by sof sears, natalie waite, & shirley jackson

At the end of the novel I (Natalie) say: 

            “I was alone, and grown-up, and powerful, and not at all afraid.” 

This is one way to end a story.
This is how I ended it. How Shirley ended it.

But you know you craved a different ending.

You know the soft landing disappointed you.
You were expecting me to disappear.
You hungered for it, turning pages like lighting matches, urging me towards an appropriate finale, a feminine ending, as they say—

An irresistible sadism.

The girl exiting the woods unscathed is so much less interesting than a girl not exiting at all.