“You should run.”
Lisa looked around, saw nothing but the stream, trees and sky. And Bryce, of course. She focused on Bryce, reclining on the grass and staring at the stream burbling past.
“You hear someone?”
He was slow to look at her, blinking and confused, his mind having been far away as he’d contemplated the running water.
“Sorry, what was that, Babe?”
“I asked if you heard someone.” She glanced around again but saw nothing but the sun on the grass, warming the rocks by the brook and twinkling off the surface of the water. She looked back to him and found him staring at her. “I thought I heard someone.”
He shook his head slowly, eyes dark, obviously caught up in some powerful emotion.
“I didn’t hear anyone. This is a pretty secluded place. There’s no one here but us… C’mere.”
She slid across the grass until she lay beside him on the bank. He leaned over and kissed her for a while. He did it well, and thoroughly, and it didn’t take long for her to get caught up in it, swept away by it, kissing him back hard. The hand that once pressed lightly against his chest soon gripped his shirtfront, pulling him in closer. Tighter. The kiss deepened.
“You should run.”
She pulled her head away so fast there was a soft popping sound as their lips parted. She glared around, but saw no one. She listened, craning her head this way and that, trying to aim her ear to catch even the slightest sound of someone retreating. All she heard was the rippling song of the brook flowing past… the wind in the grass…
“What the hell’s wrong with you?”
She started at the harsh loud voice, her gaze whipping around to settle on Bryce. He sat beside her, wide-eyed and slightly red-faced, hand to his face. He was holding his mouth, where she saw traces of blood.
“Oh my God — what happened to your lip?”
“You,” he said, voice angry, words slightly distorted by the fingers pressing his lower lip. “I think you bit me, or your teeth caught me or something. What the hell was that all about?”
“I heard someone. You didn’t hear them?”
He just stared at her, but she wasn’t waiting for an answer anyway.
“Someone, a woman, told me to run. Two women — I heard it twice, and the voices were different.”
He continued to stare at her, still pressing fingers to his mouth. She focused on the blood she saw at his fingertips, feeling bad for ruining the mood he had gone to some trouble to create.
“Let me see that lip.”
She leaned toward him to take a closer look, but he turned away from her, rolling to his feet.
“It’s fine. Nothing to worry about.” He took a couple of steps away, then turned back, gesturing for her to follow.
“Come on. I want to show you something.”
She hesitated, glancing around for the source of the voices again, but again finding no one and nothing.
“C’mon,” he said, with an odd smile. “This is what I brought you here to see.”
She levered herself to her feet, brushing off the seat of her jeans as she started to follow.
“You should run.”
Her steps faltered. She was looking right at him when the quiet, serious voice floated to her through the air. Though she clearly heard it over the sounds of the stream, he gave no indication he’d heard anything. She followed, but cautiously, casting glances over both shoulders as she went, wondering if she were hearing things.
“You know,” he was saying, “this is one of my favorite places in the world. I come here as often as I can.”
“Run. You should run.”
Either the voice was growing louder or she was getting closer to its source. It was hard to tell because it was so quiet, but she could have sworn that every time was a different voice. She spoke absently to him, feigning interest as she scanned her surroundings.
“Yeah… I bring all my girls here.”
“All your girls? You trying to make me jealous…?”
“Jealous? No.” He was stooping by the stream’s edge, one hand scooping something up from the stones that lined the bank. “I just wanted to show you… this!”
He spun about, raising his hand as he sprang from his crouch. Surprise registered on his face when he found her not right behind him, but hanging back, moving cautiously. He stumbled slightly, put off balance by the distance between them, and she fell back in surprise before he had even taken his first step toward her.
“We told you to RUN!”
Voices, different voices, maybe a half-dozen, maybe more, all mingled into one harsh stage-whisper, as loud as a scream in her head and all seeming to come from the stone in his hand. The stone was the size of a softball, rounded on one side but with a sharp, almost hatchet-like edge along the other. It was this sharp edge that lead as he swung the stone at her in great wild arcs, his face suddenly suffused with fury. Spittle flew from his lips as he spat invectives as she backpedaled and his swing missed.
“You bitch!” He swung again and again, following her as she backed away from the water’s edge. The voice in his hand followed too.
She realized that he did bring all his girls there
to show them his favorite stone, but that they
never left under their own power, and that a part
of them never left this place. She also realized that he could move forward faster than she could go backward. He raised his stone, snarling, and lunged for her. She turned, stumbling slightly in the long, soft grass that covered that beautiful, sun-drenched bank.
And she ran.
Image created by Sue Mydialk
This month on Friday Frights the prompt is "Writer's Choice of Artist". There are several artists who have donated some of their work for this little project, and our job is to look at the available art, choose a work that speaks to us and write a story based on that inspiration.
Stone Dead is the tale that popped into my head when I saw the artwork to the left, a piece titled Stones by Sue Mydialk.