The Girl From the Woods

He wanted her to feel safe, to trust him, before he took her life away.

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2. TWO

I found her the next morning, stretched out on the back deck, her one hand reaching, presumably for the lock of the door. Her other was bent at a horrible angle, obviously broken.

I thought she was dead. But she was breathing slowly, and every so often her body twitched.

My stomach churned as I took in her present form: torn blouse, bruises on every inch of her that I could see, and a ripped skirt. Her brown hair was tangled, matted with leaves and mud.

As she looked at me with fear in her green eyes, I knew she didn't have much time left.

"Don't," she croaked, watching me take a step back. "It's too late."

"What's your name?" I asked as I bent down to touch her face. For comfort. But she flinched.

"Rachel," she answered weakly. "You?"

The left side of her face was covered in something red, but as I looked closer, I saw the shape of a hand in the blood.

I never had the chance to tell her my name.

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