I open my eyes. My body is still trembling from the excruciating pain of my previous death. I try to keep my hands from shaking, but they won't stop.
Slowly, I sink onto the damp pine needles resting on the forest floor. Leaves scatter the ground, some falling from the trees restlessly.
I am done dying.
These faded shorts and cropped tee are a stark contrast to what I was previously wearing. The tee is breathable and
comfortable; the shorts will allow me to run more quickly, increasing my chance of escape. I am not going to let
myself die. I will run, fight, and I'll do anything and everything in my power to stay alive this time. I force myself to stand, becoming lightheaded.
Once I regain my composure, I stick my foot out as if to take a step, but then I question myself. Where am I going? I see no signs of civilization, and I notice twilight approaching. Great. I'll probably be killed by wolves tonight.
I feel like something is out of place -- just wrong. I pivot behind me, to see the ever familiar eyes of the guy from
my burning barely an inch from my nose.
I gasp and back into the tree. "Wh-what are you doing here? Who are you? How are you he -- "
He laughs, a deep, sensational noise. I have a sudden sense of familiarity, and I silently curse myself. I don't even know the guy.
"Those are a lot of questions for me to answer in such a short amount of time, Leilah."
Of course he would know my name.
I rest my hand on my hip, a slight smirk creeping towards my mouth. "Well, I wouldn't have asked them if you weren't
so creepy and mysterious." I wiggle my fingers as if I were performing magic. I don't know how I feel so comfortable
around this stranger; any other time a random man in the woods was talking to me, I would definitely hit him
on the head with a stick. But how is he here? He can't be here. It's impossible to follow my ever-changing bodies, unless he's like me.
He tenses, and all of the sudden, the grin is wiped from his face. "Lei, you have to get out of here."
His drastic change of emotion is startling. "Uh, how exactly will I do that? It's not like I can just wake up, as if it were a
"You have to stay here, in this forest, where nothing will get you. I'll protect you from whatever death you will have to face until you have to power to leave."
"Of course, trusting my life with a complete stranger is something I do everyday. Oh wait, I don't do that, since I'm so
caught up in dying."
He turns his face away from me and mutters, "We're not strangers."
I look at him as if to say, sure, whatever you say goes, punk.
And, of course, my death welcomes me with a howl.
I look up to the trees, letting off a string of curses. "Flying monkeys aren't even real!"
"Yeah, well, this isn't real!"
And then a flying monkey jumps down towards him.
I'm so put out about the flying monkeys that I just stand there, pouting, as the monkey descends.
And, of course, he pulls out a long dagger, and shoves it straight through the crazed animal's face. I don't even blink.
"I'm kind of getting tired of dying every day," I say, as he battles the deranged creatures, killing them off one by one.
The monkeys are so preoccupied with fighting him that they don't even notice me just standing there.
Well, this is a first. I'm not even surprised.
After the last monkey has a dagger shoved through his heart, Mysterious-and-strangely-familiar-man grins at me. His eyes sparkle with amusement.
And then another monkey suddenly appears, ripping out his throat.
He's not wearing that grin anymore.
Suddenly, my body is overcome with so many emotions at once.
Pain, regret, sorrow, terror, agony.
I bend over and throw up, my body shaking with sobs.
That's when I realize that David is dead.
And I finally wake up.