Retching in pain, he stumbled away from her reaching hand, deeper into the forest in front of him, trying desperately to escape the sound of pattering feet behind him. Catching his foot on an old thick tree root, he collapsed to the floor, feeling the cold, harsh earth beneath his shaking hands.
"Please..." He called out, between ever more rasping breaths. "Keep away from me. I beg of you. I... don`t want to hurt you." Wincing in pain, he gradually rolled onto his back and looked desperately into the mist from whence he had just ran, hoping that the tiny, pattering sound that followed him like an echo would finally stop.
Just when he thought that she would come bounding through the mist with all the optimism of a usual young child, the pattering stopped and her voice came through the mist. It`s joy and happiness replaced with an undercurrent of questioning.
"But I want to help you feel better though?" She said, her innocent nature giving away her uncertainty of why he did not want her to see him properly.
"I... know you do." he gasped, trying as best he could to hide the pain in his voice. "But people who help me get hurt. And I really don`t want to hurt you".
"But you won`t hurt me though." She said, giving away the sound of a small smile. "Me and you are friends now."
However, instead of replying to her and saying that they were both indeed friends but that she should return home, all that left his lips was an ear piercing scream that cut through both the mist and the un-naturally silent forest like an arrow through the air. It signified the one thing that he had been scared of, the one thing he did not want to happen.
It signified The Change.