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The leaves and branches crunched beneath her bare feet as she ran through the woods in a torn black dress. She tripped over a stump falling face first to the ground then instantly covered her mouth with both hands. Her ankle was twisted and she wanted to scream out in inconceivable pain, but knew if she did he’d hear her. She sat with her back against a tree and wiped the blood from above her brow and wept silently. It was completely dark and Kris couldn’t see anything except the breath that escaped her mouth and nose. There was no one around for miles and she had nowhere to go. She knew she couldn’t stay there but she wasn’t sure if Steven followed her into the woods or not. She had never seen her husband so upset before and needed to get as far away from him as possible. This weekend getaway was supposed to be about celebrating their anniversary but he found out she’d been having an affair. After nearly two hours Kris began to crawl back to the cabin hoping he would be gone so she could call for help. Halfway there she tried to stand and was hit from behind so hard that it knocked her unconscious. Steven woke up in his bed the next morning in hysterics and called the police. “Calm down sir” the operator said before asking “how long has your wife been missing?” “She wasn’t here, I got home from work around six last night and and she” Steven choked through his words “I thought maybe she went out with some friends.” The operator kept him on the line until police arrived at his home. After weeks of multiple conflicting interviews Steven was charged with murder and spent months in jail awaiting his trial. His day had finally come and before the verdict was read the judge asked him if there was anything he wanted to say. Steven stood and turned to Kris’ family with tears in his eyes and said “I loved Kris with all my heart and I’d never want to hurt her. I want to catch this person just as much as you do, and I need you all to believe it wasn’t me. I love you” he said to her mother who was grimacing and crying simultaneously. He sat down and his attorney patted him on the back. The judge began, “have you reached a verdict?” and the jury foreperson responded “We have, your Honor. We the jury, in the case of The State of Missouri versus Steven Edwards, find the defendant not guilty of the charge of second degree murder.” Steven fell to his knees in disbelief and Kris’ family erupted in agony. “Thank you, Jury, for your service today. Court is adjourned.” Steven stood and his attorney congratulated him just as Kris’ mother walked quickly towards him. She screamed through tears “I know you did it you son of a bitch! I know you killed my daughter.” A slow grin spread across his face and he mouthed the words ‘they’ll never find her body’ to her and walked out.

Picture Perfect

You didn’t get the picture until you were out of it…

I was constantly sandwiched between asinine thoughts of ‘true love is like this’ and ‘it’s supposed to feel this way’

I invested in you and it cost me everything I was…

You’d leave and I’d still pray that wherever you were, the stars lit your night skies

While you preyed on my sincerity

Doing everything in my power to get you to come back safely regardless of the extent of the damage you caused when you left…

My loyalty to you, was deeply rooted

Hopeless to eradicate…

I wasn’t lost

I knew my worth

I didn’t fear you

I didn’t even need you

I just despised being alone until loneliness became familiar

You’d “change” when you thought you were losing me

Then retrocede when I’d return for more

Repeatedly rebounding…

I saturated the pillows with my feelings for you until I was empty

You’re Gone

I needed to see you again to say goodbye hoping it would lead to a once more

Silly of me I know, keeping someone who doesn’t want to be kept

Taking you for granted…premeditated pain because I knew I’d get away with it, I didn’t care

I knew you’d always be there but I’m not ashamed of it…it was a game and I gained more than I came here with

It was effortless the way you loved me something I couldn’t return

You weren’t afraid of commitment but me, I refused any guarantees to liability

All I craved was your admiration and compliments

Content with your incompetence, I wasn’t loyal to you

Just faithful to what you did for my confidence

See my ego was bruised way before you and it ripped me to shreds

Listening to all the lies they fed, those words never led to action

They would keep filling me up to drain me, such sick satisfaction

Now contagious

You saw in me substance I’ve never felt

So I stood on your shoulders to gain another notch under my belt

Then that draining feeling returned but this time it wasn’t for me

I tried breaking you down but you knew your worth and couldn’t let that be

You deserve your forgiveness…

I sure as hell don’t

You didn’t want to be in a cage but couldn’t rage towards freedom

The quicksand cemented an invisible fear of leaving someone you thought you could help.

Kismet II 

My soon to be ex wife hated my guts and she took Maddie with her to Connecticut when she moved in with my mother-in-law several months ago. I watched my best friend die…I can’t believe I killed a woman and I spend the nights in this house all alone. What else do I have to lose? I bit down on the gun as hard as I could and a stream of warm liquid tickled my elbow. I pulled the gun out when I heard someone calling my name as two of the teeth in my mouth hit the wooden floor. “Max? What the hell are you doing?” Claire exclaimed bursting through the bedroom door. “Madison honey, don’t come in here go in the living room please!” She tried to keep my daughter at bay, but it was too late. She had already looked into the room with one hand on her mom’s leg and the other pushing the door as her face went flush. Her slate grey eyes were the size of silver dollars, and I couldn’t bare to look into them putting my head down in shame. “Daddy, you’re bleeding! Are you hurt?” She ran straight to me and grabbed me around the neck. My eyes swelled with tears and in that moment I was glad my child didn’t walk in to see her father lying on the ground dead. Claire’s bottom lip trembled and she swiftly moved her head to the side to get the hair out of her face, something she always did before she began to cry. She had a bob that cradled her cheeks and she didn’t look a day over twenty one. She was still so beautiful. Realizing what was about to take place before they walked in proved to be too much for her. I held Maddie tightly while she sobbed through confusion and gradually rose to my feet. She was only three but she was so inquisitive and full of personality. “Maddie” my voice cracked as I used my sleeve to wipe the blood from my lips. “Daddy is okay honey I just had a little accident. But I’ll be fine.” She sat up putting my face in her tiny clammy hands and frowned at the cut on my forehead. “Maddie come here we are going to let daddy get cleaned up. We have to go see aunt Donna okay?” Claire took Maddie and I stopped her from exiting the room. “Wait, you spoke to Patrick’s wife?” A small lump formed in my throat and a million questions raced through my mind. “Yes. You would have known that if you’d answered your phone. I’ve been calling you nonstop all day and it just kept going to your voicemail. I grabbed Maddie and raced down here because I thought something might have happened to you. Judging by the looks of it I was right. Were you with him? What happened?” I picked up the alcohol bottle off of the floor and walked over to the night table and placed it down. She could always tell when I was lying and I didn’t want her to know that she would be right. “Uh no, I uh heard about it at work. I must have misplaced my phone in the office somewhere. I’m very happy to see you, both of you.” Trying to get the focus off of me I leaned in to hug her but she walked away. “Donna is waiting for us. She needs us right now and I need you to pretend you aren’t drunk! Like always!” She stormed out and I followed her. Claire drove us to Patrick and Donna’s and I could feel my stomach twisting into knots. I threw my phone into a sewer before I got to the hospital earlier, how would I keep this lie going? Anxiety made a home inside of my head as we approached their driveway and I saw more cars than usual in it. I sat in the seat with my belt still fastened while Claire took Maddie out of her chair. Realizing these were unmarked cars, I knew it was only a matter of time before I was found out. I got out of the car dragging behind and nearly collapsed when I heard Donna’s wails as she opened the front door. Her words made no sense and she just screamed and held onto us. We were able to finally get her back inside and seated on the couch when I noticed someone staring at me. He stood in a corner jotting something down into a pad. As I got closer, he stopped writing and held his pen out to keep me from walking by. “Hey buddy, what happened to you?” he gave me a once over. “Long day boss” I nervously chuckled knowing he didn’t buy it. He glared at the cut on my head and I tried to inconspicuously look down and that’s when I noticed it. One of the buttons on my shirt were missing.