The Woman of the WoodsI ran through the trees panting hard. My face burned from holding back the imminent tears and the smacking of twigs. Anger, hatred, depression, and confusion coursed through my body fogging my senses and my thoughts. I didn't know how I felt. I didn't know why this happened. I didn't know anything other than I needed to get to the lake. As I thought this, I burst from the tight knit forest and came to the clearing surrounding the serene lake. I looked around for a moment then quickened my pace to reach the edge of the water faster. Once I reached it, I looked down into the black abyss that shone in the moonlight. I crumpled to my knees and caught my breath. After a few minutes, I grew chilly and decided it pointless to remain out here so I stood and turned to leave.
At that moment, the sound of startled birds taking flight caught my attention. I turned but didn't see anything until I caught a glimpse of movement. Moving closer to the water again, I looked for the sign again. As I watched a girl ran from the trees. She was tall and slender and very beautiful. Her eyes scoured the clearing horrified. She had a visage showing fear I hoped never to experience. It appeared that every fear she carried had materialized into monster and stood before her but there was no monster only her. I looked closer and noticed she held something. A bundle? No. A baby.
She turned, her back facing me but then she whipped around again an ran into the water but I could hear nothing as the water didn't move. I took a step closer now concerned. She looked over her shoulder still terror written all over her face. So quickly I could barely see it, an invisible force ripped away the baby. Her mouth twisted as a silent scream seemingly erupted from her lips. Even without hearing the piercing cry, I could tell how tortured she was. She lunged for something but froze. Her hands rose to her chest and I saw the velvety red color of blood ooze from her chest. She had just been shot.
I looked around frantically for the attacker but I saw no one but her. Her eyes followed something until she could no longer see it. She stumbled back a little then sank below the surface of the water. After what felt like hours but was realistically only a few seconds, I broke out of my petrifaction and launched into the frigid waters. I swam to about the middle of the lake and dove down. The water was unbelievably clear allowing me to spot her quickly. She was sinking fast and I wasn't an avid swimmer. I tried though and every ounce of adrenaline I had was pushing me forward. Her hands clawed at her throat desperately urging me to swim faster.
I was getting closer but still she was unreachable. She looked up to the surface of the water and bubbles squeezed out of her nose and lips. Her hair swirled around her and her dress and robes flowed with the water. Then her hands recoiled and I watched the faith break in her eyes. A look of acceptance passed over her face and for a moment she looked almost peaceful. I reached out still unable to believe her obvious death. Finally, our eyes met and an unreadable expression crossed her face. She reached up a hand. She mouthed something I couldn't understand and then held herself still in the water for a moment. Our hands touched and she lightly stroked the fingers.
I grabbed at her hand trying to hold onto her but she shattered in front of my eyes. I exclaimed but of course as I was underwater I only released all the air left in my lungs. I crashed into the ground. Panicked now, I slammed my feet against the ground, rocketing me up to the surface. I exploded out of the water and crazily filled my lungs with sweet air. Desperately, I looked around a sign of the woman but my hopes were crushed as the water had not even rippled except where I had disturbed it. I dove back down and searched for at least her corpse but there was nothing. I was alone again.