Courtney Nickerson is a Creative Writer who is currently attending Full Sail University online. She is just starting out in the professional writing field. Nickerson has written multiple flash fiction stories during her time at Full Sail. These include: Save You, Ransom, and Watch Us Burn. Before attending Full Sail University, she attended Ferris State University in Michigan where she enjoyed writing a children's story. Nickerson's goal is to write book series in the adult fiction genre. She is a jack of all trades. Not only does she write and read, but she flew military drones during her time in the Army and is now enjoying her time back home in Northern Michigan after traveling Europe and the United States. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
She knew she was risking everything when she made this choice, including their lives. So, she ran. She ran until her legs gave up on her. With a nasty crunch of bone her ankle snapped in the wrong direction, her head smacking against an awfully large rock as she tumbled to the ground.
"Finley!" he called.
"Madden, I... I'm fine. We must keep going. We aren't far enough yet!" she cried.
"We can't go any further, you've broken your ankle and your head is bleeding. I'm so sorry, Finn. I truly am. They will catch us soon. I shouldn't have put you in this kind of danger. He will hang us both for this. I should have just let you marry him. I'm sorry, no, I didn't mean it like that. It's just that, I would die a thousand times again for you, but I shouldn’t have been willing to risk your life with mine. This is a cruel world. We know that already, I mean would you just look at us? We're a wreck when we're together. Promise me, no matter what happens, just remember that I love..."
"No!" she screamed. She saw the bloodied tip of the arrow sticking out of his heart before she had time to blink. Madden's evergreen eyes went lifeless as his body slumped to the cold, hard ground. He shot him. Arden, the man she was being forced to marry today just shot the only man she has ever loved. What kind of coward shoots a man from behind?
"My, my, what a sweet sentiment that was. It's just too bad it had to be cut short. Now get up," Arden said with a hint of boredom.
"But, I can't... my, my ankle. It's broken," she barely got out as she sobbed. Her heart shattering more than any of her bones ever could.
Arden yanked Finley up by the collar of her dress. She will not be able to walk all the way back to the altar and be able to hide what has just happened here. She was always nothing more than a burden to him. The bodies won't be too difficult to take care of. People will just believe that they really did escape. So, with his final decision made, he lifted the bottom limb of his bow and with sheer force he landed the final blow upon her brow.
Finley tried to concentrate as the world around her went black. All the hurt she felt a second ago vanished without a thought. Is this what it's like to die? Is this where Madden went, too? Where is he? Shouldn't they be reunited or something? She saw nothing. She heard nothing. She felt nothing. It was almost as if she were dreaming.
"Finn, wake up! You're going to be late for your party if you don't get up right now!" Scout yelled from the kitchen. Today is Finn's eighteenth birthday, the one she's been dreaming of since she was four years old. His little girl had grown up so fast, but she was as ready then as she is now.
"I'm up!" she responded groggily. Scout always insisted on getting up early, even if she was already graduated and its summer vacation. The last summer of freedom before she must wander blindly towards her future. She never really wanted to go to college, but then again, she never really got a choice with Scout. He was a wonderful father, but once her mom left them he had to control every aspect of her life. He even tried to force her to date some preppy boy from the church, on more than one occasion. She stood firm on that though, no dating. She has always been repulsed by the thought of dating, the thought of love. She never really understood why, but the whole thing just made her run for the hills.
Ding Dong. Finn shot upright when she heard the doorbell. Who is here so early? She wasn't expecting anyone yet. Throwing the covers off her, she leapt out of bed. She sounded like a stampede of horses coming down the stairs. Before she opened the door, she glanced through the peep hole, but found nobody there. Puzzled, she whips open the door and glances around. Nothing. As she begins shutting the door, something gleams from the corner of her eye. What is that? She eyes the small gray box labeled
Finn. She hesitates before picking it up. Unsure of what this box contains, she rushes back upstairs to her room, slamming the door shut behind her. After locking her door, she crawls back into bed, curious of what she might find.
She opens the box and to her surprise, nothing but a small piece of paper falls out. As she unravels the tiny paper she reads, Madden. Who is Madden? She drops the box as beams of color shoot
out all around her like a vortex. The force of it knocking her back into her bed frame. She couldn't move, as she slowly slipped into a dreamlike state. What had she just opened, a box with a dream inside?
"Finley, are you ready?"
"Finley? Nobody ever calls me Finley, and what do you mean? Am I ready for what?"
"This is our only chance to leave this place. If we stay any longer, he will notice something amiss and come looking for you. It's now or never, but you must decide."
Searching everywhere, she finds no answers as to who this might be and why is he speaking to her like this? She looks down, no longer in her pajamas, but in an old dress straight out of a history book. She rocks back and forth as he grabs her by the shoulders, bringing her focus back to him. As she looked into his eyes, everything came rushing back at once. Those eyes. Those evergreen eyes. Madden. It all makes sense now. It wasn't a box with a dream. Somebody had delivered a memory. A memory of a past life. A past love. No wonder she always hated love, because she had once loved so fiercely that it cost them their lives. She couldn't do that to him again. He once told her that he would die a thousand times again for her, but after seeing the life leave his eyes, she couldn't do it. She wasn't sure if she couldn't or if she wouldn't, but does that even matter? Her mind was set, she would not let Madden die for her. A life without his love was better than a life without him at all.
"Madden, you must leave now before he sees you. Go back to your house and stay until after the wedding. I can't run away with you, not this time. I know you don't understand and you probably never
will, but I'm doing this to save you." Finley didn't give Madden the chance to object before she turned on her heal and walked away. He didn't come after her, but she knew he would understand someday. She would rather him hate her than die for her. She could live with that. She knows he would do the same. He will find a greater love one day and she could live with that too. When she turned to look at him one more time, he was already gone.