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Dandelion Wine Ending by Maryn Van Tassell
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Thursday, September 04, 2014

All sense of safety and comfort disappeared. Fear pulsed through her body like a raging river, causing her to tremble. Her once warm, and secure home turned cold, and unyielding. It was similar to the feeling of a tender embrace shifting into a deadly chokehold.   Nowhere was safe, she felt imaginary slivers of ice dig into her skin. At last, she mustered her courage, and spoke, “Who are you?” The phrase, intended to be commanding, was strangled by fear and came out as a terrified squeak.  A soft, hiss of a whisper came from the other end of the room, “Why don’t you turn on the light first, I’d love to see your face in the light.” This was worse than her worst nightmare, despair seemed to be drowning her where she stood. Her once familiar living room was now a morass of doubt and fear  with dark, ominous clouds of depressing reality smothering her in their fog. Lavinia swallowed, and stretched her quivering hand to the light switch, what other choice did she have? She didn’t know who this intruder was, why he was here, or what he was planning to do to her, yet she obeyed him. With a flick of her fingers, light and clarity flooded the room.

    A tall, wiry man looked back at her. His skin was so pale he almost blended into the moonlight, and his black suit stood out in sharp contrast. He perfectly fit the description of the druggist, this had to be the man inquiring about her. His eyes were dark and wide, peering at her with curiosity, barely contained hunger. “My dear, the brief instances in which I have seen you before do not do your beauty justice. You will most definitely my crowning jewel among the others.” His voice dripped like honey, sweet and slow, but she could feel a subtle, yet threatening undertone.

“Others?” Lavinia whispered, terror clawed at her throat, suppressing any form of articulate speech.

“Yes, others,” He replied, just as soft as before, “The others all made the wrong choice. I always gave them a choice, you see. I was hoping you would be different,” he spoke tenderly. The man advanced towards her, painfully slow, and gently placed his cold hand on her cheek. Her heart pounded in her chest, fast as a hummingbird’s wings. He looked straight in her eyes, staring her down, then leaned in, and ever so gently whispered in her ear. “You see, my dear, I am ever so lonely. Do you know what loneliness is like? To have to carry a crushing burden everywhere you walk? I have searched for months now, seeking out a worthy companion.” He tilted back his face, and wiped the tears that ran down Lavinia’s face. “The choice is yours, you can help end my loneliness or begin your own eternity of loneliness.” He paused, gazing into her eyes, then continued, “Death is a lonely venture, I’m sure you could guess.”

These were her options, death or him. Living with a sociopath for the rest of her days, or embracing her last moments now, and go to the comforting arms of death. Lavina swallowed, her voice raw, mustering her last bit of courage, “Let God take me, for I will never spend my days with you,”

He looked crestfallen. A genuine sadness flitted across his face, then was quickly replaced by rage. His movements were so fast it was all a blur. Before Lavinia could even register what was happening, a coarse rope was around her neck. She started to struggle, kicking and clawing at the coil that tightened its grip more and more. Her feet soon were kicking at air, she dangled helplessly off the ground. Her own home had betrayed her. The sturdy ceiling rafters that had once protected her from outside forces now mercilessly supported the rope that would take her life. She choked and sputtered, her life jerking out of her in bursts. The pain, oh the pain, blinding pain as her lungs burned, and her neck crackled and splintered beneath the rope. The Lonely One raised his voice, making himself heard above her primal grunts and gasps. “I don’t deserve this! I deserve happiness! I will not stand to live this shell of a life I’m destined to carry out.” Lavinia saw black creeping into the edge of her vision. This was it, her life was slipping away, her final moments were upon her. Just as the blackness began to overcome her, the Lonely One’s voice pierced through the fog.

“I will not stop, I will never rest until I am no longer called the Lonely One!”

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