I felt my own breath get caught in between each time the soles of my shoes pounded on the floor. I was still dashing between the back valley walls, only slowing down at every sharp turn. I had no time to turn fully around, no time to confirm whether I had thrown my assailants off my path. I heard the few pieces of loose gravel skittering against the cement under my feet. I didn’t even care about running through the dark puddles of water spread across different alley paths, as far as I knew they could have been sewage water.
The heat continued to burn and exhaust my chest and lungs. I was reaching my limit, coordination was failing, I was crashing and pushing off every other turn now. I had no real idea where I was headed. Eventually I noted I was back at the all too familiar warehouses, a little farther and maybe I could’ve found the docks.
I felt my knees giving in a bit every so often. My feet were already swelling and I was still cursing myself for having worn these stupid 6 inch stilettos. Like who the fuck can run in stilettos, well besides me? Now? Worst, I didn’t even have time to stop to take them off now. Why in hell did I wear lace up boots, without a fake zipper. I never hated my disdain for fake zip up lace boots the way I did now. Not to mention these stupid bell jeans were not helping. It’s a lie, no matter how loosely flared the jeans are on the bottom, denim is still too constricting to run in.
I made another sharp left turn onto a much wider street, one that actually had lamp posts. I had never been more thankful for being able to see where I was going, or sorta, since I still had no idea where I was going. I really should have had a better plan, or maybe I should have had a plan to begin with. But to be fair, I had no idea what was happening until Jason shoved me out the back window. Actually I still had no clue when I was falling from the freaking third floor. How I didn’t break my ankle, let alone without spraining it is a mystery to me. I actually still had no idea why I was running besides the fact that he jumped out the window after me and told me to run before he took off like the entire Confederate army was after us.
So here I was, running at a speed I didn’t even I know I was capable of. Okay wait, that’s a lie, I ran cross country for six years and I still ran marathons after my four years of grad school. But all of that was hella more easier than trying to run clueless in a darkly sickening and overwhelmingly familiar city in stilettos. STILETTOS. FREAKING SIX INCH LACE UP, NO FAKE ZIPPER STILETTOS! What is wrong with me!?
Well nothing really, they were on sale. I mean real low clearance sale. They were like, what? $72 and were originally $316. That’s like …. let me think, 316 minus 72 is like what? 244. Then divide that by 316...damn can’t look down at my fingers got to take that next left.
I turned left only to realize there were strobing lights appearing against the wall from people running quickly with a flashlight in the far distant yet to turn to find me. I didn’t even have time to halt, let alone stop.
Nope, right it is! Another right because when they make that left they’re going to see me up ahead, and I DID NOT want them to SEE ME. I seriously needed to find a freaking place to hide because I highly doubt I can out run a number of men I don’t even have a number for. No seriously I should have had at least turned to see how many people were chasing me. Damn I was so screwed, like skewered lamb screwed!
Left, my bare arms grazed the wall as I clashed into another back alley. Fuck, what happened to the freaking warehouses leading up to the dock? Everything’s changed so much!
Another left, my palms were scraped up and stinging like a million shards of glass were piercing into my skin. Oh wait, that’s probably because I did, from crashing out that stupid window. CRASHED. He didn’t just shove me out lightly, He shoved me out like the entire building was about to collapse under itself and if we didn’t make it out the next 0.00000002 millisecond we were going under with everything else.
Incase you can’t tell by now, I was only now trying to put together what happened during that last five minutes of that thirty minute dinner before leading up to this past 20 min of running. Who in hell was I even talking to in my head here. I was so losing my mind.
I had to keep my mind busy about running. Had to escape the dark, tainted, haunting streets.
Right, Right, Left because another right would send me in a full circle, or square, since these city blocks were literally made out in grids. Like how unoriginal. If I designed streets I would make them form a shape of a star ship from above. I would give every district a name of a starcraft, like Death Star. Yep I’d definitely live in Death Star district. Nahh, I should just have everyone call it a ……..
I don’t know, but something more original than district. Like Death Star district sounds so freaking lame. Might as well just say I lived in a unicorn….okay wait, not in a unicorn, that just sound so many numbers of wrong. What? Numbers of wrong? That’s not even right.
Oh! Holy! Hell!
Pain stung my forehead, my entire body was sent stumbling back a step. My vision blurred, swimmed, and I had to shake my head to try to recenter it. Pressure was jammed down into my head. Blood was forced to the surface of my face and I could hear the ringing in my ear explode to an echoing eerie silence.
Oh holy HELL. My … fuck … black sweater....look up. Look Up! LOOK FUCKING UP.
I couldn’t force myself to look up at who I ran into in fear of who I may find because I wanted to believe I didn’t know who was chasing me.
Swimming, fuck, swimming, nooooo….
My hands were trembling, my lips quivered so badly I bit down hard on them, as to not scream either.
Look UP! JUST LOOK UP!
My sight was still out of focus.
Then, tips of shaggy brown hair started swimming in and out of my vision in a blur.
I know that sweater. I KNOW THAT SWEATER!
Someone was shaking me now, “hey. Hey. HEY”. Firm hands tried to shake me back into focus. “Get a grip KIRISTY!”
“Fuck…” I was out of breath “Jason?”
“Shit Kiristy, Don’t you look where you are going” He dragged me before I regained my balance.
I was stumbling, in tow behind him as he started running in a different direction than either of us came from, or so I assumed.
Wait what? I replayed his question in my head as I regained focus and balance. I stopped abruptly and pulled my arm out of his grip. “Like Hell I’d be watching where I am going when I don’t even know why I’m running!”
“Shit, Kiristy! Not right now we got to go” He didn’t even have time to pause with his words. He only stopped briefly when I pulled out of his grip.
I was pissed that he reawakened a sense of fear and dread I had thought I’d conquered long ago.
I could hear something in the distance. Wait, not something. I glanced back in the distant direction in which the sound came from.
OH HOLY HELL NO!
My eyes grew wide. Dogs.
I didn’t even think about it. I was already back sparsely on my feet, bolting the hell out of there.
Are you kidding me!? They have dogs on us? WHAT THE FUCK did he do!?
“ They” I gasped “Have dogs on us” I threw him the sidelong glare, my question clear on my face. I skittered on my feet a bit as I felt him tug me slightly to turn left.
Once again we were running down an actual street with street lights. However in the distance I could make out a figure. It was swaying frantically from side to side and growing larger by the second. Then I made out a human silhouette and the swaying was actually their long ass hair flopping from side to side from the speed the human was actually running. Whole body force running, that was what I was witnessing.
Then “HEY!” I know that voice!
“HEY” silence “RUN” silence. Frantic waving from the human silhouette. “Run” more waving “OTHER WAY”.
Silence. Sudden skidding hault.
I turned to Jason “MY BROTHER” I screamed at him as we headed to the left behind a red warehouse and kept running. I could hear my brothers footsteps hasten as he sped up to catch up to us. “You got my brother involved!? Like what the fuck can you have gotten my brother involved”. I shook my head.
Oh HELL NO!
Before I could speak. He’s already yelling.
“Trust me” a sidelong look in my direction told him just how fed up I was “Trust ME! Do YOU TRUST ME!”
I bit down hard on all the foul words I wanted to spit at him and just managed a near silent growl “yeah I trust you....but”
“Kiristy just focus on running. Look at it a like practice for the next charity event you’ll run for”.
I looked over to see him throw me a long sideways smirk of amusement. I knew he was going to throw out a crappy pun to try to lighten my mood, because that’s totally possible in this situation. “Look you’re on a roll, might as well call you butter in those sexy heels”.
Oh so he realized I was wearing these stupid SIX INCH NO FAKE ZIPPER STILETTO BOOTS.
“You know what else has butter on it, toast” I retorted. “AS IN YOU ARE SO FUCKING TOAST” I directed my words at him under a suppressed yell, as it was going to over exert the energy I needed for running.
He said nothing so I looked over at him “did you get that” I was starting to feel the burn in my chest syphon the air out my lungs “you’re toast, as in if they don’t kill you after this, I am! With these stupid shoes!”
He stared at me surprised “Why don’t you just take them off if they suck so bad”
Now my eyes were shooting him lasers to incinerate his soul “I can’t. They don’t have a ZIPPER” I lost my cool on the word zipper.
How long have we been bloody running for?
I could see him judge me as the next words left his lips “Why do you have to fucking hate on zippers man?”
“Gahh….you just should have told me not to wear these stupid things. or better yet tell me what we’re doing tonight” I could eat out his heart right now. Not just for the run, but the simple fact that he did not inform me where we were going for his, I quote, business dinner. During our honeymoon. Our HONEYMOON, and we had to be in this shit hole.
Then again it wasn’t his fault. He didn’t know. It’s not like I could find it in myself to tell him had he told me beforehands anyways. The stark memory clouded my focus.
“I did” his voice broke my trance.
I glared at him.
“I told you not to wear a dress didn’t I?”
My brother caught up with us. “Hey” he was already running out of breath.
“That’s NOT the SAME!” I stared at him. Seriously?! Ignoring my brothers panting.
Left, following Jason.
“Look, I’m sorry. I hadn’t planned for this. Or I did but this was only going to be the worst case scenario”. The saddest part was that I could hear the sincerity in his voice.
“Great, and that’s suppose to make me feel better” I rolled my eyes.
“I’m Sorry alright? I~”
“RIGHT!” My brother yelled and shoved us all out of the alley. We were running towards the loading docks now.
“The boat” I yelled. Not sure why I did that. Like thanks Kiristy, we all have eyes, I can see that there is a boat. So can Jason and my brother.
“GO GO GOG GOOO GOO GGGOOO!” Jason yelled and didn’t just pick up his speed running, he started leaping towards it.
Full on cross country running, steeplechasing style! Like what the fuck?!
I turned this time now. There might as well have been the whole Confederate army after us. There were so many men in black suits chasing after us. Dogs too.
Those stupid furry dogs. Furry freaking canines. I never liked them since they bit at my bangle bracelet at eight. Those beast can go die in hole if they wanted my bracelet for a chew toy. Like Hell No!
I turned back around, I was the last one to jump for the boat. My brother already had the engine started, and speeded away the second the rope was untied. The boat was already moving before I landed in it.
I’m Still Freaking In The Air! Damn it Guys!
I spun around starting to say “You guys better have a holly HELL of a Fucking good reason to~” but my words fell flat.
I felt it then. The strain the long excessive running had worn on me physically and emotionally. My mouth went parch. My head felt like a million weights teetering on either side ready to roll of my shoulder. My arms and hands went numb. My feet swelled so much, they were firmly constricted by the stupid boots I tried to balance in. My legs were shaking and my knees threatened to buckle in beneath me.
But none of that was as bad as the feeling that kicked me in the guts. The sensation that sent my lips into a quivering fit and my eyes on the verge from flooding this whole boat. A distant black wormhole ready to swallow me from inside out had muted the shredding panic of disbelief.
I was covering my lips now with my hands. Unable to say anything. I was not sure why I did it. My hands were just there, ready. As if at any moment my heart would jump right out my throat.
I stared up at Jason’s milky brown eyes now, hidden by his ombre brown hair. To afraid to look back down in his hands, I stared at his face on the verge of caving in on myself. I watched between teary eyes, yet to flow, as a sad smile slowly spread across his face, forming on those thin dried out lips.
I was choking out now. Not quite if I was choking over my words, laughter, or tears. Or probably all three.
I glanced over at my brother, and he had a big fat grin on his face, but tears were clearly streaking down his face too. His eyes were closed, but they didn’t need to be open for me to feel what he was feeling. I was already reliving it.
“You told him” I am not sure how the words escaped my lips.
Jason pulled me in now, his arm behind my back. I could feel the small slim box he gripped press into the small of my back. “It’s okay now” He held me tight as I quivered in his arm. “I know this bracelet belonged to your sister”. I froze at the word sister. I….can’t. Even my internal voice was choking up now.
“I know about your younger sister. I know about how you both got sold at a young age” He whispered into my ears as he cradled me against his chest, chin softly set on top of my head.
“I know you think it’s your fault” He was gently folding me into him.
I sobbed now.
I should have.. . “I should have” I choked up, tripping over the bubbling gasps stuck in my throat.
“Shhh, it’s fine now”.
And I knew he was right. It was fine now, because he had it now. The bracelet, the last thing I had given my sister before we departed. The last thing I gave her when she was alive in that house. that SAME HOUSE as tonight.
All the memories started flooding back. The memory of getting the news.
The last thing I gave her before she was pried out of my fingers and sent away to that horrid family. The last thing I had given her before she was sent away to an abusive family. Before she had been forced to loose her personality. Before I watched her happiness slip away. Before I was told she had killed herself. Before I then found out for myself that she had been murdered for having a bastard child on the way, because she was raped and the wife never held back on her disdain. The last thing I had given her when I told her “it was going to be okay”,
The last thing.
The entire sea heard my echoing sobs now. I let loose my wails all through the night. My tears mixed with the ocean and spread my despair to dissipate amongst the rest of the world.
He had kept that bracelet like a trophy. He had held the last memento of my sister as atrophied prisoner trophy!
The anger still boiled in my blood every time I remembered.
I woke every night from the night terrors of him torturing her even in death. How he held on to her ghost and molested her soul.
“He can’t hurt her anymore” Jason was still cradling me “he can’t hurt you anymore either”. We were slumped on the boat floor now.
“Why would you go so far as to~” I couldn’t finish the question with my fading voice. Tears have ceased now. The world was filled with silence between the out stretch void.
“Hey” he said gently, directing my vision to his face. “I love you, and I wouldn’t let anyone hurt you. No matter the person or reason”. He stared down at me with so much sincerity that a hot flushed sensation overwhelmed my heart. “Didn’t I promise to battle your pain and reclaim your happiness in my vows by the altar?” He had on a small sad smirk.
Yes. Right beside that alter I would have ran from in a mad panic had he not held me in place. Yes he did. And Now I Know he Meant it.
He kissed me on the forehead and embraced me back into his chest. I was all teary eyed again.
“This is the best honeymoon ever”.
With that everyone on the boat burst out laughing.
He held out his hand, and I was ready to look down at the open box. In it sat the blue chalcedony, sapphire, and diamond bangle bracelet that matches perfectly to the one on my wrist. Well except mine had the chipped from the canine bite from 16 years ago.
The last perfect imperfect pair left in this world.
I stared down at the bracelet “Seriously, I love you too”.
She was always the perfect one out of the pair. Even now.
“I know” He whispered as he kissed me again on the forehead. “Oh and for the record if the police comes knocking, that’s the same bracelet you originally had and we totally didn’t steal that on our honeymoon”. I couldn’t love his smirk anymore than I did right there and then.