Don’t look.
Don’t stop.

Deep gasps for breath. Air runs past my face but seems to stay away from my lungs. Burning lungs. Lungs that feel like lead, but I can’t stop now. I can’t look back. I can’t stop.

Feet hitting the ground padding one foot after the other. Bummp, bummp, bummp, bummp, snap, bummp. The sounds around me are louder then they should be, louder then I should allow. He knows. They know. They know right where I am. All that running and hiding and now they know.

“If you would only wait for us, we could explain to you what we want.” They want what I won’t give.
“You have to be rational Vennessa. You are the only one that can help us.” They lie about what I have.
“DAMN IT YOU SELFISH GIRL, FUCKING GIVE UP SO I CAN LIVE.” They don’t care about my life, just theirs.

Don’t look.
Don’t stop.
Ru- fall. Fuck. I fall down the hill. Twisted something. Can’t run. They win. Can’t fight. They win. I am dead. They win.

“Do you think she really understands any of this?” I do.
“No, she can’t, she has been breed just to feed us.” I do.
“Why did we have to chase her down?” …
“Because if she found the free ones she would breed and they would over grow us again.” There are more?
“Shut the fuck up, where did she fall?” I have to find them. I have to hide.
“But we have to kill her now don’t we? She would tell the others how to get out!” They already know. They have always known.

I don’t breath. I don’t move. I hide. I am hidden by the branches. It’s cold and wet. I don’t cry. I don’t move.

They talk. They move. They keep going. I am almost clear. I hear something run. Small, fast. They think it’s me. They run for it.

I try to move. Pain. I don’t call out. It hurts but I can’t say anything. Then I hear it. Whispers.

“She fell. She ran. I must find her.” a deep male voice. I can’t tell if I can trust it.
“She is scared, and hurt, be kind to her.” An older woman. Like the Nan in the pens. Who cares for us and keeps us before time for Dinner. I trust her.

Quiet feet seem to glide to me. “Hush girl, your voice is still loud.” the male is hidden by the shadows. He leans over and picks me up. The Nan looks over me. “She broke it. You have to carry her.”

She lied, it isn’t broken. She looks at me, raising one finger to her lips slightly as the male is looking for the quickest path. Silence, she wants him to think I can’t walk. She nods slightly.

“Have you spoken to her yet?” the male’s quiet voice sounds more like velvet now that I am being held across his chest, and the deep rumble of it can be better felt on my arm.

“I have. She understands and won’t speak again. She has agreed to come with us.” I didn’t speak with her. I didn’t agree to anything, but after realizing that I have no other choice but to rot in the hole I was in. I nod my head, I will go with them.

We set out swiftly and so quiet I can’t believe that he can move like that, or the Nan. They make almost no sound. They seem to know where to step and how to avoid the noise. I am glad he is forging a path for me now. He even seems to take care to avoid anything hitting my feet. I watch the trees rush by as my mind drifts downward to darkness, into a sleep unlike I have ever had in my life, free from screams, free from crying. Just the sound of the air rushing by and the gentle heartbeat of the male holding me.


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