Unfamiliar Territory

Reeter's feet pounded over the forest floor like a never-ceasing drumbeat.

Boom, boom, boom, boom.

Her breath was coming in short, sharp gasps as her lithe body carried her along the trail left by the figure, her sharp grey eyes fixed straight ahead of her, waiting until the man came into view.

Boom, boom, boom, boom.

She had been running for what felt like hours, but she didn't feel tired. A stony determination kept her going, and despite the aching pain that was beginning to start in her legs, she kept running.

Boom, boom, boom, boom.

A young faun darted across her path, it's spotty hide glistening in the dappled sunlight. Reeter ignored it, and kept on running, leaping over fallen logs and darting through the trees as nimbly as a hare. Splashing through a small brook, she looked momantarily to the ground to check she was still on the trail before looking ahead again.

Boom, boom, boom, boom.

The man hadn't tried to hide his trail, and his tracks were deep in the soft ground. Omelia's added weight must be weighing him down, for they were deeper than they would normally be.

Reeter just hoped he slowed down enough for her to catch him.

Boom, boom.... thump!

Darting around a small copse, Reeter lost her balance on the leafy floor and landed hard on her knees. A small trickle of blood ran down her calf from a graze, but she didn't notice.

She was too busy staring at what lay in front of her.

Directly ahead, the trees thinned out and the ground became more stony. Beyond that, lay the edge of the forest. Bright sunlight shone onto the open ground beyond, beating down on the scrubby plants and short grass that covered it.

Reeter had never come to the edge of the forest before. Not even when her family had been away for weeks had she dared venture beyond the deep green dales where she had grown up. She was scared, this was unfamiliar territory to her and she had no idea what could be lying in wait out there.

But she had to find Omelia. She'd promised herself she wouldn't stop until she did.

And Reeter never broke promises.

Taking a deep, steadying breath, Reeter started running again, out of the shady protection of the forest, into the wide open emptiness beyond.

The End

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