Monsters in the Trees, Steel in her Heart : The Girl (Conclusion)
She watched the single leaf fall, drifting, gliding as it rode the gently breeze changing its path of descent, falling as if in slow motion until finally, it settled on the ground. She felt a surge of energy moved like a wave across the forest, small animals scattered, breaking cover, birds squawked as they flew away in terror. Gripped by an intense fear, the girl felt her stomach tightened, the taste of bile threatened to spew from her throat, she swallowed hard to hold it down... her heart began to beat, thundering like an African talking drum, she feared the noise would communicate her position to the killer, who was even now moving ever closer to her position.
Her legs felt numb she could barely feel her fingers and toes. Distraction, she thought, she needed to keep her mind active, she must focus on something other than her discomfort. She remember reading somewhere that a person could slow down their heart beat by controlling the rate of their breathing. She concentrated, took deep slow breaths until she was able to feel the steady sequence of her heart thumping, lub-dub....lub-dub, the beats got slower and stronger. The girl was resisting sleep, she struggled to stay awake. She waited, she knew that the horror would soon be over, whatever happens.
Her nemesis, who called himself the hunter moved in for an easy kill. He walked with purpose, savoring the moment of his sinful gratification.
The psycho came into view, he hesitated, stopped to look around him, he gazed up into the trees but did not find what he was looking for. The killer took a deep breath and exhaled in exasperation, he could almost taste the girl, he knew she was near, but damn, he couldn't see her, he shouted “I know where you are, I can smell you...if you come out now, I'll make it quick. “ The girl shivered.
The psycho continued, his voice laced with unsuppressed anger, the malevolence glowing from the little piggy eyes like hot coal. “ Come out, you stupid bitch.. killing always give me an appetite, and there's a pot of rabbit stew waiting for me, with the little beauty who's going to replace you... she'll be good and scared now, just the way I like 'em.”
The psycho unknowingly, moved so close to the girl, he could have touched her, the girl held her breath.
How could she contemplate taking a life, God help her, she remembered the horror she felt when her grandmother killed the chicken for Sunday dinner. Only five years old, she watched in horror as her sweet gentle grandma took hold of the chicken's scrawny neck, held the struggling fowl between her knees and sliced off the terrified creature's head. The animal flew from her hands, hopping and jumping around the front garden, a trail of blood in its wake, as the very life drained, spouting from it's neck.
The decapitated chicken jumped passed the petrified child splashing warm blood across her face, she let out a deafening scream as she stood trembling with fear. The child's mother came running from the house, took in the chaotic scene at a glance, then catapulted into action.
She flew out of the front door and down the stairs, gathered the little girl up in her arms, tenderly she embraced the child before carrying her to the bathroom where she undressed, showered and comforted the girl. Her mother would later try to explain that the chicken was always meant to provide food, and that grandma was only preparing dinner for her family whom she loved very much. However; the little girl was not buying the explanation, and would never really fully trust grandma again, the child became a vegan, not a morsel of meat ever knowingly passed her lips from that dreadful day.
Strangely; here she was armed and ready to kill. Her heart told her “thou shalt not kill” the voice in her head insisted, “it's you or him, he will kill you, then another and another until he's caught, what if he is never caught, whose child will he kill next?
The thought of another frightened young girl tied and trussed up like an animal somewhere in the forest, ended the debate between heart and head. She was resolute, she must finish it here and now.
She forged her heart into cold steel, she felt the energy ran through her body, her hearing acute. The hairs on her skin stood up, she could feel the intruder's every move.
He walked over to the tree, the heavy work boots carelessly crushing its way through old rotting leaves and twigs, each step he took exclaimed his position to her sensitive ears as she picked up the slightest sound like a pulse of radar. He moved closer into the shadow of the old oak under which she waited to send the evil beast to meet his maker.
Leaning against the tree trunk, the psycho lit a cigarette and dropped the match stick, it landed on the hand that was glued to the piece of wood the girl hoped would despatch the maniac from this world. She felt the dying flame licked at her skin, yet, she did not move.
The Psycho, took a deep draw on his cigarette, dropped it and ground it under his boot.
“Hey bitch, I don't have all day, don't make me mad girl, or it will be worse for you.”
The girl breathed deeply, it's now or never, the pile of old branches and dead leaves exploded like Vesuvius, in a single movement she brought the stick up into the psycho's lower abdomen, impaling him on the piece of wood as she stood up. “ The name is Jenny...Jenny Camacho, may it ring in your ears through all eternity, you monster.” she screamed at him. A look of shock, disbelief and panic crossed the psycho's face as the light faded and left his dead eyes.
Jenny felt exhausted, the tears she cried tracked down her face, blinding her eyes as she stumbled away from the horrific scene. She was lost, she did not know which way to go.
Just when she thought she could not take another step, Jenny felt she was being watched.
Very slowly she turned around, she was surprised to find a lone fox calmly sitting on a patch of grass in what looked like a pumpkin patch only a few feet from her. The girl gazed into the animal's eyes, the fox held its ground, then stood up, turned and began to walk away. Jenny stood still, the fox stopped, turned its head towards Jenny, the girl felt that the animal wanted her to follow.
Jenny began to move, she followed the fox as it weaved its way along a narrow path that zigzagged though dense tangled thickets, until the strange pair emerged into a meadow on the edge of the forest.
The fox led Jenny to a path that ran under a large oak tree then stopped. Jenny looked around, she saw lights in the distance and knew she was safe. She turned back, but even as she looked for the fox she knew he was no longer there, like a ghost, the animal had vanished. Jenny looked up at the sky, the sun was setting she knew she was safe, she smiled sadly and softly whispered to the sunset “goodbye my friend.”
The morning papers reported that a young girl, Jenny Camacho, had killed the psycho who called himself "the hunter." And that the girl had escaped alive.
The information she gave the police helped to rescue another young girl who was held in a cabin in the woods. The girl was found bound and gagged, almost out of her mind, but the Mayor's daughter was alive and well.
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This is my alternative ending to Frank Atanacio's Screaming into the Darkness of her Despair. This was written before Frank's challenge for "Monsters in the Trees" so it doesn't follow the criteria.
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