She went down to the water, took a deep breath of fresh air. Felt the sunlight on her naked body. Warm, healthy. She felt good.
The pond was cold, a nice contrast to the hot air. Clean mountain water running down the valley, towards the forest further down.
She sat down in the shallow water, laid back. Let it cover her body, her head. Came up fresher, new, like she always did, like a new person coming up in another world.
The little waterfall was all she heard, and was in that moment all there was. She touched it, felt its power, the strength of the falling water. Turned around, let it fall on her back. Let her hair underneath, her face.
She felt someone watching her. Pulled her head out, opened her eyes. There was no one there. Her paranoia made her laugh. No one ever came up here, it was her secret place, her little hideout, the place where she could always be alone.
She put her face under again. The same strange feeling.
A monster was staring at her. Several monsters, hanging over the edge of the hill.
They were gone, as if they were never there.
She looked around. Nothing. No sign, no trace.
It must have been my imagination. She didn’t feel safe any more, she felt threatened, watched. Maybe I should get back.
She waded over to the shore where her clothes was. She heard something in the bushes. Froze.
A man came out, stepped on her clothes. He wore a leather vest and boots. He held a stick in his hand. Two others came out behind him.
-What do we have here? The first one said with a vicious grin.
-Looks like fun… This one was bigger, but less secure. A follower.
She took a step back. She felt vulnerable, exposed.
-What do you want? she asked, trying to hide her fear.
-Hehehe… What do we want…
They surrounded her. Grabbed her.
-Let me go! You’re.. You’re hurting me!
A shadow crossed the hill behind the waterfall. Something moved in the bushes.
Two of the men held her. The one with the leather vest took his belt off.
-Looks like fun indee…
He disappeared into the woods. A scream with a sudden end. Silence.
The other two looked up from the woman in their hands.
-What… Where did you….
Something came running across the clearing, too fast to be clearly seen. Another of the men was gone.
The last one looked around, flashing eyes, shaking hands. He let her go, fell to his knees.
-What’s happening? Please, make it stop! Please!
She backed up, into the water.
A creature came out of the forest. Big as the trees. Grey, pale. Two others came behind it, a bit smaller. The rapist sat on the ground, crying. The girl didn’t move.
They came closer. A clawed hand casually came down over the man on the shore. He made a strange sound as life was squeezed out of him. The monster never took its eyes off the girl.
They came closer, watching her. Her breath went fast, her hands shaking like leaves. One of them stretched out a hand towards her. She pulled back, away from the big claws. The bigger one gently pulled its companion’s hand back.
It lasted forever.
They did not hurt her.
-What… What are you? She had never seen anything like them. Beautiful and terrifying, shy and brutal, timid and fierce.
They were frightened by her words, like something beyond their understanding, something powerful.
She reached out a hand, wanted to touch the closest one. It pulled back a bit. Its eyes spoke of admiration. Worship. Awe. It lifted its hand, met hers. Touched it.
The creatures disappeared into the forest.
Once again all that could be heard was the water falling from the cliff. Once again she was alone with the river. She would have believed it had all been a dream, a hallucination, if it weren’t for the dead man on the ground.
The sun was going down. She really needed to get home.