The girl stands in the void, or I suppose she’s floating as the top is indistinguishable from the bottom. Her long dark hair falls down the back of her pretty white dress and covers her right eye and shoulder. Her expression is blank yet her eyes seem fixed on me. It goes on like this for some time, my fear and anxiety steadily growing as the girl and I stare at each other in the dark abyss. Then her lips part and sound escapes. I can hear the sound of a sweet young voice speaking words, linking vowels and consonants to spell my impending doom.
“He wants you dead”
I awake with tears in my eyes. The dream was vivid and surreal; frightening me to the core. I’m soon enveloped by Sla’ine’s arms as he inquires what the matter is. I tell him of the terrifying young girl and her cryptic message. “It’s only a dream” he reassures me. I’m thankful for my friends company. Dreams, even nightmares, surely cannot be real. Dreams are a mixture of the subconscious and the supernatural but harmless nevertheless or so I thought.
I bury my head protectively in Slai’ne’s chest waiting for the sun to rise, his arms wrapped tightly around me. Images of the girl flash before me whenever I dare to close my eyes. The sun lights up the sky and I can no longer feign sleep. I greet the sun with a morning run, an attempt to push the frightening little girl from my mind. Her images are gone but the feelings of contempt are still palpable. When I return Slai’ne’s fast asleep in my bed. The door makes a slow creeeeak as I carefully close it. He doesn’t stir.
In the shower the more I think the more distressed I become. I deserve to die and He knows it. When I had first woken from the dream I was unsure as to whom He was, but now there’s no doubt in my mind of His identity.
Pushing the thought from my mind I towel off. The sun has been up for some time, I won’t mind waking Slai’ne as I get ready. On the way to the closet, the pulsing light of my cell phone distracts me. A text message from an unknown number awaits me. I open the message and read it, only to be met with a most terrifying shock.
-He wants you dead-
With shaking hands I pull a black dress over my head. Sitting on the edge of the bed I give in to the crippling fear. It is inevitable, I am going to die. How had I ignored His fiery eyes that followed me everywhere for so long? I know I’m unworthy of life; I had committed such heinous crimes. The sound of my panicked breathing wakes Slai’ne who groggily attempts to comfort me. The ache in my chest expands and I imagine this is what a heart attack feels like. As the pain grows I fear this is where I’ll meet my end. When Slai’ne asks what the matter is I thrust the phone into his hands, the screen still showing the cryptic message. “Who sent this?” he demands.
Slai’ne’s full attention is now on the phone and I escape to the kitchen. The feeling I experience is unexplainable. Driven by such utter madness I throw open a drawer and procure a simple bic lighter from within. Igniting the flame I hold the device to my arm. First there is a tingling sensation and then the smoldering of skin against the flame. For a second those knowing eyes of His disappear. The intense pain is the only way to forget my guilt. Until the cry of “NATALIE” brings Him back.
I find myself sitting in the emergency room; my gaping wound of seared flesh has been swabbed with ointments, prepared for its bandage. His eyes are burning hot against the back of my neck as my heart rate continues at an unhealthy rate. My scalp is prickling, begging for the hair to be ripped out of it. “I thought we were done with this Natalie?” Slai’ne says for only me to hear, his voice quiet yet irritated.
They want to keep me locked up in the hospital. They say it’s to keep me safe. The hospitals protection can’t keep me from my destiny; His eyes follow me even here and burn deeper into my skin. Slai’ne promises he’ll keep me safe. I’m released with my salved and bandaged arm. My friend Lucy’s recruited to help keep an eye on me.
“Oh, darling!” She cries when she sees my fresh bandage giving me a hug. These two guardians are the closest thing to a family I have. I don’t want to leave them but I have no choice. My life must end. Their furrowed brows look over me as I remember the heinous adulterous act that has gained me this fate. Surely that must be the catalyst for these horrific events; it is the single most wicked thing I have ever done in my life.
When Slai’ne leaves I can’t refrain from the maddening urges any longer. In a matter of an hour I escape from Lucy’s well intended care. I lose myself, letting the morbid madness take over. I don’t run but walk fast and determined into the dead brush covered hills. I’m unaware of where I’m going but I know I’m headed towards my end.
My phone beeps and pulses, I can see the light blinking through my pocket. I dare not answer it for fear of whatever hellish message awaits me. The sky grows dark and the brush clears before me. My rapid heartbeat begins to slow. Incongruously the panic lessens yet His eyes burn hotter through my back and into my stomach. I have arrived. There is a comfort in accepting what I must do, in my death.
This time when I see her I experience a wave of recognition. The dark hair the white tea party dress, this messenger of doom, is an image of my ten year old self. A child born out of wedlock and never intended to live. Despite her appearance the girl is in essence a reincarnation of Him. The heat emanating from His glowing eyes staring out from her pretty head.
The lunacy returns as I hear Slai’ne and Lucy’s voices approaching. The brush crunching under their feet bringing the pounding beats of my heart. I feel Slai’ne’s hand against my shoulder effecting the girl to disappear. The throbbing in my chest and head swell unbearably then, causing me to tremble violently. Sla’ine and Lucy call to me but I don’t hear them; too engrossed in my feelings of guilt and fear.
My friends know of my sins yet they can’t understand their magnitude. They don’t understand why I have to die. A torrent of tears floods my vision. Again everything is dark. She stands before me in the abyss, reminding me of my fate. I have no choice, He wants me dead. I reach out into the obscurity and grasp for her hand. I hear Lucy scream in the distance.
In that moment I realize my mistake. I beg for them to save me. I beg for forgiveness, another method of atonement. My transgressions I realize are no worse than anyone else’s. I have never laid blame to the other involved in my sin. I have not condemned them to this same fate.
For a fleeting instant I think perhaps I have been pardoned. The choice to live or die is mine alone. I want to live. The revelation brings a sense of peace. The gloom receding I feel the comforting presence of my friends. They had not abandoned me when all others had.
Shadows envelope me. The revelation came too late. My doom determined by self loathing. A decision made with the limited foresight guilt provides.
An inferno erupts around me. I feel the effect of the flames yet my skin isn’t blistered. The ground splits beneath me. A view of the abysmal pit emerges. Suspended in the void the opened earth releases my end.