on grace

it was dark and she was running.
she had no notion of how long or how far. her clothes were torn and her face was bloody. the net of thorns and twigs was in no hurry to release her and yet she did not slack her pace. she had been running at a flat sprint for as long as she could remember. Her feet pounded the earth, keeping time with the gunshot beats of her heart. each breath burned like sulfur. her mind had long since lost any thought but one—escape. if she had a destination, it was forgotten. the entirety of her existence was wrapped around this animalistic need to flee. the ground was uneven and rocky. every fiber of her small frame was strained far beyond its limit. yet this drive, beyond reason, moved her muscles and bones as though shot with electricity.
a long distance behind her, and a little to her left she heard a nearly imperceptible sound. barely the snap of a twig. the rattle of her desperate agonizing breaths and the thuds of her feet should have rendered it utterly insignificant, but instantly and almost supernaturally her speed nearly doubled. By all logic she should have collapsed hours ago, yet this new speed coursed through her legs as though hell itself breathed down her neck. She dared a split-second glance over her left shoulder with wide, wild eyes. nothing but silent ancient trees and darkness. Still, with a small cry, she pressed closed her eyes against an unseen terror and flung herself onward into the night.
why are you running?
she was never certain if she had heard with her ears or with her soul. as much as she would have liked the strength of her voice behind her answer, too much of her mouth was devoted to satisfying the insatiable demands for oxygen her incredible pace demanded.
away. was all she thought. away from you.
do you really think you can escape?
a half sob half shriek escaped from her gut and she plunged on. the sound she had heard was unmistakable now. another step, even and steady, compared to her erratic, desperate strides tracked her. each footfall, though still distant, was filled with power and purpose.
He was coming for her.
she was weeping now. each sob breaking from her like waves against a rocky shore in a tempest. her arms stretched out before hear, clawing the night as if to pull her farther and faster.
where will you go?
her weeping grew louder, rising to wailing groans. her foot caught and she stumbled. miraculously she did not fall, but her momentum threw her off balance. with each step she struggled to keep her feet beneath the rest of her without slowing the slightest. she could not tell if the pounding in her ears were the steps behind her or the fists of her own heart against her ribs.
an enormous hulking shape sprang from the darkness and collided with her body. her feet were yanked yards above the ground and for an instant, her exhaustion-dazed mind considered surrendering to the stars closing in at the corners of her vision. they landed! with a bone crushing thud, they embraced the earth. somehow her attacker had twisted himself mid-air, causing him to land beneath her. upon impact, she began kicking, clawing and biting her way out of his grasp. she was screaming every known curse without realizing it. she broke free for a second, twisting her ankle out of his steel grasp. she was off running! in another second he had tackled her to the ground again.
why are you fighting me?
“because i hate you! i hate you!” she screamed, clawing his face looking for his eyes. “i don’t belong to you anymore!”
that isn’t up to you.
you will always belong to me.
whether you behave like it or not.

she broke free. “ha! but you never would’ve—ooghf!” she was leveled as his lightening grasp found her ankle and yanked her feet from beneath her. she lay choking for a moment until her wind found her. she began writhing in his embrace, flailing her fists. “you never would have wanted me if you’d known!” her right hook found his nose.
i did know.
“no you didn’t! i lied to you! i lied to you about everything!” she kicked him in the shins and very nearly escaped, but an arm the width of her whole body caught her around the waist and toppled her.
i know.
i knew.
i knew all along.
i knew that you lied and i knew the truth.

“then why didn’t you tell me if you knew?” she heard a soft groan as she landed a knee in his gut.
i wanted you to tell me.
she faltered for an instant in her battle, “then WHY did you come after me!” the question hung like the full moon in the silence for a moment. she took advantage of the pause and sank her teeth into the hand wrapped around her wrist.
because you belong to me.
“NO I DON’T!” she tasted blood.
that is a lie. you belong to me.
you belong to me.
and i love you.

her resolve broke like a violin string. she lay in the mud heaving with sobs and exhaustion. she could not even to raise her head. he gathered her into his arms and held her next to his heart for a moment, stroking her ragged hair away from her dirty face. he tried helping her to her feet but her legs were like water. he lifted her like a child in his arms and turned toward home. old wounds in each of his hands had reopened in the struggle. Blood poured, covering her, but she had fallen asleep, and did not notice.


~ by ifindthisamusing on January 17, 2008.

One Response to “on grace”

  1. I’m sitting in Starbucks reading this and I’m crying. Beautiful, Kathryn.

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