Friday, January 11, 2013

Flashback Friday: Risa (Part 4)


Part IV

  I didn’t look back at the girl. I kept on walking, onward.... It was getting cold, but the snow really was pretty. The woods weren’t very thick so I knew I couldn’t hide here for long. I could walk to the train station. Yes, I’d do exactly that! That’s what I would do. But, I’d have to continue farther along the woods until I found one. I couldn’t go back in the city, it was too risky since they knew my face. The girl behind me was still there. Whatever her name was…Risa… I stopped walking but didn’t turn back.

  Suddenly I heard shouts and feet padding on the soft snow.

“Risa! Risaaaaaa!” Voices were calling out. I turned around to see what exactly was going on. Two boys, whom I didn’t know, came running down a hill in the distance. The fat one was the noisiest, crying out ten times louder than the other one. I craned my neck even more, for some reason my body refused to move itself.

  Strangely, Risa didn’t answer, nor did she budge. The fatter one started going on and on real fast about how they searched for her and couldn’t find her.

“Hey where were you! We thought you froze to death! We were looking everywhere and calling out and why didn’t you say anything? How were we supposed to know where you went, you know we were thinking maybe”-

  As he continued to chatter endlessly, I noticed the other guy looking at me strangely. I knew it. Now I was scared. I wasn’t sure if I should move or not. I decided to turn around slowly and just walk away. Hopefully no one would notice. But of course I was wrong.

“Hey! You!”  “What’s going on?”  “It’s her can’t you see?”  “No…wait really? Yeah! It is! Hey come back!”

  The two boys were running after me before I knew it, Risa shouting: “Hey wait! Stop! Leave her! Leave her!”

  I turned around and ran as fast as I could. Wasn’t counting on this…Great I was in big trouble now, with nothing else to do but run. I reached the lake, but they were already about five feet away from me. The lake was now an enormous block of ice…but was it solid enough to stand on? There was no time to wonder, they were already two feet away. Any moment now they could catch me, or even catch my hair and bring me back. I was not sure what to do, I just stood there. I was in panic, I could feel my heart beat so hard it hurt my chest. I wasn’t even cold anymore.

“Witch!” one of them called out.

  I had a fleeting vision of my body attached to a pole. The flames would crawl up my skin, which would crackle, and peel away from my flesh. I could feel it stinging while the people watched the whole scene in awe. My ashes and the rest of the bark would be put in the fire and what remained of me would heat those who had watched me die so eagerly. In the Middle ages they would burn witches, now they burned criminals. I decided to go forward.

  Running, the ice pounded under my feet. They hadn’t followed me for a while, but then they set off, Risa at their heels. Suddenly, I heard something crack. Great. The ice had gotten thinner as I went, nonetheless I continued to run as fast as I could. I heard a bigger crack and felt something cold run up my leg through my stockings. The prickling was unbearable: like tiny little needles poking your leg. I looked down. My leg had pierced the ice and was stuck in a small hole, weighing the upper part of my body, down. I looked back. They had slowed down but were going to start back again soon enough. I managed to wedge my leg out of, but the ice had scraped against it as I pulled it out. Tears rolled down my eyes as I felt the excruciating  pain of the large gash on my leg. Pieces of ice had gotten stuck in it and blood was staining my black and white striped tights.

  I groped my leg with one hand and limped across the ice, leaving a trail of blood behind me. The upper part of my leg was numb, but I could definitely feel the injured part… They were still behind me, Risa had caught up with them. The ice started to crack again. I tried to go faster, only this time, I probably wouldn’t make it. The ice made a large crackling sound, like shattered glass. I couldn’t see anything, I felt like I was swirling, then it became cold. I couldn’t feel my body or open my eyes. I stopped breathing. It felt calm, everything did all except for that buzzing in my head. The something woke me up. My leg throbbed, and then the hurt came. The pain…I screamed but no sound came out. A frozen liquid filtered into my mouth and and through my throught. I gasped for air but all that filled my lungs was water. I was drowning.

  My arms and legs swung around, all I wanted now was air. As my right arm swished through the water I felt a sudden breeze. Air. The surface was above me. If I didn’t hurry the current would bring me back under the ice. My lungs were bursting. My hand clung onto the border of the  ice block. I pulled myself up as my other arm reached out for the surface. Opening my eyes I could see a trickle of light. I was so close. I breathed in.

   I had reached the opposite side of the lake and was now on safe ground. I tore a piece of cloth from my dress and wrapped it around the wound. I was soaking wet and feeling dizzy. I continued through the forest, limping. I would get to the train station. They were no longer following me, they must have seen me drowning and thought I was dead. Yes, I knew that was it. Positive. It had to be.

  I reached an old run down house. A former restaurant apparently. The sign dangled off the front porch. I had a headache. I couldn’t even feel my leg. It felt detached from my body. My whole body felt detached from my spirit. It flew away and I watched myself knock on the door of the old shack. My spirit rotated around my body. I was so pale and I had such a sad face. I’d never looked at myself in a mirror, so I had only known vaguely what I looked like. I knew this sick girl. This had all happened to her for a reason. She was being put down for something she had done…but she what had been done was not wrong. Not to her. The door opened and a toddler appeared. My spirit returned into my body.

  The toddler stared at me and then yelled out.

“Mommy!”

  His mom appeared with a baby in her arms and a young girl clinging to her long dress.

“Come in,” she said naturally. Not particularly polite, almost as if I were an expected guess; as if she wanted to say “you’re late for dinner”. I walked into the crowded room. An old man sat in an armchair in front of an open fire. Little kids were playing with toys scattered all over the middle of the room, on a large crimson carpet. Two middle aged women sat at a table with three teenaged girls sorting or fabricating metal pieces.

  After that I don’t really remember what happened. I just know that I was put to bed, and as soon as I had hit the pillow I had fallen into a deep sleep. When I woke up, a little boy was rolling a toy car around the edge of my bed, imitating vrooming engines. When I sat up, he stared at me, then went running out of the room down the stairs. I tried to get up but the room span in circles and I fell to the floor. It felt cold even though I could spot the two big radiators in the room. I dragged myself back in the bed and rapped the covers around my body, shivering.

  I must have fallen back asleep because when I woke up it was nighttime. I heard footsteps coming into the room. A young woman set a bowl of applesauce beside my bed. She took a packet of gauze from out of her apron and reached for my leg. I didn’t understand what was happening, but was too weak to try. I had forgotten my leg was wounded and it was only when she started to change the bandages that I felt the pain. I wanted to speak but my lips wouldn’t move.

  I was stranded in the forest. Had this happened before? Maybe I knew this forest. No. I couldn’t because this forest was thick and dark. The trees were so tall you couldn’t see the sky. But, I knew it was night. How did I get here? I couldn’t remember were I had been before or what I was doing.  It started to get very warm. The air grew thick and smoke started edging its way through the branches. Then I saw fire. Flames were devouring the bark off these trees in rapid fury.

  I ran. The flames went after me, burning tree after tree. I arrived in front of a lake and jumped in. The fire continued its chase into the water. I swam to shore. My feet felt warm; when I looked at my legs, I saw they were on fire. The smoke was choking me, winding through my throat. My whole body was coated in orange and yellow flames, but I was still alive. I could still feel the hurt. Then , for no reason, I saw Risa. She was standing in the fire, but it wasn’t touching her. She stood there, calmly, watching me burn.

  I woke up. I looked around me. I felt my body and sighed in relief. The flames were gone, I had been dreaming. It didn’t feel cold anymore so I decided to get up. The sickness had gone. I cautiously descended  the stairs into the living room. The woman of the household was sitting on the couch, knitting. I froze. Someone was sitting next to her, that I didn’t want to see.

No comments:

Post a Comment