Run, Rabbit, Run
Run, run, run. Run faster. Why aren’t you running faster?
Sobbing, crying, pleading. My fists beat futilely on the metal gate. They furiously shake the rusted padlock, as though the tears falling on the iron might act in place of a key if they don’t convince some higher being to magically provide a way out.
Please, please, please.
Alas, I am alone. Not for long, though. It has found me.
The sound of steel scraping on the battered, concrete ground reaches me first. Next comes heavy breathing. Mocking, raspy laughter follows closely behind. Traitorously, my body faces it like a moth drawn to fire. If the sounds weren’t enough to paralyze me, the image of blood-stained black oozes from a mouth curved to match the moon above us certainly does.
Hiccuping and hyperventilating, I flatten against the gate. They say you don’t truly know whether you fight or you freeze until you’re forced to find out. Well. At least now I know.
Wake up, wake up, wake up.
It limps forward, and any gratifying consolation from the knowledge that I wounded it is immediately dashed by its apparent lack of care for the shard of glass jutting from its bleeding leg. At the time, it felt like a sliver of luck bestowed upon me. At the time, it felt comforting. Clever, even. Now, it feels as foolish as a child throwing a pebble at a giant.
Scrape, scrape, scrape.
The metal axe winks from underneath a layer of grime and dirt and a substance that looks eerily familiar to hair. But it isn’t just any hair. No, no, no. It’s her hair. Her chocolate brown hair that she had spent an hour curling and twisting and pampering. Her hair that she demanded to know what I thought of. “It looks nice,” I had said. “Beautiful.” I smiled. “Same as usual.”
It was her hair that fell in perfect waves just so over her still-open eyes and stuck to her smeared mascara as her body fell to the ground in front of me. Her hair that now stuck to some mixture of still-warm brain matter and wet blood on a dull-edged axe.
You’re next, you’re next, you’re next.
Lifting the axe, it plucks a piece of her and plops it into its mouth. Its eyes close as it groans from the delicious taste. It grins at me, showing its blackened teeth. Bile rises in my throat. A useless scream comes out instead. Its eyes glitter in response.
It’s just a dream. I blink and pinch my arm and claw at my face. It has to work. I’m only dreaming, after all.
Warm liquid runs down my face in streaks.
Fingers come away bloody.
Breathe, breathe, breathe.
Pieces of flesh remain trapped behind what’s left of broken fingernails.
Liquid seeps from lips.
Calm down, calm down, calm down.
Blood stains fabric torn by glass.
Dirty hands grip the wood handle.
You’re driving yourself crazy, crazy, crazy.
Her eyes twinkle with fear.
I found you.
[Image via Fine Art America]