I could make thousands of lists of things that have happened to me in my life that have upset, and angered me. I could have millions of dollars for every time I felt like I was being watched or followed down my wretched looking path. I could take a million oaths of secrecy and promise, but I will always feel like a liar. I cannot physically remember the last time I felt security in myself and in my own home. In a sense, I was homeless...roaming in and out of my thoughts that entangled me like yards of rope. Despite all these things...despite how I felt about how much I could say I've been dragged...I feel a strong sense of purpose now that can be rewarding yet defeating at the same time…and possibly in the same moment.
"We are getting closer...I can feel it in the air" Kimberly says softly, scanning the trees like she was trying to find something or someone.
"Kimberly, how much connection do you have outside of the forest?" I ask, still feeling sickened by the emptiness I felt inside.
"Not very much, and if you're asking that because you want my help on the outside...well, I can not physically complete this task for you, so I can only give you instruction. You know that" she responds still frantically searching the trees that surrounded us. The way she scans made me feel very worrisome.
"What's wrong with her?" Suzanne thought, knowing I'd be able to hear it...hopefully with the mask of the other tormenting sounds that flooded our minds Kimberly would be to busy to listen to hers.
"I do not know, but I think we may find out soon" I thought back to her, feeling better that I was not the only one with a strange paranoia about the way Kimberly looked.
As we followed closer I saw a light and in that light was the shadow of what looked to be barbed wire. My eyes had widened at the familiarity of it. We were going to do it, we were actually going to get out.
Suddenly something strange happened. The light, the hopeful light, that I saw was engulfed by darkness. It was so abrupt it was as if someone had rushed to shut the blinds on a large, beautiful window.
"Oh no…no, no" Kimberly groans and Suzanne and I exchange a fearful look.
"What's happening? We were right there...Kimberly, what's going on?" I asked, with anger and sadness. I did not want this to feel like sour fate.
"She's here...I could sense her following me...I thought she'd stay away" Kimberly cries
"Who? Who is she?" Suzanne asks
"She's—she’s me..." Kimberly responds and that phrase alone in a different setting or a different place would've made no sense, but in this moment I knew exactly what she was talking about. She was going to be tormented by her subconscious as she would suffer in her own hell.
"What...what can we do?" Suzanne asks frantically as the leaves on the forest floor began to spin, like a tornado, around us.
"You have to go...I can't take you any farther...she won't let me" Kimberly whines as she crouches on the ground, shaking as the darkness encloses.
"We can't leave you here" I say, refusing her.
"Matthew, some horrors have to be encountered alone" she continues, "You know what'll set me free...set us all free"
When she said that I knew exactly what she meant. Staying here to fight her battle would not help me win mine. If I were to stay and risk real death the chances of anyone ever being able to leave this forest would be highly unlikely. I'd never be able to see my mother again and I would never be able to have my brother back.
I nod in her direction and start to walk towards the black.
"Matthew...what're you doing?" Suzanne asks grabbing my arm.
"This darkness is not meant for us..." I say looking over at Kimberly sadly, "We can go through...it won't hurt us"
She hesitated and said, "Okay…I believe you"
I lay my, what I assume to be me my last, glance on Kimberly. I could see her pounding at her ears to make the pain stop...to make the horrors go away. Suzanne and I knew for certain though, and I believe Kimberly did too, that it was not that simple to block out. Even when you're dead, things can still frighten you.
We made our way past the tornado spun leaves and groans of pain and reached it..we had reached the barbed wire. It was not all in my head. We were right there...just like Kimberly I could feel it in the air. Suzanne looked over at me with tear filled delight at the knowing we would soon be out of this hell.
I found the torn space, the same space that Elizabeth was pulled through. Traces of dried blood still remained around its corners and made me shutter. The space when we had cut through the wire that night to get inside was still there, calling to us. I pushed and kicked through it as hard as I could. When my hand made it out further to the light I could feel this slight sting. Pieces of my hand... that part that resembled the hand of the creature that captured Elizabeth...broke off like grains of sand. I could see my original skin...light and alive, my veins blue with blood giving my hand life.
Suzanne looked at my hand with fear and amazement.
"I don't think this will feel good..." I told her
"I don't care...I just want to get the hell out of here" she responds kicking through the wire making a gap larger than it was before. As I made my way out I could faintly hear the sound of Kimberly screaming. I tried to pretend that in this moment in time I did not have ears and I was deaf to the world.
I crawled out slowly and with every move pain swirled through me like I was being set on fire. Burn, burn, burn was all I could think. It burned so much. Suzanne shook as the part of her body that was being molded by the forest shed off of her like water flowing down a waterfall. When the pain seemed to fade away I could feel my strength inside me. Possibly enough strength to kill a man.