Liliana stepped away, her facial features distorted into horrified disgust. In front of her hung Thomas, with crimson dripping in rivulets down his neck from where the rope clung tightly. His head was bent at an odd angle and something jagged and wan protruded grotesquely from the pallid skin just below the coarse rope. The crimson dripped in a steady tide from where the jagged piece stuck out amongst mangled flesh and sinew, the blood dribbled its way to the floor, joining all the other drops in the ever-growing pool below. Bulbous eyes protruded from their sockets and stared sightlessly at Liliana, seemingly regarding her with accusation as they bored into her own blindly. Lips tinged a light shade of blue were limp and lifeless, but Liliana’s mind played tricks, making her to imagine that they were twisted into a vicious snarl.
Liliana’s head began to shake in mute disbelief and she began to tremble uncontrollably, tears welled in her eyes. She wanted to leave, wanted to run, but her body wouldn’t budge. She was paralyzed, stuck in a state of petrified limbo as she stared at the corpse hanging from the garage roof.
She knew, she could have stopped this. Her mind kept playing on loop the events from earlier that day, torturing her incessantly as she stared at the corpse of what had been her best friend. Her breaths began to come out fast and ragged as she fought the dizziness that was overtaking her.
A wind blew in then, causing the body to sway slightly and bringing the rancid smell of rot to Liliana’s nostrils. Immediately she doubled over, her knees meeting the concrete with a sickening thunk that she hardly noticed. Her body pitched forward as her stomach surged and she wretched what little she had eaten that day onto the floor. She choked on the putrid aroma and crawled her way in the direction of the garage door, only now noticing the agony of her knees.
Wincing in pain, she crawled across the floor until she was out of the garage, leaving streaks of blood from her wounded knees as she went. The second she exited the garage, she collapsed on the ground and heaved in lungfuls of clean autumn air. Her breaths billowed stalks of long grass in front of her face and she stared blankly at them. Their vibrant green seemingly too cheerful so close to such a dark scene only a few feet away.
Everything was too loud, and Liliana found herself plugging her ears trying to drown it out. The sun shone down brightly on the green field in which she lay, the wind whispering gently and the bugs buzzing out lazily. The birds whistled their tunes joyfully and white puffs of cloud scudded across the sky of a perfect day. It was all too loud, all Liliana could hear was voices raised too high in argument, the sound of sorrowful whining that could only be produced by an old swing set, and the same phrase repeated over and over in an eerily familiar voice.
Liliana plugged her ears, but still she could hear it; it’s all your fault, it’s all your fault IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT. She crumpled and curled herself into a ball on the ground, burying her face into her knees and keeping her hands planted on her ears. She screamed until her throat stung and her voice was ragged, trying to drown out the voice. But it persisted, repeating over and over that it was her fault.
. . .
Eight hours earlier.
Liliana’s purple dress billowed out around her just right, it hugged her body in just the right places and flowed out in just the right places so that she looked perfect. Her makeup was done perfect, her skin appearing porcelain and perfect, accenting her deep blue eyes. Her hair was tied up in a complicated swirl with a dark purple ribbon tied into it. Her shoes were polished and perfect, of course purple like the rest of her pristine outfit.
She walked gracefully in the direction of the park with a small envelope gripped in her slim fingers. Her lips curled in disdain as the park came into view, it was very old and looked like it was ready to collapse. The slide was rickety and rusty, the seesaw looked crooked and loose, and the swings cried as they were blown about in the wind. She narrowed her eyes at the swings as she approached, because sitting hunched over on one of them was Thomas. She gripped the envelope in her hand and stepped onto the pebbles of the ancient playground. Her shiny purple shoes sank into the dusty pebbles and she hissed in response.
Upon hearing the shifting of the small stones, Thomas raised his emerald green eyes and looked at her. Those bright eyes crinkled at the edges as his face brightened with a wide, brilliant smile. He stood from the swing, and approached Liliana who had stopped at the edge of the playground to get the rocks from her shoes. He wore dusty old jeans and a faded grey T-shirt with small rips in it. Liliana offered a small smile in return to his bright, friendly one, “…hey.” Her voice was petite and perfect and Thomas smiled even wider.
He stood an arm’s length from her and scratched at his head self-consciously, “I didn’t think you would actually come, I’m really glad you did though!” his voice was bright and buoyant. He watched as Liliana flinched at his words and looked up at him with sad eyes. His smile faltered and he stepped closer to her, gripping her arms almost desperately, “What’s wrong Liliana?”
Tears began to well from her eyes and burst forth unbidden, rolling in tracks down her cheeks, “Thomas I can’t be with you, there is no future for us. We come from different worlds, you can never fit in with mine, my parents will never accept.”
Thomas spoke desperately, “But the letter… We can run away together, away from all of the differences. We don’t have to live in their different worlds, we can live in one all our own. I asked you to come with me, you came…. We can just go, please Lily.”
Liliana’s hair whipped like lashes from side to side as she shook her head violently while he spoke, coming loose from its complicated swirl. She gripped at her dress and took a step away from Thomas and his grip on his arms, trying to steady her breath. When she looked into his sad emerald eyes again her own were steely, “I can’t go with you. I will not uproot my life to run away with you Thomas, I can’t do it. I know you think this is love, but it’s not, we’re too young. You’ll move on and find someone better, I promise.”
Tears welled in Thomas’ eyes and he ducked his head, “But I do love you Lily, I can’t go on without you, you’re all I have anymore. You know better than anyone that you’re all I have left. I promise I can take care of you, we can make it, just you and me.”
Liliana felt her heart breaking but she held her ground, “Thomas I came to say goodbye, I won’t be seeing you anymore. We’re too different, we can’t make this work and you need to understand that,” she saw the light dying in his eyes but she knew he wouldn’t let go with just this so she decided to put the final nail in the coffin, “I’m in love with someone else, you should have known that someone like you can never satisfy someone like me. It was good while it lasted, but this is where I cut our ties. Goodbye Thomas.”
Liliana turned on her heel and walked away, refusing to look behind her as she went, no matter how much she longed to do so. Later that day she would find herself desperately wishing that she had looked back, even just once and seen how her words had broken something in him. Maybe then he would still be alive.
Later that day, Liliana would find herself worrying after Thomas and going to check on him one last time. She would go to the lonely garage that lay on the outskirts of town, long forgotten and abandoned. She and Thomas had spent countless nights sleeping on the mattress he had in the back corner, the one area that didn’t leak when it rained. She sighed when it came into sight and pulled the massive door open, swinging it wide.
. . .
Back in the present, Liliana lay on the ground, voice long gone as the voice in her head screeched at her again and again that it was all her fault. She knew this, she knew It was her fault. If only she had gone with him, if only she had looked back, if only she hadn’t gone to that park at all. If only, if only, if only…
Her legs ached and when she finally tried to drag herself to her feet, her knees buckled beneath her and she yelped in pain. Her knees were broken from her fall earlier and she had been too shocked to really notice. She tried to scream for help, but her voice was already raw and there was no one out there, she was too far from the edge of town. No one knew where she was, no one knew where Thomas’ garage was, she was all alone. She screamed and struggled to drag her body in the direction of town.
She dragged herself relentlessly for a couple hours until night fell, even then not stopping. Her arms ached and dirt caked her dress and flesh. Her hair was tangled and dirty, and sweat poured off of her. Eventually her arms gave out and she collapsed, heaving deep breaths and looking around, she was now in the woods near the very edge of town and the dark trees rose up around her like black goliaths. Liliana let her head collapse against the dirt and closed her eyes, the fatigue of dragging herself so far finally catching up with her. She didn’t know at what point she drifted off or how with the pain in her legs, but somehow she did.
She woke to darkness again, and groggily looked around. She didn’t have to look very far before she froze, two furry forelegs stood directly in front of her and she heard a low, threatening growl. Fear mounting in her chest, Liliana looked up, into the fierce amber eyes of a massive black wolf. The beast’s eyes seemed to glow in the near dark and she swallowed thickly when she noticed the moonlight reflecting off of ivory fangs. The wolf’s lips curled back in a snarl as it licked its chops, and opened its jaws wide.
Liliana felt like laughing, how perfect. This was revenge, it had to be, this was Thomas’ revenge for killing him. She smiled up at the wolf and in her petite voice invited it, “What are you waiting for?” The beast needed no more invitation and lunged upon her, ripping easily into her porcelain flesh. Her screams were drowned out amongst the lonely trees.
Now there is a legend in that small, lonely town
Do not lie when love is true
Otherwise the wolves will come to punish you