The fall was substantial. He knew it. But the alternative was worse.
He kept his feet down as he soared through the air. It wasn't a dive to his death. Not a cowardly way out. He extended his arms, eyes facing down towards the fast approaching floor. He braced for a rough landing.
Twenty feet down, or near enough, and perhaps ten feet across from the roof he had jumped from. Another rough, gravely surface. His bare feet were the first to touch down, and he immediately tucked in to a roll. But it was a long way down. Too long.
He stumbled. Flat on his face. With a grunt of pain he pushed against the floor, but it seemed to pull him back down. He was beaten and broken. Getting up seemed impossible.
But then a voice behind him reached his ears.
"There he is!" it echoed. It was close. Then there was another.
"Is he dead?" it asked.
It made the runner smile. He wondered the same thing. He lay face down on rough stones and dirt, open wounds covering his back. He barely moved. But he could feel his heart pounding against the floor. The blood pulsing through his arms and legs. The adrenaline.
He suddenly placed a strong hand flat on the floor, then another, and pushed to his feet. As soon as his legs were under him he broke in to a sprint across another rooftop.
"It'll take a lot more than that to kill..." The first voice faded as the runner put distance between himself and the men behind him.