Chapter 4:

"But Aaron I don't understand." I cried as I watched him walk away into the misty, forbidden woods. Gone forever. I ran after him, searching for hours. The dark night circled around me, closing me off from the world. I began to get frantic.

"Aaron where are you?" I call out, knowing there would be no response. I stumble back towards the bench where he left me. Things were going so well between us. I would never be able to see why he had to go. I began to enter the meadow, it was filled with the blue flowers Aaron gave me when we first met. I went to the wooden bench beside the garden and cried. He would never come back. I would never see his face, or hear his voice. I glanced at the empty seat next to me. What I saw caused me to run farther than I had ever gone before. I had to get away. I didn't want to think about the images playing through my mind. I saw the arrow head Aaron had given me. What I wasn't expecting was for it to be sitting in a pool of blood.

That's when I woke up shaking. Why was I having such horrible nightmares? I eased myself out of bed. If only I would have been able to really run. I was still working with my coach. I am up to two miles now. But it's extremely hard to keep going at the same pace. I feel nothing beneath my legs when I run, but I guess it's some kind of progress. When I get to the hallway I find Aaron slumped against the wall with his face in his hands.

"What's wrong?" I ask, taking a seat next to him.

"Nothing." He replies, keeping his head down.

"Is it nightmares?" I question "Because I am having those." I tell him.

"You are?" He tilts his face towards me, a glint of wonder in his eyes.

"Yes." I say. Aaron seems to think for a moment, and then sits straight up and looks at me.

"Tell me." he directs. I instantly feel nervous. I didn't want to tell him my nightmare about the arrow head.

"You tell me yours first." I counter, hoping he will take the bait.

"Fine." He gives, "I was alone in a cave with a single match. Thunder and lightning poured down outside. I tried to light the match but it was to damp in the cave. I looked up into the sky and saw my families faces, all staring at me, their eyes stricken with fear and horror. I had no idea what they were afraid of until I turned around. Behind me I saw a gruesome beast with dagger teeth and piercing eyes that took your soul. It was in a form of some sort of wolf and it could run with great speed. The only reason I knew was because I ran from the cave into the storm. I started to climb up a hill, for no reason, as if there was some kind of shelter there to protect me from the animal. But there wasn't. I was torn to pieces, I could almost feel the teeth and claws ripping my flesh. My fate was obvious. What was the most frightening was that the beast knew my name, it was whispering it over and over, until it let out a shrieking howl at the sky, and my family disappeared. That's when I woke up." He tells me, glancing at my reaction. I felt a little better after hearing his dream, but I still didn't want to tell him mine.

"So what was your dream about?" he asks, complete innocents in his voice. I had to tell him, with all he's been through he should know. Then again, it could worry him that I do not know his fate. That I have no idea what happened to him. He needed to know. I told him in the simplest way I could, but his face looked hurt, in pain. I hated myself. After a moment in silence he got up and went back to his room.

What have I done? I think. I have only made his life worse. Oh, God please let him forgive me.

I don't know how long I sat in the hallway. It felt like years, but Aaron never came out. Eventually Ben and my Mother came to the kitchen and offered me something to eat. I rejected. I was in no mood to eat. I had no right. Do I have a purpose anymore? There seemed to be no answer to my silent question. Something did tell me that I could of once had a purpose, only now, it no longer existed. I suddenly got up and shuffled through my medication drawer. Finding the pills I was searching for and poured nine or ten into my hand. Before shoving them into my mouth I stared at the tablets. They could end my life now. I could have no more suffering, no more pain or hardship. No one would have to worry about the useless being that could do nothing. Meant nothing.

"Stop!" I heard from behind me. I knew the voice and I quickly stuffed the pills in my mouth.

"No! Stop!" It yelled again. This time I could see the arms around my stomach and my back forcing the pills back up my throat. This was a good time to feel nothing. No pressure or pain. I was a numb, soon to be lifeless, shell of a person. Nevertheless, the pills showed up in the toilet. Red with blood I spit and gagged the poisonous taste out of my mouth. But the iron soon overpowered.

"Why on earth would you ever do something so stupid!" Ben screamed in my face. He had saved me. He was the one who stole my happiness. I couldn't suffer any longer. I began to dig for more pills.

"Enough Dakota! Are you insane?" he yells, tackling me to the floor and smashing my head to the carpet.

"You are not going to die today." He whispers through his teeth. I could see the adrenaline in his muscles. I hadn't realized how strong he was. He started to drag me out of the room and opened the closet door, tearing out all of the hangers and clothing before shoving me in and closing it tight. I let my body go limp. I let it soak in the incident that had just occurred. I had tried to commit suicide. I could see it in the Newspapers: Sixteen year old claims her own life, February 17, 2062. What was wrong with me? I am a perfectly happy person. But I knew deep in my heart that I was in denial. I knew why Ben had taken out all of the hangers and clothes. He thought I would try to hang or choke myself to death. I probably would have to. If he had not taken them away. When the door finally opened again I saw my mother standing before me, tears running down her face. I couldn't tell if I was crying, the lump in my throat told me I was about to. I stood up and faced my mother. She slapped me across the face. Feeling nothing, I snapped my head back, about to hit her with twice the force, until she spit fiery words at me in discust.

"How could you?" She questioned, staring into my eyes with deep concern written all over her face. My mom was a person that took no chances when it came to the safety of her children. She called a shrink and told them to keep me there for a week.

"No!" I scream "Don't let me go! I don't want to go mom!" I sobbed as some large officers dragged me away from my family. Looking at Ben I begged for help, his face hard and protective.

"Ben." I plead, my voice nearly to a whisper.

"It's for your own good." Says my mother, her eyes never looking at mine. That was the last I saw her for that whole time. I no longer believed she loved me. I was so afraid, I worried I would never see them again each night. The shrink was small and old, with only one bathroom and a tiny bed to sleep on. Every day I sat in the corner thinking to myself, crying, and refusing any meal that was given to me. No one loved me. I was a ghost of a person by the time I was let out. In a depression. Unable to be defined by any terms.

Date: June 2, 2074

I walked slowly down the empty road. The dirt collecting on my bare feet, and was soon taken away by the wind. I was alone. Alone in what used to be Crowheart. Buildings, stores, homes all abandoned. I think back to what my life used to be like, when I could feel the heat and the wind. When I could hear. After my time in the shrink, I dug myself deeper and deeper into a hole that I could never break out of. I was buried in my own sorrow. Eventually I lost everything I loved. My mother, my father, Ben. I had no idea how I was able to keep going on with my pathetic life. I have no way of passing any sort of school. I will go on without a college degree, or any sort of good education, considering I dropped out after I went deaf. All I could do was read the notes people would hold up to me. Even now, as I stood in the middle of my deserted town, twelve years later, I had no hope. But I did have Aaron.

When my family moved away, Aaron let me stay with him. I probably was annoying, ranting on about how they left me. But he would always say they went because they couldn't watch me kill myself. Lies. They couldn't stand me anymore. I spent my time at Aaron's writing letters to them, and to Jace, who made a carrier out of his stories. He is a well-known author now, somewhere back in Willow Creek. The knight and queen story he wrote me was the first thing of his that got published. It's weird to think that all over the world, people are reading about something I caused. I started to walk back towards Aarons house. It wasn't very big, just a two bedroom place and a small backyard. The outside of the house was an old Tudor style, very pretty with the vines crawling up the sides. After I went inside I laid my bag down on the edge of the couch. It had several of my belongings in it from when my family moved away. Including the arrowhead Aaron gave me when I was sixteen. I had never looked at it since the nightmare. When I found my way to my bedroom I saw Aaron leaning against the side of the window.

"You okay?" I say. He picks up the dry erase board lying on the floor and scribbles down:

Yes. Are you?

"Yeah. I just don't know what to think anymore." I reply.

About what? He asks

"Everything." I tell him, my eyes on the floor.

Well, how would you like to go with me to the meadow? He had to ask. I was afraid to go there with him. I didn't want my dream to become a reality.

"I-I guess." I say, hesitant to tell him that I was scared.

Great. We can have a picnic too if you like.

"Sure, that sounds nice." I tell him as we both walk to the kitchen and gather sandwiches for lunch. We got in the car and drove down to the same meadow where my dream took place. I was nervous, afraid that he would leave me. When we pulled over on the side of the road, we unloaded his truck and walked to the middle of the meadow. There we laid out a blanket and sat together. I didn't touch my sandwich, but we talked, well, wrote and I told him how when I was at the shrink I thought that no one loved me. And why should they? I'm a broken spirit.

Everything has a way of working out, Dakota. He writes. It happened to me, when I thought I was never going to see you again.

"When was that?" I ask, looking up at him, confused.

When I saw those officers taking you away. He looks down on me his eyes concerned but empty. But now you're here. He smiles, taking my hand and leading me to an open grassy area, A light rain began to fall on us.

"How do you know?" I say "Things don't always stay the way they are, they can't all work out."

No, but if you are always thinking negative, then of course they won't. When you were gone, I kept hoping that you would come back, that I could see you. And I did.

"Then what about my family moving away? I didn't wish for them to leave. I would pray every night that they were okay. Now they're gone."

There's still time. He writes You wait and see, they will come back.

The rain started pouring now, his writing getting smudged on the notebook, the words blurring to an illegible mess. The advice he gave me disappearing forever. The notebook fell to the grass. I look up at Aaron, his eyes meeting mine, our arms wrapping around each other. His kiss felt like nothing, I missed what it used to be like, before my tumor. We gazed into each other's eyes, knowing the truth behind all of our pain. We each had our own secret misery. Trying to not let the other fall, like two pillars supporting one another. Walking in the misty sunset, we got in the car and drove back to Aaron's. When we reached the front steps Aaron got out a pen and wrote on his arm:

I love you.

My head suddenly snapped up to stare at him in shock. How could he love me? I am a senseless, deaf girl who is constantly feeling sorry for herself. I was no catch. But I held back my emotions and replied:

"I love you more than words can say." The smile that spread across his face was beautiful. I had known I wanted to marry him one day, but up until now I knew for sure, he was mine. At that moment, I felt like the happiest girl in the world. I could do anything I put my mind to, and Aaron would be there at my side.

Months later, Aaron and I were to be married. Well, so I hoped. He had not officially proposed yet, but I could tell he was planning to. He would be at work often, manning the train station where his family used to work. Coming home so late, I would ask him where he has been. Each day his response would be the same, that's how I knew he was trying to hide something.

I was out. He would write.

"Doing what?" I pressed

Delivering a letter to a friend. This usually satisfied me. I would never ask anything beyond that. One day Aaron came home with a huge grin on his face. I got excited, smiling back at him he brought me outside onto the roof of the house. I had only been up there one other time, when I planned to throw his arrowhead away, while he was working. I had never told him this, but I was afraid now. Afraid that it would bring back those memories of losing him. When he pulled me up to the high white balcony I gasped. He had arranged dinner for two, with twinkling white lights and lanterns lit up all around. There was even a candle in the center of the ivory blanketed table. It was so magnificent, it went with my flowing silvery dress he bought me weeks ago.

"Aaron, this is amazing." I say, beaming with joy.

I thought you would love it. He writes, on a new, laced notebook. Leading the way Aaron pulled out my chair and seated me at the end of the table before taking a spot himself. On the plate in front of me was one of my favorite meals, but I didn't want to focus on the food. I was more interested in the man sitting across from me.

"What is all this for?" I ask, looking up at him.

Well, I was hoping to do this earlier, but I couldn't find the right thing to do. He explains, his writing so perfectly composed on the paper. Suddenly he gets up and walks over to my chair, getting slowly down on one knee.

This is it. I think, my nerves so anxious for this moment. It has finally come, I can marry Aaron. He held up to me a blooming ivory rose, with dew still on the curves of the pedals. With it, there was a note attached, written in his hand.

The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known solely to the heart. I can only hope that yours will stay with mine. Dakota, will you give me the remarkable chance to ask for your hand in marriage?

I stare at the extraordinary words displayed in front of me. Yes! Yes! Of course I will marry you! I think. Why can't I put it into words? Finally I yell out:

"Yes! Yes Aaron!" I shout, throwing myself into his arms, knowing I wouldn't feel anything. Catching me, he lifts me high into the air, just as my father had when I was a child. Things were starting to turn around for me. I could see our whole life ahead of us, together in happiness. With me, Mrs. Dakota Prechet. As he began to spin me around the vision of us faded into his glorious face, I had to look away; I feared I would melt into a puddle if I stared at it any longer. Before, though I hadn't known, I had loved Aaron since we met. I was so afraid to loose him and now I have him everything is attainable. Aaron was a part of my life, a part of me now. I would never let that change. I decided to give up running after I realized I would never make it passed two miles. Throughout the years, Aaron and I grew old together, just as I had imagined. Though we had no grandchildren, we lived our days in pure joy, sitting out on the porch watching the birds fly past our small home. I was still as happy as I was when Aaron had first asked me to marry him. Soon, however, that all disappeared.

When Aaron turned around 85 years old, he developed Alzheimer's. Each day I worked with him, trying to get him to memorize my face, I had to make him remember. It felt like I had only had love for a few short years, and now the one I cared most about couldn't even recall his own name.

"Aaron, that is your name. Can you tell me what my name is?" I ask in a soothing voice, as though I was talking to a two year old.

"Jane?" is what I thought he said. I couldn't get him to write down what he was saying. He couldn't remember that I was deaf. Or even what being deaf meant.

"No." I say, still wanting to try another time. But in knew he wouldn't get it right. After practicing for weeks, I could tell he would never remember my name, who I was, or the memorable times we had shared. Then on November 30, 2126, my Aaron died. Leaving me alone once again on this planet. I wept for many days, constantly wishing him back. Pain stabbed through me in the night. At last I pulled on the dress Aaron had proposed to me in, and climbed out to the balcony. On the table I laid out a variety of weapons. Stakes, guns, daggers, knives, ropes and others. I studied each carefully, unsure of which to use to claim my life. I could always jump off the balcony, but that wasn't a for sure death. There were so many ways to die.

After all, my options are limitless.