Goldilocks

There was no longer a path beneath my feet. What once was there was then a ground covered with dried leaves and broken twigs. They wind blew me awake and jostled my thoughts. It wasn't gently tickling my skin like a playful wind. Instead it stung my face and body, stabbing into my skin like a thousand tiny needles. The ruthless winds hit the leaves and, with their weightlessness, were carried off, seemingly circling around me.

My stomach growled, forcing my attention away from the pain in my bare face and directing it to my empty stomach. My hands flew to my stomach, holding it in, for it felt as if it was going to fall out. Nay, it had already fallen out and now I was trying to hold my insides together. How long had it been since I'd last eaten? I couldn't remember. It felt like ages ago, but most certainly it had been less than a day, or even half a day for that matter. I had left so suddenly, I didn't stop to think and grab some food, or even water.

Time seemed to lose all meaning. It had been far too long; I'd been walking far too long, and it felt like days. My feet ached with a throbbing pain. They felt swollen. My eyelids were heavy as exhaustion was taking me. I felt so terrible that I even considered going back. But I quickly shook my head as if shaking the thoughts from my mind.

I was right to leave. It was only natural for me, and everything that was happening – I couldn't bear it anymore. He shouldn't have thrown me against the wall and he shouldn't have hit me. It hurt so much. It was the last slap I was willing to take. He was supposed to be loving toward me like every father is, but he wasn't. He was so much worse than that. I was sure that if I hadn't left, I would have murdered him or at least died trying.

I hate him!

Thankfully, while I was reasoning with myself I was able to forget about my numb fingers and the empty feeling in my stomach. However, another ruthless wind blew my blue hood off and whipped my hold locks. It felt so cold and I couldn't help but gasp and reach for my hood. My entire body tensed as the cold hit me. I must not have been looking where my feet landed, for all of a sudden, there was no ground beneath me, and I was sent tumbling forward. I felt my body hit the ground and I was forced to roll. The leaves stuck to my clothes and hair. Twigs tore through the fabric of my cloak and scratched my skin, but I didn't feel any of it. All I felt was my head any body spinning and then hitting the ground hard before spinning again. I didn't even feel my arm twist backward for a split second or my face scrape against a rock. I felt none of it except the spinning.

Until it all stopped.

When it all stopped, I was left dazed. The air was caught in my throat and I couldn't breathe so it felt, but really I was panting and gasping. That's when I felt all the pain. Suddenly, my body was wrecked in it like a hurricane. I couldn't stop the cry that escaped my lips. Everything ached – my arms, my legs, my feet, my head – everything. I could barely move my left arm which twisted behind my back awkwardly. I think I just lied there for a few hours. I think I also fell asleep. I was too tired to get up and the sun had long been gone anyway. When I came about the first time, it was still dark outside, the canopy of the trees hiding the little light the moon was emitting. A chill ran through my body, shaking me from head to toe. Hugging myself, I tried to think, but it felt as if my thoughts were frozen just like my body. For a moment, I felt as if I should continue walking, but my body was still so tired. The only movement I could do was shiver. I needed more sleep.

I then pulled a bunch of dry leaves smelling of autumn around and over my body. They would keep me a little warm at least. It only took moments for me to drift back into a light sleep.

When I came to the second time, it was finally light out. My body felt so sore, I could hardly move. Leaves were covering my face, my whole body. The scent was almost comforting, but there couldn't be any comfort found in the situation. My left arm was almost numb, but a dull throb made me jolt with awareness. Slowly, I raised my entire body which was stiff, weak and aching miserably. I couldn't stop myself. The little contents that were actually in my stomach then found itself on the forest floor. My throat burned and stung and my mouth had a rotten taste in it. Just by looking at my own vomit made me want to do it again, but there was nothing left in my stomach. Instead I was forced to simply gag terribly.

I couldn't go on. I had to turn back. If I were to keep it up, I probably would have ended up dead, but once I turned around, a humble, modest cabin could be seen through a little bit of trees. My eyes glued on that wooden cabin and it almost glowed in the already bright sunlight. Could it be? Or was I just seeing things? It didn't matter. Suddenly, I was staggering quickly to it, my legs dragging along the forest floor, making much noise. I didn't care though. As a matter of fact, the idea of being eaten, ending the pain I was feeling, was almost tempting. As quickly as the thought had come, it was gone and I had reached the cabin. It looked so welcoming.

It was made of wooden logs, young wood from the look of it. The door had no glass as many did where I came from. There weren't any windows, but with the lack of modern development, it looked surprisingly homey. There was a small porch with three steps leading up to it. Two wooden rocking chairs sat off to the side, swaying a bit in the harsh wind. My feelings of release had overwhelmed me so much that I had forgotten about the pain and the cold weather. I slowly made my way up the three wooden steps and knocked on the door. I waited there, praying that someone would open the door and welcome me with open arms. Please, take me in. I beg of you. I was praying to no one so it seemed, for the door did not open, but to my relief, it was unlocked.

Common sense had long since left me. This was about life and death, I was sure the occupants would understand. I was starving, cold, wet and weak. How could they blame me? I made my way inside. It was warm with a fire blazing to the side. It wasn't large, but it wasn't small either. My growling stomach seemed to automatically direct me to their kitchen. There was a medium sized table with one very large chair at one end, a medium sized chair in the other and a very small chair between them. In front of all chairs was a bowl of porridge. I made my way to the largest bowl. Taking the spoon, it met my mouth instantly, but my eyes widened at the flavor and began to water. It was far too spicy for me. To the medium sized one I went and it was way too sweet. So finally, I went to the small one and it was perfect. It was just how I liked it and the chair was just my size, but it was wooden and uncomfortable.

I needed to place to sit and relax with ease. I made my way to their living room and saw three arm chairs – a very large one, a medium sized one and a small one. I went over to the large one and took a seat, but it wasn't any better than the wooden dining chairs, it was far too firm. The medium one was too soft and I found myself being suffocated in the cushions. The small one was perfect though, just like the porridge. I must have sat there for a half hour, just relaxing my feet, but sleep started to take me so I decided to try and find a bed. A bed… how it felt like ages since I'd been in one.

I went to their bedroom and saw one very large bed, a medium one and a small one. It was like the chairs, the large one was too firm, the medium one was too soft and the small one was perfect. Once my body hit the mattress, I drifted away, my body somehow finding their way under the covers. To my sadness though, my sleep was greeted with a nightmare… a nightmare of a memory.

"I told you to wash the table!" a loud voice boomed as eyes glared down at her. They were blazing red with a fire of anger. The girl couldn't help but cower away from those eyes, from that face, from that hand that balled up into a fist.

"But I did, father! I did, honest!" the girl sobbed, feeling helpless like she always did. Her face was stricken wet with tears and her eyes were red and swollen from crying. Her father was unfazed though, for he'd seen it all before so many times. He saw it from her mother – like mother like daughter. It was all so annoying to him. His life? He hated it with a passion. How sorry he felt for himself.

"I don't want to hear your lame excuses!" At that a hand came crashing down against the girl's face, and she was sent to the side, falling to the ground. A scream escaped her lips as she hit the hard floor. He knew she'd cleaned the table. As a matter of fact, he'd seen her clean it, for he enjoyed watching her from the shadows. Except he could care less that she actually did what he asked her to. He needed an excuse to beat her to make himself feel justified.

"Father, please!" she pleaded, her left cheek red from the slap. Her arm came over her face, trying to protect herself in any way she could.

"Just like your pathetic mother," he spat, reaching down and grabbing her by the material of her clothing, forcing her to come to her feet. He shoved her hard against the wall, his body a steel barricade against hers. He slammed her so hard against the wall that the back of her head met it with the force. She could have sworn she saw stars. The wind was knocked from her lungs and her head lolled to the side. She felt his hands on her. She didn't know where, but she just knew she felt them all over, and his touch was like a burning flame against her skin – it hurt.

Dazed, her hands went to his face and she heard him growl in frustration, slapping them aside easily, but they found his face again. They searched – searched for anything. Then they found something. They found his eyes, and she pressed. His scream of pain came to her ears…

…and she woke up.

I woke up in a sweat, panting and crying at the same time. When my eyes cleared a bit I saw three large figures standing over me with angry eyes. They were bears, and they were glaring at me. One was very large with masculine features. The second was medium sized with soft features. And the third was small with delicate features. The large one roared and I was so frightened, I ran from the bed and out the door. His teeth looked hungry.

And I ran.

Where I was going, I had no idea.