We stepped outside, and I immediately put my hand up to shield my eyes from the glare of the sun. "It's hotter today..."
"Really? I hadn't noticed." He said sarcastically, and I turned to glare at him.
"Don't need to be such a dick about it. I was just saying." My temper flared threateningly, and I suddenly wanted to hit him. Really hard. He muttered a 'sorry', and I suddenly realised what I'd been thinking.
I walked over to Alex, wrapping my arms around him. "No, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped at you like that." Maybe I should have tried to sleep. Surely even the worst kind of nightmares are better than being horrible to Alex?
"No, it's fine." He hugged me back tightly. "I shouldn't have been sarcastic."
Damn right you shouldn't have been sarcastic. We're under enough strain as it is; you don't have to go make it worse.
I shook my head suddenly, feeling my eyes widening in surprise at my own thoughts. Jesus Christ, what's wrong with me? I half-smiled up at him, trying to keep my mood in check. "C'mon, we should go before the big nasty hunter peoples with their scary guns find us."
"Yeah... sounds like a plan." I mentally slapped myself for calling the people who used to be his friends 'big nasty hunters'. Stupid.
Climbing up onto his back again, I told him, "Don't wear yourself out this time, please."
"Okay." Alex said as he sped away. I didn't believe him, though. He's determined to get away from these people no matter what.
We ran for a while, though I couldn't say how long. I didn't sleep, but fell into a sort of daze. The shadows were starting to get longer when I shifted uncomfortably on Alex's back, tugging at the front of my sweatshirt as I came back in full awareness of the real world.
"I'm too hot... Are you okay?"
"Are you sure? Because I really want to take my hoodie off." Hint hint, nudge nudge. I pushed my sleeves up to my elbows, but it didn't help much.
When he replied, I could hear the breathlessness in his voice. "Do you want me to stop?"
I told him that I did, so he swerved onto the side of the road, letting me slip down off his back. I yanked the hoodie off, appreciating the feel of the light breeze against the bare skin of my arms. Alex stood a little way off, in the shadows, trying to hide the fact that he was gasping for breath, and I looked at him in disbelief.
"I can't believe you're not boiling if I am."
"I'm fine." He insisted, and I knew I didn't look convinced. "Honest."
I groaned. "I want to be able to suggest something that'll make it all better, and easier for you, but I can't! I don't want you to have to run in the sun and get all worn out, when I'm not even doing anything."
But I was at a loss for anything to do. I could think of two possibilities: Run, or hide. Running puts him in pain, and hiding would almost definitely get us caught. So... we have to run. Sucks.
"It doesnt matter. Being alive... Well, kinda alive, is fine with me." Surviving, but not living, right? Hanging onto the edges of existence, just being. That's not the kind of life I want him to have to live...
I sat down on the ground, pulling absently at the dried, yellowing grass there. I wanted to give him time to catch his breath, even if it was only a couple of minutes. "Don't you have any way of knowing how close they are?"
Alex shrugged, starting to regain is composure and breathing normally. "They're too close when they're shooting at me. Other than that... not really."
I winced, trying to get rid of the sudden mental
of him being shot in the back, bullets ripping through his hoodie as his body jerked with the force of the metal slugs
(oh Alex please God please please no)
pummelling into him.
I stood, shaking my head as if that would help get rid of the thought. "Come on, then. I don't particularly want to get shot at today."
"Sure about that one?" He laughed, but I kept my expression stony. "C'mon." He muttered, helping me onto his back and setting off again.
It wasn't long after when I heard Alex curse loudly, before suddenly swerving off the road and into a patch of shade.
"What? What is it? Why did you stop?" I asked him, frantically. He let me down off his back, before turning and putting a finger over my lips.
I felt my eyes widen as cold, hard terror grabbed a hold of my heart, squeezing it until I could barely breathe. My legs turned to jelly, but I couldn't move enough to even collapse.
Alex turned, standing in front of me protectively. I reached out to grab the back of his hoodie, taking a fistful of it in my hand. I'll let go when he has to move, I swear... I just need the contact.
A large car sped down the road, coming to a sudden stop on the hard shoulder several metres away from us. I gripped tighter. A tall, heavy set man - Mickey? - jumped out of the driver's side, and started running towards us. The pulse in my ears drowned out his shouts, my knuckles turning white as I held onto Alex even tighter.
We're going to die.