O · N · E
Note: This is a draft. There may be spelling & grammar errors, plot holes, and/or inconsistencies. These will be corrected during revision. Please comment or highlight and give feedback if you notice anything! Be as specific as possible - your feedback helps me a lot! :)
The full moon seemed extra bright tonight as it lit up the old cemetery and it’s single occupant. Some headstones were much older than the landing of the Mayflower, the most recent from the early 1800’s. The rest of the cemetery were seemingly endless rows of mausoleums with stone pathways between. From the early 1600’s until just after WWII, and not all were in English. The section with headstones and statues was where the cemetery’s occupant sat on a granite bench placed in front of a small angel statue with two cherubs at her feet. The flat part showed the marker was for a small child of only 5 years. But the tears pouring down her face had nothing to do with the 300 year old headstone. She had no relation to any of its many occupants, but the cemetery had long been abandoned and it was rare anyone came out here.
This was the only place she felt safe outside of her house. Sometimes she began to go stir crazy, but being outside was dangerous. She was terrified she would end up getting attacked again, her mind still a long way from recovering from the brutal attack that had left her in a hospital. Comatose for a week while multiple surgeries were performed, then in and out of it for a month as they continued to repair the extensive damage caused by 21 stab wounds, being beaten, kicked, repeatedly hit on the head and… the other thing she knew, but she had refused to let them tell her anything about. Hearing it confirmed would tear her apart, not like it hadn’t as it was, but she didn’t think she could survive hearing it. All this happened just a couple of weeks after her mother had died, not only leaving her alone for the first time in her life, but also having no one to lean on when times were hard.
She was broken, through and through. Her life was all but over. She had no family, no education, no money, no job, and no hope for a future. She was stuck in this town, too afraid to leave, and nothing to go toward. It was now 4 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days since they had defiled and broken her, leaving her with nothing but a broken body and a mind trapped with memories constantly on repeat. The loneliness was crushing what little there was let of her. She was dying inside, slowly losing her will to live. What did she have to look forward to? She had no friends, no family, no neighbors who would care if she lived or died, unlikely to even notice if she disappeared. Like her mother, she would be buried in Potter’s field, only there would be no one to mourn her. No one would cry over her grave, no one would even recall her existence.
She didn’t even dare to use her own name, and hadn’t for most of her life. Her mother had rarely used it since they came here, either. Always worried someone would overhear and her father or those on his side would show up to take them back to him. Lauren had no specific memories of her father, but just the mentioned of him brought up an intense sense of fear. Her mother said it was better that she didn’t remember – it would only cause her pain that, her mother said, no child should suffer.
At this point, it wouldn’t matter. All she felt was pain. Even her dreams left her in agony and tears. There was no peace to be found anywhere, leaving her no break from it. Her posture showed how defeated she had become. Her shoulders slumped, her head always down, her footsteps slow, her arms wrapped around herself. It chipped away a little more every day; leaving her disinterested and unable to focus. Sometimes she went days without sleep. Most days, she wished they had just let her die. Lauren had lost any sense of hope; the pain and anguish haunting her every moment, awake and asleep. She begged for it to end some nights.
Though, someone sent her groceries every week. She had little appetite, so much of the fresh things sent had been put in the freezer to protect them from going to waste. Because of this, she had lost a fair amount of weight. Whoever had been sending her groceries seemed to know, for her groceries had changed and now included things that were non-perishable and could be heated in a microwave, as well as those protein and vitamin rich drinks. She put them in the fridge and tried to drink at least one or two if she couldn’t tolerate anything else. Vitamins, too, had been arriving, as well as a few pieces of clothing that were a smaller size than those her wardrobe. A pair of brand new sneakers had arrived the first time, since hers had been ruined, but somehow it didn’t quite register that someone clearly cared.
Perhaps it was because, outside of a note the first time, telling her it was a friend of her mother’s, she knew nothing. They had never approached her or come to the house, that she knew of. Except the bags that appeared every week. For all she knew they appeared out of thin air. There was no sound of someone approaching or being on the rickety porch, and when she’d stayed up, she never saw them. Yet when she awoke, those bags were there. Every Monday. It was as if they knew when she was sleeping. Lauren wasn’t sure whether to be crept out or curious by her mysterious benefactor.
She trudged back home just as the first signs of dawn began to color the edge of the Eastern horizon. Tingling in the back of her neck signaled someone was watching her. A habit had formed in her moments toward her home where she would spin around and walked backwards as she took time to ensure she had a chance to look behind her before spinning forward again. Her movements toward her destination never faltered even a step. Still, she saw nothing each time she looked, yet she could not shake that feeling until she was locked inside her house. This feeling had come more and more frequently these last few weeks. A few times she had even woken from her disturbed sleep, feeling watched, though she never saw anyone.
A similar feeling had come at times during her lengthy hospital stay. Someone was there, watching. Someone she never saw. The nurses and doctors had mentioned a handsome and charming man with red hair and an accent. She’d overheard more than one say that he felt dangerous in a way they couldn’t place, but he’d only seemed interested in ensuring her well-being and that she was receiving the best possible care. No doubt, he was involved in the weekly supplies she received, too. From what she understood, he claimed to be a family friend. If he was, she knew nothing about it. Her mother never really talked about life before they moved here. It wouldn’t be impossible she might have kept in touch with someone.
It would have to be someone she trusted implicitly; fearing until she died her father would find them still. While she didn’t remember him, Lauren felt terror at the thought of him. Her mother had never told her why the only answer was that he was a cruel, wicked man and that he was dangerous. As far as she knew, there was no other family; the aunt that raised her mother had been elderly when raising my mother, so she had to be dead by now. Apparently, she had been all that was left, since her parents had both died in a freak accident when she was a child. Neither had any living siblings. A family friend would e all her mother had; she couldn’t blame her mother to need a connection. Lauren wished she had such a connection now.
She was lonely and ached for some sort of contact, but she was too afraid to do anything about it. Someone else might hurt her and she couldn’t bear to go through that all over again. It still haunted her every moment of every day. Sometimes her mind wandered, like now, but these were breaks from the agony she lived with now. The lack of sleep. The loss of appetite. The need to sleep more hours than was healthy. The nightmares and the flashbacks that continuously brought her back to that night, over and over again.
Lauren turned the lights out as she went to her dark room and stripped off her clothes, slipping on sweats and a tee, then sliding between the sheets and scooting as far away from the door as possible. She curled into a ball and closed her eyes. After nearly an hour of silence, she finally drifted into a troubled sleep. Her nightmares were seeing her mother die over and over in various ways, yet could never save her, only able to hold her as her life slipped away. Then the attack would be relived, often more horrifying than it had been in reality. There were monsters and impossible things happening while she suffered. Twisted and warped, they left her waking cold and shivering, fear pouring from the very essence of her being.
The shadows in her room shifted, and in the darkness a hand came to rest lightly against the side of her face. A soft voice filtered into the air, almost too quiet to hear.
“You will sleep peacefully and dream only of happy and wonderful dreams. You will awake feeling rested and a little better than you did yesterday.”
Moments later, the shadows became empty again.