The darkened sky descended early upon the misty autumn trees. Icy pellets held fast to the shrinking maple leaves. Avery Livingston glanced about the deserted array of sweeping trees speckling the thick, overgrown forest. With a damp chill in the frosty air, the calls of the summer birds had long been forgotten among the rolling hills.
Where was she? How did she get to this strange and desolate place? It had to be a mistake! Frozen in time—in this forsaken place. Silence easing its way in until it finally reached her deceptive ears.
She was alone. All alone. Far away from the world she once knew—warm, friendly, filled with love and happiness. But now it was all gone—gone to the point of no return. Could this possibly be the end?
Avery’s memory swam in circles. Heaviness weighed on her mind. What had happened? She closed her blurry eyes. Her labored breathing had slowed. Almost to a halt. A single tear made its way down, past the sticky blood clinging to the enormous gash on her upper lip. Blending images swirled together, trying to connect like pieces of a horrific puzzle. And then all of a sudden, it came flooding back. The car—the flat—the ride. Getting into his truck was the wrong thing to do. His devious façade was impenetrable. It was just a quick ride down the road. But instead, she’d invited evil–lurking in the darkened corners of his mind, waiting, preying on the innocent.
Avery whimpered. There was no justification for her devastating choices. Painful emptiness crept inside her. Within her mind, she frantically struggled with the acceptance of an irreversible destiny.
He had left her to die—a lonely, painful death. Discarded like a bag of trash. And then he moved on, his wretched, depraved soul loathing any chance of remorse, yet gladly sanctioning his heinous, sadistic deed.
Suddenly, the wintry clouds began to dissipate. Thunder reverberated somewhere in the near distance. Shards of twinkling stars peeked through, as if her guardian angel reached down to soothe her grieving spirit.
Avery shivered. Her shallow, warm breath touched the frigid night air. By now, she could barely feel her aching, ravaged body. She could not move. The long-twisted rope cut and burned into her raw, delicate skin. A torn, flimsy shirt and blue faded jeans held no warmth, only dankness and filth, as they clung uselessly to her unrecognizable battered and bloodstained body. It was no use. No one would hear her cries for help.
A silent prayer of forgiveness escaped from her thin, trembling lips. Avery wept as a gentle whisper unburdened her troubled soul. She knew she never would leave this place—this desolate place. She conceded to the inevitable—an unfathomable realm. Avery ultimately let go. Let go of all her fears—of all she once knew—and all she would never know. Surrendering her entire being to the peace and tranquility calling to her from the heavens above, which had been promised so long ago.
Alice Baburek is an avid reader, determined writer and animal lover. She lives with her partner and four canine companions in northeast Ohio. Retired from one of the largest library systems in Ohio, she challenges herself to become an unforgettable emerging voice.