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The End of Me
The vast expanse of grass disappeared behind me, glowing blue green in the limited light of the moon. I didn’t look back at Hadley Mansion, towering over the dew covered court yard. If I did, I may have been provoked to go back, to abort my plans, and to let go of this last fit of rebellion.
This was my last stand; the end.
It didn’t matter what had brought me to that place in my life. All that mattered was that I had gotten there, and because of that, I was free.
As I slipped deeper into the thick engrossment of vegetation that lined the yard, I began to shiver. Weaving among the trees and foliage on the old dirt path, I was painfully aware of the chill in the night air. I hadn’t thought to bring a jacket, but what did it matter? I didn’t need a jacket where I was going.
Cold gusts of air whipped through the trees and lashed out against my bare arms and legs and tossed my torn, red night gown. Wind shook my black locks and plagued my face. My eyes watered and a part of me longed for a barrier between my skin and the dry, unrelenting wind.
My hands tightened around the object in my hand in a way that shouldn’t have been possible; I was already squeezing it so tightly.
It was dark. The trees that had been growing longer than the old manor had been standing prevented light from penetrating the canopy of leaves and branches. I wasn’t sure of how far I had to go, it had been so long since I had been there, but I was sure I’d find out. I knew I was close when I passed the path that lead to the old quarters.
I had to do this tonight.
It was only when I fell - I stumbled over a rock unseen on the dirt trail and fell to my knees, hands first onto the cold, damp ground - that I let my eyes wonder from my chosen path. I pulled myself up quickly using a tree for support. Once I was steady I looked back the way I came and realized with more certainty than ever that I wasn’t coming back.
I emerged from the woods and instantly felt a wave of nostalgia. Memories of sticky mornings, afternoon swims, and summer picnics came flooding back to me. Memories of my sister made my eyes sting. I wished she was with me. Maybe if she was, I would have chosen a different path, then again, maybe not. If she hadn’t left, would I have found out?
It wasn’t exactly how I remembered it. I had never been there at night, and I learned long ago how moon light has a way of transforming things.
The moon and star lit sky reflected beautifully on the lake’s shimmering surface. The grass was low and looked freshly cut, so it probably wasn’t as forgotten to everyone else as it had been to me.
I collapsed, Indian style, onto the grass not far from the bank. The clearing was so peaceful. The night was calm and inviting. If it wasn’t for the chilling breeze, it might have been perfect. I remembered the necklace in my hand. I brought what I had deemed a long time ago the root of my oppression close so I could read it. My name reflected on the tiny, metallic surface. I read the tiny imprinted letters again and again.
Sophia Rose Hadley
The name was my prison. If only I’d been born into a different family, one where love and loyalty rose above all else. My name would be just that, my name. Nothing more nothing less. Maybe then my life wouldn’t have been such a never-ending nightmare.
As I thought this through, my eyes were watering again. One solitude tear slipped down my face and rolled down my cheeks. I quickly wiped it away.
I pulled my shoes off, hoisted myself off the ground quickly, and moved to the area of the lake where we used to jump from the trees into the murky water. Mechanically, I made my way to the place where the dense blue grass met the cold waters of the lake. The silver moonlight danced across the surface. I shuddered in the freezing darkness as I took another look at the necklace.
This would be the end.
Slowly I bent, placing the perfect gold on the lush grass. I stood erect and tall as I spent a second basking in the confidence of my own decision. I stared at the lake like I would an opponent. A slow smile crept across my face. This would be how I would win and escape my tormentors for good.
My heart beat hard inside my chest. A wave of adrenalin washed over me dulling the stinging cold. I took a deep breath and hurled myself into the lake. I let out a small, unsuspected shriek as the icy waters took my breath away. It was as deep as I remembered. I let myself slip deeper and deeper still, until I could no longer see the moonlight passing through the lake’s surface. Yes, this would be the end.
The end of me.