The sun appeared between the trees and reflected their beauty in the perfect stillness of the stream. This had always been Moira’s favourite spot. She loved the light here, no matter what shape it took. This place was as precious to her in the freshness of dawn as it was in the wildness of a storm. She came here when she had to get away from him.
This place reminded her of the girl she used to be. The girl who fell in love with the wrong boy, and allowed him to break her. She came here to let the wind dry her tears and the sun soothe the bruises.
The light today was unlike anything she’d ever seen: ethereal–delicate and indestructible at the same time. It burned behind her eyes in rhythm with the pounding of her head but she couldn’t look away.
With one eye swollen shut and a cut in her lip, she lifted her face to the sun and allowed it to chase off the cold that was always there–the fear of him.
The scent of crushed grass beneath her feet was lovely. It smelled clean. Not like the liquor on Jack’s breath.
She flinched at the vivid memories of her husband. His distorted features as he screamed Why do you always make me do this? His tear streaked face as he knelt at her feet and kissed her hand, whispering I’m sorry, honey. I’m so, so sorry. His brown eyes looking into hers as his hands gently cupped her cheeks right before he kissed her bruised lips.
But this was neither the time nor the place for those memories. The sunlight chased the chill from her aching bones. She smiled and the cut in her lip stung as it began to bleed again. The pain didn’t matter, though.
She walked along the stream, towards the rising sun and the riot of dawn colours that filled the lightening sky.
A hole caught her foot and she fell, twisting her ankle and driving needle-sharp pain through her already-pounding head. She was well versed in the art of disguising her injuries, though. Rising to her feet and ignoring her increasing dizziness, she barely limped. As she walked on through the beauty of the morning, her pain slowly faded.
The hint of a smile graced her lips at older memories. Memories of a different Jack. A thoughtful, romantic man with eyes that could melt her insides and make her clench her thighs together with nothing more than the prelude to a kiss. He owned her in that magical moment when the nearness of his lips burned on hers with more intensity than any true touch ever could.
He owned her in the years that followed. Years of fists, followed by tears of regret, followed by promises, which would inevitably result in more fists.
The world spun around her as she stumbled and fell a second time. Everything went black but when she opened her eyes, the pain had faded completely. When she rose again it was with all the grace she had once possessed. She never looked back to the broken body she left behind. A bruised face stared up into the sky with a smile on her cracked lips.
After years of fear and pain, his ownership had ended. She walked away from him towards the sunlight to find freedom–peace.
She felt lighter and lighter, as if the sunlight lifted her. When she raised a weightless arm, the sunlight shone through it, turning it a most beautiful shade of pink.
Unable to resist its call, she ran forward into the dawn.