Four : The Chase
My breath was coming out in harsh pants, lungs burning and stomach heaving while my sides felt like they were on fire as I ran as fast as I could through the forest.
There was only one thought that continuously repeated in my mind like a mantra.
I don’t want to die.
I have so many things that I want to do.
The wind was beating against my back when I tugged the lab jacket off of me, tossing it into a bush that I ran past without glancing behind me in fear of slowing down.
Why was this happening to me?
Sweat dripped down the sides of my temples and my burning neck when I turned a corner, barely dodging a protruding branch when I stomped past as quickly as I could.
I had lost sight of Amy and Asuka a while back when we all ran in different directions, almost like bats out of hell. It was like a tactic in order to distract them so that they could only choose one out of the three to go after to give the other two a chance to get further away.
Truthfully, this felt like we were in the survival of the fittest game where all three of us are contenders for the title.
I wasn’t a runner.
Never have and never would be.
I wasn’t the all-star player during athletic competitions in high school and I definitely wasn’t that one person that stood out among the rest with super athletic skills.
This wasn’t a silly high school competition, this was about outrunning natural predators while playing in their field with my life at stakes.
I knew that trying to outrun them was almost impossible, but the hopeful human part of me beat down the logical side of me with ideas of possibly making it past the grove of trees and into the city where I would be discovered and saved.
The torch of hope burned bright in me.
As I swerved a corner, dodging a tall tree, I could hear the loud pounding of feet---paws. It echoed across the expanse of the forest to which all the birds fled upon its approach.
Fear, horror, and desperation filled my entire being as I willed my burning legs to run faster.
When I turned my head and looked behind me, my eyes caught a tuft of brown fur from the corner of my vision before it disappeared.
Then I panicked.
At the initial glance, I dodged to the left and then swerved to the right to see a big, almost 5-6 foot, were-beast in front of my vision, drool dripping from its jaw onto the ground as it completely blocked off my path with its enormous body.
My knees slammed to the forest floor when I immediately tried to halt and stumbled, twisting around and running in hopes of getting away.
But inside my head, I already knew it was game over.
“I found you, ugly bitch," came his familiar taunting voice that lilted in a gleeful yet bone-chilling way.
His glowing dark eyes snapped to my face while sharp canines bared for me to see. The sight was so damned sinister and evil that I couldn’t tear my gaze away.
I was stunned still and my hope was seemingly dashed at that very moment.
I tumbled to the right, feeling surrounded and suddenly claustrophobic. My lungs heaved as I fought the urge to puke from the stress of running and the fear of what being caught actually meant.
It was too late.
I stumbled, all the adrenaline leaving my body as I took a step back before falling onto my butt. My legs have lost feeling for the first time in my life.
Get up, damn it!
No matter how I chided myself, my entire body didn’t listen to my demands and the tears of frustration were quick to wet my burning cheeks.
He grinned and I swear I would never forget the ominous and menacing look on his face as he glared victoriously down at me.
His fingers wrapped around my hair as I tried to pull back. My tight bun was torn completely loose and he tugged me across the forest floor when my legs kicked out.
The twigs and branches dug into my chest and thighs as I tried to brace myself. I tensed all my muscles in hopes of easing the pain when he continued to drag my body around like a flaccid doll, but it seemed useless.
The pain was immense and tears continued to fall as my scalp burned from the abuse. My fingers were shaking when I tried but scratch his arms hard but it obviously didn’t hurt him like I thought.
I should have kept long nails or paid to have those pointy acrylic nails done for situations like this.
With a hiss, my legs kicked as I tried to stand but I was unable to when he whipped my head to the side with a sickening crack. He seemed annoyed at my feasible struggling.
By now, my head was spinning, dizzy from the agony of that strong yank of my hair at his hands.
And from my blurry vision, I could see that the sun was already gone. The afternoon glow having left a while now along with any warmth or light that hope had filled me with.
I could see the strange glow of the full moon mesmerizing me as he dragged me further like a puppet without strings. The cuts scattered all across my arms and legs started to bleed out against my shirt until it was messy and semi-wet against my skin.
At this point in time, I had tears streaming down my face that had long dried. The numb feeling I had before was already gone and I could feel every single cut and scratch sting with unimaginable pain.
It was obvious he was just messing with me. He had all the time in the world to kill me but he chose to let me suffer as he dragged me along by my hair, prolonging any bit of pain that I could possibly feel.
I could hear the sudden chuckle that billowed from his throat, dark and menacing. Just when I thought he was going to finally end my life, the sound of a pained feminine scream echoed across the forest in the opposite direction of us.
My eyes squeezed shut and his hands wrapped around my neck, yanking me up to my feet while long claws dug into my skin.
My yelp of pain was completely ignored by him.
He only smirked eerily, pleased beyond words as the tears leaked out in rivulets against my cold cheeks. While I was in agony, he was enjoying it with every delayed beat of my heart.
Soon enough, the sound of my choking was filling the clearing when I was lifted off of my feet until both legs dangled off of the floor by more than a foot. Something I had only seen in movies was happening to me.
So this was what being choked to death felt like.
What a terribly painful feeling.
My eyes wanted to roll to the back of my head but I tried to keep myself conscious no manner how painful it was.
He chuckled again at the pathetic squeaks and gasps coming from my tightened throat. It was deafening in my ears.
I was going to die.
There was no point in denying it now.
At the grim thought, my lips pinched tightly together. I kicked my feet forwards, hitting him in the leg repeatedly but he didn’t seem affected by my deplorable struggling.
I couldn’t hear anything anymore other than the sound of my stuttering heartbeat pounding in my ear along with the sound of my roaring blood. My hands were clutching tightly around his right arm while my face felt numb and hot at the same time.
I felt as if I would explode if he squeezed my throat any tighter.
Before long, the lower half of my body became numb, my kicking seemed more like wild flailing. My hands hardened to the point that I could barely move my fingers while my nails embedded in his flesh until I can see tiny dots of red upon the surface.
I willed my eyes to stay open but they slowly closed.
I wanted to do more damage to him.
I wanted to put up more of a fight but my body was failing me.
The palpitations of my heart started to slow to a sluggish pace, my legs froze into place as I felt the torrents of pain and coldness enter my frozen limbs.
Bright lights blinded my vision with sporadic patterns when my air flow was sufficiently cut off, pent up inside of my lungs, no matter how hard I tried to breathe and keep breathing.
This is what death feels like.
The excruciating pain was finally easing when I felt darkness collect at the corners of my vision.
Living was more painful than dying anyways.
I could hear the familiar voice of the Beta shout from afar and wondered if I had imagined this.
Kent didn’t move even an inch and I just knew that I must have imagined the voices from my desperation to be saved.
"Let her go!” This time a louder and harsher shout seemed to cause Kent to loosen his hold on my poor abused throat.
As his grip slackened, my entire body came crumbling to the forest floor, sides numb and burning as I gagged for air.
Then I could feel bile reach my throat as my head spun uncontrollably in a dizzying circle at the initial intake of air into my deprived lungs.
Just like that, the meal from a day ago came pouring out of my mouth. It was bitter and disgusting as I puked all over myself until my body trembled as if I was having a seizure.
The tears burned hot against my cold face, mixing into the snot and saliva. I bent over and continued to heave until I felt empty inside.
My hair hung around my face, completely covered in the disgusting substance that came from my mouth until the scent was everywhere around me.
When I finally looked up, Kent was standing there staring at me with an amazed look in his eyes with a big chunk of my hair hanging from his curled fist.
His eyes glowed brightly, almost red when he bent down to my level, dangerous nails scraping my chin. He gripped my face harshly and yanked my head up.
My vision blurred from unshed tears when he harshly shoved the hair off of my face. I willed myself to move away from the dangerous predator but I found myself unable to.
Everything was taking a toll on my extremely worn body until I was left frozen, shivering, and trembling in fear.
“She has the mark," one of them said in a low whisper of awe and I couldn’t help but feel terrified from his words.
I had a gut feeling that something was terribly wrong.