By: Hazel Zenarosa

All I heard was a deafening silence. My heart pounded in my chest as if it was hammering its way out. All of my nerves felt numb, and my feet were glued to the ground. I tried to clench my shaking fist but it was no use. I began breathing fast and shallow through my parted lips, and a bead of sweat trickled down the side of my forehead.

I ignored all of the people that were looking at me. I ignored their alarmed expressions, their gasping mouths that seemed to shout something to me.

I also ignored the speeding car heading straight towards me.

“Catharsis” Artwork by Fides Linga

My attention was all focused to the man on the other side of the street, his eyes intent and teeming with darkness. He was different from before, his face was now timeworn, wrinkled. A thick layer of beard covered almost half of his face, but my instinct to flee indicated that it was him. I was sure it was him. If the familiar chill that coursed through me wasn’t enough, the long scar that ran down from the bottom of his eye to his weathered cheek would convince me that it was him.
The bottom half of the scar was concealed by his beard, but its appearance was embedded in my mind. The part where the scar started, where the cut was deeper, was at the bottom of his left eye. It slithered down to the side of his mouth, the cut becoming shallower as it approached the corner of his lips. It looked like it was slashed by a knife a long time ago.

Fifteen years ago, to be exact.

When my shivering five-year-old self got hold of a knife, with nothing on my mind but to escape.

The long scar that etched from the bottom of my toe to the sole tingled. I felt like I was once again feeling the pain from the knife that was digging into my skin. For the past fifteen years, I managed to bury all the memories and the scars that this man inflicted. I thought he was gone.

Apparently, I was horribly mistaken.

Ryle, my mind screamed, Find Ryle.

That was my instinct. I had to find Ryle. He would help me escape and forget. Two years ago, he would.

I could not run to him now. Especially now. I left him to protect him from this. If I stayed, he would risk his life to protect me. And he would end up just like my grandmother.


Car horns blared around me but I was rooted to the spot, my thoughts fleeing my mind. I realized that this was exactly what he wanted.
He was leaning against a wall, directly across the street, waiting for the scene to unfold before his eyes. A scene of me recognizing him, hiding my fear but failing to. His grin washed through me like ice, and it made my already trembling body to shudder more. My reaction made him ecstatic, his evil smile showed it all.

He was a demon watching me, dragging me to hell.