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His. There was someone behind all of this. And it just so happened to be the person I had ran away with, started a life with, created a home with. This couldn't be his doing, though, my Harry couldn't possibly have done this. But he did. That I became all too aware of as he stood, back facing me, hammering in another patch of horrid skin. I screamed. It was a mistake, I knew, but what other possible reaction was there? The hammer clattered to the floor. Harry did not become alarmed or even whip his head around. Still facing away from me, he calmly took in a breath; of anger, it must be. Then slowly, so slowly that my heart was about to burst from my chest with anticipation, he faced me. "I told you," he said in a voice so quiet it was almost chilling. "Not to come in here." I didn't know how to respond. Too many things were hitting me all at once. I wanted to vomit, sob, scream, and run for my life at the same time. But my body did not choose any of those options, frozen on the spot despite my efforts to flee. He walked closer. "I'm sorry," he said. I was surprised to hear him say it, taken back slightly. He was sorry? That was his response? His explanation for this horrible crime? And worse yet, he was lying. If he were truly sorry he would have said the words with some remorse, some guilt. But his eyes were vacant. I could not look at them but had no where else to look except for that horrendously decorated wall or the bodies lying along the floor. "Rose?" he asked. He began to walk toward me. His features had restored their usual qualities. He looked poised, put-together, as if we were not in a room full of dead people. "This doesn't mean anything. This is just something I do, it doesn't change us," he said, gesturing between me and him. When I didn't answer is when he began to panic slightly. Suddenly his voice grew small and vulnerable. "Rose, you still love me, right?" he stepped closer. There was desperation in his eyes. His lips were pouted slightly and his features softened in worry. For a moment he looked like a little boy, fingers going to my arm for the comfort of my touch. But I was not fooled. I yanked away from his fingers that had moments before held a patch of human skin. And the false innocence was gone almost as fast as it had come. His features contorted in anger, furious that I had refused his plea. And I no longer felt his right hand on my hip, but instead striking across my face. A sting was left in its place. It was not the pain of his assault but rather the nature of it that made my eyes grow wide in fear, tears welling up in sadness. And those emotions did not cease, much like his anger. He lunged, and before I knew it, his long fingers were wrapped around my throat. He was shouting things, sentences I could not hear. I could feel him squeezing harder and harder, his fingers digging into my skin, stealing my breath and clenching my throat. My thoughts were stricken with panic and disbelief. How could my Harry do such a thing? He had usually been my happiness, my safety, but here he was like a knife stabbing through the heart I had loved him with. I tried to breath, to get a sliver of oxygen between my closed throat. A horrible terror rose within me as I wildly pushed and punched and kicked. I was losing breath, and within seconds, my mind floated into unconsciousness. I woke gasping for air. Harry and the shed and the bodies were gratefully ripped from my mind, replaced by the impossible dark of the room. But it was a comfortable dark and I relished in it. I felt around myself in a haste to gain back some elements of reality. There were those soft blankets. Fluffy pillows, the heat of the air around me. My hands went to my throat, fingers grazing the skin. I was fine. It was just a dream. "Rose?" The same voice from my nightmare called. I yelped in fright. A dream, I reminded myself. The dream was fictional, but the Harry I loved was real and calling my name. I let out a deep sigh of relief. "Are you alright?" He asked, rushing toward me. Within seconds he was at the bed, looking over me in concern. "Yeah," I said, still catching my breath a bit. "Just a bad dream is all." He studied my face for a moment, contemplating whether or not to ask questions. He seemed to have decided against it, climbing into the bed. "Well, I'm here now," he said, pulling me to him. He leaned us against the headboard and I turned to the side, slinging my arm across his torso, lying my head against his chest. It was a weird feeling, taking comfort in him from my nightmares of him. But it was a different him that dwelled in my unconscious mind. It was an evil version, where here beneath me lied the true Harry who was of an opposite nature. "Go to bed," Harry whispered in my ear, squeezing me tight while he said it. "I'm here, Rose. And I will be in the morning when you wake up." He dragged his fingers through my hair, my eyes fluttering closed with his soothing touch. But I could not fall asleep just yet. "Harry?" I asked quietly. "Yeah?" "What were you doing when I woke up just now? Why weren't you in bed?" He hesitated for only a second before replying. "Just coming back from the toilet," he said casually "Oh." His statement left me confused. I didn't hear movement when I woke up, and there wasn't any sort of light on. It had seemed as if he had been standing in the middle of the room. And something was off about the way he said it, too, something in his tone. But why would he lie about such a trivial thing? I was probably just tired, hardly even understanding my own thoughts. Harry must've noticed my perplexed expression. "You okay?" he asked, nose nudging my head to the side. "Hmm?" I couldn't help but break out into a grin. "Yeah," I said. I kissed him on the cheek just to reassure him. "Good," he mumbled. He pulled the covers up over us, playfully tucking them in around me. After he pressed his lips to the corner of my eye they fluttered closed, and I began to drift away in sleep. This time I remained as such for the rest of the night. HARRY'S POV I woke up with two wonderful things on my mind; the memory of Rose's pretty little lips wrapped around me and the feel of an actual mattress beneath my body. I felt better than I had in a long time. We were both safe, healthy, we had supplies, and the townspeople thought we were dead. Not to mention we were sleeping on a thick mattress with comfy blankets in a heated building. For us two fugitives, life was pretty good right about now. And I continued to be thankful when my eyes lazily opened. They fell on the girl lying on top of me, the best part of it all. I couldn't stop looking at her soft sleeping features. Her beautiful eyes were closed, her red lips parted slightly. Her hair rested just past her shoulders and I couldn't seem to stop running my fingers through it. All of her worries were gone, all of the stress of our harsh reality absent. She always looked beautiful, but especially so in sleep. With my hand playing through her short waves her eyes fluttered open. She looked up at me through tired eyes. "Hey baby," my voice croaked. "Mmm," she smiled, eyes shutting again. She nuzzled into my chest. "Good morning." And that was another thing; I loved waking up with her. Spending the first light of the sun with Rose by my side just made everything feel so right, made this all feel worth it. My love for her was always somehow enhanced in these innocent mornings, they were among my favorite of times spent with her. "Should we get up?" she asked, voice still drowsy. "Maybe," I said. "Or we could just stay in this bed all day." That would really be the ideal choice. "I wish," she said. "What time do we have to be out of the room by?" I thought back to last night when we got this room from that piece of shit at the front counter. "I don't think he told us, probably around noon or something," I said. The both of us looked to the clock hanging on the left wall. "Oh my gosh!" Rose exclaimed with an innocent excitement. "It's eleven?!" "Wow," I chuckled. "I guess it is." "That has to be the latest I've slept in in years," she said. The same went for me, nothing had distracted me from sleeping as long as I wanted last night, which was unusual. With her statement she turned back to her previous position, arms wrapped around me while she rested her head on my chest. We stayed like that for a few moments. Her lips pressed to my skin about a minute later. "We should really get up," she sighed. I groaned in protest. "I'll only get up if you get me my cigarettes," I said. She looked at my eyes in mock annoyance and rolled off of me, landing her feet on the floor. "Ugh, you're always making me get you your damn cigarettes." She grabbed a pillow from the bed and threw it at me. I got hit right in the face, waking up fully now. She giggled, standing there in nothing but my t-shirt. "Sorry," she shrugged, beginning to walk away. Someone was in a good mood today. "Oh no you don't" I said, abruptly sitting up. I moved to the end of the bed and grabbed her hips, pulling her back toward me and throwing her to the mattress. I moved to kneel over her. I pinched her sides and she shrieked, trying to wriggle away. But one of my legs was on the side of hers, the other in between. I had her pinned. I began my merciless attack, tickling all over her stomach. She screamed with laughter, and I couldn't help but laugh with her. "Harry, stop!" She cried. But that only urged me to continue while she tried to break free. My fingers went to her ribs, her neck, everywhere. She wriggled and thrashed while she cracked up, her smile lighting up her features. She kept trying to push me away by my shoulders and almost prevailed, but I grabbed her wrists, pinning them above her head with one hand. The tickling ceased. Rose's delightful laughter slowly quieted while she lied beneath me, her chest rising and falling quickly. She was so sexy. I couldn't resist, I leaned into her parted lips. They were soft and sweet against mine and I savored it. I let my hand rest at the side of her thigh, just underneath the fabric hanging from her torso. The other released her wrists but stayed on the mattress to prop myself up above her. My tongue entered her mouth and glided against her own. She slid her fingers into my hair and pulled me down to her, my body pressed against hers upon the soft sheets. Even kissing her, feeling her in such an innocent way as this, was generously satisfying. A single touch was almost enough, but at the same time I couldn't get enough of her. I would always need more of that satisfaction. I could not imagine us growing old and losing that hungry need. Now, and in our thirties and forties I would always want to explore her skin further, kiss her deeper. But sadly there was not time for that now. Rose was the one to pull away, a small smile playing on her slightly swollen lips. "We should probably get going," she whispered, her blue eyes swimming with affection. I nodded, kissing her one last time. "To be continued," I promised. She laughed and we finally got out of bed, beginning to pack up our things. Rose kept my shirt on so I wore the only other one in my bag, another shortsleeve. Black this time. We dressed and shoved as much as we could to our almost overflowing bags; shampoo, conditioner, a throw blanket. We ate a breakfast consisting of water and bananas then went to the toilet to brush our teeth. Then we exited the room. Part of me worried we wouldn't luckily stumble upon another motel any time soon, but staying in one place for too long was dangerous. So we left. Wearing jackets and with backpacks hanging from our shoulders we walked toward the front desk to check out. That fucking rat from last night better not still be there. And when we went through the doors to the lobby, I didn't find him. Instead there was a rather large, older woman standing back near the wall behind the counter. She seemed very distraught, her expression solemn with the phone call. "Who is that?" Rose whispered from beside me. "Does she look familiar to you?" My eyebrows furrowed in thought, but her image brought up nothing. "No, not to me," I shook my head before approaching the counter. "What did they do?" The employee asked into her phone. She noticed me and held it between her ear and her shoulder, rammaging through a desk drawer. The cord seemed to make it difficult for her but she managed. The only attention she paid me was when she placed a registration card and pen on the counter for me to fill out. I wasn't about to pay much attention to her, either, but something in the conversation caught my attention. "Is he alright?" She spoke into the phone. A person from the other end of the line spoke for a moment before she let out a long sigh. And then she began to cry. This conversation was certainly not just a friendly catch-up. I pretended not to notice, currently thinking up a fake address to write down. But I still listened, and I knew Rose was doing the same from beside me. "How did that happen? No guards were there to stop it?" First I was interested, and now I was hanging on to every one of her quietspoken words. "Why would they do such a thing? James was a good kid, he doesn't deserve that," she said through small sobs. I stopped writing. What the fuck? "He's only my nephew, I can't imagine how you feel, your son. I knew running that institution was a bad idea, I knew it." Institution? I was done filling out the card. I placed my key on the counter and looked to the woman. She then acknowledged me, nodding before taking my paper. My mind was racing. I quickly grabbed Rose by the hand, pulling her out of there as fast as I could. But I didn't dare say a word. Because, from what I heard, it sounded like we had just been in front of James Hellman's aunt. I was the man who killed him, I was the reason for her sobs. I felt like at any moment she would come to realize that. But what was even worse was that she seemed to be on the phone with none other than the woman most intent on tracking us down.

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