Michael barely remembered raising himself to his feet, but suddenly realized that the flight response had definitely won. Leaves and branches were slapping against his entire body, lacerating his exposed flesh as he raced through the trees.
After a good hundred meters of bashing through the bush, he slid to a stop and focused every single braincell that wasn't busy concentrating on metabolizing oxygen and listened.
Behind him by perhaps forty feet, the loud rustling of John and the woman was easily audible. He turned in the exact opposite direction and continued as quickly as his nicotine blackened lungs could support him. He traveled down a hill and into a ravine that soon opened to a brook. On the rocks his speed increased but he put himself at risk of being shot as he became exposed. He assumed the distance it would take him to travel before they too entered the ravine and then cut back into the wood line.
Again he slid to a stop and listened. He heard the slapping of feet on water and the rocks. Again he thrust himself forward as quickly as his burning legs could carry him and trudged through the thick forest. In a moment of disorientation, he stumbled into an open field; golden tall grass stretching up a hilltop to meet the blue sky at the horizon. The rusting in the woods boiled at the back of his racing mind as he attempted to find a solution.
Though not yet visible, they were right behind him; close enough for Michael to smell the musk of John's perspiration in the humid breeze.
The time to act was now, and yet Michaels feet seemed anchored to the spot by indecision. Was he to risk the exposure of the grassy hill? Or double back and bring himself exceedingly closer to his pursuers, and possibly his death.