On The Edge


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1. Prologue

For J

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I ran.

I ran from what I loved and knew; what I now yearn for.

I fled from warm, tingly summer evenings and nights where my tongue would permanently be stained with unripened berries. I dashed away from cold, unforgiving winters and frosty mornings, spent curled up to the toasty fireplace, a sweet marshmallow melting in my mouth. I hid from wet spring afternoons and red autumn sunsets. I disappeared and veiled myself from everyone, until I was forgotten and eventually, lost in the dark shadows.

But I regret it.

Butterflies flutter frantically around in my stomach, creating a feeling of nausea and guilt. I regret what I did, and now all I feel is utter shame. I let my emotions control me and they ended up hurting someone I loved. Someone I trusted who has now gone, forever. The butterflies have turned into heavy stones and I wince when I think of what I did. I ran because of what I did. There was no choice, either: do or die. Some things aren’t meant to happen…they just do.

Swiftly, the memory comes back to me. Prevent it, I tell myself, but this time I can’t. I try to block it out, but it bounces back, like a ball hitting a racket, even faster and more powerful than before. Finally, with an aching head, I give in to the memory. Let it get me, I think.

 I’m tired of running, let it get me.

 

Cartoon images flow through my head, in a comic strip fashion. No words or sounds. Just a mime-like play acting out.

The girl. Is it her? Of course. Her blonde hair billows in the slight breeze. Her dainty footsteps make no sound on the hard, rocky ground.

She looks scared. Not petrified, but jittery and nervous. I start to regret what I am doing and I consider turning back. But she knows. Perhaps she won’t tell anymore. A snitch to a parent, a gossip to a friend, a shout to the police: all it would take to get my secret out.

Guilt eats at my rumbling stomach and reminds me I haven’t had a proper meal in days. Never mind, I can eat later; when it is done.

Now do it.

No.

Do it.

I can’t.

Do it.

Run! I want to scream, if she leaves, no one will get hurt. But she stays there. Still a perfect princess and me, still the villain. Cautiously, she scans her surroundings. She can’t see me, no one can. I edge away from my hiding spot and feel a crunch beneath my feet.

NO!

The girl swings round accusingly and faces me. She looks startled until she realises why she is here. Eyes brimming with fear, a silent word plays on her lips: No.

She knows.

As I take one step forward, she takes one back. It takes six steps until she is on the edge of the cliff. Just one more step. A million thoughts flash through my mind until I am left with one: anger. I lunge towards her, my hands trembling as I push. A silent scream escapes her mouth, as she stumbles and falls into the crashing waves below. The moment replays in my mind, now unforgettable.

 

Cartoon images flow through my head as if it is a nightmare. Except it’s not.

 

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