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When she woke up everything was black. Her first instinct was to scream and yell for help, but instead she stayed silent. The last thing she remembered was following her suspect into an alleyway.
Stupid, she thought to herself, he knew you were following him.
She decided to focus on her surroundings and try to figure out where she was. Feeling cold wet stone on her back, she decided it was a cave of some sort. It took longer than she would have liked to find a wall, following it with her finger tips.
Thoughts of spiders and murderers being right in front of her in the complete darkness filled her head. She tried to keep away, but they were there, making concentration difficult.
Finally, she saw a small light, far off from where she stood. Picking up the pace, she started a slow jog, being sure to continue feeling her way through.
She was practically crying from happiness at finally being able to leave this hell until she made it out.
There he stood, waiting to make her his latest victim.
He did not want to choose. It was an impossible choice. Hot tears ran down his face as he looked at the options in front of him. The love of his life there, eyes staring up at him with tears of hope.
He knew she would want him to make the right choice. Only the right choice was too painful.
“Why are you making me do this?” He asked aloud, knowing no answer would return.
The mastermind behind this world terror had always stayed hidden behind the curtain of darkness. From his safe spot, he sat and watched as the world burned around him, throwing gasoline on the already roaring fire.
“I can’t make this choice, Annabelle. I’m so sorry, but I can’t.”
Her mouth was covered with a handkerchief, and her arms and legs tied securely to the wooden chair. Annabelle shook her head, a desperate sob, trying so hard to escape.
“How could anyone expect me to choose here? Between you and a church full of children?”
He knew she wouldn’t be able to answer back with words, but the look in her eyes was an answer enough. She was always willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good.
He let out a sob as he stared at her, “If there was any other way…” He couldn’t finish. It was too painful to hear the ending out loud.
“I love you, my dear Annabelle, and I will never stop.”
He wanted so badly to reach out to her, to hold her just one last time. Instead, he pushed the button that would end her. He couldn’t watch as he knew what would happen next. He knew before he even heard the cracking of the wood hitting the ground that she was gone.
Despite knowing she was okay with it all, knowing he had just saved a hundred lives, he collapsed.
Screamed at the empty room with its computer screens until his throat couldn’t scream anymore. Every time he closed his eyes, even just for a second, he saw her face.
He lie there on the cold ground, eyes no longer able to cry and barely able to breath for what seemed like days. He barely registered that his fellow officers had come to find him. He didn’t hear the words they spoke to him as they helped him up.
All he felt was complete sadness and guilt. Not a day would go by that he didn’t look down and see the blood of his Annabelle on his hands.
As the wind blew through the woods, the trees danced. Swaying side to side with the rhythm of the life around it. It was truly a magical thing to witness. It was as if everything was in slow motion and for once, I could slow down.
Oh how I wished I could slow down. I wished with all my heart that I could take the weight of the world off of my shoulders. It had been so long since I last stood still, I almost forgot how to. For weeks I had been worrying that life as we knew it would end. For weeks I have been searching for the one thing to save us all. For weeks, I have been running to save the world.
The wind was blowing behind me as I ran past the trees. It was as if all of life that was left was pushing me forward. The colors around me were fading, all the animals were gone, and yet, I was still pushing forward.
I could only pray that what I was after would be here.
After what felt like a mile, I arrived at the edge of the wood. A small lake sat there, water as still as ever despite the howling wind behind me.
My hair whipped about my face as I started towards the water, its icy cold stinging at my skin under my clothes. I went as far as I could while still standing, and then I ducked my head under the water.
Opening my eyes, I expected the sting of water to fill my eyes and was instead met with a bright golden light. There, in the middle of the lake, stood what I needed to save all of life.