Welcome to Chapter 3 of our game. Excellent job, Ginny! Next week, we will hear from Polly with the following prompts...
...put your hands in your pockets...
...I thought I knew the meaning of the word relief, but...
Despite his encouraging and pleasing reaction, the first step was definitely the easiest. I laboriously worked to put one foot in front of the other as I battled the dichotomous truths before me. Was turning back the right thing to do? I had tried without success to run away, and although going back was proving to be almost as difficult, I was at least able to get my body to respond to the commands from my brain. Each step brought me closer to the threat and security of his presence and I tried to get my mind around the awful truth he had revealed. Where we would go from here? Things would, obviously, never be the same, and yet, I was intrigued at the possibilities that lay ahead. I always believed, at least at some level, that we make this world our own heaven or hell, and with each step I was trying to convince myself that there was a heaven to be found in all of this. As I continued to watch my leaden feet, my shoulders curled in exhaustion and grief, arms hanging limp, swaying like an ape's with the physics of my lumber, I realized that I was muttering aloud in conversation with myself as I contemplated the consequences of going back. I didn't really have the energy to care. It's not like there was anyone around to hear me.
Suddenly I snapped out of the magnetic trance that had been pulling me somewhat reluctantly toward him. Why wasn't there anyone around? Why hadn't even one of the hundreds of cars that had passed us on the highway stopped? Or even slowed down? It was almost as if no one had even seen the smoking car or either one of us looking pathetic and helpless as we sat on the loosening gravel of the shoulder of the road. In the mere seconds it took to have all of those thoughts run through my head, I heard a voice that so clearly sounded like my mother's. It wasn't an actual voice, but one in my mind, and it was perfectly clear as it shouted to my subconscious, "Get out, NOW!
It's amazing the motivation that comes upon hearing your mother's voice yelling at you, real or not. My once curled, sagging shoulders rolled back as my spine straightened. My head whipped up with a determination I never knew I had. As my eyes leveled off from the dramatic motion, I realized I stood just feet in front of him. Our eyes met, and yet didn't. He seemed to be staring through me rather than at me and I could feel that almost magnetic force trying to pull me in again, only I was aware of it this time. An ominous feeling of fear swept over my body and a wave of cold moved through my every limb. My stiff, clammy fingers moved up to my cheek where I could now feel the outline of the two black marks. His gaze didn't abate in the slightest. I turned my emancipated body around as if to catch sight of what it was he was looking at, and I ran. I ran with more energy and determination than I had ever remembered feeling. I thought I heard him yell something, but I couldn't be sure for the blood pounding in my ears. I crossed the same road for the third time now and practically flew over the playground's gravel that had once proved my captor. I was getting close to the apartments now and knew I couldn't stop until I was safely behind one of those doors. What I would do next, I didn't know. I couldn't think about that now. All I could afford to do in this moment was keep my feet moving as fast as possible. I feared if I slowed down he might be able to extend his controlling influence over me again.
Finally my feet moved from the uneven softness of the grassy lawn to the concrete of the breezeway between apartment doors. I quickly looked at the four doors within sight as my brain scrambled to decide which to pound on first. Did it really matter? Why was I even taking the time to be selective? After seconds that felt like minutes, I saw the clear, clean lines of a brass three centered perfectly on a door. It almost looked as though it was glowing, begging me to select that door. I am sure I felt this way because three has always been my favorite number, but something about that door called to me. And so I lunged for the door, pounding with the side of my fist. I yelled pleadingly, "Please, open the door, please!"
My clenched fist tightened as I continued to pound and plead, and I could feel my fingernails digging into my palm. I was about to give up and try another door when the hairs on my neck stood on end as I got that eerie feeling of being watched. I continued to pound while I quickly sent my gaze in both directions to calm my adrenaline-filled senses. I first looked toward the direction of the car. I couldn't see the car around the corner of the building, but I also couldn't see him, which caused me to let go of my bated breath. However, the feeling of being watched persisted as I flipped my head around my other shoulder, my hair whipping me in the face with the action. When my hair fell away from my eyes I noticed the open door to apartment number four directly behind me. In the doorway stood a very large silhouette of a man. My arm froze, still raised at a right angle, my hand pulsing in pain from the incessant pounding. Instead of feeling relieved to finally see an actual person, I felt a different sense of terror in my new situation. What I saw behind the silhouette was too horrific to be real and the smell emanating from that open door was nearly powerful enough to bring me to my knees.