Thursday, July 13, 2017

Her secret world now with editors.

Thank you all that have walked this long journey with me every step of the way. I never thought I would get this far. The book is now currently in the editors hands. As soon as they get done finding all the mistakes in the book I will fix the selected items and begin to upload it to amazon for all to enjoy. This has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl. I never thought that I would actually not only write a book but a three part novel series. If these do well I will start on a spin off of this series or bring to life my stories on my blog that everyone has enjoyed with a lot of content that I couldn't write due to the lack of poses or pictures that I used for those stories. I will update when changes are made.

Friday, February 19, 2016



Chris puts the car in park in the driveway like he has done every evening after school. I unbuckle my seat belt scooting near him. I take his face into my hands and kiss him. His lips respond, deepening the kiss. His tongue finds its way into mine caressing mine. I moan into his mouth and he pulls back. "Why did you stop," I say in shock. "It's not you Kristen. I just don't want to go to fast," he says. "How is that going too fast?" I ask in disappointment. He looks over and I can see that he's torn. "I'm not like other guys. It's just not the right time," he says. "When will it ever be the right time?" I ask. He sighs. "Trust me when the time comes it will be right and right now being not the time," he says. My frustration and rejection starts to consume me. I go to get out of the car but his hand grabs my wrist pulling me back in. He grabs me pulling me towards him. His hands find my face and he pulls me to where we are touching foreheads. "Don't read bad things in this. I just want it to be right. That's all." he says as he closes his eyes.

I feel bad now. "I'm sorry, it's just that I have fallen in love with you," I say and I'm almost shocked I finally said it out loud. I fell for him long ago but I finally managed to get up the nerve to tell him. His eyes spring open and his eyes look almost on fire. He closes them again and I sit there waiting for him to say anything. "Say something," I urge. "That is what I was waiting for," he says as he kisses my forehead. I'm holding his hands that cradle my face. "That is music to my ears. I was hoping you felt the same way," he says. "You love me too!" I say almost in shock. "Yes, I have for a while now. I just wanted you to love me too," he tells me. This is a revelation and I'm now grinning from ear to ear. He pulls me to his chest and cradles my head. "You are so special to me, you will never know," he says as I hear his heart pound in his chest. "Kristen!" I hear Marie call out. Shit why does she do that. "I got to go before she comes out here and pulls me out of this car. You know she will," I say with a laugh. He kisses me quick on the lips and I'm running into the house with pure adrenaline coursing through my veins at his admission to me.

Screams rip me from my nightmare as the same images that I see every night haunt me. Trying to calm myself I slip out of bed to head to the bathroom like I always do but a moving shadow moves in the corner of my eye freezing me where I stand. I slowly back as far away as I can in the opposite direction. I only come aware of the wall when it stops me dead in my tracks. I'm looking around for inspiration for a possible escape. My heart races as I start panting like a trapped animal ready to be had.  I want to scream but I'm too scared. It's them they found me. I got to get away. I got to run but my feet are frozen. I have no way of escape this time and if I scream they would get me before Marie could come to my aide. If she would even recognize it from my normal nightmare screams.

The fear rises knowing I have no other choice but to confront them. I find my voice, "Who are you? What do you want?" I choke out. They come closer and I'm in full blown panic mode. Everything evaporates and I feel totally drained with relief that its him. He's not acting right, something must be wrong. I catch a glint of red on his face making my heart leap thinking he must be hurt. As he appears in the dim light, my fear turns to confusion.  "Chris why are you in my room in the middle of the night," I ask almost in shock. He stops but says nothing. "Chris talk to me," I demand. I go to step in his direction to seek answers but before I get even a foot forward I'm pinned against the wall by Chris. He's got my wrist held with his and his face is past my face leaning on my shoulder. His body is holding me in place and I cannot move.

My adrenaline is at its peak and my heart is pounding against my ribs. "What's wrong?" I whisper. I can feel his heart pounding in his chest and he's panting. "Please talk to me. You're scaring me," I plead. I can only figure he is waging a war within himself because he hasn't moved. "Chris," I shout. He jumps a little as if I had finally snapped him out of his trance. His words come out in a sad whisper, "Please forgive me for what I'm about to do." "What?" I say as my mind goes blank and fear spikes through my body. He moves his head down in a fast motion toward my neck. He releases one of my wrists to grab my head to pull it to the side. I take the opportunity to try to push against him but he's too strong. I freeze when a sharp pain slices through my neck. It burns and stings as if he was ripping my neck wide open. I cry out as the pain radiates from my neck. I find his hair and grab to try to pry him off but he only grunts and continues to suck my neck. I feel something warm drip down my neck and the situation becomes like a nightmare. He's drinking my blood.

Am I still asleep in my nightmares? My Chris would never attack me like this. "Please, stop! Chris stop! You're hurting me," I scream at him trying to plead with him to stop. He releases my other wrist as he wraps his arm around my waste to draw me closer to him as he continues to drink. "Why?" I ask in a soft whimper as I grip his shoulders to try to keep myself steady as my body grows weaker from the blood loss. My legs are getting weaker and I know if he doesn't stop I'm going to die. "Stop this, you don't drink blood! What's wrong with you?" I beg. He continues and I know it won't be long before this man that I loved so dear takes me out of this world. Tears run down my cheeks as I try to keep the good Chris in my mind not the monster that he's become that was now set on killing me. "I love you," I say as a sob overtakes me. His body stiffens and his mouth leaves my neck.

He doesn't pull back to where I can see him which is a blessing because I did not want to look at the monster he had become all covered in my blood. I can't bear to see him like that, it would rip my soul apart. "This is why I have to do this," he says almost is a whisper. This didn't make any sense because now that he knew my true feelings he was going to kill me. I was so stupid! A foolish girl with only a dream and now it was going to get killed. "Why?" I plead. "It's your destiny," he says and then sinks his teeth into my neck again making me scream out in pain once again. I try pulling and pushing at him but I have no strength now. I feel myself slipping into the abyss and the darkness is getting closer. My knees give way and my body slides only a fraction down his body before his arm pulls me back up. He continues to support my body with his arm that holds my waste. He cradles my head with his other hand as he continues to suck my neck.

He pulls away and shifts to where he's now carrying me in his arms. My head wobbles back and forth against his chest. He walks over to the bed placing me down gently. The bed shifts with his weight as he sets down beside me. I can feel the tears still running down my cheeks as I cry. I look over at Chris and it's like seeing him for the first time. His eyes are fire red which rocks me to my core. It was as if he was consumed by fire on the inside. His face is sad as he looks down at me and his mouth is still stained from my blood. He reaches over to wipe a tear from my cheek making me flinch in fear. "Please don't be scared," he says as he strokes my hair as to sooth a wounded animal. I can only imagine what he sees in my eyes. "Try to keep an open mind. I will show you a world that you never knew existed," he says as he sits up and pulls his sleeve up. "What are you?" I ask with fear laced in my tone.

He says nothing but looks at me with sad fire eyes. He sinks his teeth into his wrist and blood flows from around his mouth leaving a trail down his arm. He pulls back and looks over at me. "Please don't fight me," he says as he sinks his teeth back into his wrist. When he pulls back his blood runs down his chin. He scoops me up and I'm face to face with him. He places his lips on mine and my eyes grow wide. I'm so confused that I kick my legs and my arms push at his shoulders. He parts my lips with his tongue the warm blood flows into my mouth with a metallic taste. I try not to swallow but as he assaults my mouth it slides down my throat threatening to come right back up. His tongue continues to caress mine as his lips move on mine. It's erotic but sickening at the same time. He finally pulls back and his eyes still burn red but this time I see pain in them.

Only earlier he told me he loved me and now he betrayed me. He drops his head down making his blond locks fall forward. "I'm sorry," he says with pain in his voice. I say nothing; I have nothing to say to him. He looks up and there are tears in his red eyes. Why would he betray my trust like this? I go to look away only to be scooped into his arms. He buries his face into my neck making me push him away. "Don't," I say but I'm cut off as my body starts to jerk, my head goes back and my arms and legs thrash around violently. I'm on fire and all I can do is scream. He pulls me into him as I thrash around and I know he must have known this was what was going to happen. I still don't want him but I can't do nothing but be a prisoner to my own body. Every cell explodes with fire as if I'm being ripped apart. My screams are deafening screams I had never heard before that claim this night. My head burns and I find that I can't breathe. I try to suck air into my lungs but they will not fill. I'm suffocating and burning from the inside out. I can't bear any more, I want to die, I want it to claim me. I want this all to end. Everything goes black.........................



              I head outside to the backyard and it’s also filled with pretty flowers that are stunning. I make my way down the steps and into what looks like a garden. Walking down the rows of flowers, I run my fingers along the flowers and leaves. I can only imagine how much time she has put into this garden. I round the corner and run smack into something solid. I stumble backwards and hit the ground.

"Are you alright," shouts a male voice. I open my eyes to try to focus on the figure in front of me. "That was a hard fall, I'm really sorry," he says again.

Before I can say or do anything he offers me his hand as my vision stops swimming. When our fingers touch an electric spark shocks me making me pull back.

"Ouch...” I say out of surprise.

"Static electricity," he mumbles.

I take his hand again as he pulls me off the ground. I feel the world tilt a little and feel arms wrap around me to sturdy me.

"I'm sorry; I must have fallen harder than I thought. I will be alright, just giving me a moment," I say.

When my vision clears I take in the guy that has me in his arms. His appearance takes me by surprise, his long sandy blond hair hangs past his ears as his hazel eyes stare down at me.

"Hi, I'm Chris he says taking the silent moment away.

“Oh...I'm Kristen," I reply. I step out of his arms and straighten my shirt.

"I’ve never seen you around here," he says in a cool tone.

"I'm staying with my aunt for a little while," I reply as I try to regain my composure.

"So how long are you staying?" he asks.

              Who is this guy and why is he so interested in me? I can’t tell him the truth behind the reason why I was here. I had to come up with a story and fast.  

“I'm not sure how long I will be staying here, I know it will be for a little while," I tell him in hopes that would be enough information for him to stop all the questions.

“I know your cousin that stays here during the summer," he says. A change in subject a welcomed change.

"Yeah, that’s Hanna," I reply. 

"Out of curiosity, what happened to your face?' he asks as he goes to touch my cheek.

"Oh, it's nothing," I say as I step backwards out of his reach. That didn’t last long he was all curious again.  

"Sorry, I didn't mean to be nosy, just looks like it hurts," he says as his eyes soften. Now I felt bad for being so snappy that I wanted to tell him how I was wronged by my uncle, how he turned on me and did this to me. But I couldn’t let myself slip up.

"Yeah it was an accident, that's why I'm here," I tell him.

"I'm sorry," he says as he steps closer to me. My heart almost stops at the closeness of him. I could smell his scent as some strange pull to him made me uneasy.

"No need to be sorry, it's fine," I tell him as I step back a few steps in hopes he didn’t notice.

"So what brings you here?" I ask.

"I do work for Marie from time to time, I was coming by to fix her porch in the back," he says. "If you don't mind, I would love for you to keep me company while I work on them," he says with a grin. I turn heading toward the back of the house before he can see me turn red.

I watch Chris head out to a building that I didn't even notice was there before. He steps in and then comes out with a thing of tools. He walks over to the porch, setting the tools down on the steps. He starts pulling and tugging at the steps, testing them I guess. Some wiggle loose, and others don't. He stands up, pulling his shirt off, draping it over the railing of the porch. My mouth drops as I take in his fine cut abs, his broad shoulders and smooth chest. I feel so guilty for looking at him, I turn my gaze toward the garden before he caught me staring at him. None of the other guys ever had this effect on me, not like him. We just meet and I was already having weird feelings for him. I didn't even know him, but I wanted to no matter if I was supposed to be in hiding. There was something about Chris that had me drawn to him.

"Kristen," he calls out.

"Oh, yeah," I say finally as I keep turned toward the garden.

"Can you hand me that hammer," he says. I turn around, walk over to the tools and hand him the hammer, taking in his beautiful body. Crap, I know I'm blushing and I know he just seen it too, his grin told me so.

I turn my back to him once again, trying to take my mind off him. "All done with the stairs," he says. "Marie will appreciate that," I mummer. "So, tell me more about yourself," he says. "Not much to tell really," I say. "How long have you known Marie," I ask. "Two years, I meet her when I moved here. Why is this the first time you have come down here," he asks. "My parents wouldn't really let me travel, but the car accident left them hurt, so they thought it would be easier for me to recover down here," I tell him. "Boyfriend?" he asks. "You’re a little nosy, aren't you?" I say. "Sorry, I was just curious, I meant no harm" he says with a horrified look on his face. I felt guilty as soon as it came out of my mouth, but it was too late. I had already stuck my foot in my mouth. I had to do damage control before I ran him off.

"No it's me that should be sorry, I've been under so much stress lately that it's got me on edge. No, I don't have a boyfriend," I tell him. "Really," he says. with a pleased look. "Since you are so full of questions, what's your story?" I ask. His eyes grow wide, making me regret my question. Maybe it was something he didn't want to tell me about.  His face softens, "Well let's see I have lived here for about a two years now. Me and my dad move around a lot with my dad being in the military. He's stationed here for a couple of years and then I'm not sure where he will go. Good possibility he will stay here; he seems to like it. My mom she passed away about ten years ago from cancer. That was it, he didn't want to talk about his parents, I knew how painful that could be. I lost mine before I could even remember who they were.  School is your average boring school of course, I'm in my last year so I might want to think about going to college," he tells me. "Your turn he says. Crap! What can I tell him that won't run him off? Maybe the bad stuff I will leave out? I can do this.

"Well I'm staying with my aunt for a little while. I was in a car accident a week ago, leaving my mom in a comma and my dad has been by her side since then. My dad decided it would be better for me to heal here. I'm in my last year too but they said school can wait. They will let me catch up when I get back home," I tell him. I kept it short. That shouldn't raise any suspicions and it explains me not going to school and my poor face. I know even with all this makeup he can still see the bruises. "Want some tea," I ask trying to change the mood. "That would be nice," he says as he finishes nailing on the step.

I head inside the house, almost slump against the counter as my emotions seem all over the place. I was taken by him, but confused being around him. One-minute I was sticking my foot in my mouth and the next I wanted to know more. I knew I should keep my distance from him but I couldn't keep my eyes off him. I felt at ease around him, I was drawn to him for some strange reason. I wasn't sure why, since I had just meet him today, but I wanted to be near him. I shake my feelings, finally walking over to the fridge, to get the tea. When I stand and turn, there is Chris leaning on the counter of the sink. I drop the pitcher, tea and glass shattering at my feet. "I'm sorry, he says as he runs over, scooping me up into his arms to lift me from the broken glass on the floor.

I'm face to face with him only a brief moment before he sets me on the counter. He lets go of me, steps back from me as if he did something wrong. "You ok," he asks. "I think so, I'm so clumsy sometimes," I say to apologize for my accident. "It's my fault, I scared you," he says as he reaches down, examining my feet to make sure there are no cuts. "Well what's the prognosis doc?" I say with a chuckle. "You’re ok," he says as he stands. "You stay put, I'll clean this up," he says. I go to protest but he puts his hand up to silence me. He grins as he grabs the broom and dust pan from the kitchen closet. He has it cleaned up in a few minutes while I watch him clean up all the broken glass. He dumps the glass in the trash and then wipes up the tea from the floor. "See all done," he says with a grin.

"Is there anything you can't do? “I ask with a laugh. "I don't know, maybe," he says as he comes to stand in front of me, making my heart stop. He moves toward me, and I stop breathing as he gets face to face with me. He reaches out, moving a piece of my hair to tuck behind my ear. His finger trails down my jaw to my chin. He moves closer as he pulls my chin up to meet his lips that come down on mine. I gasp as he wraps his arms around me, pulling my body to his. His lips move slowly on mine, taking me hostage like no other had before. I run my hands into his hair, as I go to deepen the kiss, he pulls back with his forehead to mine. "Sorry," he says as he still holds me. "Why?" I ask. "I shouldn't have done that, I got to go," he says as he pulls away from me. "What?" I ask out of confusion. "Tell Marie I will be back sometime this week to finish up," he says without looking at me.

He's out the door and down the steps before I can get out the door. I didn't want him to leave but before I can make it around the corner of the house, I hear his car pull out of the driveway. He's out of site before I can get to the street. What just happened? I'm an idiot, I just ran him away with what. What did I do? I try replaying everything in my head and I come up with no answers at all. It was him that initiated the kiss and then it was like someone dumped a cold bucket of water on him. He wouldn't even look at me, I felt crushed as I head back around the house to put up the tools that were still laying out, his shirt catches my eye, he left without his shirt, how strange. I reach over, pulling it from the banister, looking down at it as if I had a piece of Chris still here. I can't help it, I lift it up, breathing in his scent which takes me almost to my knees. He smells so good, but why was he acting so strange. I shove the thoughts aside, put his shirt up in my room, then return back downstairs to put up the tools before Marie got back home. I put the tools back in the building, and go back inside to wait on Marie to get home.

I hear a car pull up in the driveway signaling Marie has come home.  I head downstairs as she unlocks the door and puts some bags on the table. "I have more bags to bring in, if you don't mind will you put some of it away," she calls as she heads back out the door.  I do as she asked and my mind drifts to all the articles I read and what the guy name, Chris said today. This would be too weird for it to be connected to me in any way. I'm miles away from my home and for there to be some sort of similarities seemed too weird too happen. I finish and set down at the table as Marie sets down across from me. "So how was your day," she asks.

"It was fine; you have a beautiful garden. Looks like you took a lot of work into it," I say. "Well when you live alone like me, you tend to find things to do to pass the time." she says. "Oh and a guy named Chris stopped by to do some work on the porch, he said he would come back later this week to finish it up," I tell her. "I wasn't expecting him till later this week, he came by earlier, he's a sweet young man," she says. How much do you know about him?" I ask. "He a really nice boy, helps a lot around here with the things I can't do. I meet him a few years back when I was out doing some shopping. I broke down one day and he helped me out. Ever since then, he’s came around to help me with things that need fixing. I cook for him and we set around sometimes chatting," she tells me. "What about his dad, have you ever meet him?" I ask. "Well come to think about it, no I haven't he’s some kind of military guy that that travels a lot, so Chris takes care of himself pretty much. He seems fine with it, much more grown up than the other boys his age," she says with a smile. "I'm going to turn in for the night, if you need anything let me know," she says as she heads up the steps.

I clean up in the kitchen, then head up to my bedroom. I get ready for bed and my mind won't shut down. I look over at Chris's shirt that’s laying on the bottom of my bed. There was something strange about him, there was a pull to him that I couldn't understand and for some strange reason I was missing him. I barely knew him, but it was as if I had been around him all my life, something familiar. I flop back on the bed, pulling his shirt to my face as I breath him in, a soothing feeling washing over me. What made him so different from any other guy I had dated in the past. Your attracted to him your idiot, I scold myself. That was no surprise, but there still was something else to him that made him so different. Pulling the covers up around me I settle in for a night hopefully with no more nightmares.

My nightmares have returned and I am once more submerged into this world that haunts me every night. Darkness surrounds me and I cannot see anything but the shadows that dance around me. The sounds deafen me with the piercing pitch that it takes me to my knees. I press my hands to my ears in desperation to mute the sounds, the screams. The scream rocks me from my knees and I find myself once again in the middle of the shadows that taunt me. I'm looking around trying to find an escape from them but they have me surrounded. The shadows close in and all that remains are pools of blood. I'm in the middle of it and it covers me.  Whose blood is this I scream as I try to wipe it. It only makes it smear more. "Leave me alone" I scream.

I jolt up in the bed with my heart pounding and my skin is covered in sweat. I try to ease my heart and get my bearings. My screams must have woken me up. Marie comes busting through the door again with a haunted look on her face. "You alright," she asks breathless. "Yes just another nightmare. I fear that I'm going too pulled into them every night till my mind eases," I say out of apology. "It's alright dear, I will get use to them," she says as she closes the door. I head to the bathroom and splash some water on my face to wake me up a little. The nightmares were starting to take their toll on me night after night leaving me tired the next day. I've tried to figure out why I was having them thinking that they mean something. Maybe it was something from my past, but what was the missing piece and why was it so different from last night's nightmare. I settle back into bed and fear I will be dragged once more into one of these crazy nightmares. I look over at the clock and its three o'clock in the morning and I'm exhausted. I settle in and try to fall back to sleep.

              When I wake its morning and I wiggle out of my covers that are wrapped around me like a vine. Heading into the bathroom I hit the shower to get ready for the day that I have no plans for. The shower is very refreshing as I step out and head to the sink to try to get myself cleaned up. My face is actually getting a little better but still looks very colorful. The dark bruises were fading to ugly yellows and browns. I put the cover makeup on and it covers a little better this time. I finish by fixing my hair to hang around my face to hide it a little better. Not bad Kristen I say to myself. I found myself hoping that Chris would come by sometime today. I had my doubts with how he left yesterday, but I could still hope. The morning drug by with an agonizing slow pace. I was getting bored out of my mind with nothing to do. Half the day passed and I was just about ready to give up when I hear a car pull up in the driveway. I run to the window, and see Chris getting out of the car, an amazing car for a teenager. He must do a lot of odd jobs or his dad spoils him, either way he was here and I couldn't wait to talk to him. I run through the house and stop by the mirror in the hallway to make sure my hair and makeup looks ok. My face was getting a little better each day but without the makeup I would look hideous.

I hear a knock at the door, moments later Marie answers it. "Hello Chris, glad to see you again, come in," she says. "Thanks," he replies as he looks at me standing in the hall. He breaks eye contact when Marie offers him a seat at the kitchen table. I want to go in there but I'm scared of his reaction to what happened yesterday, was he rejecting me. My heart sinks, and I go into almost a full blown panic attack. "Kristen, come join us," Chris calls out. Maybe not, I had to get myself under control and fast. I take a deep breath and head in where Chris is talking care free with Marie. I set down and watch them talk, but Chris looks over at me several times with a smile that makes my heart jump. "Well if that's all, I've got stuff to do, you guys have fun," she says, leaving me alone with Chris who looks over at me.

              "Sorry about yesterday," he says. "What was that all about?" I ask. "I thought I stepped over the line with you and I felt bad about it," he says. "Really, it was just a kiss, you went running and even left without your shirt, who does that?" I say. He smirks at me and lets out a small laugh. "Apparently me, Kristen, I see how you seen it but it's a little bit more complicated than that with me. I haven't had any serious relationships and well you got under my skin a little, I just didn't want to make you mad," he says. My mouth does a head dive and I'm stunned. "You have never had no serious relationships before, you’re a senior and no serious relationship, I don't know if I should be happy or scared about that," I tell him. He laughs again and it's distracting. "Why are you laughing, I'm really confused?" I ask. "With everything that happened with my dad dying and my mom moving around so much I never had time for any serious relationships. I never did the whole date thing either," he says.  "Your pulling my leg," I say with a laugh. His face gets serious letting me know he was telling the truth. He's so intense that I get overwhelmed leaving me to panic again. I have no idea why but I stand up quick, dart out the door into the backyard letting myself cry.

              "Why are you crying?" he asks as he turns me around to face him. I can't bear to look at him after what he confessed to me, I felt like an idiot. He puts his hand under my chin to raise my face up to his. "Why are you crying?" he asks in a soft voice. I meet his hazel eyes that regard me with worry. "I was upset on how things went yesterday, you had me really confused and now you tell me all this which makes me feel so foolish," I tell him.  "You were upset?" he asks. "I thought you were rejecting me after we kissed," I confess to him. "No, just the opposite," he says. "Please stop crying," he says as he leans down kissing both my cheeks. I gasp, as I look up and see Chris grinning at me. "I'm so confused?" I say. "I know, but it's ok, I understand, I just want to get to know you," he says.

He takes me by my hand with that electric pull like before, leading me over to the porch. He pulls me toward the steps to set with him. "Tell me about your parents, and your childhood," he says. "My childhood?" I ask. "Yeah, I want to know everything about you, that’s a good start," he says. "Well, I grew up as an only child, and my parents are normal parents," I tell him. "So, what kind of accident was you in that left you so hurt?" he asks. "I thought I hid it well, it was a car accident that left me bruised up and my mom in a comma. My dad is staying with her till she wakes up. He sent me here so my aunt could look after me better than he could at the present moment. He didn't want me to stress out over the whole situation. He said he would call if anything changed. He calls on a regular basis to give me updates. So far nothing has changed. They keep me updated on a regular basis but it's until she gets better," I tell him.

"So when she gets better, you will go back?" he asks. "Yeah," I reply. "Where do you live?" he asks. I didn't want him to know but I wasn't planning on going back there anyway so I didn't see any point in lying to him about it. "Kentucky," I tell him. He seems in deep thought until I give him a shove. "Sorry, I was just thinking," he says. "About what?" I ask. "I've never traveled with my dad there before, but all around it," he says as he snaps his attention back to me. "I have a question, would you consider dating me, I know you will go back home when your mom gets better but I would really like to go out with you," he says. "You want to date me?" I ask with a shocked tone. "Yeah, I've never meet a girl like you before, I would really like to go out with you," he says. "Ok," I reply. That was totally out of nowhere, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought a guy like Chris would want to go out with an ordinary girl like me.

He leans over placing a small kiss on my lips, making me gasp. "Want to help me with this porch, then we can go out for a bite," he asks. "Sure," I say with a giggle. We make quick work on the porch, fixing the steps and railing in record time. "Nice job you two," Marie calls out as she brings us out some tea. I set back on my butt as Chris finishes putting all the tools back into the tool box. Marie hands me a glass, then Chris. "So, what are you kids up to for the rest of the evening?" she asks. "I think we are going to get a bite to eat in a little bit if that's ok," I tell her. "Yeah that's fine," she says as she sips on her tea. Chris grins at me, as he heads to put the tools up. How did I manage to meet a guy like him, my mind couldn't wrap around the idea that he was interested in me? He could see through my bruises, and broken soul. He didn't judge me, he accepted who I was and that made him special.

"I'm going home to get cleaned up, then I'll be back to pick you up in say an hour and a half," he says. "OK, sounds good to me," I reply. Chris grabs me into his arms, placing a kiss on my lips. It's a quick kiss but still a very effective one. He heads down the driveway, gets in his car and he's off. I dart back into the house to my bathroom to get freshened up. I reapply my makeup, straighten my hair, then change clothes before Chris can get back. I head down stairs to wait on him in the kitchen. Marie is setting at the table reading some book. She looks up with a smile, so you and Chris are hitting it off pretty nice. I must say I'm stunned at how well he has taken up to you. Hanna has tried for the past two years to get him to go out with her, but he was not interested at all'" she says. "Are you serious, Hanna failed to mention it to me," I say in shock. "I figured that much, she's too proud to admit that a guy turned her down, but he did. He's really not her type anyway, I wouldn't mention it to her," she says with a giggle. "Oh, trust me, not a word from me," I say with a serious tone. "Do me one favor, try to keep a low profile, you are still in hiding," Marie says. "Ok, I will," I say as a knock sounds on the door.

Getting up from the table I walk over to the door looking out the little window I'm greeted by a smile by Chris. I open the door and he strolls in carrying a basket and a blanket draped across his arm. I can't help the grin that spreads across my face. "I figured instead of going out, that a picnic would be nice. Shall we," he asks as he reaches for my hand. I take his hand and there's that electric feeling again. He leads me outside to Marie's garden and picks a perfect place. He sets the basket down and spreads the blanket out motioning for me to sit. He sits down next to me pulling the basket toward him. He pulls out some glasses with a bottle of coke. I can't help but giggle. "What's so funny," he asks with amusement. "Well most would have wine but you have coke," I giggle. "Yes, that's right but we are underage remember. I'm not breaking any rules," he says almost too serious.

My face falls and now I feel like I have just insulted him. "I'm sorry," I say. "I'm just kidding it was funny," he says as his laugh rings out. It's infectious because I find myself laughing right along with him. He places some fruit and sandwiches out on some plates. "Dig in," he says as he takes a strawberry and pops it in his mouth. "Did you do all this by yourself," I ask as I place a grape in my mouth. "Yes, is that not normal for you?" he asks. "No, I just think it's a very sweet gesture that most guys I have ever known would never know how to do," I say before I think about what I just said. I bet I look mortified but his face doesn't show it. "I'm not like most guys Kristen," he says. "I'm figuring that out," I reply.

We eat and laugh at each other, as we talk it feels like we have known each other for a long time. He's care free and sexy as hell with his smile and those hazel eyes. The time passed quickly and it was getting dark outside. "I better go," he says as he stands offering me his hand. I take it and we are face to face. His hand brushes my cheek and I can feel myself blush. Leaning forward he places a kiss on my lips. "I had a wonderful time," he says as he steps back and proceeds to pick everything up. "Can I see you tomorrow?" he asks. "I would like that," I reply. "Good, I shall see you tomorrow after school," he says. He heads down the driveway placing everything in his car. He backs out and his headlights disappear out of sight. I head inside with my head spinning.

Days follow then turns to weeks as my injuries have healed on the outside, I'm still torn apart on the inside. I still have the nightmares every night which I have come use to. They are always the same and the end result is never changing. Chris comes up all the time to spend time with me. We spend the day's at Marie's on her porch, drinking tea and hanging out. It was so nice to feel like life was returning to a little bit of a normal pace. Marie joins me and Chris with her tea. "So now that you have got better what would you think about going to school here to finish up the year so you don't get to far behind," she asks. The idea is a shock a little and Chris is grinning. "You could enroll in my classes. I promise I won't let you cheat from me," he says as he winks at me. "I think that would be really nice but are you sure it's ok?" I ask. "I'll get it all set up tomorrow for you," she says leaving me and Chris out on the porch.

"I can't believe she's going to let me go to school here. I guess my parents are willing for me to finish here," I tell him hoping I sound convincing. He puts his arm around me and pulls me into him. "Yep, now I can show my gal off to everyone," he says in a conceded tone. "Show me off, I bet that you have all kinds of girls that swarm you at school," I say in a picking tone. "I'm offended Miss Kristen, that you would think I would have any other girl but you. You better take that back," he teases, as he starts tickling me. "I take it back," I squall out.  

My first day was like any other new school day. I was nervous and the other student's stairs made me uneasy. Chris helped me to each class walking me down the halls with his arm around me carrying my books. And just like he promised we had just about every class together which made it easy. Weeks go by and I have made a few friends which was so nice. I found Marie letting me go out with Chris and some of the girls. My life was getting better, but the nightmares still haunted me every night, which I could not shake. I couldn't figure out why I was having them now that my life was better. I wasn't scared anymore now that I had Chris and Marie in my life. Chris. I could only wish my deep wounds would heal soon before it drove me mad. Marie even moved her room downstairs so she couldn't hear my screams, I didn't want her to suffer like me.



      I run as fast as I can in the opposite direction of my house. I needed to get as far away as I could before they figured out I was still near. I didn't know where I was going, but I had to find a place to regroup my thoughts on what to do after I knew I was out of immediate danger. I keep running till I get to a part of woods near a park I use to go to when I was a kid. I get into the tree line, collapsing to the ground on my hands and knees. I'm gasping for air, my body is hurting and I'm feeling helpless. I set back on my butt, resting my back against a tree as I slow my breathing down. I was fooling myself if I thought I could do this on my own. I had no money, no place to go and no one I could go to that my uncle would not come looking for me.

I start to cry all over again, I was going to have to quit my school, forget my boyfriend, and leave all my friends behind. I had to get out of this town if I was going to survive this nightmare. I needed answers but I knew it was a lost cause to try to find any. It would only lead me back to him, and I couldn't let that happen. I sit and cry for what seemed like a few minutes when I hear a car pull up close by. I look past the trees to see a silver car parked near the park entrance. Two men get out, dressed in the black coats like the night before. I'm frozen with fear that if I made even the smallest noise they would find me. I was even holding my breath as I watched them start to look around. I knew I had to move before they made their way to this side of the woods. I watch them move to the other side of the woods, giving me the opportunity to put some distance between me and them.

         I get to my feet, and run as fast as I can deeper into the woods. I knew these woods pretty well, which gave me a little bit of an advantage on them. The only place I could think of was my best friend Hanna. She lived not far from here but if I went to her for help I could bring the danger that was following me. I didn't have any other choice but to turn to her for help. With my mind made up I head in her direction. I make it through the woods, then I keep to the shadows of the buildings. I take the back ways as much as possible. I'm only a block away from her house so I slow to make sure everything is safe. In the darkness I scope out the house making sure I was not followed.

I see her room on the second floor, lite up by her desk light. I can only hope that she's still awake. I took another look around and once I figured it was clear I made my way over to her house. Standing beside a tree in her yard I picked up several small pebbles and tried my best to hit her window to get her attention. After missing several times, I fuss at myself in the process while constantly looking over my shoulder. Finally, on the fourth time she slid her window up and peered down at me.

“Hanna it's Kirsten, I need your help, can I come in?” I ask in a whisper.

"Sure come to the back door and I'll let you in," she says as she slides the window closed.

Taking another look around I dart around back to the porch. When she gets the door unlocked, I run inside shutting the door and locking it behind me. I peered back out to make sure no one has seen me come in.

"What's wrong Kirsten, what happened to you?" she asks as she pulls me into her arms. “Who did this to you?” she asks as she pulls away to take in my awful state.

"I don't have much time, I'm in serious trouble. I have to get away from here and fast. I have nothing on me, not even my phone. I had to leave it all behind. I don't know what happened other than my uncle flipped out on me and attacked me. I've been on the run since last night," I explain to her.

"Your uncle how could he do this to you? He's one of the nicest people I know. Here set down and let me get you something to drink and then I'm going to get you patched up. We will figure this out. Do you think that they would suspect that you are here with me?" she asked as she pours me a glass of juice.

"I don't think so, but everything I have ever known has just been thrown out the window literally. Do you care if I get you something to eat? I haven't eaten anything in a while,” I confess.

"Lord Girl, you know this is like your second home, help yourself," she says as she opens the cabinet to get me a plate out.

I open the fridge and pull out some lunch meet and some other things. With the task at hand I put a quick sandwich together. I have it eaten in less than five minutes which almost makes me sick. My stomach thanks me greatly.

              Hanna leads me up to her room, then heads into her bathroom. When she emerges, she has several items in her arms. Dumping them on her bed, she motions for me to sit. She closely examined my face.

"I can't believe he did this to you." she says as she starts going through the items she brought out.

"Me either, I'm still playing out everything that happened. It just doesn't make any sense to me. You should have seen the look in his eyes. He looked like he was possessed by something. There's something else, when he was trying to take me to the basement I could hear other people talking. I didn't get to see who they were but the whole situation was really scary. One minute I'm sleeping and the next my uncle is dragging me to the basement in any means necessary. I have a really bad feeling about this. I have no one but him as family. I don't know what to do," I tell her.

"I'm hoping that there is a good explanation for all of this, it sounds like something out of a horror book," she says as she continues to clean my face.

Once she finishes with my wounds, she starts going through the items that look like a first aid kit. Taking some cotton balls and some peroxide, she starts to clean my face. When she hits certain spots on my face, it stings.

"He really did a number on your face. I hope these don't scar," she says as she makes her way around my face.

I know it's very bad; it must have been when I fell and hit the floor. I can't stay long; this is one place I'm sure he will come looking for me.

"Ok, all done. Go take a quick shower and I will get you some of my clothes," she tells me as she hands me a towel.

I walk into the bathroom and shut the door behind me. I peel my dirty clothes off me and start the shower. I step in and let the hot water wash over me. I try to ignore the bruises that cover my body as I take the body wash and squirt it onto a sponge. I lather it up and make my way up my legs to my arms. My ribs are still really sore and I fear that I might have a broken or fractured rib. I wash my hair and the shampoo smells delightful. After getting all rinsed off I step out and wrap the towel around my body. Brushing my wet brown hair out it hangs down my back. I head out of the bathroom and find Hanna busy packing.

"Here are some clothes for you,” she says as she hands me a clean pair of Jeans and a blue long sleeve shirt with stripes.

Thank goodness that me and Hanna are about the same size. I pull on the clothes and they fit comfortably. I dry my hair and put some more ointment and bandages on my scrapes.

"I know everyone will be asking all kinds of questions when I don't come back to school. Daniel will be crushed when I don't contact him or explain anything to him. Will you make up some story on why I left and why I won't be coming back," I ask Hanna.

Her face falls with horror. "He's going to be crushed, I didn't think about that. I don't know if I can break the news to him," she says with panic in her voice.

"I need you to do this, I can't handle any more heart break. I know he will ask questions, and I don't have any answers. He's the type of guy that would run off with me, and I can't have that," I explain.

Hanna sets down on the bed with a sad face. "You better be glad I'm your best friend, I don't know if anyone else would take on this crazy request. He's going to cry and everything, you watch," she tells me.

"I know, but it's the only thing I can think of," I tell her as I set down beside her on the bed.

"While you were in the shower I called my aunt in West Virginia that I stay with during the summers. She said that you could stay with her for a while till you could figure something out. She doesn't need to know all the details, only the main details. I told her that your father was abusive and you needed to get away. I think that would be the best cover story for this situation. When she sees you, I guarantee she won't ask many questions. She's really cool about stuff like this. She my favorite aunt, she’s the aunt that everyone likes. If you are still there by next summer, I will come down and see you. Until then, you better use my phone and keep me updated. He would never expect you to be there so this is the perfect safe place for you," she says as she wraps her arms around me.

“I can't believe the mess I'm in," I tell her as I start to get all emotional again.

"It will be ok, you’re not alone, you have me. Here is some money that I managed to get out of my mom's wallet, she won't even know it's missing. And here is my phone, you can call me to let me know how you’re doing," she says as she places some money in my hand with her cell phone.

We are distracted when we hear Hanna's mom coming up the steps as she's talking to someone making me and Hanna freeze. Hanna pushes me to the ground and motions for me to get under her bed as she grabs everything off the bed slinging it into the floor. She kicks the stuff under the bed, then leaps into bed and turns her light out. A knock sounds on her door. I'm holding my breath, as Hanna acts like she just woke up.

"Mom I'm trying to sleep," she calls out.

Her door opens and the hall light, lights up her room. Hanna this is Kristen's uncle," she says as my uncle enters the room.

My heart pounds and the fear takes hold of me all over again. I want to run but I know I got to be as quiet as possible or he will find me.

"Hanna, sorry to have woke you up at such a late hour but I'm worried about Kirsten. We were playing around and she fell and hit her head. She ran off before I could see how bad she was hurt. I'm worried she may have hurt herself bad. She’s not acting herself. I think she may have a concussion that is making her see things that are not true. I really need to get her to a hospital. Have you seen her?" he asks in a calm tone.

              Liar I want to scream. I know I'm not seeing things and I sure in the hell didn't have a delusion about him attacking me.

"I’ve not seen her, or herd anything from her. I will keep my eye out for her. If she comes here, I will have mom call you," she says as if she was actually shocked by the news he just told her.

Oh how I love my friend. Thank goodness she took all those drama classes at school. "Ok, sorry to have bothered you," he says and they shut my door. She flops back on the bed and I can hear her let out her breath. "That was a close one," she says.

"I got to get out of here and fast," I say as I shimmy out from under the bed. I walk over to the window and see him get in his car and leave.

"As soon as mom goes to sleep, I will drive you to the bus station.

When we know everyone is asleep she tosses me one of her coats as we head down stairs. She leans down and picks up a backpack with stuff in it. As we head into the garage, she throws the backpack into the back seat then climbs into the driver’s seat. Backing up without the lights on we head down her street. There are no cars in sight which I find to be a blessing. My nerves are on end as I keep looking in the mirror, thinking they will come and follow us. When we get some distance from her house she flips on the cars headlights.  We pull up to the bus station and park the car. Climbing out, we both head inside the station. She buys me a ticket and we sit down waiting for the next bus to depart.

"I will keep my ears peeled to see what I hear. You have my phone, call me anytime you need to," she says.

“Don't you need it?" I ask. 

"No I can get another one, just keep it until you get there. My aunt said she would meet you at the station when you arrived and would keep you safe until we can figure out what’s going on," she explains.

She pulls me to her and sobs into my shoulder. "I'm going to really miss you. Be careful and stay safe," she says. I give her a nod, and then turn to get on the bus. I peer out at my best friend that waves me off with tears in her eyes. My heart hurts as I finally lose track of her. As the bus hits the interstate, I settle into my seat, then fall apart as I cry as quiet as I can. I cry for a long while until my mind wonders on how this happened.  I just didn't see this coming, we were laughing earlier that day. All I could figure, was that my uncle must be involved in something really bad.  Maybe he pissed someone off, or owed someone money. Was I the bargaining chip he was going to use to get himself out of hot water. There was no sadness or pain in his eyes, just anger. I just couldn't think of anything else that could make him act like that. It’s still dark outside as I watch each street light passed by. The bus was empty for the most part except for an occasional person that would board and then get off in a stop or two. The past events left me drained and I found myself dozing in and out as my trip went on. When the bus comes to a stop, announcing our arrival, I snapped out of my trance that I must have been in. Stretching I grab my backpack and head for the door.

               When I get off the bus an older lady stands in silence until I get near her. "So you must be Kirsten. My niece called me and said you needed my help. Her face grows in shock at the appearance of my face. Her face softens, “Let's get you back to my house and then we can work out the details.”

I follow her out to the parking lot where a dark SUV stands. I climbed in as she starts the engine. "My name is Marie, it's nice to meet you," she says as she pulls out.

"Thank you for picking me up," I say as I try to hide my face from her. I can tell she has already seen the bruises and the painful look on her face tells me that she knows I have been to hell and back.

              It's not a long drive at all when we pull up to this white house that has green shutters on the windows. She shuts the car off and climbs out. I grab my backpack and follow her up the stone pathway. She unlocks the door and I walk in behind her. She drops the keys on a nearby table as she heads into another room.

"Do you want some tea? She calls out to me.

 "That would be really nice, thank you,” I say as I look around the room.

A few minutes pass and she comes back with a tray with two cups and some cookies. She sets them on the small table and sits down on one of the couches. She motions for me to sit on the one that’s facing her.

“So Kirsten, what kind of trouble are you it? I just need the basics, you can leave out the really bad parts but I need a little information," she says as she pours her a cup of tea.

"I.......I'm not sure what happened. It's my father. He attacked me out of the blue and I think he was trying to kill me. I have to hide from him. I think he lost his mind," I choke out.

She gives me a surprised look and then picks her tea up and takes a sip. "My dear, it sounds like he did lose his mind. I will keep in contact with my niece and see if anything changes. Until then I will hide you here. This means you are going to have to lay low and the fewer people that know you’re here the better protection I can give you. My niece means the world to me and she talks very high of you. I would move the earth for her. I have a spare room upstairs that you can use, and there are some clothes that my niece has that might fit. And take two of these my dear that looks like it's got to hurt," she says as she hands me two pills with a weary smile.

"Yes," I say as I take them and down them with my tea.

“Now let's get you settled, you look like rest should be your best friend," she says as she stands and starts up the steps.

I move quickly to catch up to her as she makes her way to the second floor. "Over there is the room, and this door leads to a bathroom. If you get hungry or thirsty, the kitchen is downstairs. It’s easy to find. If you need anything else, my room is the far door down the hall. Just give her a knock and I'll help you, she says with a smile.

"Thank you again,” I say as I enter the room she showed me.

In the room is a twin bed with a small dresser to the right with a mirror hanging above it in the shape of an oval. There are a few pictures on the mirror of my best friend Hanna. She's with her aunt and her brother in several of them. I walk over to the dresser and open the first drawer. There are the usual socks, underwear and bras. I shut it and move to the next drawer. Bingo, I pull out a little pink set of pajamas, sliding them on.  I climb into bed pulling the covers up drifting off to sleep in a matter of minutes.

I'm running, and it’s cold and wet. I don't see where I'm running to or from. I look around in the darkness and see nothing but the rain falling from the sky. The street lights light each drop and my feet splash the puddles that are forming on the ground. My heart is thumping and I feel like I'm about ready to come out of my own skin. Then out of nowhere a pair of hands grabs me. My own screams wake me up. I'm sitting up and the sweat is running down my face. My hands are clammy and the covers are a mess form where I was tossing and turning. Suddenly the door busts open and there is Marie standing in the doorway in her robe and a gun in her hand. When she takes in the scene, she puts it against the wall in the hallway and comes into the room.

“Bad dreams," she asks.

"Yes, I'm sorry I woke you up; it was so real. I was living it all over again, the running away part," I say as I try to slow my heart down.

"I'm sure you will have many more of these. At least I will be more prepared for screams in the middle of the night," she says as she smiles at me. “Try to get some sleep," she says as she gets up from the bed and heads over to the door. She looks back one more time and then shuts the door.

              I lay back on my pillow and stair up at the ceiling. Now what, I keep thinking to myself. I'm far away from him and still feel like he's going to come busting in and take me away. To do whatever evil that has come over him. I put my arm over my eyes and begin to cry. I cry silently to try not to wake Marie up. I don't like for anyone to see me cry. Tears run down my cheek, making my pillow wet. I'm so tired and exhausted, I want sleep so bad but there is the fear of slipping into another nightmare. I give in and close my eyes once again . . .

For the next few days, things were a blur, I did a lot of sleeping to let my body regain its strength, but little sleep came as I woke up in panic from nightmares or fear that he found me. On the third day I wake up and its daylight outside, I go to set up making my body protest with every move I make. I’m so sore that every inch of me screams with pain. I slip out of bed and head over and pull out a pair of jeans and a pink top. When I dress, I can see Hanna in this, it's totally her for sure. My face looks much worse than yesterday. The bruises are turning different colors. I see yellows, black and purple, and I'm not sure but I think I see brown. This is going to take a few weeks to fix.

I touch my swollen cheek and wonder if my face will ever look the way it once did. I lean down and grab the backpack and dump the contents out. Hanna’s cells phone, some makeup, a little cash, first aid supplies, a brush and some hair ties. Gees the girl was prepared for a makeover. I grab for the makeup first. I dab on the foundation, only to realize I had to drown my poor face to even make any changes. I put on some blush which helps some but I still look like a mess. I brush out my hair and then put the contents back in the backpack and set it beside the dresser.

I head down to the kitchen to find Marie sitting at the kitchen table sipping some coffee. She has breakfast sitting on the table, the smell is heavenly. I can't believe how hungry I am. I take a plate and load it up with pancakes and bacon. I dig in and it tastes so good. She grins at me as she takes another sip of her coffee. "I'm glad to see that you have an appetite and that I'm hoping that my cooking is good," she says. I nod in appreciation as I shovel another bite in.

"I'm going to be heading out to town and wondered if you needed anything while I'm out," Marie asks me.

“I'm not really sure if I need anything, this is perfect," I say.

"Ok I will be gone for a few hours, stay inside and don't answer the door. I have a house key so I can let myself in.  Make yourself at home," she says as she stands and takes the keys off the table with her purse.

I finish eating and decide to clean the kitchen up. It's the least I could do to repay her for her kindness. After washing the dishes, I head upstairs to find my best friend’s phone. I find it in the backpack sitting next to the dresser. I dial her up and wait for her to answer.

"Hey," she answers.

"It's me," I say.

"Hey, how are things there," she asks.

"It’s great. Your aunt is great. She's been really kind to me. So what’s going on there," I ask.

"Your uncle came by again asking for you and it looks like he took a beating himself. They are treating it like a runaway case. They had a few search parties looking around for you, I think they are watching my house. I can see them parked down the street but mom hasn't even taken notice. I guess they just under estimate us teens," she chuckles.

"Yes indeed," I say.

"Keep in touch with me as often as possible, but I think that we should keep our chats short just in case they are tracing the calls," she says.

"Oh, I didn't think about that. OK, I will talk to you soon," I reply.

"Yes soon," she replies and then hangs up.  I put the phone back in the backpack and head downstairs. If I was going to be here for a while, I figured I would get to know the place a little.



          Rain pours down with a chill to the night air, I find myself running for my life, a nightmare that I could not wake up from, a sick reality that had me on the run. The tears streak down my now dirty face, as I cry with the overwhelming doom that hung over my head. I was all alone, betrayed and wanted for reasons unknown to me. I had so many questions racing in my head with no answers. When I think about how angry he was with me, how he hurt me. It was clear to me that something snapped, he was not the same man I thought of as my uncle that raised me as his own child. Not only was he different, there were others, and I didn’t know who they were or what they wanted.... A noise not far away pulls me from my thoughts, I look up in desperation to find out where the sound was coming from. Fear begins to spike through me as the sounds grow closer; I fear he has found me.

I manage to pull myself off the ground to get to the alley ahead. I hoped that in the darkness I would be able to out run him or even hide. With my racing heart, and gasping lungs, my feet beat against the pavement as I try to reach the alley before they spot me. I manage to get around the corner, drop down and hide myself beside a large metal garbage bin. I squat down, pushing myself against the wall; I conceal myself in the shadows. My breathing is erratic, my heart is pounding and all the adrenaline running through my body is taking its toll on me. I try to calm myself so I can focus on the situation.

Who was I kidding, I was just a teenage girl, helpless and defenseless against him. I couldn’t imagine what he wanted with me that had to do with the strangers that were in our basement? I couldn't let him find me, I had a bad feeling about this whole situation. One thing for sure was that I couldn't hide here all night in this weather, if he didn't find me here, I would catch a cold from the cold rain. I had to make a choice, a risky one but it was still a choice I had to make. I move to the end of the garbage bin to try to peer around the side when sounds of footsteps make me freeze. I pull myself back, wedging myself up against the wall as the sheer panic sets in. I can only hope he didn’t see me in the shadows.

With every hair standing on end, I fight against my body’s urge that screams for me to run. Knowing I can't outrun him with my exhausted, run down body, all I can do is pull my legs up against my body and slow my breathing. I make myself focus on trying to be as calm as possible, as the footsteps grow closer. Full-blown panic starts setting in as I reach up to pull my hood over my head. Without moving a muscle, I watch as the two figures walk past me, making their way up the street, I try to make out who they are with no luck. They are too far away from me now to make out any details, other than they appear to be two males dressed in long black coats. One of the men shouts something to someone at the end of the alley, as they take off running down another alley.

Finding my courage, I manage to pull myself up from my crouching position.  I take one quick look around before taking off running in the opposite direction. As I run, I’m trying to figure out where I can hide so they can’t find me but nothing comes to mind. I continue to run as my lungs feel like they are going to fail me like before, I push myself to continue running down the alley leading to a street, to avoid anyone that might be around searching for me. Stopping dead in my tracts, I spot a fire escape ladder hanging down only a few feet from the ground. I decide that this was worth taking a chance as I jump up grabbing the ladder. I pull the ladder the rest of the way down, and begin to climb up the rusty steps that threaten to give way at my weight. Climbing onto the platform I reach down and grab the top of the ladder, pulling it up so no one can reach it from the ground. Grabbing the rails, I continue to climb up a few more steps putting me further off the ground. 

When I reach the top, I find a window that has long been busted out as the broken glass litters the platform around the window. Carefully I peer inside to see that it appears to be abandoned. Pulling my sleeve down over my hand, I knock the rest of the pieces remaining in the window so I can enter without cutting myself. Taking one last look around I slide on leg in first followed by the rest of my body. Holding on to the frame of the window, I steady myself as I pull my other leg in. Peering out I look for any signs of anyone that might be around only to find the streets quiet with no one in site.  Stepping back from the window I find that every muscle aches in protest making my body scream for some kind of relief. I walk over to the wall and slide down to sit on the ground. Leaning up against the wall, I bring my knees to my chest as I try to calm my body that’s shaking violently from my cold wet clothes that cling to my body.  I close my eyes and listen for any sounds that would signal anyone’s approach.

                With a jolt I wake in a panic, realizing I must have dozed off sometime during the night from exhaustion. I look around to make sure I was still alone. Taking in my surroundings, it appears as if I'm in what must have been an apartment long time ago. It must have been shut down years ago with its poor condition. The room was empty with only trash and broken items littering its floors. The wall paper had peeled down the walls and was marked with spray paint and holes that I could only guess were some kids having fun. I manage to roll over, getting to my feet even though my body protests from the position I slept in. Making my way across the floor avoiding several holes and cracks, I make my way toward the door. With my curiosity I want to see what else may lie ahead in this building. I push the door, making it creek on its rusty hinges. Sticking my head out, I look to see if I can find anything that might help me, but I wasn't going to get my hopes up with the way everything looked. Making my way down the hall without stepping in the damaged part of the floor, I head for the next door. Pushing it open, I see what must have been a bathroom at one time with a broken mirror hanging sideways on the wall over a dirty old skink that was stained with rust and grime. I take my sleeve to my shirt and wipe a spot that was not broken or corroded to see what I looked like. When I find a decent spot what reflects back at me shakes me to my core.

               My poor face is a mess with makeup running down my cheeks as the bruises show from underneath it all. I reach up and rub my face to find that it stings from the cute running along my jaw. Anger runs through me, as I take in my appearance. I look like I was hit by a car with this amount of damage to my face. How could he do this to me? How could he say he loved me like his own child and turn around and attacked me? Tears sting my eyes as I choke down a sob that threatens to undo me. I remove my jacket and drape it over the tub that sits beside the sink that looks more repulsive than the sink. Pulling my eyes away I look back at my poor reflection that now haunts me. My dark hair hangs flat past my shoulders in a tangled mess. The cut is not to deep that it would require stitches, but needed to be cleaned up before any infection set in. My eyes are swollen from crying through the night. I pull my eyes from the mirror to assess the rest of my injuries. I pull up my shirt to find that my side is black and blue to match my poor face. I run my fingers along the black bruise making me flinch from the pain from the kicks my uncle unleashed on me when I was down.

I had no idea how bad it was last night with all the adrenaline raging through me. Pulling my shirt down I move down to pull my pants down only to reveal more bruises that cover several parts of my legs. I don't remember how I got those exactly, but figure it was when I was fighting him off. I pull my pants up and pushing up my sleeves to see more bruises where he held me so tight with his hand that his fingers were almost embedded into my skin. Pulling my sleeves down I reach over and pull my jacket on. I try to sooth my poor hair down to find it’s a lost cause. I turn the knob on the sink in hopes that there might be some water only to jump when black and brown water spirits out of the sink leaving a black puddle in the sink. The water clears up a little I run my hands under to wash the dirt from my hands and face to try to get some of dirt and makeup off my face. When I start I muffled my cry’s when the dirt scratches my face like sandpaper. After washing for several minutes I look up to see my red face without the black eyeliner marks but no better than when I started. He beat the crap out of me with just his hands. I can't let anyone see me like this or they would grow suspicious.

               I make my way through more of the house to find nothing but more old broken furniture with trash lying around everywhere. I figure if there was ever anything left it was taken either by thieves or by the rats that ran up and down the halls. After coming up short handed I head back to the room where I came in. Sliding down the wall I decide to wait it out until dark to travel in the shadows of the night to keep hidden from the world. My stomach grumbles with hunger as I try to ignore it I pull my knees up and rest my head as I fiddle with the locket on my chain around my neck that always gave me comfort.

               I could never truly understand why because I couldn't remember who gave it to me when I was only a small child. It was made of gold in the shape of a tiny heart that had strange writing engraved on the back in some language that I couldn't understand. It looked like it could open but I never could figure out how to get it open without damaging the locket. Out of a nervous tick I would rub my thumb along the engravings of the words. The women that I remember gave it to me only asking only one thing in return "It is very important that you never take it off. Make it a part of you," she said as she finished snapping it. I never took it off and somehow it felt like a part of me now and I relied on it for comfort.

               I replay the events of the night before as my uncle that I had been living with turned on me. He was the one that did this to me and it was a side I had never seen before. He was so angry with me which confused me. I always had tried to be a good child and always did what he told me to do so his behavior had me confused. I thought that he loved me as if I was his own daughter. He had raised me since I was four when my parents were killed in a car accident. I had no other family but him and I could honestly say it wasn't that bad growing up with him. He had taught me many things and I had many happy childhood memories except for the one night he snapped.

    I was so scared when it was happening and now I hated him for it. The hate he had for me in his eyes made no sense to me as I had begged and pleaded with him to stop. When he grabbed me by my wrists pulling me down the steps of our two story house in the middle of the night, I practically fell down the steps behind him. I begged him to tell me what was going on, only to be answered with silence. I pulled away and only got a few feet from him when he grabbed for me again making me trip and fall to the floor hitting my face. Crawling away I was almost up several steps when he grabbed my ankle and pulled me down causing more damage to my face. Yanking me up off the floor he pulled me through the house with almost a growling sound radiating from his throat.

I begged and pleaded for him to stop only to find that it made him angry. "You’re scaring me," I remember telling him with no response as he continued to drag me. I feared what was down there, waiting for me. I was running out of options, finding the courage, I make one bold move by push my body backwards, using my feet I kick at him causing him to lose his grip and go flying backwards down the steps. There were gasps and mumbling from the people down stairs as I turn grabbing at the steps ahead of me, I get to my feet and run as fast as I could up the steps to my room.

               As I entered the room I turned fast and locked the door behind me. I'm in a state of panic and I know I have to act fast because I know that only slowed him down. I run across my room and grab a pair of pants from my floor, pulling them on as I dart to my bed grabbing the purple hood that I took off earlier that was draped on the end of the bed. Pulling the hood on I grab my jacket on the chair when I hear footsteps coming up the steps. I must hurry, I don't know who they are or what they want with me but my gut feeling tells me to run. I open the window and start climbing out when the door to my room comes crashing in. I'm almost out when a pair of hands grabs my leg causing me to fall out of the window to the ground below. I fall on my back knocking the breath out of me leaving me paralyzed and sprawled out on the lawn. I must move, I must get up.

Run . . . Run . . .  I scream in my head as I gasp trying to get air back into my lungs that seem almost impossible. After a minute my lungs suck in precious oxygen letting me move. I roll over, get to my feet, and run. I take off and run for the street trying to put as much space between me and them.

I keep running as my uncle calls out my name. "Kirsten, stop!  You have nowhere to run," he says in a mincing voice.

I hear him running after me as I dart down the side of the building, right into the scary alley that most would steer clear of. I can't think of the possible danger that may lurk in the shadows when I have danger running after me. I keep running as I pull in painful sharp breaths into my lungs as my side’s begin to hurt. My mind races, as I keep running. I make it down a few more alleys when the rain starts to fall. I run a few more blocks darting between more buildings as my body protests from the pain but I keep going till I know that I lost them for the time being. The pain in my body gets to be too much so I take a short rest while hiding beside a garbage bin. I still keep trying to wrap my mind around what they were trying to do or what they wanted me for. This was a nightmare that I was sure I was not going to be waking up from.

               Darkness finally comes and with caution I make my way through the window the same way I came following night. Carefully I make my way down the ladder that threatens to give way as it protests from my weight. Jumping to the ground I dart into a full run till I reach the end of the alley. Pulling my hood up, I look around the corner to make sure no one is around. I make my way through the park as I try to think of where to go. I couldn't run forever, I had to find a safe place. Where do I go from here? I'm only seventeen with no other family other than my uncle that has turned on me leaving me with no one to run to. I had to figure out what to do if I was going to survive the night . .