I had waited for the sun to set. A cool rain had fallen and sent shivers down my spine. Finally, after rocking for hours, I made my way out of the thick bush and stood in a small clearing.
Standing perfectly still, I waited and listened. Caden had crawled away ages ago. Part of me felt guilty for not helping him while the other part secretly hoped that he had bled out on the way home.
A twig snapped. I ducked down and froze. Looking left, right, and then left again, my eyes landed on a pure white bunny hopping through the woods.
You don't know how glad I am to see you, I thought to myself as the small furry creature hopped away.
Now which way should I go? I chewed on my lower lip nervously. Caden headed that way, I thought as I looked behind me, so that's definitely out. I faced forward. Straight ahead or should I veer left? Or right?
"Straight ahead," I said quietly to myself. "Get as much distance between yourself and that psychopath as possible."
Looking down at my bare feet, I desperately wished I had a pair of shoes. Ugh, even flip-flops would be better then nothing.
Taking careful steps, I crept as quietly as possible through the woods and away from scene of the violent confrontation between Caden and myself.
I can't believe I shot someone. The boom of the gun had been deafening. I was almost positive I had some type of hearing loss from it.
Then there was the blood. There had been soooo much blood. My stomach felt queasy just thinking about it.
Pushing the graphic images out of my mind and focusing on the task at hand, I wound my way around a thick tree and took several steps sideways, before doubling back and heading the opposite direction.
I didn't know if Caden's father would try to come after me, but if he did, I wanted to make it as difficult as possible to track my movements.
I alternated between walking, crawling through thickets of prickly brush, and running as fast as my bare feet would carry me.
Cursing myself for not exercising or at least making an effort to keep my muscles active while Caden held me against my will, I quickly became tired and had to take frequent breaks.
If I make it home, I'm signing up for every self defense course I can find, I vowed as I tried to ignore my aching legs. And, I'm going to run a marathon.
The thought of home left more then my legs hurting. My heart felt heavy and my eyes welled up with tears several times.
Finally, as the sun began to rise, complete and utter exhaustion took over my body. I found a thicket and made my way to the middle. Curling up into a little ball, I closed my eyes and fell into a troubled sleep.
"Ma! Ma! Come quick!" a shrill voice screamed.
My eyes shot open and I came face to face with a young girl staring at me with a scrunched up nose.
I screamed and pushed my body backward as quickly as possible.
"Maaaaaa!" screamed the little girl as she crawled after me.
Stumbling to me feet, I tried to get up and run, but managed to trip and fall. Fingers splayed out and my cheek rubbed against the dirt.
"Do you need help?" a warm voice asked from somewhere above.
I rolled over and sprang to my feet.
"Whoa, slow down there," said a woman with golden blonde hair and a concerned look on her face.
My body started to quake with relief. "Oh, please help me!" I said as I wrapped my arms around her. Relief started to swell in my body. I've been found! I survived! I'm going to get to go home!
"Oh, Sweetheart," said the woman embracing me. "What's wrong? What are you doing way out here in the woods?"
"I've been kidnapped," I said, immediately bursting into tears as the words left my mouth. "Please help me get back to my family!"
"Oh my goodness," soothed the woman. "Come, I'll drive you to the police station in town. We were just out here picking berries."
I stepped back and wiped the tears from my face. Can this really be happening? Am I finally going to get to go home?
"Jade, come here," said the woman. "We need to help this young woman. Can you hold the bucket?"
"Yes mother," responded the little girl as she stepped forward and accepted the handle of the bucket.
"Come now, we need to be quick!" said her mother.
"Thank you so much," I said.
"My name is Catherine," the woman said as we veered off to the right through the woods. "May I ask your name?"
"Ha- Ha- Hadley Jasper," I stammered. The last time I had heard my name spoken out loud was from Caden's lips. My stomach clenched at the thought of my kidnapper.
The woman turned around as her eyebrows shot up. "The Hadley Jasper?" she said quietly, almost in a whisper.
"My dear! You've been all over the news for months!"
"I really can't talk about it," I responded. "I just need to get to the police and to use a phone to call my parents."
"Of course," she replied quickly. "Come, Jade, we must get to the car quickly!"
Carefully stepping over fallen branches and sharp rocks, I followed behind Catherine.
"We're almost there," she called over her shoulder.
A small black pick up truck covered in mud came into view.
"That's our truck," said the little girl, pointing her finger straight ahead.
Catherine opened the door with a single key and reached over to flip the lock on the passenger's side door. Once it opened, she asked, "Jade, can you manage the seat?"
"Yes, mother," the little girl answered, handing me the bucket.
After pulling on a handle, the seat folded down and Jade crawled in back.
Once the seat had been secured back in place, I hopped in and closed the door behind me. As Catherine shifted the car into drive, the impact of what had just happened hit me like a ton of bricks.
As the truck bounced down a gravel road, I began to weep. "I'm going home," I whispered to myself. "I'm finally going home."
Suddenly, Jade reached around from the backseat and pressed a cold piece of metal to my neck.
"Just one thing," said Catherine, "you're not going anywhere."
Greeeeeetings! Thanks you for your patience with my updating! You all are amazing! In addition to working on Under, I have been commissioned by Universal Pictures to write a short story to help promote the upcoming film, The Visit! EEEEEK! The first installment went live on Thursday and I'd love to hear all of your thoughts on Fever! Here's the link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/48299656-fever You can also find it on UniversalHorror's profile page!
As always, you all are so super important to me and I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Chapter Twenty-Two of Under!
Kelly Anne Blount xoxo
P.S. If you enjoyed this chapter, please leave me a comment and click that little star button to vote! I'd really appreciate it!
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***Optioned for film/TV by Komixx Media! More info coming soon!*** Selected by @Unfriended for the Best of Horror! A serial stalker is on the loose. When detectives find a single wolfsbane flower under Hadley Jasper's bed, they fear the worst. Wil...