Every breath ached, the stitch in his side almost unbearable. It was like instead of oxygen he was bringing in breath after breath of nails, scraping his throat and stinging his lungs. But still he ran on, jumping over logs, swatting away branches that seemed to appear right in front of him in the dense, dark foliage.
He'd cross a stream or jump ever widening gaps in the ground, the bottoms not even visible, and think that maybe he'd outrun it. But then he'd take a moment to look back, a glimmer of hope taking hold of him. That's when he'd see the inferno still burning, and it'd be as if the hope flew away, ripping out a chunk of his willpower with it. And still it rushed toward him, actively pursuing him with a mind of its own, leaping the gaps of the canopies and burning even the most saturated of materials.
It was drawn to him. How he didn't know. It was one of the many things he didn't know. Like what he had been doing before the fire had started. The first thing he could remember was running, the fire already behind him. He remembered his first name, Dominick, but not his last. He remembered he had a mother, a father and two younger siblings. But not what any of them looked like, acted like, or even if he had brothers or sisters.
He didn't know how long he'd been running. That one really upset him. An hour? A day? It was as if time didn't exist anymore. But it did, and he knew it. He could feel the fatigue in his limbs, the ever increasing burn in his legs.
And he knew, if something didn't happen, the fire would win.