Thunder roared above me, my boots squeaked with every step I took on the muddy trail. My long black hair soaked my clothes furthermore, sticking to my face every time I would have to turn my head to search for the stupid thing. As the heavy rain filled up my boots; looking for my stepmother’s ring that she lost yesterday on an outdoor date she had with her new boyfriend. To her dismay, she decided to send me to look for it, or else I will not be having dinner for a week. Trust me that if I do not find I will be left without food, not only for the week. She will send me every day until I find the damn thing. Not only will she send me every day she will push further the punishment.
“Where can this stupid thing be?” I murmured to myself. A thing I do often.
Every once in awhile she always makes me do something totally stupid; That it is insanely impossible for them to do. I do not only have to endure her, I have to do what her daughter orders me to do. You can say this is a case of Cinderella. The difference is that I am not going to go to a ball to find my prince charming and become a princess, and live happily ever after.
Why do I endure so much from them? Well, the answer is simple: I just need to live with them until the age of eighteen. As soon as I reach the age of eighteen, I am able to leave the house not only that, all of my father’s money that she has been so carelessly wasting will be mine. The thing that she doesn’t know is that I have arranged for the money that she has been spending; she will need to pay every penny back. It is not like I am taking revenge, I just want to ensure that I will be able to move out, go to college, and be able to afford everything.
“Come on!” I yelled in the middle of the woods, as I fell off the muddy ledge that leads to the lake. Which is the spot she said she had lost the diamond ring my father had gifted her on one of her birthdays, back then, when he was alive.
As I got up I tried to wipe the mud off my pants which I don’t think was the brightest of my ideas. Pointing the flashlight to the ground, I hunched over looking for the stupid ring. I decided to look near the trees and look for the damn thing. She said it would be around this area.
“Over here!” A male shouted. Making me jump up frightened.
“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 the tree behind me. A large hand covered my mouth, preventing me from yelling. Thunder and lightning rolled providing enough light to see a young guy about my age with crystal blue eyes covering my mouth, sending fireworks all over my body. Slowly my body started to heat up as if they had placed me in the oven. Placing his index finger rapidly over his panting lips, asking me to keep quiet. Hissing he placed the hand that he had over my mouth on the left side of his hip. A large wooden stick was through him. When I saw that he was injured I started to think of a million ways I can leave him here or help him. I was yet to decide what I wanted to do.
“Help me.” He hissed as he tried to steady himself with the tree behind me. Making him hang low, placing his head on my shoulder. As another loud thunder, lightning rolled. He looked up and his eyes met mine.
“What are you?” He asked breathlessly as he hissed one more time holding his injury; making him fall to his knees.
I did not have time to process what he had just asked me. Whoever was after him, was getting near to where we are. The good thing is I know these woods like the back of my hand.
“Come,” I said, pulling his arm dragging him behind me I made it under the dock where the lake was located.
My heavy clothes made it quite hard as I ran back to the tree to pick up the flashlight. I did not notice that it had fallen off my hand. Going to the little 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 so I can look for it so it won’t look like I had hidden the person they were looking for.
“Over here!” The first voice I had heard shouted once more. Knowing they had seen my flashlight. Making sure the stranger was still underneath the dock hidden in the shadows.
“You, girl! What are you doing here?” A male who appeared to be over his thirties asked me pointing his bright flashlight at my face.
Covering half of my face I picked up the bracelet that I had thrown before.
“Found it!” Exclaiming as I dangled it in the air. Ignoring the man’s question.
“Hey, what are you doing out in the rain?” Another male who looked a lot younger than the first one asked. His blond hair is soaked in the rain.
" Looking for my step mother’s bracelet.” I had explained as the hairs stuck to my face. Showing off the muddy bracelet.
“You need to be more careful out in these woods; you don’t know what creatures are running late at night.” The older man said looking around me as the rest of the team of men caught up with them. “You should go home, I will have my son walk you home.” He shoved the young guy to the front as directed the rest of the group to keep moving forward.
“No!” Smooth, real smooth. Focus, how do I get them out of here?
“What I mean, no thank you. I know my ways around these woods I have been here for a while and nothing has ever happened to me. By the way, my step-mother will kill me if she sees some guy walking me home. I will be okay walking on my own, thank you.” I had to yell over the thunder.
“Suit yourself, be careful.” The young guy said before running after the group.
The old guy just looked at me one more time, nodded his head as he ran with the group. I waited to see their flashlights fade further into the woods, to run to the guy that had been injured underneath the dock.
“How are you holding up?” I asked pointing the flashlight to his wound that was still bleeding out. As he hissed again I saw him holding his right leg. I can see two holes oozing out blood.
“Shit let’s get you to my house.” Turning off the flashlight, I placed his arm around my shoulders. Sending the same fireworks from earlier.
“What about your step-mother killing you for being with a guy?” 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 out of here.”
“Thank you.” He said as he hisses whenever I would accidentally touch his wounded leg.
The walking took time, on one of those we got so close to being with the group that was hunting him we had to make a run. Which trust me it was the hardest thing. With not wanting to hurt him but getting him out of here the fastest possible. The stranger was growing weaker by the minute. With all the blood loss, I know that he will be passing out pretty soon. The poor thing hissed and groaned in pain, which makes me wonder why the hell was he in the woods, and why were those guys chasing him? They had called him a thing. What had they meant by that?
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 getting heavy. Knowing that we don’t need much to get to my house, so I can tend to his wounds. I had a first aid kit and 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.” It would be his response every time I would ask him.
“We are almost out of the wood just a little bit more. Hold on.” I murmured mostly to myself.
“Shit, shit.” Seeing the bright flashlights form the group of hunters, I am going to call them.
“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 he sees the lights approach.
“I can’t, I am too tired.” He says as his body grows heavier.
“Please just go 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 that they will hurt him furthermore, or hurt me for helping him.
“Okay,” Was all 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 is becoming impossible to help him. I am only 5′3, how am I supposed to carry him to my house? I can see the group of hunters making their way out of the woods as we still ran 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 hunter 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, but it is about three houses down.” 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 that I had not seen that night 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. Once again touching him sent me over the edge.
His action made my heart race twenty miles an hour, 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 we will come back tomorrow when the sun is still up. We need to see if we can find any footprints.” The older guy that I am guessing is the leader said as 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.
“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.
More groans came out of the strangers’ mouth before completely coming out under the porch. 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 too weak and heavy I needed to make it or else 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 shoving the key in the keyhole. I had to lean the stranger 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. There is where they gave me the room that used to be from the maid. Which I can’t complain about. Before my father passed away he had expanded the room and added a bathroom, it was quite nice. Having my freedom to a certain extent I only use my room to do homework or go to sleep.
“No, no, no,” I whispered harshly as I saw him fall to his side passing out.
How am I going to get him inside?