Galiena and her demons…
A Teufel snip!
Galiena watched them depart, then picked up her things and ran
down the other side of the hill. She sped across a little footbridge and found an even more secluded grove; falling to her knees again. The shaking resumed. The bands of iron. The terror. Could she ever find a place where no one would find her? Where they couldn’t hurt her?
She collapsed against the tree, and felt the coldness of the ground through her long coat. Her legs in their stockings were practically bare in the grass. Maybe if she lay here long enough the cold would make her numb and the pain would go away. She placed a filthy hand to her chest over her heart and willed it to stop. Was there a way you could make yourself die? Could you will yourself to death? How did your heart keep beating when you wanted it to stop?
Her throat was thick; like a knot was inside, threatening to choke her. She couldn’t swallow around it. It was like his hands were around her throat again, strangling her. Why didn’t he kill her? Why? Did he really intend for her to live with this? The shame was more than she could bear. She had tried to bury it down deep within her, but today it threatened to rip her apart; like a beast in her chest trying to escape.
She lay on partially on her side, her head back looking up at the tree. The skeletal branches seemed far above her and they taunted her the same way Europa did. They disappeared as her eyes filled, and she felt the hot tears stream down the sides of her face. They scalded as they went, and wouldn’t stop. She undid her coat, for it was smothering her. She threw it open, and shrugged her arms out of the sleeves.
The cold was like a balm. She undid the buttons of her suit jacket, exposing her blood pinked blouse. The cold almost burned, but it didn’t matter anymore. The cold was a substitute for the pain. The cold was welcome. She tensed up as she began to shiver in earnest. It was a new sensation. She ripped off her gloves and threw them away. She wanted to sink into the cold as far as it would take her.
Still Galiena wept. She begged God to take her. She begged him, as she had that night, to make it stop. She asked him why. If he loved her, why did he let her Grandfather hurt her? Wasn’t God supposed to look after girls? She tried to be a good person. Why had he punished her this way? God had abandoned her.
Fat snowflakes started to fall from the sky. They were very large, and the first one to fall on her stung. The second one felt like fairy wings against her cheek. She inhaled once, as her shivering stilled, and lay there, watching the snow fall from the sky. The crying stopped, and she felt at rest. Cold was better than pain. Now she couldn’t feel the pain, and the snowflakes were so lovely. They kept falling down around her. Melting on her. They were falling fast now, there were so many to watch. The snowflakes were quiet as they ghosted down, they muffled out the world. She was in her own place, where there was no pain, just snowflakes and languor. Soon they would bury her, and it would all be finished. The perversion she had become would be obliterated. With the cold came a velvety darkness, and her mind ran to it, embracing it; letting it enfold her and draw her down to nothingness.