She looked down into the valley and remembered the excitement she had felt from this very same spot five years ago.
As she’d rounded this particular bend so long ago, her heart had been overflowing with love at the prospect of her new life.
Five years. Where had the time gone.
That first Christmas, she had looked forward to being ‘ mother’ to young children. She had enjoyed the preparation, shopping for presents and food for the table, all the little things she had experienced as a child, but never had the opportunity to provide for a family of her own. There was no warning then that all was not as it seemed.
She had misunderstood the guidance of the Family, not knowing the children would only be visitors for those first few months. How naive her way of thinking had been then, how blind Love had made her.
When it appeared her dearest wish of a child of her own was going to be granted, she hugged the knowledge to herself for several days, waiting for the right time to share her news. The reaction had not been what she had anticipated. She had not been prepared for the beating, and when she awoke to white walls and bleeping machines, she knew the new life within her had been extinguished, and worse, there could be no more.
Months after her recovery and to the outside world, everything seemed normal. Sometimes, she would forget, let down her guard and enjoy herself, only to be ridiculed in private to such an extent that she became afraid. Calculated words and unfounded accusations were as good as fists to her already splintered spirit.
The third year, the Family became obsessive with their manipulation and control over her, her life. The children were too young to understand, too happy to see as bribery the gifts and clothes bestowed on them as they were given hushed instructions for their silence.
No-one here would help her. She was trapped in a life not of her making and had to escape before it killed her. She prayed.
Realisation gave her courage, a spark of inner strength long buried flickered. She nurtured it to a flame and determined not to let them win. It would not be easy. It would not be quick. She must plan, prepare, and execute.
Two years on, the time was right. She had been careful. Secretive. No-one suspected. She was ready. Everything was waiting for her miles away. Her Sanctuary. Peace and Solitude. Home.
She took nothing. She neither wanted, needed or owned anything of importance here.
As she looked down into the valley at the smoking wreckage of the car, it burst into an inferno of fire. It would be a few hours before anyone came along this quiet road and perhaps notice the charred remains below. No-one would have need to look for her. If they did, they’d never find her.
She walked away. Free.