Just meters beyond the tree, the girl breathes in a deep, garbled breath as she lurches forward. I fall to my knees, nearly dropping her. A bright, amber-colored eye locks with mine briefly, but then begins to roll back in her head.
I place my hand along side of her face, trying to help guide her focus to me. “I’m taking you to get help. Hang on for me, okay?”
The girl regains a moment of clarity as she homes in on me again. A second later, her face lights up, and in that moment, I swear she recognizes me. But I’ve never laid eyes on her before. I’d remember someone like her. I’d remember a girl with hair as white as the snow and eyes the color of a blazing fire.
I’d remember her.
Oddly enough, the girl seems to be both in the present moment and inexplicably far away. She reaches out and places her right hand on my jawline, touching my lips with her thumb. The sensation is very intimate and I hold still, unsure of how to react.
Her voice is barely above a whisper. “You don’t need to be sorry. I understand.” She searches my eyes, a hint of a smile spreading across her bloodied lips, “I love you, too.”
All I can do is stare at her with wide eyes. Her words and the warmth of her hand are so purposeful, so sure, my insides constrict as she lets go and sinks back into oblivion.
Blinking away my uneasiness, I take a deep breath and slowly push back up. With her warm body cradled in my arms, I run. I don’t stop when I realize how long this could take or when my lungs burn and my muscles cramp. I keep running, reliving the words… words that weren’t meant for me.
Unfortunately, I can’t outrun the strange, unexpected place in the pit of my stomach that kinda wishes they were.
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