The snow crunched under foot as she ran. The moonlight, shining brightly through a break in the tall trees, illuminated the path ahead just barely. It was enough only to throw light on the fog in the air, caused by her shallow, raspy breaths, as well as the smallest pathway ahead of her.
She pressed her back to the trunk of a tree as she gasped, the bitter and piercing cold of the night causing her chest to ache. Her eyes were wide and alert as they darted back and forth over her surroundings. She jumped with a sharp intake of breath, startled by the sound of leaves crunching to her left. Her hands flew to her mouth to muffle the sound as her head whipped round, looking for the glowing red eyes, instead falling on the yellowish ones of a deer. It bolted at the sight of her, and she exhaled in a brief moment of relief, her eyes closing momentarily as she rested her head against the tree.
The calmness lasted only a moment, before she gulped, pushing herself up off the tree, standing straight and alert. After another quick glance around, she darted forward.
Her head snapped around, following the voice. "Will?" She whispered, not daring to raise her own voice too high in case it heard her.
Will's yell had come from her left. She looked in the general direction, considering, all the while trembling with fear. She had been sure that he was dead. She saw it, the thing, attack him. She'd heard his shrieks as he was dragged away, while she just stood, frozen with fear and forced to watch as her boyfriend was taken to his death.
But that was Will's voice. She would recognise it anywhere.
"Lydia, where are you?!" He yelled again.
Lydia's mouth opened to call back to him, but she bit back the instinct. If she shouted, it would hear her, and then it would come.
She needed to get to him, to make him be quiet before it found them. He was clearly confused; why else would he be shouting at the top of his lungs, when he knew that thing was out there? Maybe he was even concussed from the knock his head took when he first went down. The sound alone had made Lydia wince, and she hoped he would have been knocked out by the force so he wouldn't be aware of whatever was coming.
But he wasn't. He was conscious as he was taken, and his screams... His screams echoed in her mind.
But now he had escaped! He had escaped, and he was injured and drawing attention to himself. She needed to reach him, and then they needed to find a way out of the forest.
Lydia took in a deep breath to steady her nerves. Her body was shaking, whether from cold or fear, she didn't know. Her teeth began to chatter and she clamped her lips together, willing her jaw to be still.
She gulped, and then peered around the side of the tree she was standing against. The route was clear. Clenching her fists, she stepped out, in the direction of Will's voice.
"Lydia!" He yelled again, sounding closer now. She followed the sound of his voice. "Where are you?"
She risked a loud whisper, "Will?" She hissed.
"Lydia!" Will's voice came again, louder and more urgently, and Lydia was sure that he must be just on the other side of the next thicket.
She pushed through and emerged in a small clearing. Her eyes darted around desperately, but it was empty. She gulped, feeling terror swirl in her stomach. It had sounded like Will was there, she had been certain...
She wheeled around at a noise; it sounded like a wooden club being dragged along the forest floor. All of the air seemed to evaporate. She couldn't breathe.
Then it came through the trees and stepped into the clearing. She saw the horns first, then the huge, emaciated body followed. It paused at the edge, staring at her with its sunken, yet glowing red eyes. Sharp fangs protruded over snarling lips, blood dripping from them.
Lydia opened her mouth to scream but no sound came out. She turned, ready to run, when the creature let out a long, piercing screech. Then it pounced.