The door slammed against the wall as she threw it open. There wasn’t much time and she knew it. Her feet pounded against the ground as she ran onto the nearly abandoned rain-soaked dirt road. It was frigid and dark. She was panting as she tried to stay steady on the slippery path. The footsteps behind her increased their speed. Her vision blurred from the bright headlights of a passing car. It was just enough to distract her from a hole in the road and her stomach lurched as she tripped. He caught up to her just as her head slammed into a rock and before she could move he was on top of her.
“You need to stop.” He gasped as he wrestled her still.
“Get away from me!”
“You’re delirious. We need to get you home.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you.”
He sighed. It was just enough. She brought her knee up with all the strength she could muster. He howled as she made contact. Rolling out from beneath him she released a spurt of energy. Then the throbbing hit and her vision swarmed with black. She felt the thud of her knees hitting the ground throughout her whole body. Her head felt like it was about to burst open. He caught her before she collapsed.
“Mandy! Mandy, talk to me.” He pleaded while shaking her.
She didn’t answer. When he pulled away his hand was covered in her blood. He cupped her head against his chest as he hauled her up and carried her off the road. Then she was falling. She rolled to look up at him. He was so far away now.
“I just want you to know,” He said as a weight began on her chest and the smell of soil assaulted her nostrils. “I really do love you.”
She awoke with a gasp covered in sweat and tears even though she didn’t remember crying. Sitting upright was what made her realize she was in a bed and not a hole. She rubbed a hand over her face then pressed it into her forehead, willing herself to remember more. But that was it. Taking a deep breath, she turned her head to the side. That was when she saw him. She screamed and jerked back, falling on the floor.
“What is it?” He yelled, jumping out of bed and taking a defensive stance. “What happened?”
She didn’t respond. She merely gaped up at him until he relaxed at the realization there was no danger. He held out his hand to her.
“Are you okay? What happened?” He asked again, much gentler this time, while he pulled her up.
“I remembered something.”
“That’s great news!” He pulled her into a quick embrace.
“I don’t know if it is.” She took a step back.
His brow furrowed in confusion. “I don’t understand, why are you so upset?”
There was a long pause while she stared him down. This man that was lovingly checking on her could hardly be the same man as the one that ruthlessly tried to kill her.
“Never mind. Let’s go back to sleep.”
“Stop asking me.”
“You’re clearly distressed. Just tell me what’s going on.” He reached out to her but pulled back before touching her.
“I want to sleep.”
“Alright, but you’ll tell me in the morning, won’t you?”
They got back into bed and pulled the covers up to their chins. But while he settled in she stayed wide-eyed staring at the ceiling. Was the anger in his eyes real? Or did she imagine it? She didn’t have time do decide, every moment she stayed without knowing the truth was giving him the advantage. She needed to get away. And she needed to do it now. Heart beating rapidly, she slipped out of the bed and began tiptoeing to the closet. A floorboard creaked. Every muscle in her body froze as she waited for him to move. He didn’t. Releasing the breath she was holding she finished crossing the room with ginger steps. She pulled a coat over her pajamas and tugged her boots onto her feet. Her hand was an inch from the doorknob when his grabbed her arm.
“Where are you going?”
“I need some air.”
“At this time of night? Come back to bed.”
“Were you always like this?”
“What do you mean?”
“I just want to go for a walk.”
“And I’m just worried about your safety.”
“You’re worried about yours.”
His grip tightened. “Why would you say that?”
She tensed. “You’re hurting me.”
“I’m sorry.” He startled as she turned to look at him. “It’s just… I have no idea what’s going on. Please talk to me.”
“You want some kind of confession, don’t you?”
“Well, I want one too.”
He was gripping both of her arms now. They were inches from each other and he held her in place with the look in his eyes. If only she knew what complex emotions they were displaying. She gasped as his nails dug in. The flash of anger from before was back.
“What is going on?”
“Why did you do it?”
“Why did I do what?”
“You think you can pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about!” She pulled away from him and her back hit the door.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” His voice trembled and she knew he meant it. It unnerved her.
“You tried to kill me.” She whispered. “Why?”
He placed his hand on the door right next to her head. She flinched. “Mandy, I don’t know what you think you remember, but that never happened.”
“I know it did.”
“I would never hurt you.”
“I know you did.”
He raised his hand but she ducked out of the way and yanked the door open. It banged into his forehead and he fell back clutching the gash on his face. She ran to unlock the front door and then tugged with all her might. The door slammed against the wall as she threw it open. There wasn’t much time and she knew it. Her feet pounded against the ground as she ran onto the nearly abandoned rain-soaked dirt road.