Sometimes the only way to find absolute solitude in this world is to leave everything behind; just leave, and never look back. So that's exactly what I did.
I could see my breath in the frigid February air as it crystallized into white clouds, and my hands were shaking wildly as I breathed hard. I silently cursed myself for forgetting gloves, but didn't stop my feet, pounding into the ground and carrying me far from home.
There was no room in my brain for thought as I sprinted through the snow and down a street I knew too well. Don't look back, I thought, for if I did, I might be tempted to change direction; to return to what was safe.
So I didn't turn back, just pushed on and on until I had no more breath left in my throbbing lungs. Heart pounding and legs aching, I finally had to stop.
I bent over in an attempt to slow my panting, ragged breath, palms pressed into my thighs to keep myself from collapsing. I'm an idiot.
Once my breath was mostly under control, I straightened and examined my surroundings.
A wall of snow pelted my face suddenly; blinding me and making me fall to my knees. "Dammit..." I muttered and pushed myself up onto my feet again and began the endless drive through the shower of snow.
It was only minutes before I could feel my knees begin to buckle again, but I kept them firm and continued to drive on.
It was another few minutes before finally something caught my eye, blurred in the blinding white but something nonetheless. As I got closer, the smudge came into focus and I could tell it was a shed of some kind. Shelter... I thought in relief. A mirage of imagined warmth spread through me as I yearned for a roof over my head. This gave me a newfound strength, and I found it easier to push through the snow; as if a weight was suddenly absent from my back.
Every moment dragged by as the shed became painfully closer and closer, until finally my frozen fingers wrapped around the exterior doorknob and I was slamming the door behind me. For a long while I stood there with my back against the wooden door, trembling and eyes closed. I felt as though the entirety of the world rested on me. But, there I was being a diva again.
Finally I slumped to the floor, opening my eyes to take in the inside of the shed. It was obviously abandoned, with decaying wood and clusters of junk here and there. There was some foul stench clinging to the air, and I had to swat flies away from my face several times. But I found my salvation in a fireplace across the room from me; like a shining beacon at the end of the tunnel. Crap, there I go again with the diva act.
Literally crawling over to the fireplace on hands and knees, the mirage of warmth came at me again. When I got there though, I realized I had no idea how to start a fire. On my knees, I blew out air I hadn't known I'd been holding in. Looking around at the shed again, I really started to second guess my actions. Again.
For a moment I had no idea why I was here. Why I ran away; why I never planned on going back. It all seemed so silly in that instance, because I was scared. Okay, I said it. I'm human, I get scared too. I missed my life, my family. Well, shit, it's hasn't even been a whole day and you're already thinking of turning back...
I shook my head slowly and willed the feelings to go away, to be strong again like the stone I imagined myself to be. Nothing changed. I was still Mia, and right then and there I knew I would always be just Mia. But that opened my mind to a whole new onslaught of feelings.
Feelings you'll just have to deal with later. And so I forced myself to be made of stone. First thing on my "to do list": make fire.
Wow. What a caveman I had become.
Nevertheless, fire must be made. Think, Mia. What makes fire...And that was when I realized I was a complete idiot. Rifling through my bright pink back pack (don't ask why it's pink. Please), with a triumphant sound I pulled out the lighter I'd stashed in there at the last minute.
A smile crossed my face as I lit the logs on the fire and the lights dashed across the room in haunting patterns. Once again, a breath escaped my lips. Holding my hands out toward the fire, I felt as though maybe everything might be okay. And then I saw my face reflected in the fire; 9 times.
A scream caught in the back of my throat as my face stared back at me 9 times in the flames. The edges of my vision blurred and I fell back, eye closing just as my head hit the ground.