I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins as I ran. I could hear my rapid panting, the speeding of my heart, the slap of my bare feet against the uneven ground. A few thin slivers of moonlight flickered through the thick, velvet darkness, like fingers caressing my exhausted limbs.
But I knew what they could see. Everything. And hear everything. And they knew everything. They knew, like I did, that they would win. They would succeed, and I would become like everyone else. Like my family. Like him.
I faltered as I remembered the sweet sound of my mother’s laughter, the musty smell of my father’s aftershave, the feel of my sister’s fingers entwined with my own. But I couldn’t bear to remember him. Not now.
And then I could hear them. They shivered closer, the smell of rotting flesh filling the cold air. I closed my eyes as a tear rolled down my cheek. I prepared for my fate. One that was worse than death.