I’m working on fragments of stories at the moment. This one doesn’t have a real title yet. I’d planned for it to be a longer story, but it kind of feels right to end it where it is, at the moment. It might end up being the start of a different story, but instead focused on another character. I may come back to it later, so we’ll see!
Blood ran down his bare arm, mingling with the drops of rain to form streams along the back of his hand. He suddenly remembered raspberry sauce; the way he would draw patterns with it upon the melting ice cream in his bowl, despite mother’s silent disapproval.
The sound of screeching rubber against asphalt echoed across the forest, usurping the memory of his mother’s implacable face.
Escaping from the past to an equally hostile present did not ease his distress.
The rain fell hard, and so did he.
He flattened his body to the ground, cheek and jaw resting on the earth and rotting leaves. He dared not lift his head; could not turn his gaze towards the voices that may have been laced with concern, or something darker. The dying light melted its way through the trees, seeking him out like their words.
Shunning them both, he pressed his cheek further into the slick and scratching detritus. He closed his eyes and, as the rain continued to flick at his skin and into his ears, he let the scent of decay envelop him.
Eventually, the voices faded, and he wondered if their owners had resumed their hunt elsewhere. He knew that soon there would be others to aid the search, their voices louder, more insistent, accompanied by shrill electrical screams that would fall like a tocsin upon him.
He opened his eyes as the rain faded from a steady deluge into haphazard drips. Hesitating, he pushed his body up, ignoring the muddy stains upon his shirt that simply added to the ones already present.
He crouched and counted to 10 in his head, supplanting the pain in his arm from his mind while he still could. He waited for a sound, a tell-tale noise. Hearing none, he stood, and began to run once more.
At first, his lungs shuddered, his throat choking as he pounded his feet into the earth below. His thoughts drifted for a moment to his mother; but they withdrew almost instantly from that sting to focus on his present circumstances.
Looking down at his feet, he marvelled at how it seemed like he was pushing the earth away from him, bounding across it before gravity imprisoned him again, yet the heaviness of each step lessened as he ran.
He could not place when it started, but soon he felt the distance between each leap lengthen, milliseconds at first then seconds then perhaps minutes. He sensed a growing lightness within his bones, and he stretched out his arms and his legs and his fingers and his toes. Soon, soon, he could not be sure that he was not flying through the trees. Leaves and branches reached out to him, blessing his face as he soared past them.
He felt a glory singing through every muscle and tendon, a chorus of joy that pushed him further and further, away from the road, away from who he had been and who he would have become.
Absentmindedly, he wondered if he was in his right mind; he knew he was not.
And as he inevitably stumbled, sinking into the ground as it gave way and consumed him whole, he knew he did not care.