She’s standing barefoot on the boulders overlooking the crashing waves. The deafening wind blows her long pale hair across her face. She barely notices as the loose strands whip her skin forcefully. She’s in a trance, fully captured by the mesmerizing scene before her. She’s numb to her icy surroundings. There is no sun peeking through the overcast sky to warm her. She wouldn’t feel it anyway.
She’s paralyzed, transfixed to the spot, an ethereal statue on the edge of the cliff. There are scratches on her body, tears in the thin nightgown that gave no protection from the dry brush she frantically ran through to get here. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t feel. She was already numb.
She can’t hear the voices traveling on the wind. She can’t hear anything but the sound of the cascading waters below her, the waves breaking onto the weathered rocks. The foamy waters are pouring into every crevice of the craggy coastline. Her breath is shallow, and while she’s suffocating less than she was, she’s still struggling just to exist. She can barely see through the tears searing her wide eyes, the droplets carried from her ivory cheeks by the wind.
Her chest is swelling with the tide. She’s breathing in the salty ocean air, letting it fill every inch of her. She wants to dissolve into the atmosphere and be swept out to sea. She wants to escape this prison she’s trapped in. She needs to be free again, to merge with the world instead of being separated from it. They’ve captured her and taken her from all she knew, all she was. The pain resounding in her is unlike anything she’s felt before. She needs to go home.
Her thoughts stray to the hide tucked away somewhere out of reach. She may never find it. She can’t go home like this, but she’s desperate. She will die if she tries to go back now, but she’s dying anyway. This isn’t how it was meant to be. This isn’t who she is. She only ever wanted to learn, to explore. Was that such a crime?
She hears the footsteps now, the voices shouting to her. She’s running out of time. She has to decide now. She closes her stinging eyes and breathes in deeply, decisively. At least she’ll be free one last time. At least she’ll be home again, even if not for long. They’re frighteningly close now. It’s now or never. She jumps, diving head first into the water only a foot past the rocks, but the boulders just below the surface catch her fragile body, and it breaks.
They’ve fallen quiet when they reach the cliff, approaching in silent apprehension, afraid of what they know they’ll see. She floats to the surface and is rocked back and forth by her watery cradle. The weight of their guilt pains them as they watch her lithe body being carried out to sea. Her face is peaceful.
She finally made it home.