Don’t run. Never run.
It was something that was drilled into our heads since we entered into this world. As babies it was the one phrase that was spoken to us over and over and over again, even though we didn’t understand language, hell we couldn’t even see anything beyond blurry blobs let alone grasp the phrase that humans lived by.
We did, however, fully come to understand, know, follow, and live by the words.
It was life or death.
I thought, I truly thought, that I had this down, but my current situation was proving the opposite.
I had never been confronted with a situation like this, never, and I believed that those two words would’ve been engrained enough into my being that it would’ve held me in place, but considering that I am presently running for my life established that no matter how many times words are repeated, we only have a certain control over ourselves under pressure.
I didn’t want to run. No. I had wanted to remain still. Punishment would’ve been far less than it will be for running. Because, as much to my dismay, I would be caught. I would be punished. I would die.
Sure, punishment for remaining would’ve been far fro, luxurious, but I would’ve stayed alive. I would be missing a limb or have lengthy scars down my body, still-I would’ve been able to go home to my family.
Now I would die.
Because a human could not outrun a werewolf.
And werewolves ruled the world.
They decided our fate and it just so happens that for the last eight years the punishment for evasiveness was death.
It has been ten years since the werewolves took over and fifteen years since they made their presence known. Originally, they came out of hiding under the pretense of wanting harmony and to work together. Soon, however, things turned and not for the better.
Wolves wanted more power. Humans wanted the extinction of their kind. Humans felt threatened and had every right to feel so. We didn’t have the upper hand. We were the inferior in many ways and they saw that. They used it against us.
It was now their world and we were just living in it. Correction: surviving in it.
With each passing year, the wolves got crueler than the last thinking up even more horrendous ways to punish us humans.
It wasn’t fair.
It wasn’t right.
But this is life.
And my life was on the fritz. My hourglass was flipped and had only a few grains of sand left. My heart lurched every time a grain fell its way down, plummeting into the mountain of others.
Why didn’t I stay?
It was only bread, maybe my punishment wouldn’t have been so bad. What on earth made me run?
Those words filled my mind as I continued running. My legs begging, screaming for me to stop, to rest, but my body kept on and I knew that as soon as I stopped that would be done for. My heart was torn between giving in and spending my last minutes at rest or continue on for just a few more minutes.
Although, it didn’t really matter what I wanted because soon enough I began to feel the heavy breath of more than one wolf on my neck. The hideous snarls and threatening growls floated into my ears as if I decided to listen to the worst music made. No, music was beautiful and I shouldn’t compare it to something as treacherous as the guttural noises coming from the wretched beasts that were currently chasing me. The monsters that would bring my death.
The ground beneath my feet began to rip away and I was flying through the air with only the hard soil below to break my fall. At least I wasn’t in the city anymore, just on the outskirts. Running through town was difficult, to say the least; I had to maneuver around people, carts, bodegas, animals, everything that contributed to the less than lively bustle that occurred every day. Just outside the town was a large open field with no inhabitants, no life, nothing. I never understood why no one moved or used the field. Oh wait, none of us had any funds to do something with it. Except, of course, them.
A grunt forced its way out of my throat as I landed with heaviness on the ground, small pebbles embedding into my skin as I rolled forward, skin peeling away from my body as I skidded to a stop.
I didn’t even have time to cough away the dirt that filled my lungs as I was lying face down on the soil before something sharp dug its way deep into my right calf. My face scraped against the hard dirt as I was pulled back towards the barbarian that was trying to detach my entire calf.
It hurt. A lot.
Screams racked my body, even though muffled by the dirt in my lungs, it was still audible from a fairly far distance. I clawed at the ground, digging my fingernails into the landscape as a feeble attempt to escape the horror that my life had become.
I was flipped over and was face to face to the creature that sliced off what felt like half my leg. Its teeth were barred, saliva dripping down from its jowls, its hot breath filling my nostrils, and its menacing eyes bore deep into my own. I tried pushing at the heavy wolf, but only to be restrained by the other wolves that finally arrived. They snapped their jaws around my arms and pulled down, which earned them another ear-piercing scream from my lips.
If I wasn’t in so much pain I would’ve laughed at the thought of my screams hurting their sensitive hearing.
I could feel hot tears cascade down my cheeks, most likely creating clear trails through the dirt that now occupied my face.
“It was only bread,” I screamed, trying to steady my erratic heart, but knowing my death was imminent made it troublesome.
“But you ran,” a low voice whispered in my ear. The wolf that pinned me down had now shifted and was straddling my body with his naked one. “And now you must suffer the consequences, which will be dealt with by King Xaler,” he smirked evilly before tying a rope to my ankles. The rough texture already wearing away at my skin.
My eyes widened as he continued to tie the other end of the rope around the body of a large werewolf before giving a quick smack to its behind and it took off dragging me back to the town.
I was going to die, that much was certain, but the torture beforehand wasn’t necessary. Various sharp foliage dug into my back; sticks cut open my skin on my back and arms, pebbles once again meshed into my body, and my head ricocheted off of the hard ground as the wolf ran as lightning speed towards the city.
Why did I run?