She stood with her back against the outer Academy wall and hugged the bundle of blankets tight, rocking her baby in a desperate attempt to keep it quiet. She took only seconds to catch her breath after clambering up from the sewer system. Once more she started running, her bare feet hitting the harsh, wet gravel. Her mind raced. She knew exactly where she wanted to go, and she knew she would be caught. Her child would likely end up dead, but death was better than growing up in this place. The only thing left to do, was to at least provide it with the small chance at life far away from this place. Someone would find her baby; if not, this would save it from the horrors of existence in the Academy.
She hadn’t known before she came here. She hadn’t known for years after her arrival. Policy change after policy change had limited her freedom for her own good, and in such inconcievably small steps that she had not realised the detrimental nature of the situation before she was permanently confined to her bedroom, and the first man had come. They would find her, torture her, but her child would be saved; by people or by death.
Luckily the baby remained silent. She quickly made her way to the stables where the merchant carts stood lined up, ready to follow trade routs deep into Genesia at sunrise in two hours. Nervously, she looked around, but never stopped to listen more carefully to make sure the footsteps she heard were per chance merely her imagination. No time to waste, no time to stop. If they were real, they would close in and capture her regardless. Better stay ahead.
She hid her child in an enormous sack of carrots at the back of the largest cart. The baby whimpered. The woman looked at her child for the last time. She could not comfort it, she could not stay. If they found her here, they would hear it cry. All would be lost. She contemplated running away from the city. Maybe there was time, maybe she could get away unseen.
No, they would search every outgoing cart, coach and carriage. They would find the child at dawn. She ran the other way towards the coast. They would assume she had planned to hide on a ship when they found her there. That she had left her child somewhere to perish in this raging storm, as it would hinder her escape.
Time ticked away in slow motion, the way to the harbour seemed endless. Her mind followed the rythm of her dashing feet in a painful state of preperation for hands grabbing her shoulders, pulling her hair, feet tripping her. This – is – the – end. This – is – the – end.
She reached the ships unnoticed. She would wait for them. She would go back. Her daughter would never grow up a slave.