run.

feet pound on pavement.
his eyes, wide with fear; haunted.

do not look back!

his breath comes in gasps as he rounds yet another corner; as fast as he dares.
he can still hear him. him… The One Who Lurks Behind.
his trembling legs scream for a break, for rest, for relief.

not far now… run! RUN!

the freezing night air makes it hard to breathe; he sucks in breath after breath, feeling the icy knives dig deep into his straining lungs. sweat stings in his eyes, makes it hard to stay focused on the soft, warm lights in the distance.
terror.
sheer terror resides.
terror keeps his body functioning, keeps him moving; ignoring the exhaustion gnawing at his bones, his mind, his heart. the will to survive is all-consuming. stupendous.

please, don’t let me falter… please…

a loud crack echoes through the night; the source not far behind, bouncing off the narrow alley’s grimy brick walls. he stumbles, blinking.
his legs no longer able to bear his weight, give out from underneath him. he sags to his knees, gasping.

what happened? i don’t unde……

there.
a dark red spot appears on the front of his shirt. small, wet… slowly extending.

no…

heavy footsteps behind him.
a low, smooth chuckle.

and then… blackness.

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