Frequently she caught herself pausing on the windswept knoll and staring out to sea, an undeniable hunger growing within her. She would rub the hollow where her belly had so recently bloomed, shake her head and begin the long and slippery walk back down to the beach and its shamble of buildings. And she promised herself each time: "Someday."
"Someday he'll come for me." But she wondered if absence made the heart grow fonder or if it simply let chasms between lovers grow.
"Someday he'll forgive me." And she knew he would--he'd never said he'd wanted children, after all. And with their babe lying freshly dead in the sandy soil, he'd have nothing to tie him down. Nothing to tie him to her, either, she remembered, swallowing the thought like a bitter pill.
But the words that always caught in her throat were, "Someday I'll forgive myself." That she had the least faith of all in, probably because she always had the least faith in herself.
Everyone in the spot of a village knew she was losing her mind.
So when the storms rushed in one morning, it didn't surprise them to see her standing where she always did--perched atop the knoll, hair rushing behind her in the coming gale like a long red flag of warning. But this time--
"Gods," Katrina whispered, pointing to the woman suddenly silhouetted in a lightning flash, "Jack's gonna' kill us!" Grabbing Kristen and shouting to Karen, the trio began the dangerous race up the slope, kicking rocks back with each step, scattering sand into the air to swirl and batter. Hand over hand they climbed, glad to have forsaken the long garish skirts many of their type favored.
Above them, Anne's arms were spread wide open, welcoming the coming winds that would toss her onto the rocks below. She took a step forward. "Someday," she whispered as the wind tore the words from her lips, "Someday I'll be free--"
"Not today, you dumb whore!" Katrina's hand snaked up over the ridge and grabbed Anne's ankle. "Get her, girls!"
Kristen sprang up and knocked Anne to the ground, arms wrapping around her waist. Karen sat on Anne, weighing her down like an anchor.
As Katrina managed to get up the last bit of the slope, she released Anne and signaled her comrades to roll Anne over to face them.
"You will not kill yourself on our watch!"
Anne simply stared up at the roiling clouds that blackened the skies like great bruises on the sky above. Her chin quivered and then the clouds burst open and mercifully poured rain down on the four women.
Her victors never saw the tears that slipped silently down her cheeks they were so washed with rain. For that, at least, Anne was grateful. Limp, she let the women lift and half-carry, half-drag her down to the shoreline. She would not resist. If life wanted her more than death, she'd continue to struggle along.
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