looking back on it, she gave a dry chuckle and rubbed her forehead, pushing silky locks out of her face. She sat on her haunches, facing her latest victim.
It had been four years since the chicken incident and Heather no longer felt the need to protect the animals on the farm. Rather, she enjoyed the thrill, the feel of her knife, the sharpest she could find, piercing through the skin of whatever animal fell victim to her that day. It hadn't taken long for her to get bored, however.
The neighbor’s herd dog had had a litter of puppies, and gifted the girl one. She was utterly delighted, though, it hadn't lasted long.
It was only a few months before she rushed in to the house on a cool winter morning, tears streaming down her face and curly brown hair sticking to the damp spots. “Mama, I can't find Rocco! B-but there's blood in the barn!” She gripped her mothers arm to get her attention. She hadn't found it hard to fake emotions, sadness and panic especially.
Her mother had set down the dish she had been cleaning. “He would've barked and made a ruckus if he were in trouble, you know that.” She tossed a glance at the teen. “Plus, he's a tough boy, he'll come home soon enough.”
He wouldn't, Heather grinned internally. She had torn him up in the woods. Wolves, they would all think, and surely not by her own hand.
Her hand dipped down, finger running along the jaw of the beautiful boy. She didn't have a type, she knew; romance was out of the question for her all together. But if she had been forced to, he would be it.
Perfectly toned body, blue eyes much like hers to die for, and a smile that would make a girl melt on the inside. She shuddered. Too bad he was going to be forgotten, just like the others.
Eighteen couldn't pass her soon enough. Heather sat on the couch, agitated with her mother for the umpteenth time that day. The woman sat in her rocking chair, still very much the rock that the girl had grown up with, save for the graying hair and aging face.
One stitch, two stitch, fancy tie around, third stitch…
The process continued, and Heather burst. “Why can't I go out?” Her nails bit in to the arm of the plush sofa.
“Because I said so, and that's final.” Her mother’s words were strong as ever, eyes never lifting from her knitting needles. There was a pause, and then she began to hum.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…
A muscle in her jaw ticked as she watched, and then forced herself up, slinking around the back of the woman’s chair.
You make me happy, when skies are gray…
She dug through a drawer in the china cabinet that held several miscellaneous items, one of which was a spool of thin wire. Relentlessly girlish features hardened as she retrieved it, unwinding a portion.
You'll never know dear, how much I love you…
In an instant Heather had the wire wrapped tightly around her hands, sleeves pulled over her hands to protect her flesh, and then around her mother’s throat, the back of the chair constructed in such a way that it didn't obstruct her from pulling tighter, tighter as her mother struggled. It did, however, keep her protected from batting hands. Hands that threatened to make her sorry if they found their way to her. Heather squeezed her eyes shut, taking deep breaths as she used all of her strength to bring the behemoth down. Within a few minutes, her mother stilled. She kept the cord held tight, then let it slacken.
“Please don't take...my sunshine…away…” She finished, breathless.
She tossed the wire aside, casually strolling over to the landline, and ringing up that Zachary kid who had insisted on taking her on a date. Her mother's body would have to wait to be disposed, but once it was done, it'd never be found. He picked up on the first ring. “Yeah, she said yes. I'll be ready in half an hour.”
Zachary. She smirked fondly. He was a kind guy; tall, lanky…brown hair swept to the side and glasses that had been too big for his face. He had this laugh that was contagious. He was the best thing that had happened to her, and at the time, he knew it, too.
He kissed chastely at the corner of her mouth as he held her close. The two had been cuddling on the couch in her living room, the house hers now, and Poison playing in the background. She gasped. “Babe. Babe.” She got up excitedly as Every Rose Has Its Thorn came to life on the record player. “Dance with me.” She demanded, a smile fitted snugly on her face.
Of all the things Heather had managed to fake, her feelings for Zach were not on that list.
He chuckled, and it sent butterflies through the pit of her belly. He stood and pulled the girl, shorter, at the time, close. They swayed and rocked along to the music, Heather resting her head on Zach’s shoulder, eyes shut, drunk on the scent of him and the feeling of having him so close. “I love you…” She mumbled in to the skin of his neck.
She tensed. He tensed.
“You…do?” Zachary stopped their movements. Brown eyes searched her blue ones, looking for any trace of…well…anything but the truth.
She mustered a nod. She meant it. It scared her. Genuinely feeling something was not in her repertoire. But she meant it. She could feel it in her bones. “I…do. I love you.”
He looked as if he might break, his lip caught between his teeth, “I love you too.” And then kissed her full on.
They hadn't done much than make out, rejoicing at the admission. But he had to leave before it got too late. He left her with a single kiss, letting it linger, and smiled as he pulled away. “I'll see you tomorrow.” He chided as he stepped off the porch.
“Will do, honeydew.” She blew him a kiss and he caught it as he got in to his car.
Her smirk faded. He hadn't made it home that night, a car accident had taken his life that night. An idiot driver had rushed an intersection and t-boned the drivers side, killing him instantly. The only person to ever make her want to be anything, was ripped away.
She bit her lip, pulling her hands up in to the sleeves of her sweater. “Ya know, you could have just rejected me…I almost regret this.” She spat.
Heather rested her chin on her palm, blue eyes raking over the fresh bruises around the man’s neck. He had been sweet, but too dumb. He fell right in to her trap. She stood and groaned to herself. It'd be about ten more minutes until she'd reach the spot.
The time eased slowly, but she came to the clearing. Lily carcasses littered the open area, marking each and every grave she had garnished with a body over the course of the last year...