I buried it.
I knew I couldn't keep it with me. I knew they would eventually come looking for it and would find I had it. That wouldn't look good. So I buried it.
I took it out into the middle of the trees. The sunlight glimpsed through the leaves as I dug the hole. Probably deeper than it needed to be, but I had to be sure. No one was going to find it. No one would find out what I had done. No one would ever know.
I dropped it into the hole and covered it up with dirt. I felt as though I was covering up the biggest secret of my entire life. After it was out of my own view, I started telling myself it wasn't there. That none of what happened had been true. I leveled the dirt and threw pine needles and leaves over the top. It looked as though no one had been here.
As I sat there looking at that spot I started to believe it for myself. The last time I saw the necklace, she was wearing it on her 45th birthday. I hadn't seen it since. And I hadn't seen her since either. It wasn't there beneath the ground. Neither was she. When I felt like my mind had successfully accepted this as fact, I turned to leave and saw them.
My heart stopped.
They had seen me bring it here! It was as if they were waiting for the chance to fly away and tell on me. Tell about my guilt. What horrors I had seen...had done.
"No. I didn't." I told them, voice shaking.
They just watched me. Their dark feathers seemed to be shadows of what was to come. They didn't make a sound. They didn't even blink. They just watched me.
"It isn't there! I didn't do it!" I screamed at them.
They watched me quietly. Knowing of my lies. Knowing of my guilt.
My chest pounded and pulsed into my ears.
"No!" I screamed at them.
I started to run. I didn't know where. I just ran. I had to escape. They were going to tell! Their beady eyes were mocking me.
My ears pulsed and my head spun. The trees around me grew darker. I tripped and felt the branches of a thorny bush rip through the skin on my cheeks as I fell. I couldn't breath. I couldn't move. I didn't want to move.
It was black. Like their feathers. Like their daunting beady eyes. Waiting and watching me. Drawing out my guilt. The guilt I tried to deny. The guilt I was now willing to feel. It enveloped me.
I would go no further.