Moving through the tall thick grass, the world beat down upon him like the blistering sun and all that was good and light fell apart like melting wax. It had been days since he had spoken to her. His mind flexed with the thought of her cold and icy stare; her cheekbones pale and skeletal to the touch like a hand reaching out from the grave. The loneliness had driven him down to his gun close to his chest and repeatedly saying her name to the wind as if she might hear him and crawl back along the floorboards desperate to see him once again. She had been different. Not like the others. When her time came to scream, she only smiled at him as if she was saying "do what you have to do and I'll forgive you." Looking in her eyes, he knew that she accepted him just as he was-not like the others with their begging and pleading with that small glint of hope still left in their eyes for him to leave them alone and set them free. Her eyes had gone black. He kept her alive for a long time. Taking special care to feed her everyday and to give her fresh water from the stream, he hoped to gain her trust. She would be the first person-the only person-to trust him. One day, he split her lip with a backwards slap. Blood slid down her chin and he could see folds of red slipping into and out of her mouth like Kool Aid. She swallowed it down and turned to him calm and relaxed. It was right then that he knew that he loved her. She was different than the others. Yes, ten years ago he wouldn't have seen the nuances of her personality shine. He wouldn't have even wanted to understand her. Just another girl. Dead in a few years. Kill and dump. Somewhere they won't see. But, he wasn't that man anymore. She was more than an object. She was Elizabeth James, who taught Sunday school but never had any children. Who used to go on bicycle rides everyday and pick up flowers from the market to place in her open kitchen window. Elizabeth James. Who lived alone and who he had never seen with another man. The air around him grew cold. He nestled into his coat and walked back to his truck. Going back home. To the place that used to be theirs and all that reminded him of her, when she had been alive. He placed her picture in his pocket. A family photo where she looked especially unhappy, but he liked the way that her hair fell around her shoulders. It shrouded her. Things had always been like this-this madness-his madness. It would only be a short period of time before he struck down again, like a bolt of lightning in the Earth but for now he would go home and drink it out. He would remember her for who she was and for who he had wanted her to be and for the short sweet smile that she had given him right before the end.
the shore, holding