She exultantly tossed back her head, laughing carelessly into the night. She embraced her only friend just to revel in simplicity of the moment. The man sloppily kissed her giggling lips as he effortlessly lifted her off her feet. She flung her arms out wide, welcoming the whipping wind until…
She awoke. With a jolt, her memories faded and thoughts fled. Who was this person? Ripping herself from his grip, she plowed into the ground, scrambling up and stumbling off into the unfamiliar city. Chaos arose, person by person, as the day began anew.
Ava cracked open her crusted eyelids, peering curiously at the bright light flooding the room. Where was she? Memories whispered in her ear, just out of reach. She vaguely pictured a man and herself, yet as images came to her, her addled brain coaxed her to forget. Exasperation consumed her.
Her battered body protesting, she painfully pushed herself up on one elbow and swiped tangled hair from her vision. She lay in a dimly lit, worn shed – broken buckets, filthy tools, and crumbling bricks scattered the rotted wood floor around her. The dead animal smell was atrocious.
As Ava clambered to her feet, her pained breaths filled the eerie silence. The only accompanying noise was the chirp of crickets and rustle of chipmunks somewhere outside. Tension tightened her muscles, furrowed her eyebrows, as the severity of her situation sunk in. Something was quite obviously wrong. Why did her body scream protests with her every movement? Convinced the answers she sought were just within her reach, she determinedly strode to the shed’s only exit.
Just inches away, the door creaked the barest open, causing Ava to jump, heart pounding. Kicking up dirt as she backed up, Ava croaked out a hoarse, “Who’s there?” Louder still, “Who’s there?! Hello?” The silence was deafening.
Ava squinted at what appeared as to be a person’s shadow. With eyes trained on the door, she crept along a sidewall, nearly tripping over a rusted crowbar. She grabbed after a second’s glance, if only to feel safer. Grip tight on the crowbar, Ava slid back along the same wall until she stood before the cracked shed door once more.One. Brushing loose hair from her face, she gingerly curled one hand around the corroded metal door handle.Two. Time stopped.Three.
The door heaved open from the outside, knocking her to the ground as white sunlight blinded her eyes. Ava grappled for the lost crowbar, crying out when her attacker roughly ripped it from her hand and flung it across the shed. Her screams were smothered by a hand as the man gruffly ordered, “Shut the hell up!” She rolled to her feet and sprinted for the door, her foot barely reaching the sill before she was tackled from behind. Yelling obscenities, her attacker rolled her on her back and had a knee to her stomach before she knew what was happening.
Ava fought back angry tears as she writhed under his weight. “Get off me!” Two hands held her shoulders in place as the man yelled back, “Look at me!” Defiantly meeting his gaze, her breath left her. The man was unexpectedly handsome with shocking bright blue eyes that pierced her. “I won’t hurt you,” he sighed in exasperation. With thin lips, Ava nodded once.
The man relented with a quiet chuckle, allowing Ava to briskly shove him away. She created a wide berth between them and flicked her eyes back and forth to the door. Her stomach clenched as her body angrily ordered for her to run, crawl even. Deep inside, the urge to flee was overpowering. Ava managed her face to be a blank slate throughout it all.
Ava saw a challenge in his eyes, a slight smirk in the tilt of his lips. He presumed Ava would break any minute. Defiant, she hardened her face, sweeping her gaze down the length of him. A doubtful voice whispered in her ear; she hardly stood a chance against such a mountain of a man. Towering six inches over her, at minimum, practically pure muscle, his presence in the room overpowered hers.
Yet, a tiny part of her couldn’t help but notice the softness of his disheveled black hair and the sexy bristle of his unshaved jaw. Truthfully, what consumed her were his eyes – oasis blue, thickly lined by perfect lashes, and a mischievous sparkle…
Ava abruptly cleared her throat, annoyed by his ever-growing smirk at her apparent interest. “Who are you?” she snidely asked. Despite his godlike appearance, she couldn’t deny the facts. Like some animal, he hadattackedher, throwing her around like a rag doll. Her bruising hip was proof enough.
As if some switch had flipped, the man paid no mind to her, except a brief, “Shane.” He muttered under his breath and surveyed the repulsive shed with interest. Ava unconsciously leaned forward, barely catching words like “out of time” and “tell” and profanity she wouldn’t repeat. A vague idea blossomed.
Keeping her eyes trained on Shane’s [delicious] back, she tentatively crouched and shuffled backwards, her arm scrabbling in the dirt for…Got it. When her fingertips hit metal, she exhaled in relief: the crowbar. Her shaking fingers greedily curled around it, and she stood, feeling pretty damn victorious. And as they say, proud goeth before a fall. Perhaps her labored breathing set him off, or some internal alarm, but Shane rapidly swung around, eyes zeroing in on her potential weapon. He gave her a tragic smile. “I wouldn’t, Ava.”
She near dropped the crowbar. How did he know her? Unnerved, Ava dumbly flung the metal rod at his face and bolted. This time, she pumped her legs with all her might, flinging open the door and stumbling into an overgrown meadow. She had barely decided a direction to head before Shane was upon her. One punch to the head and her vision went black.
NOTE: Yes, this is the same exact novel as "Forget Me, Forget Me Not." I had originally created that novel as a short story, which made it difficult to publish new chapters. They weren't showing up, I couldn't link them...so, here is the same exact novel, but actually readable. Thanks as always!