My mouth fell open as I watched it. I had seen deer many times and upon making eye contact with humans they tended to become very alert. The deer stood there regarding me with its eyes while I regarded it with mine.

I looked into its eyes, and I could have sworn it knew that I wasn’t there as a threat. I tried to reassure it with my thoughts that I was not here to harm it. I also had the distinct feeling that the deer regarded me as a kindred spirit.

Hunted, yet innocent.

It seemed like such a long time that the two of us were locked into a very intense conversation of thoughts and feelings. Neither of us made a sound above the gentle rasping of our breath. A few moments later the deer blinked and turned away.

Before it left my field of view it looked at me once more.

I smiled. Without thinking or putting any effort into it, I managed to form a single lonesome smile. A tear ran down my cheek as I did. I forced myself to stop crying with all my might, knowing that I had to be stronger than that.

I knew that my time of tears would come but not yet. Not yet. The deer flitted its ears a couple of times and then carried on walking. I listened to the gentle sound of its hoof falling on the soil and dead twigs.

Breathing very gently I realized how heavy my eyes had become. Leaning back into the mound I made an indentation in the soil with my head. Leaning into it and gently resting my head against Sarah’s, I closed my eyes.

The sound of the ocean waves filling my ears was deafening. The sound of his cackling and of my parents’ futile pleas of mercy. I clamped my eyes shut and gritted my teeth.

I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to sleep. But I knew that if I fell under the influence of fatigue, we would all lose. I had promised myself only minutes before that I would fight to stop the soulless hunter no matter the cost.

I thought of the sounds and the voices echoing in my ears as part of what I had to endure to win my war. I thought of them as the voices that I had to appease and avenge.

I would never be the same. I could not return from what I had already become.

For the sounds of silence had never seemed so loud and painful.

“This was never meant to happen. I don’t understand why it had to be this way. For my benefit? I don’t understand. How can you say that? Im doing this for you! And for me! I cannot let this go on!”

A war of words had erupted between myself and my inner demons. By the shoreline had this discussion taken place, with the sound of the waves washing upon the shore. His laugh haunted my thoughts along with the helpless unending screams of my parents.

I closed my eyes tightly, pushing the sounds aside. Focusing on what I needed to do. This night, sleep had come slowly and with great trepidation. I would not allow myself to wake until I had cleared my mind and my heart what I needed to do.

The war between myself and my inner self continued without end. For the first time all night my mind had been quiet enough for me to get in touch with what I had shut out of my mind. My desire for revenge and my pain fought long and hard against my values and principles.

I was being put to the test. I was testing myself. I knew already that I was true to my family and my friends. I was trying to determine how true to myself I was.

“If you kill him, you will never be at peace. He will haunt you after his death.”

“I must avenge their deaths.”

“Yes, you must. But if you want to voice to go, if you do not wish for this war to continue you must do what you truly believe is right. And two wrongs don’t make a right.”

“What would you have me do? Find him and beg him not to slaughter defenseless people and their families? To ask him to go to the nearest church and throw himself before the mercy of God?”

I had almost shouted the last statement at the sky. I stood up and as I did the shoreline disappeared. I found myself among dark barren trees, drenched in moonlight. The same forest I had retreated into to escape the nightmare I had witnessed.

I turned and I saw a robbed and hooded figure standing nearby, watching me. I bared my teeth and ran over to where the dark stranger stood. I grabbed the robe of the stranger and threw him against a nearby tree.

He did not respond to my actions, he simply stood there motionless for a few moments. It wasn’t until after a short while that he started talking. And when he did, I calmed myself upon hearing his voice.

“You must defeat him. Not kill him. If you kill him in cold blood, all you will know is suffering. no one will be able to save you” said the stranger before reaching up and pulling back his hood.

I felt no great surprise when I saw my own face and eyes staring back at me. I simply stared back. I knew it was my inner self, shrouded in darkness and cloaked. Finally, being able to see myself, I waited and listened.

“You cannot see the battle for what it is. You are confused and in pain. If you act on your pain and anguish to resolve your situation, they will control you from that point on. For the rest of your days”

I listened to what my inner self was saying to me. I frowned as he looked to his right. Following his gaze by looking to my left, my eyes settled onto a third figure. At first, I assumed it was another side of myself entering the discussion, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

For emanating from the dark figure was the sound. The same sound I had heard when I saw my parents slaughtered only a few hours before. The laughter. I felt my hand grip something and looking down I smiled.

In my grip was a ten-inch dagger. Sharpened to perfection on one side with a lethal set of serrations on the other side. I remembered seeing him draw the very same dagger before murdering my parents. Slowly looking up to the dark figure I repositioned the dagger in preparation for a stabbing.

Suddenly overcome by rage and pain I lunged towards the dark man. He did not move or respond in any way, he simply continued laughing. A moment later I came down upon him and plunged the dagger deep into his chest.

I twisted the dagger and then tore it out of my victim against the serrated edge, desperate to cause as much damage and pain as possible. I stood with great satisfaction at my kill. My hand was stained with dark red blood from where it had run off the dagger. 

The stranger gasped in agony and gurgled his last few breaths as he began to choke on his own blood. He then fell backwards into a large ditch that lay directly behind him. Leaping off the embankment and into the ditch I grabbed the scruff of his top and fiercely pulled him up to my face so I could spit in his.

As his face entered the light I yelped, jumping backwards. The dagger fell from my hand and onto the leaf covered floor. I heard a wolf howling in the distance as the full moon shone brightly overhead. The stage had been set for my little drama.

For the face of the man, I had impaled through the chest and murdered was none other than my own.

To Be Continued………

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