Jeremy ran for the pastel pink horizon, longing to fall into the sky. She loved pink and he deserved to drown in it.
“I killed her.”
He killed her slowly over the last several years.
They found her little body floating in the shallow end of the water over an hour ago. She left her rifle, pink hair ribbon, and Stetson hat on the river bank with a short note for him.
I am sorry, Jeremy. Now we can both be free.
Panting from the sprint, he stopped and collapsed on the field. He became one with the dying grass.
Before their parents pushed them to be together, before he ruined her life, she was the happiest girl in their village. Her easy laugh and bouncy gait made everyone love her, but he fell in love with her much later. After it was already too late.
He had allowed his pearl to sink to the bottom of the abyss and now she would never return. She was freed from him at last.
The reality of her death sent another terrible ripple through his core. Grief stabbed at him like a knife and he longed for death to take him, too.
Groaning, Jeremy sat up. He was unwilling to meet the eyes of Gabriel, his best friend.
“Leave me alone.”
“Jeremy, please listen to me! She’s alive. Barely, but she’s breathing.”
Jeremy stumbled to his feet and ran back toward the house, unwilling to believe what he had just heard. When he reached her side, he knelt next to the bed and peered down at her pale, heart-shaped face. Her long, damp hair covered the pillow. She looked like an angel, even in death.
“I love you, Sally,” he said. “Please come back to me.”
Her eyelids fluttered open and he met her beautiful green eyes. He buried his face into the bed and wept.
Her cool hand touched his.
“We need to kill them, Jeremy,” she whispered.
He wiped his eyes and held her hand with both of his. Her gaze was hard and distant as she stared right through him.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“We will kill the people who murdered her. Then we are going to rescue those girls. We can’t…. we can’t let them…”
A solitary tear slipped down her cheek as she faintly squeezed his hand. Then, the darkness took her away again.