Thea's feet landed heavily as she pounded through the forest. A runner, she was not, but since she was running for her life, she'd make an exception. Even though she didn't know what was chasing her. All she knew was what it wanted. Her. And it's intentions weren't friendly. The forest surrounded her in darkness and silence. She could see only two or three feet in front of her and hear only the crash of her own progress. Trees tore at her hair, her clothes. Branches stabbed at her mercilessly, scratching, bruising, whipping. In the darkenss and her desire to stay alive, she didn't notice the fallen tree in front of her.

She went down, sprawling flat on the forest floor. Her head crashed into a stone, forming a gash over her right eyebrow. Blood flowed freely into her eyes, half blindling her. No time to try to clear it, she'd do it later. If later came. She scrambled up, fearing it was upon her, her ankle screamed as she hobbled away. And almost immediately fell again, as a low hanging branch smacked her on the back of the head whilst she was looking behind her, trying desperately to locate it.

The truth was that it was everywhere. Not just behind her, but in front and to her left and right. It was above and below her. In the air, the ground. It was the trees surrounding her, hampering her escape attempt and the petrified animals that raced away from her, lest they be trampled in her haste.

Thea heaved herself up off the ground again and staggered onward, trying to regain her balance in the spinning forest. Her lungs burned with every breath and her heart was pounding, forced into overdrive by exertion and terror. Her legs ached and pain shot up the right one every time it hit the ground, but she had to go on. She couldn't stop. If she did, she wouldn't make it out of the forest. She couldn't die. She couldn't.

It was this that drove her on through the forest, dodging between trees, her heart threatening to burst from the stress. She saw the edge of the trees and the lights of the house beyond. Thea struggled to speed up and her heart was literally in the throat as hope welled. She couldn't die now, not this close to safety. The forest came to an abrupt halt in just a few feet. She could make it....

It appeared from behind the last tree and she skidded to a halt. It must run like the wind, she thought dimly. No, it was the wind. part of that and everything else. Briefly, she considered running back the way she came, but she'd never make it, just like she had no chance of getting past it.

It looked at her and she could see the smile forming on it's twisted face. A pink tongue darted out and licked it's lips as she met it's eyes, the only light in the darkness. It knew it had won. That she was done.

Thea collapsed to her knees before it, ready to accept her fate and the pain she knew it would bring.

The End

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