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Don't Look Back

By Melanie Wooldridge

Action / Drama

Chapter 1

Run! It flashed though his mind like a shouted command... and Neal was running, ignoring the throbbing pain in his ribs, the trees that slashed at his face, and the thorns that tore at his legs... he had to keep moving. DON"T LOOK BACK!

Brown eyes flashed though his mind... his friend's gaze pleading for him to think of something...DO SOMETHING! Anything. But there was nothing he could do... just run. His feet splashed through the cold shallow stream, scrambling through the mud on the other side... “Don't look back" he commanded again... “You’re dead if you look back"

“They’re dead" he told himself fiercely “GONE! Don’t look back! There is nothing you can do. They were dead as soon as... If you look back they will catch you! And stop crying!" but he was as powerless to stop the tears that ran down his face as he was to stop the cold mist of nearly freezing rain...

He winched as a bullet struck a tree inches from his face... the tiny splinters of wood that exploded from it stinging his cheek... his hands...reflexively he closed his eyes... brown pleading eyes filled his vision... blue eyes snapped open with a frantic shake of his head... "KEEP RUNNING!"

His right arm was numb, his legs too, if he was honest... his lungs burned as if a bonfire raged in his chest... Cold... he couldn't control the shivering... How long could he keep up this insane game of cat and mouse? Sooner or later his legs would give out, besides... even he couldn't out run a bullet...

Guilt tore at him ... blood that was not his own splashing across his face as his best friend slumped to the ground... Fear screamed at him “you are going to die tonight!" Over it all the part of his mind that was usually so calm and logical kept insistently repeating “RUN!" and he ran... until the forest ended abruptly and the ground under his feet vanished...

He was falling... tumbling head over heels... it felt like forever... then he lay on the ground...he couldn't breathe... couldn't move. Cold and pain became is world...tendrils of fog drifted through the cold rain...maybe dying wouldn't be so bad… "YOU HAVE TO GET UP! YOU HAVE TO KEEP RUNNING!” The voice in his head yelled franticly

Slowly... willing his battered body to move he pressed his hands into the mud and grass of the hill. Trying to force air back into his flaming lungs he pulled himself to his feet. By sheer force of will his feet moved again... one step ... two... “DON"T LOOK BACK!" he glanced over his shoulder just once...

The horn startled him... pulling his eyes off his moving feet Neal found himself blinded by the headlights of the semi...coming straight for him! He futilely threw his hands up protectively and the truck's brakes shrieked...

Neal jerked awake...the cry of terror still on his lips, eye darting desperately around the dark space... pleading eyes, cold rain, blood and shrieking tires lingered in his mind... Gasping struggling to breathe...where was he? Slowly the fear receded enough for him to recognize the dark shapes of his room. His little apartment overlooking the Seine... he dropped back to his pillow trying to reign his breathing back in...To slow his pounding heart, cold sweat drying on his face

“It’s ok... “He told himself “it’s just a dream... just a bad dream" Except it wasn't a dream... he winced to admit it even to himself... it was a memory... his fingers found the small scar on his right tricep... a memory he desperately tried to forget...

With a sigh he crept out of bed... he wouldn't be sleeping anymore tonight... without thinking he picked up his phone and dialed...as he heard the first soft ring he realized he couldn't ... he couldn't call that number, couldn’t hear that fatherly... annoyed, voice on the other end... not anymore... not ever again... He threw the phone furiously across the room and watched it smash against the wall.

"You destroy everything you touch, Caffrey..." Keller had been right about that. He slipped in a chair and lay his head on the table... Fighting tears...Willing the soft sounds of Paris at night to sooth him... “Don’t look back" he reminded himself


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