After learning that Caiden had been the one who planted the tree in the park, the owner gave him the okay to oversee its replacement. His eyes lit up immediately, and he took no time in deciding what to do.
"A willow, place a bench beneath it." She would like that, he knew she would.
After the ground had begun to heal, and grass began to grow again, the owner made the appointment to plant the tree. The bench was placed next to it temporarily. It would have to be moved once it got bigger.
"Nature has a mind of its own." Brad said to Caiden one night as he took a drag from his cigarette.
"Yeah." Caiden laughed bitterly. They were standing outside of a bar watching cars pass by. It had been a long month for the both of them.
"Let's go driving, you know like we used to." Brad said flicking the cigarette butt off into the distance. He exhaled and smoke rose around him, the smell filling the air around them.
"What?" Caiden laughed.
"Come one. Let's go raise hell, yell out the window at hot chicks, piss kids off, yell insults and other crazy shit as we drive past."
"We aren't sixteen anymore, we both have respectable jobs. We are adults. Plus Krista won't be pleased if you get in any sort of trouble, I certainly don't want to face her wrath." Caiden raised and eyebrow and glanced at Brad. He only shrugged.
"Fuck her," He laughed. "She'll get over it." Caiden shook his head, he knew that Brad cared for Krista, but he was an ass.
"I don't know."
"Come one, loosen up!" Let the inner child out." He threw his head back and laughed. Then he shoved Caiden.
"If anything happens, it is all on you. I will make that perfectly clear to Krista if we end up in a jail cell or something." Caiden said with a sigh. He put his hands in his pockets and looked at Brad who was grinning wildly. He yelled in celebration then ran to his car lighting another cigarette as he did. Caiden shook his head and followed behind him. This was extremely childish and for a moment Caiden didn't have a care in the world.
Ava was sleeping in a small den she had found near a creek. She figured she would be safest there. She managed to find a long stick that she had fastened into a spear. Good for distance and for throwing, not that she had any idea how to use it properly. But a weapon was a weapon at this point. She then gathered some rocks and created a neat little pile near her; she figured that she could throw those too... or something. Ava had found a thin rock, that was conveniently shaped like an arrow head. It was sharp too, she had pricked her finger on the tip to be sure. It would be useful if someone got close, at least that's what she told herself. Eventually, Ava wanted to tie it to a stick and use it as a stake or a spear.
Everything seemed calm, the rustling seemed to have stopped awhile ago and soon Ava had stopped listening for foreign noises, mistake number one. Second, she let herself relax. After dark, not that she could tell the difference in this god forsaken forest if it weren't for the temperature drop,Ava lit a fire... her third mistake. She had fallen asleep, finally feeling warm.
"Stupid girl." Ava woke with a start, laughter surrounding her. Slowly, she moved into a crouching position, her spear in one hand awkwardly and her arrow head in the other. She scanned the area slowly, looking for a face to match with the voice. She didn't see one.
"Poor thing," it spoke again. "You shouldn't have lit that fire." It was behind her now. She spun around and stepped back. The creature that stood before her looked human, aside from its teeth and eyes. As the creature smiled at her, another set protruded over top the original set... Fangs. At the same time the pupils of the eyes dilated until there was nothing but black holes left. Panic set in Ava's body.
"S-stay back." She said, pointing the hand crafted spear at it.
"It's not going to stop me honey." It smiled licking its fangs thirstily.
"Maybe not..." Ava gulped. She stepped back and almost fell on her ass. She glanced at her feet, the stones she had piled were just under her. Thinking quickly she moved one onto the top of her foot. It was a decent size one, and heavy. Exhaling slowly, she kicked hard.
The stone hit the creature in the face, stunning him for a moment. Ava took the chance to run.
"Bitch. I am going to kill you slowly and painfully." The monster hollered as it followed her.
Ava didn't stop to catch her breath or look behind her, she just kept running. Right now that was what her life depended on. She could hear the creature behind her and it was gaining, the crunch of dead grass and leaves growing louder and louder with each second. Ava's heart was pounding, she needed to lose this thing.
She had been following the creek, and immediately realized what she had to do. It would throw him off, even if it was only for a moment of two. She crossed the creek, the water cold on her ankles and legs as it splashed. Her senses were heightened due to the adrenaline rush, she could see better, hear screams and howls from far away, and smell everything around her. She could smell the moss, the water, and even fresh blood that was being spilled nearby. Even the sound of her own feet hitting the ground made her run faster.
Even with the time she had bought herself, she would never be able to outrun this thing. It wasn't human. Somehow Ava had to get the upper hand... the high ground. As she ran Ava looked up, an idea forming in her mind.
"Fuck." She muttered. She had never been a tree climber, but she had to learn now, and fast. Finding some footholds, Ava began to pull herself up. She worked as quickly as possibly and perched herself on a branch. Now what? She thought.
She didn't have much time to think; he was close, she could hear him. Ava knew that she couldn't afford to make a sound, she was at a huge disadvantage. This thing was a hunter and Ava had no experience at all. What knowledge she did have came from fantasy books. She needed the element surprise, it was her strongest strategy and that started with absolute silence. If she gave away her position she was done for. Counting to five in her head, she focused on breathing. Then she sat still listening and waiting.
When the monster appeared Ava acted instinctively... or impulsively, she couldn't really be sure. As soon as it was directly below her, she dropped down holding her spear firmly downward with her knees bent. She felt the stick sink into its target and rip flesh. He crumpled to the ground beneath her, temporarily unconscious. Adrenaline pumping, she pulled the spear from his body and thrust it into the creature again and again. Eventually, it broke so she used her small arrowhead instead. Blood spattered onto her face and hands and everywhere else. She slashed away continuously, too afraid to stop.
By the time her fear had died out. Ava had no idea whether or not the monster was dead or not, so she ran and didn't stop until she was far away from it. She washed off in the creek. Blood stained her face and hands. Ava scrubbed and scrubbed, but the feeling wouldn't leave her skin. Giving up, she stood and walked for a while in the water. She walked for what felt like miles, she didn't want to leave any trace of her scent anywhere.
Ava tried to think of the situation as if she were a character in her favorite novels. She had the sick realization of knowing how it felt to be in the 'The Hunger Games'. Hell, she felt like Bella from 'Twilight', weak and helpless... human. She needed to find a way to stay safe... to stay alive. For herself, her sanity, for her family and for her Peeta, Caiden.
That night had only been the first of many, Ava found herself in the same situation for almost an entire year. Running nonstop, never able to rest. Eventually she began sleeping with her eyes open, a hand on her arrow head which she had turned into a small stake. Looking at the tree she now called 'home', there were 730 carvings, two years. Three more to go, then Ava could go home, see her mom, dad, sisters, brother, and Caiden.
At first, all she had thought about was Caiden. But then she had a nightmare about her family. It was so vivid; Ava wasn't sure if it had been her own creation, or if Red Eyes had put it in her head. She saw their bodies, mangled and bloodied in their home. Then from the corner of her eyes she saw a shadowy figure running, and a flash of red eyes. Rather than chase the figure, Ava ran toward the house, but as she did it caught fire. Screams came from the house and horror rose inside Ava, they were still alive. Acid caught in her throat when she heard the familiar laughter, but then she woke up, unable to shake the dream.
A sound from below caught her attention, she leaped form her tree and landed softly on the ground. She kept her heart rate down by breathing slow.
"I can hear you." She said loudly. "I am not afraid of you," and she wasn't. She had seen many terrible things here, and killed many things as well. In Purgatory it was either kill or be killed, Ava had a goal and nothing would keep her from it. She wasn't afraid of anything anymore, or so she thought.
A movement from the bushes caught her eye. She inhaled deeply and as she exhaled, Ava threw a small spear she had crafted. Without any hesitation she ran in that direction. A large figure jumped at her and they tousled on the ground for a moment, pulling hair and attempting to slit the others throat. One Ava had the upper hand; she stabbed the attacker in the throat, blood spurting everywhere. The man choked on his own blood and his grip loosened.
"He was going to be my lunch." Ava spun around and saw a woman looming over her.
"Too bad," she smirked. Inside, her heart was racing. She hadn't seen or heard the woman approach, a fatal mistake.
"Well," The woman crossed her arms. "You'll have to do."
"We will see." Ava stood, preparing to fight again. The woman growled loudly, hands out while her talons extended. She grinned wildly and her fangs protruded. Just before they lunged forward, something startled the two of them.
A crashing sound far behind made Ava's heart pound more, she had missed two predators. She was dead if she didn't act now. Turning back to the woman, she lunged forward onto her while she was still distracted and staked her right through the heart. A sure kill; a skill she had learned by trial and error. She thought she had been dreaming when her first kill came back to life and followed her for days before attacking. Ava thought she would be dead then, but she wasn't. She learned to be smarter then they were.
"It'll kill you, it isn't like anything you've seen." She gasped, a smile spread across her face.
"I doubt that." Ava replied in a low tone.
"Don't be so sure." The girl laughed.
Ava removed the stake and stood, kicking the girl in the face for good measure. To the left she heard rumbling once more, followed by a deep growl. Then the ground began to shake and Ava could hear the thing moving towards her. Without thinking, she took off in the other direction.
Ava only saw the creature once after hearing it that day. It was completely terrifying. She was reminded of a Minotaur, straight from a Greek mythology book. That thing was only the first of the new monsters; Ava later discovered that there were MANY others. Three headed beasts, shape shifters, and many many more. It was as if Red Eyes had released them as further torture. He really didn't want Ava to live through this. Regardless, she had defied the odds; it was year four, 1440 day. She was going to survive.
Hello lovelies, I realize that I haven't really left any note for you guys. So here is a pretty long one. :P Hope you are enjoying this.. I don't know if its too freaky, or freaky at all. Like and comment. I really appreciate it! Ava is in a lot of shit right now, and more has just been thrown at her. It isn't looking to good for her. Meanwhile back on earth, Caiden might be getting over the loss and moving on with life. He might forget about her before she has a chance to return at all. xD Just things for you to think about, if you read this blurb at all.