Gone with a Trace

by Ashley Jones

   “Ahh!”, I said. A piercing scream escapes my mouth.

   My fate is sealed just like Monica. It all started with that damn box. Time stopped. Dusty orange strawberry clouds dance across the blackened skies. Musky thick air dragged through his large nostrils. His eyes. Fiery. Burning holes into my soul. I stood frozen as he moved closer. Closer, until our noses touched. He knew before I even spoke. Finding this place after following the clues led me here. He had been watching.

   Glassy stark eyes stare back at me. They pierce me. Deep. A tremble, tiny yet mighty stirs in my chest. Oh. My heartbeat. I gasp. His icy cold thick fingers trace my arms. Shivers everywhere.

   Days before I found a bloodstained key. It was delivered to me in a small box. The edges were sunken the color pale grayish-green. The box was from Monica, the only problem is Monica was dead and had been for three months now. Inside she left me the evidence. Evidence of her murder. Why? Why did it have to me?

   “Are you going to keep ignoring me?” he said.

   I snapped back to reality. His fingers still just barely touching my arms.

   “What are you thinking about?” he asked.

   “Nothing,” I say.

   “Your lying,” he growls.

   “No! I am not lying.” I say.

   As I try to pull away it feels like two-ton pressure plates are gripping my limbs. Struggling in vain I hear the voices. They are chanting now. Louder. Louder. The pressure building pushing against my eardrums.

   “AHH!” the crowd screams.

   “Kill her!” they say.

   He grins. His perfect teeth. Disgusting. His personality going against the very smile he wears. Creepy and unrealistic. Heart beating, pounding viscously. Laughter. All I have is laughter. Crude distasteful laughter. I belt it out uncontrollably. Eyes widen. Veins pulsing. He stares at me in horror. They stare at me. Mouths hung like the rotten fruit from trees. No one was expecting my reaction. The inner folds of my mind have bent. They were all expecting me to crumble. I was expecting me to crumble.

   “HA AH HA— HA— HA!” I say.

   “I’ve had enough,” my bones ache as I try to stand tall, “Why are you doing this? Why did you do this to her?”

   The staring crowd quiets. Eyes still, steady, he comes back to himself.

   “You know, Monica… was sweet. I truly enjoyed her. She reacted just perfectly to me.”

   He moves away from me. I watch as he grabs a large butcher knife. The minions mindless giggling, moving anxiously in the background.

   “Get it ready!” he says.

   They move in unison still giggling.

   “Tell me why! Why! Why are you so obsessed?” I say.

   At this moment, I could no longer control my fear or anger. I wanted to fight. In the corner another figure move. The shape forming. Moving closer. 
“I never said I actually killed her. How do you know it was her I wanted?”

   My mind must be gone. The smoky skies seemed to lower to fog and move with the figure. The figure clear as the day came out from behind the now burning trees. Minions depart like the splitting sea. No. No. It can’t be.

   “Monica!” I say.

   “To be honest I really wasn’t expecting you to be so clever. Or to even try and figure it all out.” Monica says.

   “Y—You… I buried you. Your Mother buried you! I watched them lower the casket.”

   “Sure, you did. But it wasn’t an open casket now was it.”

   “Come on! Can we cut the reunion? I’ve been waiting for this.”

   “What is happening right now? You c—can’t be alive. You can’t be here. The evidence you sent me. The evidence you sent me. You sent me. Sent me. You bitch!”

   “No need to struggle. No need to even try and wrap your head around this. But here is another clue.”

   She walks up to me and strokes my head.

   “I always envied you. Wanted you. Yet you were always out of my reach. I couldn’t take it anymore. No one will blame me for your death cause I’m already dead. Blaze! Blaze have at her,” she says.

   He moves toward me, Blaze, she says. Somehow, I can see that as a nickname. They take me. Nailing me to the tree. They hadn’t set this one on fire yet. Blood trickled down my chest. Cold metal cutting my skin. Something sharp. Something warm. More blood gushing. Breathe shortening.

    “Hey, say hi to God for me. I doubt I’ll see him when it’s my turn,” she says.

    Laughter filled the air like the smoke surrounding my body. Burning crisp flesh overpowered the pungent burnt wood. Breathe. Exhale. Breathe. Boisterous flames lick and twist around the bottom of the tree. Around the bottom of my feet. Whispers pass through the crowded orchard. Fragments of lies stampede across the leaves.

    “You wanted to be me?” weakly I whisper, “Why all of this? Why the spectacle?”

   “Because you were the shining star everyone wanted. The one no one contented. Too smart. Too attractive. Too fucking perfect. I hated living in your shadow. I wanted you to suffer. Best friend my ass. You’re so smart why not paint the path to your own death. But you were too dumb to figure out it was all for you. I guess I win this one. I can’t fly until you die.”

   So, this is it. The end and all because of something as shallow as jealousy, envy, hatred. I hate hatred. It is a poison that rots the roots. Lighting surged up my limbs. Heat engulfing me just like the flames. No sound would exit my mouth. My breath stifles. My fate is sealed. Only not like Monica’s.

END

Ashley Jones is a novice writer currently attending Full Sail University working to earn her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

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