River Bed

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The bitter cold air chilled her to the bone, but it only pushed her further down the chipped and cracked sidewalk. The tape that she broke free of around her ankles was flapping against her bare legs. But she kept running. Her ink black hair was in a frizzy nest upon her cold sweat covered head as she tried to push it out of her face, so she could see where she was running and even that didn't slow her down. She didn't let her speed dwindle, she couldn't let her speed slow, if she did then the monster chasing her would grab her with his rough, icy cold hands.

Her bare feet stopped her when they came to the start of a wooden bridge. She had never been to this part of the campus, if that is where she was still being held and with the drugs coursing through her system, she was surprised she was able to stand and run as far as she had. She believed getting free from that monster and his home would be the hard part. She didn't dream she would have to run mile after mile to get to any sort of safety.

"Little girl, little girl, where could you be? I wouldn't think your poor; tired legs could carry you this far. You have to be exhausted by now..." His voice wasn't too far away, and the sound of his piercing pitch made her skin crawl and her joints tense. Her heart raced and her mind wondered why no one else heard his shouts for her return. If she could hear him, someone else could too, right? Surely someone would save her, she thought.

Her tired hazel eyes set back on the bridge, it was the only thing keeping her from freedom and imprisonment. It would be her saving grace, or it would be her downfall. The choice ended on whether or not she took the next few steps toward the railing. With her wrist still bound, she raced forward to the side. If only she could find something to free her hands, she would be able to jump better off the side of the bridge into the icy water below. But looking around, she couldn't find anything to cut the tape with.

Looking down, she saw nothing but running water and it seemed higher than a little river flowing through some rocks and trees. Maybe it rained recently? She asked herself, trying to find a reason to not jump, maybe she could talk some sense into this monster. She didn't really want to jump, but she wanted her freedom. She couldn't remember how long she was with the monster that should be just behind her, but it had to of been more than a few days.

Seeing her only option flowing below her, she pulled at the tape around her wrists and even used her front teeth for help. Soon it began to tear but the man's shouts behind her picked up almost as fast as her heart beat. Her teeth tore into the tape and she began to scramble to get them free. She used her newly freed hands to pull herself up on to the edge of the bridges hand rail. She prepared herself for the jump, but she didn't get that far before a familiar icy pair of hands grabbed her from behind.

"NO! NOOO, let me go!" She screamed and screamed but it didn't seem to attract anything but tighter hands around her waist. Her voice was hoarse from not speaking in several days, but she still screamed her lungs raw.

She continued to scream as the hands grabbed her around her waist and pulled her from the only freedom she could see, her icy plunge to the river below her. A hand found its way onto her mouth to try and silence her screams she tried to bite it back but there was too much pressure over her lips.

"It's not very nice to run away from someone that only wants you safe. Running like a mad woman out here is dangerous. Some crazy man could be out here looking to kill pretty girls such as you." The man turned her around in his arms and she came face to face with him again. Spitting something about being her savior.

She couldn't place him, but that could be the drugs talking. All she knew is that she needed to get away from him and his death grip otherwise she wouldn't make it out alive. That much she knew for sure.

"P-please, I don't want to go back! I'll d-do anything. Please." She begged him but he didn't care. He didn't seem to care that she was tied up for days in a cold dark room without anything to eat or drink. There was maybe a cup of water within those few days and it was only for the pills to be forced down her throat. She didn't want to go back to the dark room again, she didn't want to hear only his voice in the crack of the door. She just wanted to jump for her life over the bridge's railing, was that too much to ask for?

"You want away from me so bad you're willing to kill yourself? The fall from this bridge would kill you when you hit the water. It's been raining for nearly a week straight and the water levels are too high for you to get anywhere." He was right, of course, she saw the level of the water. It practically kissed the bottom of the bridge as it flowed by but it was still freedom and she wanted it so badly.

She still didn't care, she wasn't going to go back with him. Her body shook, not just from the cold, and tears that froze to her face as they fell. But from the utter fear that coursed through her body at this man before her. She didn't remember ever seeing his face, she would be nearly blacked out if he came into the room with her, and all communications came through the crack of the door otherwise.

His face was stone as he looked at her with pity and annoyance. Maybe he's had enough with this one, he thought. There were tons of others he could have picked, but this one was given right to him, she was a gift and he couldn't do this to a gift, he thought. That night was the best of his life, one that he would never forget, no other woman would make him feel the same way. He couldn't get her out of his mind and the gift giver was so keen on her staying away as long as possible, they didn't care what happened to his little present.

Kicking the thoughts of the past out of his head, he turned back to the woman against the bridge railing, begging for her life in his thick hands. Lifting her up until she couldn't even reach the bridge with the tips of her toes she took in a sudden cold breath. He smiled warmly at her, there was just something about her face he would never be able to shake from him mind.

"Please," she choked out one last word.

"Our time together was nice. But it's time for you to go." His parting words as he pulled her up a little higher and then, with all the strength he had in him, he threw her body over the railing she wanted to jump from so badly. Her body hit the water harder than if she had prepared herself for the jump. The slap of her face and body could be heard down the path of the bridge where she had just run from. His throw made her body twist just right for her face to slap against the moving water.

He rushed to the side of the trees near the rivers edge and found as many large rocks he could get his hands on. Returning to the bridge he threw the heavy rocks on her back and heard the thump of one hitting the back of her head. This would solve so many of his problems, he believed.

The man looked at the river until he couldn't see her body anymore. She sunk under the weight of the clothes she was wearing and the rocks he threw in after her that landed on her back. Along with the belongings he didn't want to get caught with, as he disposed of as much evidence as he could over the railing of the bridge.

One last look at the body drifting down the river he turned from the bridge and started home. No one would find her anytime soon. The river she was thrown into didn't meet any other body of water and was far enough away from the campus that no one should just happen upon her. Not until her body was bloated and waterlogged enough that she would be unrecognizable without someone doing extensive work to figure out who she was.

By then, he would be long gone, and she would be miles away. Dead and forgotten.

But as he body drifted along the slow current that was made bigger and more dangerous by the rain water falling in it over the last week anyone could see it was on a mission toward the only place around the bend of the end of the river. If the man had only watched it for a few seconds more, he would see it drift off to the only house on that side of the campus.

A house filled with seven college students that all had something better to do than working on their final projects for the year, with three of them currently trying to rearrange the flower bed in the backyard in full view of the river that ended at the back of their house, they will have a front row seat to the evidence the monster threw into the river.

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