Thunder roared above me. My boots squeaked with every step I took on the muddy trail. My clothes felt heavy from the rain. Every time I turned my head, my hair would stick to my face. The heavy rain filled my boots; looking for my stepmother’s ring. The ring she lost yesterday on an outdoor date, with her new boy toy. To her dismay, she decided to send me. Threatening me, using the best excuse. Leaving me without food, or a place to sleep until I find the ring. If I can't find it today, she will send me every day until she gets it back.
“Where is this stupid thing?” I murmured to myself. Becoming moody by the second.
This has become a hobby of hers. Making me do something insanely impossible. Not only do I have to endure her, but I also have her daughter, as well. You can say this is like a Cinderella story. The difference is that there will be no-ball. There will be no prince, and most definitely there will not be a happy ending.
Why do I endure so much from her? Well, the answer is simple; I just need to live with them until the age of eighteen. As soon, as I reach the legal age, I can leave the house. But the best thing about this is that all of my father’s money the one she has been so carelessly wasting will be mine. Making her pay every single penny she used. I am not taking revenge, I just want to ensure that my future is secured.
“Come on!” I yelled into the night, as I fell off the muddy ledge. Landing inches away from the lake. Which is the spot she said she had lost the diamond ring my father had gifted her. It was the very last gift she received before he passed away.
As I got up I tried to wipe the mud off my pants, which I don’t think was the brightest idea. Giving an exhausted sigh I pointed the flashlight to the ground. Hunched over I started looking for the stupid ring. Looking near the trees hoping to find anything shiny. She said it would be around this area.
“Over here!” A male shouted. Making me jump up.
“Come on, let's get it before it heals!” Another voice shouted through the heavy rain.
I was about to point the flashlight, where I thought the voices were coming from. When I was pushed against a tree. A large hand covered my mouth, preventing me from yelling. Lighting flashed across the sky. Giving enough light to see a young guy about my age, with crystal blue eyes covering my mouth. Sending fireworks all over my body. My body slowly started to heat up as if they have thrown me in the oven. Placing his index finger over his panting lips, begging me to keep quiet. Hissing, he placed his hand over my mouth and the other on the left side.
I pointed my flashlight, my heart started pounding. A large wooden stick was through him. When I saw that he was injured I started to think of a million ways to leave him here. But something inside of me wanted to help. I was yet to decide what I wanted to do.
“Help me,” He hissed. Trying to steady himself with the tree behind me. Making him lose his balance, placing his head on my shoulder. Thunder, lightning rolled, he looked up, our eyes meet.
He looked shocked.
“What are you?” He asked breathlessly. Hissing in pain as he held his injury; making him fall to his knees.
I did not have time to process what he had asked me. Whoever was after him, was getting closer to our location. I stood there for a couple of seconds thinking, what I should do.
“Come,” I said, pulling his arm dragging him behind me. Shoving him under the dock, hiding him from whoever is following him.
I hope this doesn't get me in trouble.
My heavy clothes made it hard as I ran back to the tree to pick up my flashlight. I did not realize I had dropped it.
Something in me changed. I went to the muddy ledge looking for the ring. I saw something sparkly from the corner of my eye. How was I able to see it without the light? It did not matter at this moment. I quickly picked it up along with a bracelet I found next to it. I threw the bracelet a couple of feet away from me. Using it as a cover-up.
“Over here!” A male voice shouted. Knowing they had seen my flashlight. I looked back at the dock, making sure he is out of sight.
“You, girl! What are you doing here?” The man asked. Pointing his flashlight to my face.
I looked away, taking a couple of steps towards the bracelet.
“Found it!” I shouted. As I dangled the piece of jewelry in the air. Ignoring the man.
“Hey! What are you doing out in the rain?” Another guy, who looked a lot younger asked.
They were both drenched. The older man had I cap on, which prevented me from seeing his face. The younger guy looked about my age. His blond hair fell over his eyes.
"Looking for my stepmother’s bracelet,” I explained as my hair stuck to my face. Showing off the muddy bracelet. Trying to stay calm. As I noticed their guns.
“You need to be more careful out in these woods; you don’t know what creatures are lurking at night.” The older man said. Looking around, the rest of the team caught up with them.
“You should go home. I will have my son walk you home.” Shoving his son towards me. The old man moved to the front of the group leading them back to the woods.
“No!” I shouted. Smooth, real, smooth.
Focus, Alya. How do I get him out of here?
“What I mean, no thank you. I know my way around these woods. I have been here for a while and I am not afraid. By the way, my stepmother will kill me if she sees some guy walking me home. I will be okay walking on my own, thank you.” I yelled over the thunder.
“Suit yourself, be careful.” The young guy said, before running after the group.
I waited for their flashlights to fade further into the woods. Before running to the dock to see if the stranger was still there.
“How are you holding up?” I asked pointing my flashlight at his wound. Which was still bleeding out. He hissed again, holding his right leg. As blood oozed out.
"We need to get you some help," I said.
"No, no doctors." He said, as his eyes rolled back.
“Shit, let's get you to my house.” Turning off the flashlight, I placed his arm around my shoulders. Feeling fireworks from earlier.
“What about your stepmother killing you for bringing a guy home?” The wounded stranger joked.
“Do you want me to leave you here to die?” I asked, helping him up. “By the way, I only said that, so I can help you get out of here.”
“Thank you.” He said, hissing whenever I would accidentally touch his wounded leg.
The walk to my house took time. We almost got caught by the group of people that were hunting him. We had to make a run for it. Which trust me it was the hardest thing to do. The stranger was growing weaker by the minute. With all the blood that he has lost. I know that he will be passing out pretty soon. The poor thing hissed and groaned in pain, as we made our way out of the woods. Which makes me wonder why he was in the woods in the first place? And why were those guys chasing him?
Throughout the way, I tried holding a conversation. Asking him the same questions over and over again; just to keep him awake. Seeing how his eyelid is growing heavy. Knowing that we are only a couple of miles away from my house.
I can tend to his wounds; I have a first aid kit, and I have practiced how to clean wounds. I want to become a doctor like my mother before me. Since I was small I would volunteer in clinics with my mother’s old colleagues
“How are you holding up?” Asking one more time, looking down at him.
“I could be better.” He responded every time I would ask him.
“We are almost out of the woods, just a bit more. Hold on.” I murmured mostly to myself.
“Shit, shit.” Seeing the bright flashlights from the group of guys. That I assume are hunters.
“We need to run just so that we can hide between the houses.” Letting him know. I can see the fear in his eyes as the lights approach us.
“I can’t, I am too tired.” He says as his body grows heavier.
“Please just to the houses. My house is only about five houses down. We need to run a little bit, or we will both be in trouble.” Explaining as I was panicking. Not knowing if they will hurt us.
“Okay,” He said before we both took off running. His body was getting heavier by the second.
His large body is starting to dangle, and it made it impossible to help him. I am only 5′3, how am I supposed to carry him to my house? I look back and saw the group of hunters making their way out of the woods. We were still running towards my house. Feeling the adrenaline coursing through my veins, I used all my strength to hold up most of his weight.
“Get in here.” The light of the hunters was coming closer as I shoved him underneath the porch of one of my neighbors.
“How much longer?” The wounded stranger asked. Groaning in pain as the wooden stick moved as I set him down on the ground.
“Shh, we need three houses to go.” I looked at him as his clothes were soaked in a combination of mud, blood, and the rain.
“We have lost him, father.” The young guy whispered as they turned off their flashlights, so they would not attract attention.
“Do you think that girl had something to do with his disappearance?” Another guy asked.
“Of course, not she looked scared when we went up to her, we had startled the poor girl. Did you see her face when we said there were creatures in the woods? She was kind of cute, looking like a wet dog.” The young blond that was supposed to walk me home said. Shoving my hand on the wounded stranger’s mouth to muffle a growl that rumbled his chest. Touching him sent me over the edge.
His growling made my heart race, he could have gotten us killed. Thank the heavens that the group of young boys was laughing, so they did not hear a thing.
“Shut it, let us give another round in the woods. If we do not find him, we will come back tomorrow when the sun is still up. We need to see if we can find any footprints.” The older guy which I am guessing is the leader said. They all ran back to the woods. Turning on their flashlights, I waited for their lights to look off to the distance.
I heard muffled groans. I slowly removed my hand from his mouth. Whispering a sorry.
“Come on, we need to make a run for it. We are only three houses away and I want to get you there before you pass out." Pulling him out from under the porch.
More groans came out of the stranger's mouth as he tried to stand up. Not giving him a heads up, I just started dragging him to my house; I cannot afford to hide in every single house. He is growing too weak and heavy. I needed to make it to my house, or I do not know how this was going to end.
A new batch of adrenaline ran through my veins as I stopped at the back door of my house. Shoving the key to unlock the door. The stranger leans on the wall, so I could pull open the heavy door. My step-mother and my step-sister never go to my room or even dare to come to the backside of the house. Making the old maid room, my room. It is a large room, and I can have my freedom.
I turned back to the stranger, preparing myself to help him up the flight of stairs, but he had other plans.
“No, no, no,” I whispered harshly as I saw him fall to his side passing out.
How am I going to get him inside?