The Short Cut At The End Of The Street

It was an odd day.

But it hadn’t started out that way. In fact it had started out quite ordinarily.

It had been a quiet morning, fog lazily hanging low over the road, refusing to move even when the occasional truck lumbered past. Spurts of rain keep the ground moist and the puddles fresh. All in all, a pretty dreary morning to say the least. It was a day that you wouldn’t expect much from, and more than likely this wasn’t a day that would surprise you by suddenly becoming interesting or even a bit unusual. So of course, with nothing to expect, Maribelle trudged down the street towards the old run down library. On rainy days such as this, the library smelled faintly of mildew no matter how many candles the ancient librarian lit in protest. But this matters not, for on this particularly extraordinary yet seemingly ordinary day, Maribelle never made it to the library.

Maribelle often took the short cut off the end of the street through the Woods. Everyone else knew the woods were a dangerous place to go. Their mothers had all told them to never enter the woods alone, but Maribelle had lost her mother when she was just a toddler. And with no parents and no siblings to tell her otherwise, Maribelle continually wandered around in the Woods without the slightest care.

As soon as Maribelle stepped onto the forest floor she knew the Woods were different today. She felt the air tremble and she involuntarily shuddered in response. She started to stiffen. Only when she took another step that crunched some brittle leaves and it echoed across the entire expanse before her did she realize how utterly silent the Woods were. And it was a strange silence. A normal kind of silence had just a bit noise, just a bit that it was quite comfortable to be around. Yet this was a silence so devoid of noise that Maribelle’s ears began ringing.

Her instincts were roused immediately. When she could no longer hear the sounds of the forest they kicked into overdrive and began telling her she needed to act. They screamed at her to turn around, to leave, to do anything to escape the silence. And then the screams turned into a wail, the wail turned into a siren, and the siren turned into a overall tone that wouldn’t cease to echo in her mind. Finally she shook off the feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach just enough to turn around. She sucked in a breath when she saw that her path had been erased from behind her.

She felt hot breath on her neck, making the hairs raise and goose bumps to spread all over her skin. She felt a sting on the side of her neck and then a warm, moist puddle spread from the top of her neck down and onto her back. She tenatively touched the back of her neck and her fingertips came back red. She was tempted to look up.. but she started getting dizzy from blood loss. It continued to rush from her as she fell to her knees, then onto her hands, until her eyelids felt heavy and she succumbed to the darkness but not before a red rose petal floated past her nose and landed beside her in the puddle of red staining the ground.

I leave red roses for you,

Your Sweet Assassin

 

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