I’M BURNING DOWN the world looking for her. How dare she defy me, after she swore she’d never leave? I ripped off my mask—let her see the ugly monster hiding inside of me. He lives in the cavern in my chest where my heart should be.
She soothed him, told him it was okay—that she thought he could change from a monster into a somewhat likeable human.
Made me believe she loved me, when no one on this earth has ever loved me.
How could they?
No one loves the devil.
My PI’s calls are the only ones I’m taking. When I found out she had fled, I broke. Any shred of humanity was crushed under the heel of my rage. The beast wanted his pet back and will stop at nothing until she’s here. Right where she belongs—locked up in my lair.
“Jin? Did you find anything?”
“No. She’s not in California and her passport hasn’t been scanned at customs in any country.”
“She’s on a boat. She must be. That’s the only way someone like her could travel under my radar.”
“I’ll radio every captain on the Mediterranean. I’ll find her.”
“You better or I’ll drag you into my hell, too.”
The phone in my hand hurtled like a stone from my fist, crashing into the balcony doors made of glass.
The screen on my phone cracked.
Everything is broken now.
Not just me.
“RING ROUND THE ROSY, pockets full of posy. Ashes, ashes. We all fall down.” I hummed the rest of the tune under my breath as I sat in the chair by the window.
The sea taunted me as it broke against the rocks below.
Just like I broke.
Pieces of me are all over him. I left them behind as I rushed, desperate to escape.
Wherever he is, I’m sure he’s laughing. Knowing, he ruined me, just like he said he would.
He took what he wanted.
Whenever he wanted.
And I was powerless to stop him.
I tried, but I’ve learned some things are fated. Destined to happen, despite your every effort to stop it. Just like the tide. The power of the moon and sun are too strong to ever break their hold on the ocean; pushing and pulling. Tugging and stretching the water in their game of war.
I laughed, the laugh of a truly mad woman.
It was us.
I was the sun and he was the moon. Our push and pull too strong for either of us to fight. The difference was he never tried to question or control it. I, on the other hand, ran as many times as I could. Denying what was right in front of me.
He is the other half of my soul.
But what do you do when the other half of yours is black? Or worse—somehow came into this world without a soul. Maybe, it got lost in the stars, never returning to earth.
What irony, a real Greek tragedy.
So, who am I now? Besides a woman walking around with half a soul, a wrecked heart, and a broken mind?
I rise from the chair to open the window. The breeze flutters the hand-made lace curtains.
I still felt him.
He’s looking for me, hunting for any trace of me on every corner of this earth.
He wouldn’t stop.
He swore he’d never let me go. I was his for eternity and beyond. And I know someday, someway, in this life or in what lies beyond—I’ll never escape him. His darkness is in me now; half of my soul bound to the dark hole of his.
A soft knock on my door had me turning from the breathtaking shores of the tiny Greek island where I sought refuge. My eyes appreciated the view, but my heart couldn’t feel it.
“Jessie?” Yaya, the kind old woman came in, carrying a tray with black coffee strong enough to wake the dead, and a pile of freshly baked Greek pastries. “You’re too skinny, eat.”
She sighs, placing the tray down on the dresser. “Whoever he was…he’s not worth it.”
“No, he isn’t. But all the same, it is what it is. I-I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same.” A tear slid down my cheek.
“Ah, you can heal now. The tears are ready to fall. Let them.”
So, I did. I finally let go of the scraps I was holding myself together with. She held and rocked me like a baby as I let myself weep for the naïve girl I was before I met him and for the woman I am now, missing him and wishing I never left.
I cried in her soft arms for at least an hour. Finally, I raised my head.
“Do you need a doctor?” She asked in a sympathetic voice.
“No. He didn’t hurt me in that way. Besides, I’ve had my period since I left him. No one can know I’m here. He’ll find me if you tell anyone.”
“Who is this man…so powerful that you fear?”
A stunned look passed over her face as she digested my words in silence. She crossed herself then stood. “The devil must never find you. I’ll keep you safe. Rest, eat. Someday, you’ll dream again child.”
“I can’t imagine I ever will. All I do is have sweetest nightmares of him. I’m so ashamed. The things he made me do…things I wanted to do. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror.” I broke off, hoarsely.
“Eat.” She replied, patting my hand while walking out talking to herself in Greek as she went.
But I couldn’t even look at food. I felt sick—sick to my stomach every waking moment. My mind is consumed with memories I both wanted to forget and re-live at the same time. I’m at war with myself. I pick up the coffee, taking a few slow sips. I close my eyes remembering how it all started, months earlier.
It was a day much like this one. So beautiful—one would think it couldn’t be real, much less the portal to hell. I never imagined a man so dark—even the devil himself would make the sign of the cross if they ever met, was lying in wait for me.
But I’m still conflicted even now what I would’ve done. What choice would I have made, if I knew the trap I’d be caught in? The wave of lust and shame that would crash over me, holding me under, drowning me in a sea of desire, turning me into a woman I hardly recognize.
A woman whose body and heart are held captive to her master.
A master whom I’ve run from.
A master who at this very moment—is hunting me. But I’ve covered my tracks well. And if and when I decide I want to be found—it will be on my terms, not his.
Maybe I’ll go outside today to dig my toes into the warm sand. Through the pane of the window, the deep blue Aegean Sea beckons.
He’ll never find me here, on a remote island so small it barely qualifies as one; nestled against a smattering of rocks a swim away from Santorini. It’s the perfect place to hide. But I can’t stay here forever. I need to figure out what to do with my life. Who I want to be; where I want to live. But first I need to just do the little things…like function normally.
Maybe tomorrow, I’ll leave this room.
Maybe tomorrow, I’ll take a bite.
Maybe tomorrow, I’ll hate myself a little bit less.
Even now, weeks later, my traitorous body still remembers his touch. I spend hours huddled under my sheets, touching myself; pretending he’s telling me what to do, just like he always did.
He made me do things that would make a call girl blush.
I hated it.
It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is surviving the aftermath of what he did to me.
I had considered myself a strong woman. How did I get reduced to this? I grew up with boys. I was playing baseball and riding dirt bikes while the other girls spent their time on hair and makeup. I spent my prom night in the engine room of my neighbor’s fishing boat learning how to fix a broken carburetor.
But who’s going to fix me?
With a shaky breath, I placed the empty coffee mug down. I needed to get out of this room, if I was going to start living again.
I took a hot shower, combed out my long hair and twisted it into a bun. Yaya has been so good to me. She works in her café all day, then sits, teaching me Greek at night. But I need to earn my keep. Maybe keeping busy will help my mind escape him.
I quickly dressed in the white shorts and T-shirt Yaya gave me. They belonged to her niece who is away studying at a university. I’d be safe right now if I had stayed at mine. But stupid me, thought I was going to see the world.
What a naïve, foolish girl I’d been. Picking up a bright green apron, I fastened the strings and walked down the back stairs.
“I’m fine Yaya. As fine as I can be. I thought I might help. Maybe you could teach me more Greek?”
“What if someone recognizes you?”
“How? He never took me anywhere. No one knew we were together…but I guess we weren’t. Not like normal people are, anyway.”
She smiled, patted my hand, and led me over to the coffee machine. “The first thing you must learn is how to make Greek coffee. Everyone thinks Columbia has the best coffee. They lie. It’s us Greeks.”
My lips twitched for the first time in weeks. My light had gone dark since that night in Capri. The night where I saw him for who he truly was and ran like hell.
I grabbed a note pad and began writing down everything Yaya was showing me about how to whip the Greek coffee before adding hot water. But I couldn’t concentrate. A man with dark hair that shined bluish-black in the sun was walking by outside. He was dressed in an expensive suit, and for a moment I thought it was him. But then he looked at me through the window as he swung a giggling toddler in his arms.
Yaya, asked me to attempt my barista skills. As I whipped the coffee grounds into a creamy foam that rose higher and higher, making a Greek Frappé, I was jolted back to where it all started. I am so far from the girl I was that day and how I mourn her loss.