AN: I went back to this story. Added and changed stuff. Hopefully, this is better than the old one...


I have always wanted to go to Scotland. To see for myself if it was really all green. And not just one shade of green, but thousands. To see if it was really as beautiful as the books say. The thought of grassy meadows and lush landscapes enchanted me. Countless times I had been told how beautiful Scotland was. The desire to go there had always been a constant in my mind. Postcards, pictures, posters. They were plastered all over the walls of my room. Books about the country filled the shelves above my perpetually messy desk. Going to Scotland was the only thing I had ever truly wanted. I invested so much time and sweat into one day living there. All through high school and college, I juggled with part time jobs, striving toward that one goal.

"It rains a lot. You see green everywhere. It's gorgeous," my teacher told me once.

Now sliding my eyes closed, I tried to muster up that dead desire, but it eluded me. The will to chase after it had long ago disappeared. The almost obsessively strong longing was nothing but a memory. Any remnants of it had long since faded. It was so hard to care anymore or care at all. I was so tired... So very tired of it all.

"Hey, Em. We should go out for a while. What do you think?" Slowly my eyes cracked open, looking into onyx eyes. The only eyes that I have been seeing for weeks. Maybe it was months. Years? I didn't know. I stopped counting—stopped caring—after the first five weeks. Those black eyes flashed before fingers dug into my hair, tearing into my scalp, jerking me up, but I didn't make a sound. "Answer me when I talk to you!"

I had always wanted to go to Scotland—the land of rain and green.

There was a dangerous gleam in those onyx eyes. He held up a pure white dress with a flourish. "Wouldn't this look beautiful on you as you sleep?"

In my heart, I knew I'll never get to.

And I couldn't bring myself to care.

I knew when I saw all those bodies—former friends who had, one by one, disappeared without a word since last year when I started finalizing the move to Scotland—dressed up and propped around the basement as if at any moment they would wake up and start moving.

A knife plunged into my chest, cracking my ribcage to pierce my already dead heart. Maniacal laughter floated into my ears. I closed my eyes one last time as blood slid down my sun-deprived skin, puddling beneath me, thinking:

If only I hadn't wanted to go to Scotland.

Breath abandoned me and I was no more.

Two years ago

I stared at the calendar, eyes glued to the heavily circled seventh of May. Today was the long-waited day! Euphoria flooded my body and I couldn't stop smiling. Hand plastered on the handle of my suitcase, I glanced at the calendar once more, checking to see that today was really May 7. I had to make sure because sometimes I didn't read stuff correctly.

A quick sweep of the bedroom confirmed that I wasn't missing anything. At least I hoped. The plane ticket was clutched in my right fist. Most things didn't interest me at all, but I really wanted to go on this trip. I had never desired something as much as this.

Satisfied that everything was right, I left my house with a ridiculously huge grin, not knowing what was going to happen to me. My face felt like it was going to crack. The smile replaced my customary straight face. Few things seemed to be able to pull me out of my apathy. Now I was smiling so much it hurt.

I tripped a few times on my way out, but the worst I got was a scraped knee, so it's all good. It was better than yesterday. I fell down the stairs three times. Maybe it was four...

"Hey, Em!" I turned to my neighbor of two years. Rick skidded to a stop near me. He was too close.

"Hey, yourself." I took a step back. For a split second, I thought he looked angry. Then, he opened his mouth so I dismissed it. It could be a trick of the light or because I forgot my glasses.

Again.

Geez... I was only twenty-five and my memory was slipping away through my fingers faster than I can blink.

"A hug before you're off for Scotland?" Without waiting for an answer, he threw an arm around me. I didn't think much of it. Rick had always been a touchy-feely kind of person. I wasn't completely comfortable around him, but I sort of got used to it. And I just wanted to leave. Protesting would take more time than I wanted to give.

I shrugged him off. "Bye, Rick."

A hand wrapped around my wrist. "Wouldn't you rather stay here?"

I heard the unspoken with me? Now, I was really getting uncomfortable. Rick was getting a little too clingy.

When I got back, I should find him a girlfriend—someone he could focus his attention on instead of me. He had bad taste. I could tell; he liked me. I don't see what he sees in me. Maybe I should just get a huge dog and sic it on him. The latter idea sounded pretty good to me.

"I'm late." He released my hand, albeit reluctantly and slowly.

I walked to my car with long ground-eating strides, getting there quickly without having to run. Driving off, I missed the expression on his face.

Entering the highway, my stomach growled, reminding me that I had forgotten about breakfast. Ugh. I forget about everything. The flight was two hours away. And I needed food now.

Once parked at a diner, I slumped into my seat. Today had a bad start. My back immediately straightened. That didn't mean it couldn't get better. I was going to Scotland! Once again in a good mood, I headed to the diner, thoughts of Rick fading to the back of my mind.

Then, I tripped and landed behind a neighboring car. Wow... I'm the only person I know who could trip over a flat surface... Pushing myself up, I noticed that the car's back door was open. Someone was sleeping in the back. An arm was hanging out.

This wasn't my problem. My stomach grumbled, further tempting me to leave. I took a step toward the diner and then another.

Then, I sighed. I better wake that person up before he gets his arm snapped clean off by a car or something. I stepped out of my car. Knocking on the back of the car was the first thing I did to try to wake up the sleeping person. When no groans or shuffling occurred, I rapped my knuckle against the car again. And again. And again.

Deciding that that wasn't going to work, I opened my mouth grudgingly. "Hey... wake up."

No response.

"Hey." The long seconds ticked by, and I really didn't want to be here. A wisp of annoyance seeped in. I stepped closer, thinking that the person couldn't hear my usually soft tone. The unmistakable scent of blood hit me, swirling upward to my nose. The first thing that came to mind was: Gosh, seriously. Of all days, I just had to leak when I forgot to pack pads.

Then, my mentality switched back to the situation at hand.

Cautiously inching out my hand, I tapped the arm. Then, I immediately recoiled, instantly knowing I was wrong. The dismembered arm had rolled out of the car. Dozens of cuts crisscrossed on the arm, oozing out blood, severed tendons and muscle tissue showing, bones a bright white against all the red.

I looked up, wanting to look at anything but that. My eyes spotted the body and I froze. The man's hair had been hacked off, large portions of his scalp exposed. There was a huge hole where his stomach used to be. A knife stuck out of his chest, a look of stark horror forever frozen on his face, his eyes dull and empty. Spinning around, milk I had chugged earlier in the morning crawled up my throat and out, stomach acid burning its way out as well. The need to flee was upmost in my head, thoughts of food blasted from my mind, appetite having taken the express train out of here. Jumping into the car, I stomped on the gas.

Heart pounding and breathing heavily, fear clouding my mind, sweat pearling up on my skin, I was blinded to the time that passed as I kept driving, not aware that the road turned bumpier and less well-maintained. Nor did my ears hear the gravel under the wheels—the pings and clunks from small pieces of rock being thrown by the tire, up against the bottom of the car.

I nearly didn't notice the blur that shot in front of the car.

I swerved.

The car hit a huge box that was just sitting in the middle of nowhere. Who leaves a box in the middle of nowhere!? The contents of the box exploded out. A bodiless head landed on the hood of the car, its empty eyes staring right at me. Scrambling out of the car, I landed heavily on my hands and knees on the ground.

Which happened to be covered with organs, courtesy of the box. I reeled back, head knocking into the roof of the car.

I sped out of there. All the oxygen in the world seemed to disappear. There suddenly wasn't enough. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't breathe. All those people...

I was glad I was leaving this country. Lately, it seemed that a murderer was on a killing spree. Reaching into my suitcase, I wanted to comfort myself by holding the plane ticket.

Pawing around the pocket where I left the ticket, my movements grew frantic when my hand came up empty.

It's okay. It's okay. I probably put it in a different pocket.

Easing the car to a stop, my attention was turned to my suitcase, completely forgetting my earlier scare. My hand was in another pocket, finding nothing but a camera and a notebook, fear sinking its ugly claws into my heart. Panicking, I threw things out of the suitcase, uncaring that my bloody hands were staining everything red. Soon, the suitcase was empty and the ticket still was nowhere in sight. My instincts told me that I didn't lose it. Even though I had a terrible memory, for some reason, somehow, I knew I didn't forget it. Something told me I didn't. Something that I'd wanted for so long and so much. It wouldn't have slipped from my memory. I had an uneasy feeling that I knew who took it.

-x-

Rick was walking out of his house as my car slowed to a stop. He grinned. "Decided not to go?"

"Why?" I said one word. It could have been for anything, but he understood.

An inscrutable gleam lit his eyes. "I didn't want you to go."

"Give it back." His face contorted in anger. He grabbed my wrist.

"Stay here. Am I not good enough for you?"

"Rick!" He seemed to snap out of it, reverting back to his old self.

"Sorry," he said quickly, shoving the ticket to me, and rushed into his house, slamming the door closed.

Clutching the ticket, I thought once again that I was glad that I was leaving this country. At that time, I didn't know that my desire to go to Scotland was going to be the death of me.

-x-

In my rush to get away, I almost ran over my other neighbor, Wilson. I jumped out of the car and dropped to my knees beside his fallen form.

"Are you okay?!" Grabbing his shoulders, I eased him into a sitting position. Or at least tried to. He was heavier than he looked. His eyes blinked open. He sat up.

"You're going to Scotland?" There was a dullness in his eyes. His eyes looked slightly glazed over. He might have a concussion. I'm not taking any chances.

"Scotland can wait. We're going to the hospital." I led him to the car.

I looked at the time and winced. One hour until the flight and we still didn't get to the hospital yet.

Wilson mumbled something inaudible under his breath. I made a questioning sound. Too lazy to force out whole words. I didn't talk much and didn't see the reason to change. Because of that, most people thought I was stupid or rude. I never corrected them because I didn't really care. My best friends knew and that was what mattered to me.

A hand latched onto my wrist. "You can't go to Scotland."

"Hm?" I diverted my gaze from the road for a moment and fixed it on him. He looked really nervous, his eyes looking here and there.

He grabbed the wheel and jerked it to the side. The car smacked into a tree, my head nearly knocking against the steering wheel. He seized my shoulders and twisted me around to face him. "Listen. You can't go."

I raised an eyebrow at him. Not go? Of course, I was going to the place of my dreams.

"You can't go! You just can't!" Spittle flew.

I pushed him away and focused on driving, steadily pressing down on the gas harder. Okay, he was starting to get on my nerves. I didn't get angry a lot, but when I do, I get really angry. The faster we get to the hospital, the faster I can get rid of him. Although I was starting to think he was physically okay, I stomped on the pedal. I distantly wondered why I didn't just throw him out and let him hitch-hike to the hospital.

Sometime after dropping him off at the hospital, a breath of relief escaped from my lips.

That's when the car ran out of gas. I sagged against the steering wheel.

This day just keeps getting better and better.

A knock brought my head up. My best friend, Maggie, tapped on the glass again. I was saved! She came just when I needed her. She always did seem to have a sixth sense when it came to me. I could hug her to death right now.

Smiling, I rolled down the window.

"Ran out of gas again?"

"Yeah," I muttered despondently. I forgot to check the gas gauge. Again. Me and my terrible memory. Maggie knew me so well.

Suddenly, shock washed over her features, her eyes widening, surprise etched across her face. Then, her face contorted in pain. Her hands flew to her stomach. My eyes followed, seeing an object poking out of her shirt and red spreading around it. I stared, uncomprehending, until a strangled cry tore its way out of her throat as she fell, revealing one of my neighbors.

His onyx eyes glittered as he smiled at me.

"Matt!" I threw myself at him, wanting nothing more than the pain to go away, the sudden agony in my chest clouding my mind. "Maggie's d-dead!"

My chest hurt. Tears threatened to stream down my face. I could hardly think above the fact that my best friend was dead, the terrible, terrible pain consuming me. We three were inseparable. Since preschool, we were always together. Always. Now, one of us was gone. He wrapped his arms around me and stroked my hair, murmuring, "I know."

I froze. Somewhere in my agony-crazed mind, it hit me that he could be the one who stabbed her. I stopped breathing. The silence was deafening. No... He didn't... right? He tightened his hold on me. Disbelief gripped me until it melted to shock, squeezing my throat shut and paralyzing my limbs. He must have realized that I couldn't move because his arms loosened slightly, cradling instead of imprisoning me.

He carried me bridal style to his car. The lift knocked me out of my stupor. I kicked and screamed and scratched. Normally, I was lazy as hell, but this monster killed my best friend. Maggie was the only one who truly made me smile, made me feel alive. She was my reason to live. Now, she was dead. My chest wouldn't stop hurting. It would feel better if someone stabbed it and ended its agony. I couldn't understand it—couldn't handle it—so I turned it to anger. Rage blinded me, seared through my mind, running through my veins. I felt like I was going crazy and he still bested me. He was taller, heavier, and worked out at a gym daily unlike me who didn't like moving at all. He tossed me into the vehicle. Rope encircled my wrists, securing them together.

"Why?" That was the only thing I could think of besides the burning urge to gut him.

An inscrutable gleam shone in his eyes as fury distorted his face. "You always like her better than me. Besides, you were going to leave me. I had to do something." Then, his eyes softened and the anger seeped out of his face, leaving a strange soft expression that I had never seen before behind. "I love you."

"Then, let me go." So I can choke the life out of you.

His eyes flashed and his grip turned bruising. He started shaking me, rage engraving deep lines in his face, my head repeatedly hitting something.

I must have passed out at some point because the next thing I knew I was lying on a couch in front of a girl in a white dress. My body felt like lead and I didn't think I could move.

"Help." My voice came out sounding hoarse. How long was I here? She just kept staring at me. "Please." She continued watching me with those empty eyes. Wait... I looked at her more closely. Her eyes looked glazed over and dull. She was deathly pale. I looked for the rise and fall of her chest. There was none.

She was dead.

At that time, I didn't know I would be sharing the same fate and all because of some lunatic who used to be my best friend and my desire to go to Scotland.

A cold shiver running through my body, I quickly turned my gaze away, spotting a familiar face. Ashley was sitting in a floral patterned chair, her head leaning against the window frame. Hope rising in me, I tried to push myself up. When I made it to holding myself up by my elbows, small beads of perspiration pearled on my skin, my breathing turning shallower. I rolled over, deliberately falling onto the floor, now knowing this would be the fastest way. Turning over and over until I rolled to Ashley's side. It took all my energy to lift myself up. I was breathing slightly heavier than usual, leaning against the wall, distantly wondering why she just stayed there. Then, I remembered that she was a heavy sleeper.

I shook her shoulder and her head slid off her body, landing with a sickening thud at my feet, and I threw myself back, shivering. My feet kept moving backwards, wanting to get as far away as possible. Then, I knocked into something and fell on said something. My face was shoved against a cloth covering something soft and cold. Head lifting up, my eyes found the face of Shannie.

"We have to get out of—"

Then, I paused. There was something wrong. Shannie had the same empty look in her eyes as the girl in the white dress. I quickly pushed myself away from the corpse, shaking uncontrollably. Getting to my feet, I noticed the man sitting at the table, a bowl of soup in front of him. Cam was leaning against the back of his chair, staring off into space. A spark of desperate hope flared as I ran to him, grabbing the front of his shirt and screaming when his limbs fell apart.

Backing away, trembling, my feet nudged something and I looked down, staring at Ashley's head, her empty, sightless eyes staring at me, and I leaped away, starting to hyperventilate. Breathing heavily as tremors shook my body, I ran and tripped over a figure on the floor. Shannie's dull, hollow eyes sent cold shivers through me and I threw myself away, landing hard on my bottom. Hyperventilating, I backed myself into the wall.

The door opened and my head snapped to the man standing in the doorway at the top of the stairs, my eyes glaring at him with fear and loathing. Any former feelings of friendship for him were gone.

"What's wrong, Em? You look a little pale," he said as he sauntered down the stairs.

I stared at this room of death, our friends dead on the floor. Then, I squeezed my eyes shut, blocking the image, blocking the tears. "Why?"

He went on, completely ignoring my question. "I brought your friends here, too, so you wouldn't be lonely when I'm gone."

"Why?" I repeated. If I kept going, he would probably get mad at me, but what did I have to lose anymore? I most likely wouldn't make it out alive.

"I furnished the room to your liking. I remember what you like. There's a walk-in closet near there and wall to wall bookcases. You can have all the chocolate you could ever want," he said, still brushing away the question.

"Why?" I said louder.

"I'll give you anything you want."

"Let me out."

His face darkened and the smile on his face turned sinister, sending cold shivers through me. "Anything except that."

Rage flared up as I grabbed a vase and ran at him. "Why did you do it?!"

His hand wrapped around my wrist, stopping the vase from hitting him, and he hugged me to him. I struggled, twisting and kicking, and his hold on me turned bruising. Then, a hand slapped me, sending me crashing to the floor.

He picked me up and walked to the couch, sitting with me in his lap. His grip was gentle but firm and, from past experience, I knew I couldn't escape. Tears sprang to my eyes as hopelessness seeped in, digging out my insides, making me feel so hollow. I felt my soul breaking. "...Why?"

He cradled me to him, rocking me, as liquid leaked from my eyes. "You were going to leave me. I couldn't let that happen. I love you. I've always loved you. I can't live without you. I'm a wanted man in Scotland, but we could travel to anywhere else."

I closed my eyes, tears still streaming down my face, and heard him say, "I'll never let you go."

Something died in me. I stopped crying, feeling empty inside. There were no more tears, no more anything. He sat here, cooing to me, and I just wanted to fade away. I was so tired, so very tired...

-x-

He was gone. I got up from the huge bed, weariness deep in my bones. Trudging to the window, trying my best to not look at the dead, my hands pressed against the window, trying to open it. It didn't budge. I pushed and pulled. It didn't work. I went to the next window. And the next. And the next. And the next. None of them opened. I walked to the bed, footsteps even slower than before. My hand curled around the letter opener on the side table. The metal blade pierced my skin, burrowing deeper, and I felt nothing but faint relief. The emptiness inside me had already killed most of my emotions.

The door opened and I kept my back to it, sliding the point deeper in my wrist, as I edged my arm more under the blanket. Someone walked in and placed something on the side table. Then, that someone gasped and opened drawers, pawing through them frantically.

"Emma, do you have the letter opener?"

I didn't respond, just shoved the blade more in.

"Emma, please tell me you don't have it." A hand gripped my shoulder and turned me around as the blanket was ripped away. Wilson's eyes bulged as he saw the blood pooling around my left arm, horror staining his face. His hands immediately flew to cover it as I watched emotionlessly while vermillion liquid seeped through his fingers. Then, he took his hands off and grabbed his shirt, ripping a large piece off. He wrapped the cloth around the gaping wound, the blood staining the originally white cloth a bright red, and ran out of the room with the letter opener.

I took the bloody cloth off and dug my fingers in. Distantly, I felt the pain but other than that I felt numb.

Then, Wilson sprinted back into the room with a first aid kit. He tore my hand off and set to work on the wound. I stared at the ceiling, wishing he'd leave me alone.

"This is why I told you to not go to Scotland," he said not unkindly.

"Help me out of here."

"I can't," Wilson whispered, regret in his tone.

"Why?"

"I love him."

I closed my eyes, too tired to keep them open. What is love? I thought it was wanting the best for your loved one, that it was wanting nothing more than for your love to be happy. Not this. Why do people keep throwing that phrase around? Mentally, I sighed.

Wilson finished bandaging the wound and got up. "I'm sorry, Emma."

I turned my head away, feeling so tired. "...go away."

-x-

Two years later

I had always wanted to go to Scotland—the land of rain and green.

There was a dangerous gleam in Matt's onyx eyes. He held up a pure white dress with a flourish. "Wouldn't this look beautiful on you as you sleep?"

In my heart, I knew I'll never get to.

"I love you. I love you so much."

And I couldn't bring myself to care.

I knew when I saw all those bodies—former friends who had, one by one, disappeared without a word since last year when I started finalizing the move to Scotland—dressed up and propped around the basement as if at any moment they would wake up and start moving.

His voice turned dark. "Why don't you love me back!?"

A knife plunged into my chest, cracking my ribcage to pierce my already dead heart. Maniacal laughter floated into my ears.

"Now, you're mine forever!"

Tuning him out, I closed my eyes one last time as blood slid down my sun-deprived skin, puddling beneath me, thinking:

If only I hadn't wanted to go to Scotland.

I could feel myself slipping away, my body getting heavier, and I welcomed it.

-x-

Distantly, I felt the heavy weight pinning me to the ground suddenly get off of me, but my eyes remained closed. Curses filled the room as things got smashed and the sound of flesh hitting flesh echoed throughout the dark basement. A final crash sounded and then, it was silent except for footsteps running toward me.

"EM!"

I felt the knife disappear and hands pressed against the bleeding hole in my chest, the blood sticking the shirt I was wearing to my skin. "Please. Please don't die, Em." The person with the sobbing voice lifted me up, cradling me gently to him, one hand still applying pressure to the gaping wound, and he ran. "Don't die, Emma. You can't. You haven't gone to Scotland yet."

He kept running, and I felt warm liquid drip on my face, but I didn't open my eyes. "Open your eyes, Em!"

The sound of a door opening. He sat down. The door closed. I heard an engine starting. Sobbing. A panic-filled voice screaming at me to wake up. Little beads of liquid continued to drip on me. Then, nothing.

-x-

I was drifting in the darkness, feeling no pain, no weariness, nothing. There was no one else here. Somehow, I could tell. Then, relief welled up, hope feeling so sweet. He wasn't here. I was free... I was free! I smiled and flew in the void. For the first time in years, I was free! I laughed, the sound so foreign to me, so I laughed again, twirling and spinning in the darkness. My smile grew as relief coursed through my veins, completely filling me. A wide, goofy grin curved my lips, but I didn't care. I was so... so happy. He was gone and there was no one else here. I was safe. My heart felt so light. I was so damn happy. If only this feeling would last... I wanted this feeling to last, this euphoria, this relief, this feeling of security, of being safe.

Then, electricity tore through my body, ruining my paradise. Wrapping my arms around myself, my head snapped around, desperately looking for the source. I couldn't see anything but darkness. Electricity shocked through me again and I jumped, whipping around. There wasn't anything there. Fear inching in, I started trembling uncontrollably, backing away. An electric current seared through my veins and I fell, head riveting this way and that, scared shitless. My feet pushed against the ground, scrambling away, breathing heavily.

I'm scared.

Electricity zapped me again. I ran the other direction, sweat beading up on my skin. Hyperventilating, my eyes strained to see the source of the pain, wanting to know which way to run even though I somehow knew I couldn't escape. Tears burned in my eyes and I let them fall. Electricity shoved its way through my body and I screamed.

Suddenly, I was aware of voices, of movement. Murmuring. Shuffling. I wanted to slip back into the void, but then another shock tore through me and my body lifted from the flat surface I was on and slammed down. Terrified, I painstakingly peeled open my eyes. Light seared into my eyes, blinding me. Slowly, ever so slowly, as terror continued to eat at me, my eyes adjusted.

People with masks, people in blue, loomed over me and I screamed but nothing came out. I tried to scramble away but my body wouldn't move. Somewhere, I distantly heard a rapid beeping fill the room as I tried to crawl away from the strangers. A needle slid into my arm and I gratefully slipped into unconsciousness.

-x-

My eyes opened to silence that was only broken by nature. Outside, birds chirped their morning song as the wind rustled the leaves. Light filtered into the all-white room through a single window, a pot of flowers gracing the sill. I turned my head. There was a bouquet of flowers with a card stating get well soon, Em! on the side table.

The door opened and I turned my head to the sound as the scent of coffee drifted in and my empty stomach responded to it, grumbling out its hunger, but I froze when I saw who was here, eyes wide. Rick stood in the doorway, holding coffee and a full paper bag, shock etched across his face. Then, happiness, his eyes shining. A smile curled his lips and he rushed to me.

I flinched and he froze mid-step. Trembling, I inched back, cringing into the bed, terror consuming me. Suddenly, he crumbled to the floor on his knees, the foodstuff falling along with him. Muffins and pastries spilled out of the bag and coffee spread out on the floor around him, but he didn't move as the liquid seeped into his pants, darkening the blue denim. Rick covered his face with his hands, his shoulders shaking.

Then, he lifted his face, tears tracks on his cheeks, to stare into my eyes. His next words surprised me even more as he sobbed out, his tone dripping with regret, "I'm sorry, Em. I'm sorry that I took so long to find you. I'm so sorry."

I looked at him, not answering and not being able to stop shaking.

He put up his hands. "I won't come any closer. I'm sorry for scaring you."

I watched him warily, distrust written all over me.

A deep sadness in his eyes, he murmured gently, "When you're ready, I'll take you to Scotland. You can go and I'll take care of the police and funeral stuff."

I didn't believe him. Why should I?

I just edged more into the blanket until only my eyes showed, watching him warily, my body completely tense.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Em," he murmured softly, backing away with deliberately slow steps, hands still in the air.

The door closed with him behind it. It wasn't until the sound of his footsteps faded that I was able to breathe a little easier but the trembling didn't stop. The trembling didn't stop until a long, long time.