My legs are outstretched as I rest on the delicate pasture beneath me. The chilled grass making my legs feel damp, match the crisp breeze and I can sense his sudden approach towards my hand. The contact is lukewarm and it slightly startles me because it was not an expected touch. I glance at his hand as it carefully caresses mine and he seems nervous and his finger nails have been chewed on, but he still smiles. “I’m so happy that I met you.” Tenderness in his voice and it sets a certain mood in the atmosphere. Superficially said, I’ll give him that. He wants his words to weave into my skin and stitch up the corners of my lips to shape a curve, but these words are meaningless and they don’t transform the essence of anything but a title to the surface of my own compassion. He cannot be happy to have met just one single human being when he has come across many contrasting souls in his lifetime.

I frown at the mere contemplation of my own shallow desire of having such an appetite for individuality, but I simper on any occasion of flattery. “Why do you look so sad? Did I do something wrong?” Apprehension rising in both of us, his hand quivers at the sound of his own question. I’m still and I no longer wish for his graze to wonder upon my skin because I’m afraid that he may notice my clammy palms. I shake my head to reassure him and he removes his attention from me and observes the magnificent grassland ahead of us. By this time the grass is no longer mushy and I can feel the warmth from the sun as we bask. I suppose we’ve been sitting here for a few hours because the morning gloom has excused itself from this helpless tension. “Can I ask you a question?” My disposition alternated from hostility to concern and my body felt stiff and uneasy. I wasn’t convinced that his question would be something about the landscape so I grew worrisome.

“Shoot,” I mumbled as I lied down on my back, trying to get as comfortable as possible. He repositions himself and crosses his legs so that he’s now facing me, but picks at the grass by his feet instead. I wonder what he has in mind because he takes a few moments to collect his thoughts before he speaks; picking each word with caution.

“Are you scared of me?” His voice is low and dark. His stare is intimidating and I become aware of my heavy breathing. I probe around the deep grass and he shifts on top of me. His lips call my name in a whisper and it reminds me of a recurring dream: I’m in a red bathing suit, sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool and I see a Cilophyte with orange hair that dims the darkened pool and swamp green octopus tentacles that curl up at the tips from slight movement and she calls my name in a gentle voice. I’m frightened, but my body is unable to swim as fast as I’d like to. I scream, but the distasteful water muffles my noise and slowly floods my lungs.

Tears form in my eyes and trickle down my temples to my ears, feeling like warm kisses. His hands enveloped around my neck, suffocating me. “I love you so fucking much. You’re the love of my life, baby.” It sounds like he’s sobbing, but I can’t tell because water keeps clogging the inside of my ears.

A rock! I have found a rock in this labyrinth of a meadow! My left hand is over his as he squeezes tightly and I pick up the solid blessing with my right and strike him over the head. His grip goes soft and he growls in pain as he spills down next to me. There’s blood on the rock and I weep, "You fucking monster!" my voice croaks and my throat stings. I kick his legs off of mine and stumble as I attempt to get up from such a vulnerable spot. Blood is streaming down his left ear now and he wraps his hands around my ankles, pulling me back down next to him and I feel droplets of his blood on my lips.

“You’re so smart, baby. I love that about you. You’re so damn smart, aren’t you?” he spits and I whimper in response. He grabs both of my wrists in one hand lock and pins them over my head. My breathing is rapid and sweat is seeping down my forehead as he fondles for something in his back pocket. He takes out a pocketknife and thrusts it underneath my ribcage and I shriek in pain.

“Please stop! I’m begging you!” I’m screaming in anguish and my legs go numb from the pressure of his weight against my waist.

He removes the knife and brings it up to his mouth and licks it, my raw blood upon his boiling tongue makes me scream in despair. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!” I screech, following heavy cries.

“You taste so good,” his demented voice is steady and he examines me with such psychotic admiration.

“Why are you doing this?! Someone help me! Please!” It’s getting more strenuous to scream and there’s blood all over the inner thigh of his jeans from lying near my wound. He trails the knife down my stomach to my thigh and makes an incision from my thigh to my knee cap and I feel it everywhere. The tenderness from my skin and the chilled torment from the knife leaves me in agony and my cries are infused with screams that no one will hear.

My vision becomes hazy from the exhaustion of the swelling trauma, but it isn’t over. He jumps up from my body and onto his feet, leaving the knife jabbed into my now fractured knee cap. He wipes his dirty hands on his red, stained jeans, "I’ll be right back. You stay put, darling." He scoffs and walks towards his backpack that I thought only occupied a blanket when we first arrived. I arch my back as I feel the sharp pain from the damage. My body trembling at every noise and feeling. My head jolts to the sound of his boots crunching the leaves beneath him as he steps closer and closer. “It’s getting a little chilly, let's warm you up.” My eyes are bloodshot and I don’t think I’ve blinked since I hit him with that rock (I’m still so thankful for that rock). I try to focus on the white bottle he’s carrying.

“Don’t you fucking touch me!” I take advantage of the last few ounces of energy I have left and cry and plead as he squirts the clear, bitter liquid all over my body and I almost mistake it as rainfall. In that last second he lights a match and sparks me ablaze.