Beauty and the Beast

We ran through the woods like bats out of Hell. I guess, really, that’s what we were. I held her hand as she pushed larger branches out of our path; we were covered in scrapes and bruises regardless. Dogs howled in the distance and we ran faster. We had to make it to the wall. I heard her cuss under her breath and move faster, nearly pulling me off my feet. She had always slowed to my pace when we walked, but now it was life and death and the pace needed to move faster.

I met Malery on the streets, literally. Down a small side-street, I headed home one dreary night and found her lying unconscious in the gutter. One of her feet had actually disappeared down a storm drain. Carrying her to my apartment I attempted to care for the stranger, but she recovered on her own by sundown only to frantically claw at the walls like a caged animal. Eventually she calmed down enough to believe I meant her no harm. Only then did she tell me who and what she was. Only then did I realize I loved her.

Light broke through the treetops as we reached our destination: The Wall. Built long before my birth I knew not what lay beyond. But I knew the unknown could never compare to what lay behind – the cruelty of man, only seen when facing something new and unknown. Something like Malery.

With one leap she closed the distance and climbed the brick monument effortlessly. Reaching the top she turned and looked down. I wished we could stay like that forever and I would never fear forgetting her face. I held back stiff tears as I looked from her eyes to the trail of blood from her mouth down her neck. I couldn’t believe she lost control and hurt someone. But the sirens outside my apartment early that morning left little room for doubt.

Trying to sound strong I looked up at her fearlessly. “You’ll come back, right? You said you wouldn’t die for me, but I won’t rot in prison for you.”

Smiling her small smile she nodded. “You won’t have to.” With one last filthy look back at the city we fled she silently disappeared over the wall.

I breathed a sigh of relief. I heard crashing from behind and knew the police were near. Tackled to the ground and arrested, I began my patient wait to be rescued by what had come to be known as The Beast.

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