I first met her in the forest. My leg was bleeding profusely, because the diamond had finally made its way to the surface and broken the skin. So, she offered to help me, and she wrapped my right arm over her shoulders and helped me limp away from there.

When she got me home, she settled me down on a cot in one corner and told me that I was very lucky. And I felt lucky at that point, no doubt. And I kept feeling lucky for a couple of days. But she was preparing herself for something, which I didn’t actually know at the time.

She was preparing to cut into me so she could take that diamond. That’s what she did on the Thursday. She gave me a shot that knocked me out, and then she tied me down to the table. When I woke up, I couldn’t move, and she was looking through some hunting knives to see if they were going to be sharp enough.

One of them was, and she started cutting into my leg around the diamond. I screamed, of course, but it made no difference. What did make a difference was the sound of scraping on her roof. There was the sound of scratching and then a loud thump on the ground in front of her cabin. She swore, and then dropped the knife and went and grabbed her rifle from the corner. Then she left the cabin and I heard gunshots.

While she was outside, I heaved at my ropes, and found that one of them was coming loose. I kept pulling on it, and within a few minutes, the knot had completely come apart. When it did, I used my free hand to untie the rest of the knots around my limbs. Then I climbed down from the table and across to the window opposite the door.

I pulled the glass open and climbed out. Luckily, she was still out front somewhere… I heard another shot go off. In any case, she wasn’t back where she could see me. I crawled into the forest. On my way out of the house, I’d grabbed some more rolls of bandages, so when I was in the trees, I stopped and wrapped my leg up. I was bleeding profusely, and I had to stop it, not least so I could get away. If she was any kind of tracker at all, she’d be able to follow the trail of blood to me.

I wrapped up my leg with more bandages and hoped that would be enough to keep it from giving me away for a while. I forced myself to stand up. I knew that if I kept crawling, I’d leave a wide and obvious trail behind me. So, I limped forward for what seemed like ages, but was probably about an hour. I wondered if I’d actually given her the slip, or if she’d decided that chasing me through the woods just wasn’t going to be worth it.

Either way, I felt able to take a break and look at my leg. I sat down on a fallen tree and pulled the bandages off. The diamond was close to popping right out, and the cuts she’d made had accelerated it even more. Of course, they’d also led to even more excruciating wounds on my leg, so even though I was feeling good about the rock finally being gone, I was also in a great deal of pain because of her.

As I sat, I heard a snap from behind me, and turned around just in time to get the barrel of a gun in my face. She had found me, and all I could do was try and talk my way out of it.

“You could just wait. You could just rob me instead of trying to dig the thing out of my leg.”

“That’s interesting,” she said, letting the gun down so it was pointed at my feet instead of my face. “I really don’t feel like trying to drag you all the way back to the cabin. Never mind the impromptu surgery”

“That’s completely fair. Though we’d still have to go back to the cabin. I know it’ll pop out soon, but unless you want to wait out here with me, you probably want to take me back to the cabin to wait.”

So that’s what she did. Again, she wrapped my arm around her shoulders and almost carried me back. home. I was still able to limp along, and I didn’t have to worry about leaving a trail this time, but I had also gone much slower for my escape.

On the way back, we were trying to go at a decent clip, but I kept slowing her down. Eventually, we made it though. I really hadn’t actually gotten very far from her cabin.

But when we got back to her house, we pulled off my bandages and the diamond was gone. It must have fallen out while we were struggling through the forest. I was in so much pain generally, that I hadn’t even noticed it come out. She swore, and then told me that she was going to go back out to find it. I told her that seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and since we hadn’t been trying to be careful, there was probably a good blood trail for her to follow.

Once she was gone, I changed the dressing on my leg again, and then wrapped some bed linens around it to make sure I was keeping all the blood in. Then I escaped again… though I doubted if she was even going to care. I didn’t have the diamond, and that was what she was really after. I was just clearing up a problem by leaving. If she’d just planned on killing me after, it would cause a problem, but I really didn’t think that was her plan. So, I didn’t think she would care enough to come after me.

I was right. I wasn’t sure how long it had been since I left, exactly, but I’d had no signs of her following me. And I was going slowly. And then I stopped altogether, so I could rest for a while. Because I’d bound my leg up well, I hadn’t left an obvious trail of blood for her to follow if she even bothered to try coming after me.

As I sat, I finally had time to be angry. All during the ordeal, I’d been maintaining a level-headed demeanour since rage wouldn’t have been helpful at all. But once I was resting in the forest and felt safe, I could let myself feel mad. It was my diamond, after all. I was entitled to it.

But then I calmed down and decided that I’d come out of the whole thing pretty well. It took a little work to convince myself, but I wasn’t any poorer than I’d been before. My leg was cut up a little, but at least I didn’t have the diamond in there anymore. And I was out in the woods the same way I had been when this all started. Even though it had been an ordeal, I had to admit that it was no harm done. Maybe harm had been intended, but it didn’t seem like it had worked. So, I just let myself feel relieved.