CHAPTER FIFTY FIVECloudsThe car wouldn’t start, and Bryony knew this was unusual. Didn’t it start perfectly only today? Hadn’t it been a good and serviceable vehicle? Now, suddenly when she needed it most, it chose to let its internal parts rust and die and spew fluid hither and yon?She didn’t think so.Bryony peeked up and saw a man in the window of her father’s room. At first her heart skidded to a stop—Daddy!—but then she remembered her father was dead, and the man silhouetted there was Peter, and she had been warned against him within the last few hours by two people who cared for her.And she was a kind girl, a tender girl, but she was also a smart girl when her eyes were opened, and her father and Teddy succeeded in opening her eyes. Peter didn’t move from the window, and his body language told Bryony he was most likely off in a world of his own, so she used this to her advantage. She opened the car door as quietly as she could, slid out, and hit the ground doing what she
CHAPTER FIFTY SIXThe KnifeThe thing that must be remembered about Peter is that he, too, is a runner. Whereas Bryony planned to keep a little extra energy in her tank so as to make it the entire five miles, Peter had no such plans. He was sprinting, because he did not need to make it to the edge of town: he only needed to make it to the girl.His feet hit the ground like pistons, cold and mechanical, and he held the knife tightly in his grip, blade down.Oh, oh, how tragically this shall unfold.
CHAPTER FIFTY SEVENThe ChaseThe first drop of rain hit Bryony beside her eye, and ran down her face like tears.No, she thought. No!She knew Peter was behind her, and her mind went cottony with despair and panic. More time! She needed more time.Bryony picked up her pace. It would deplete her energy faster, but if she didn’t outrun him, her reserve of energy certainly wouldn’t do her any good.She scrapped her earlier plan of hiding in the library and phoning for help. Plan B consisted of running to the closest house and screaming hysterically for help. Unfortunately for her, that was still a good four miles. Loneliness consumed her, biting at her cheeks like the stormy air. It was all catching up with her. It was catching up.It was catching up. Already Peter could see her pale hair gathering and reflecting the weak light that somehow managed to filter through the harsh clouds. She was glowing, an ethereal will-o-wisp, and thoughts of the old tales flitted through his mind.
CHAPTER FIFTY EIGHTFight“Bryony,” Peter huffed. “I wish you were feeling better, that you were whole. You have no idea how much I wish this for you. Alas, it is not meant to be, because it is time. You and I have a dance to finish, don’t we?”The wind picked up, blowing the storm their way, blowing Bryony’s hair around her white face like a flag signaling for help. But no help was to be had, and she was stuck fast while Peter pressed behind her, his hand fisted in her hair.Bryony’s head was pulled sharply back, and the wind caressed her vulnerable throat in a way that unnerved her.She tried to keep her voice calm when she said: “I wish that you wouldn’t kill me, Peter. It would disappoint Eddie. It would disappoint my father.”Peter shrugged. “We can’t change who we are, can we? No, we cannot. I was born to live and you were born to die, my beautiful Bryony.” He coughed. “This wind, it’s blowing sand in my face. However do you get used to it? I can’t breathe.”“Just give you
CHAPTER FIFTY NINEBlood and Wind and RainThere comes a time in everyone’s life when a decision must be made.There are always decisions being made, every second of every day, and sometimes that decision is simply not to decide. However, it needs be said that one day every living thing on this earth will make The Utmost Decision, the decision that will change the rest of their existence one way or the other. What is this decision, you ask? It is different for everybody, and you will not know what yours will be until the time comes, and perhaps even then you will not realize the importance of your choice.But as for our dear Bryony, when the time came and she was faced with her Utmost Decision, she realized the ramification of that instant with serene clarity. In fact, as she stood there in the blood and wind and rain with a killer and his brightly shining knife, the terror subsided for a perfect moment and she had amazing presence of mind.She thought, “He has found me, and I am
CHAPTER SIXTYThe EndOh, what a terrible story!How could it be that we followed Bryony’s journey from the time she was a little girl, ignorant of all that would befall her, through her first kiss and college and meeting friends and Eddie and her tormented killer and her fight to the death, and then she dies in the end?She dies. Bryony falls to the ground like a flower, and we are left to mourn her. More than that, we feel betrayed. We invested time and interest. We cheered her on and we shouted: “No, don’t let that man in your home!” and “Eddie, what are you doing, you must go with Bryony!” and “Hooray, Teddy Baker, you had decency inside of you all along, and we are so very proud of you for your choices!” Perhaps there were even a few thoughts of, “I wonder what a jonquil looks like. I shall certainly run to look one up and educate myself so I may better relate to the tale of Bryony and her Eddie.”Perhaps you are angry, dear reader. Perhaps you hoped better for our girl, beca
CHAPTER SIXTY ONEThere Is No EndLightning did not hit our sweet Bryony. The same time it flashed, a car came spinning out of nowhere, and its headlights were stark and bright and almost blinded our dear girl. Her heart shivered and stopped momentarily, quite knocked out of sorts by the extreme overload, but soon came back to itself and began to beat resolutely.Car doors slammed and feet hurried over to her.“Bryony!” cried out a voice, a familiar voice, a dear and good voice. Bryony raised her head and looked through the veil of water to see death had been kind enough to send her an angel who looked, sounded, and, oh my, felt just like her Eddie.“Bryony, I will never leave you again, I swear it. Never, never,” he said, and buried his face into her wet hair, and kissed her cold face and lips and cheeks and fingers. He gently caressed her burst stitches and tried not to cry.A man walked up from behind him and held out a blanket. Eddie helped Bryony to her feet and she was soon