My anxiety was slowly disappearing after nothing immediate happened. Bobby did a fantastic job of keeping me busy doing random chores around the property. I enjoyed the work, even more so when it required my full attention and took my mind off of darker thoughts. I suppose that was one good thing about South Dakota. No therapist.
Secretly I was counting down the days to the weekend, which thankfully, there was only two more left if I didn't count today. Sam had informed me that they were in fact heading up to South Dakota Friday night, and hopefully if all went well, I would be able to go back with them Sunday evening. Of course, I suppose with my luck, that was a pretty big 'if'.
I had made a sort of habit of taking a run each early afternoon, before lunch and after whatever chore Bobby had me doing in the morning. I had found that the exercise helped clear my head a little and wondered why I hadn't figured it out before. That was where I was now. Running. I wore sweats and an old hoodie Bobby had given me, the pockets zipped so I didn't have to worry about my phone falling out as I ran. I admit, the old man had grown on me. He had a dry sense of humor and always seemed to know when to back off or lighten the mood.
I slowed to a stop at the corner and tried to catch my breath. That's when I saw it. It was only a glance out of the corner of my eye. I turned not thinking much of it, but wanting to satisfy my growing curiosity. Across the usually deserted street sat an idle car. My hand fumbled to undo the zipper as I started walking backwards. I knew that figure in the driver's seat, even from that distance. The car roared to life and I ran, pulling my phone out and hitting Bobby's number.
The car was catching up. The only direction I could go was forward unless I wanted to risk running across the street. Finally the old drunk picked up.
"Bobby!" I gasped, throwing a glance over my shoulder. My foot caught on something and I stumbled, before catching my balance, barely keeping my hold on my phone as I sprinted madly to the salvage yard, hoping against hope I would make it there before the car caught up with me, or more important before the person driving the car caught up with me.
"It's him!" I nearly shouted. I stopped suddenly and spun, now knowing that the idea of making it to the salvage yard was futile. I started running back in the opposite direction, hoping to buy myself a few precious seconds as the car had to turn around, instead I heard a car door opening and someone stepping out.
"Him!" I ran off the sidewalk and into the brush not having enough breath to explain entirely, internally willing for the old man to understand.
I had never actually entered the small patch of woods until now. Sure I had run past it a number of times but never inside it. I wasn't expecting how close the trees were to each other. Or how difficult it would be to navigate my way through the underbrush. I gasped as my treacherous foot snagged on a root and I sprawled to the ground, my phone flying from my grasp.
"No, no, no, no," I mumbled, scrambling to my feet and holding the broken device. I heard the sounds of someone following me and I acted on pure animal instinct.
Forgetting about my phone I bolted. Tree branches scratched at my face as I careened through the forest. Not that I noticed the scratches. My mind was entirely focused on one thing. Survival. I broke free of the trees and came across more asphalt. I pushed myself, harder than I ever had before. I raced on the road, and my hopes rose slightly at the sight of a bridge. I sprinted, my feet slapping the asphalt which turned to wood as I ran across the bridge. I made the mistake of glancing back over my shoulder. I whimpered. He was close, too close. Getting closer as the anxiety and fear that had been fueling me was slowly ebbing away. Well, the fear wasn't, but the motivation that fear offers only goes so far. The man charged and I knew what was coming and was powerless to stop the inevitable, my legs simply wouldn't carry me any faster. I felt his head collide with my lower back and fell, face first to the ground. I gasped at the impact and flipped, my arms wobbled as I tried to push him off of me. My efforts only made him laugh.
"Please," I wheezed. Still trying to escape, not listening to the little voice saying that it was impossible. I looked up at him and briefly my thoughts drifted towards wondering about how quickly my life had changed in the past five minutes.
"Hello Lily," he sneered, I could see his fist balling and flinched, "Miss me?"
Pain exploded in my skull as his fist made contact. Then the darkness consumed me.