Light shimmered above her.  The moon hung bright in the sky, but its light did not caress her.  Shadows had crept and stole over her form until she lay complete in the darkness.  She contemplated staying as she was, but disquiet moved her from the depths.

She reached up with one hand, then the other, lifting herself towards the light.  She pushed herself out of the darkness and took a deep breath as her head broke the surface of the water.  Her gaze took in the shoreline, heavy with trees and bushes that guarded the lake.  The wooded preserve stood several miles thick in all directions, sheltering the lake from prying eyes.

This used to be her favorite place to steal away.  Few knew of its existence, and she had shared it with only those closest to her.  Her serenity, she had called it.   It was not the same place she used to know.

Water flowed from her shoulders as she moved unhurried towards the bank.  Dark lanks of hair twisted like seaweed down the small of her back and fell forward over her brow as she left the water behind.  The moonlight caught her eyes and they shone brightly, but their color had faded with time.  No longer were they the brilliant blue she had been born with, but were now pale, silvery reflections of what once was.

Her naked figure was stunning as she stood there for no one to see.  Her curves were lush and full, rounded everywhere a woman should be.  It was a figure that men adored and women hated, for no more reason than of the jealous nature that they were.  Unconsciously, her hand came up to press lightly on her ribs where her porcelain skin was darkly marred.  To where things were broken and twisted far deeper than what showed on the surface.

Her gaze landed on an owl that rested on a low bough not far from where she stood.  They shared a moment, staring at one another, accepting each other’s presence.  Until the owl caught sight of prey that it had been waiting for and swooped low to catch the rodent scurrying past.  The owl returned to the branch and began to devour its prize.

Her journey this night would be long, and she took a step forward before she hesitated.  She glanced over her shoulder one final time at the lake behind her.  Its surface was calm and though its depths were murky, she could see what lay beneath.

Beyond the rich green algae that thrived and grew, beyond the fish that darted and swam through the thick, willowy tendrils, she could see.  Surrounded by shadows and buried in the darkness, the form was barely visible.  Rounded curves rested peacefully, and long dark hair floated around a face that stared unseeingly above.

She shuddered and turned once more in the direction she sought.  Tonight she would find and destroy that which had cast her there so carelessly.  He had thought her weak, but she would show him how wrong he was.  Tonight he would see her true strength.

Her eyes flashed even as a smile curved her lips.  Her footsteps left no trace as she moved forward into the woods.  Tonight she would make him pay the cost of disturbing her serenity.

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