The little girl ran intently through the dense forest, her heart pumping, her arms ripped and bloody, her right leg dragging at her side from the broken ankle. She tried not to think about the pain. She tried to ignore the shallow breaths that came from her mouth, get her mind off the pain radiating from her entire body. She had made a pathetic attempt at a cast with a long, white hair ribbon. And, of course, she ditched those glass high heels an hour ago. The ones that twisted her right foot on itself when they broke, creating a horrible cracking sound that she had a hard time forgetting. But she wasn't going back to Them. Not now. Not ever.
She gasped then from a fresh wave of pain and threw herself against the nearest tree. The sweat rolled down her neck, thick and cold, soaking itself into the collar of her white victorian dress. The little girl gathered up the folds of her dress to reveal a pair of thigh-high black and white socks. They must've thought she was adorable, to dress her up like a freak emo doll, with all the bows and ribbons, the heavy face paint, mixing and matching black and white colors throughout. Only now, all of their effort had been laid to waste. Her dress hung in rags in her hands, tatters all over. The socks had been torn beyond reconigntion, and now revealed patches of scraped pink skin. Her ribbons had fallen out long ago.
The four-year-old sighed, pushing herself up off of the tree. She tried to catch her breath, but that in itself was painful. She pressed on, looking behind her every few seconds, making sure They weren't around. She was as careful as a kid could be not to step on that right foot, and instead hobbled akwardly along, falling a number of times. The birds sang in the forest around her, and that made her feel somewhat assured. Like they knew what was happening to her. Felt her pain. Her thoughts drifted again. Back to Them.
Maybe they thought she was like a show monkey. They could put her up on the stand, have people stare and point and laugh. She shuddered. No. That wasn't right. Not at all. They often seemed preoccupied with her safety, and wanted to make her happy. Only, this time, it had gone beyond all that. So far that it...
The kid fell again, and as she picked herself up, tremors racked her body. She knew she was in terrible shape. They would find her all right. In a ditch, dead. A wave of naseua overtook her head and she had to throw up. Still kneeling on the ground, the blood poured from her mouth. She forced herself to stand up. So much blood. It was just so.... The girl started to gag again, but swallowed before anything happend.
She then started off on her merry way again, forcing her mind to wrap around the pain in her body, in her head and in her heart. Thoughts of Them floated to her, as if They wanted to comfort her in her escape. She tried to ward the Thoughts off. If They found out where she was, They would come after her. Then it would all be over. But she failed. Their warming Thoughts wrapped themselves around her mind, tempting her. Tempting her to come Home. She tried to block them, throwing herself to the ground in the process, but the Thoughts were relentless. The girl started to cry as the ever-familiar images flashed in her head. There was a fire. Lavion sat by it, holding another child. He was reading a storybook to him. The kid held a cookie, and would take tantalizing bites every now and then. She could feel the warmth, the love there.
But, no. That was wrong. They were wrong. There was no love there. Only lies. Lies and torture. God forbid they would take the whip to her once they captured her. The girl shot cold Thoughts right back at them. Only hers told Them of the pain and abuse she had suffered at their hands, all the lies and humiliation. Her mouth set in a grim line, she kept trying to subdue Them. You can't trick me, she Thought. I won't let you. You are all lairs and that's all you'll ever be.
In reply, They sent her a suprised Thought, as if she had actually hurt their feelings. But, sweetheart, we just want to get you home. We'll get you a nice bath, with lots of toys. And we'll fix your arms so they don't hurt anymore. And you can have all the cookies you want, sweetie! Just tell us where you are. Their multitude of beautiful voices faded, waiting for a reply.
Liars!The girl practically screamed aloud. When, no, if I come home, you'll just whip me and lock me away. It was hard for her to fight the tears, to not just give in to Them, but she tried. I'm not coming home to you, never! Got it?
Oh, I think you are. Don't worry, we're going to find you. They Thought. Their voice was calm. Then the Thoughts faded, finally leaving the child alone on the forest floor, crying. She grimaced, trying to think of happy thoughts. Find a little sanctuary within herself. But it was for no use. It was impossible to ignore the situation she was in. At the very least, she could try to move on.
The girl gathered herself up off the ground, once again trying not to puke blood. She hobbled forward, underbrush scratching at her, noticing how dark the sky was getting. She hummed quietly. Just to make the minutes pass without too much pain.
Maria Sonrisa Sanchez, the eighteen-year-old beauty queen, had no idea what awaited her as she pulled out of her cousin's driveway that evening. She had the perfect wavy dark hair and tan complexion most guys would drool over. But what really made her special was that she was Christian. A heart of gold and a perfect church record. Every day, when she got up, she just knew that she was going to do something for the Lord, even if it was only refusing beer at her cousin's wild party.
Maria drove off down the forested road. The sky was a dusty orange, and Fergalicious blasted on her radio like it was the summer of '07. For her, everything was perfect.
It was her cousin's, Kevin Oberez, birthday today. Fiftieth. And, instead of the usual cake n' ice cream, Kevin had opted for heavy drinking and go-kart racing. Maria personally didn't drink, but she respected Kevin's wish to have fun. Most of her night was spent politely refusing beer after beer and watching people wreck on her cousin's personal go-kart track. She lived a few states away, in Colorado. In a eastern slope town stupidly named Super Tall. You can imagine how that went over in conversations. "Where do you live?" Then, a blush. "Oh, Super Tall."
She decided to drive over for a few days, but thought it would be much better if she left the party before everyone was so drunk that they wanted to go hunt unicorns with a shotgun.
Maria tapped merrily to the tune on the steering wheel of her blue SUV, not paying attention to anything but smiling.
Then her headlights revealed a small figure standing in the middle of the road. A little girl. Probably her parents let her play in the road.
She slammed on the brakes, screaming, her lovely locks of hair bouncing madly. Maria waited a few seconds, catching her breath. But, then, even after Maria motioned to the girl, she wouldn't move. What was wrong? Then Maria saw it. The blood. All over the poor kid.
"Oh, dear Mother Mary," Maria breathed, hand over her mouth. She leaped out of the SUV and ran to the girl. She grabbed onto her, holding the kid like she was her own. "What happened?"
"They're looking for me," the girl said. "They're going to find me."
Maria didn't know what to make of that. She tried again. "Where are your parents?"
"I don't..." The blood-stained girl let the last few words slip as she fainted in Maria's arms. Maria swallowed, not knowing what to do. If her parents were nearby, they could help. She scanned the road and surrounding forest, looking for somebody, anybody. But there wasn't even a house. Not even a car. Nobody. The kid was alone.
Maria was then scared, terrified, really. In her arms hung a half-dead girl and her parents didn't even seem to be in the area. But her fear didn't stop her from putting the kid in her car and driving to the nearest hospital at seventy miles an hour.
"It's amnesia," the doctor said patiently. Suspisciously. "She doesn't remember anything. Her parents. How she got hurt. Are you sure she wasn't hit on the head?"
"I don't know." Maria let her eyes drop. She really didn't know anything. But everyone kept pressing her. Over and over. Like they thought she hurt the poor baby.
The doctor shifted his weight from one foot to the other, blue eyes unrelenting. It was like they were trying to burn holes in Maria's brown eyes. They stood outside the little girl's room, awaiting a visit from the cops. The very thought of police getting involved made Maria's hair stand on end with fear. There were a few members of her family that weren't too proud. But she knew that police helping was for the welfare of the child.
"That kid has awful, deep cuts all over her arms. Her ankle is totally fractured. And she has amnesia. I would like to find her parents."
"I told you," Maria replied, shaking. "I have no idea who she is. She was standing in the middle of the freaking road."
"Right," the sandy-haired doctor said, shaking his head. "Sorry I asked." He walked away, leaving Maria wishing that she could punch him in the face for not believing her.
She had to wait there another hour and a half for the cops to show. They questioned her for what seemed like forever, but didn't get anything out of it.