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Accidental Obsession Excerpt

“You can run, you can hide, but I’ll find you, Isa.” I slam my hands over my mouth to hide my whimper. I know he’ll find me; he always does.

I keep running, though.

Always running.

“I’m getting angry, Isa.” I hear it in his tone. Anger means violence with Curtis Lindsay, always. A violence I can no longer handle.

As I gaze at my nearly nude body, I know I have to stay silent for as long as possible. I have to keep hiding. Continue to move. If Curtis catches me, he’ll kill me for sure this time.

“Isabella.” He sings my name. To the naked ear, it would sound loving. To me, it’s full of menace. “I’ll wait outside for you, dear. If you aren’t out here in five minutes, I’m burning this barn to the ground.” I shake violently in the loose bale of hay I’ve been hiding in for nearly an hour.

He’ll do it; I know he will.

Nothing scares Curtis. He’s an unstoppable force that I can no longer fight off. I’m tired of the daily beatings. The threats of rape. I know that just as soon as I’m healed, he’ll try to sell me at the brothel like he did all the girl before me.

The girl who died in my arms.

My sister.

My best friend.

I’m next in his sick game of God, and I can’t be.

His steps retreat out the barn doors, and I can hear the horses beneath me as they pace, sensing the sinister force that just left here is up to no good.

Once Curtis sets blaze to his barn, Cross Malcolm is going to hate me even more than he does now. They’re at an auction, presently, so when I chose to hide here, in the hopes that Curtis wouldn’t bother looking for me, I foolishly thought the horses would have gone with them.

The Malcolm name in this county, hell, the country, is known for the best-bred bulls. His studs sell higher than any other rancher. Now, I’m about to ruin him.

“Last chance!” Curtis yells from outside. I wince at the smell of gasoline. An inferno is set to ignite, so I must act quickly to free the horses.

Climbing down the ladder quietly, I try not to make any noise as I hustle to the first stall and open it, moving on to the next, and the next, until I’m at the last one. Flames lick the barn entrance from the exterior, quickly spreading inside because of the dry hay, and I can only hope that the animals will run out the opposite side as I slowly open the door.

“You’ll die in there, Isa.” I don’t care. Not anymore.

The horses run.

Smoke fills my lungs.

Fire crackles around me.

Curtis’ laughter as the structure comes apart around me is deafening as I search the fields behind the burning building. Trees are a good hundred feet from me, and I’m not certain I’ll make it, but I’m going to try. As the last horse races past me and out to freedom, I run with it.

Black dots fill my vision, and I know it won’t be long before I pass out from lack of oxygen, fear, and overexertion. I hear the shouts from behind me, and I realize that Curtis has brought his enforcer, Sully. The large man enjoys hurting me almost as much as Curtis does.

“Faster, Isa, you have to run faster.” My older sister’s words ring in my ears from the last time we tried to escape together. The day she died from a beating so brutal, she couldn’t function anymore. I dash into the tree line as I hear Curtis call for me again.

I don’t stop when I feel rocks and sticks digging into my feet.

I don’t stop when I fall into the creek and get covered in water.

Nor when my legs feel like they’re going to fall off.

I do stop from sheer exhaustion and my body’s inability to maneuver any longer.

Dropping to the ground, I say a silent prayer of guidance and hope that come the light of day, someone other than Curtis or Sully finds my dead body.


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