Will she ever be able to stop running? Or will she be trapped forever? Death is after her.
I stomp into the mud, ruining my white tennis shoes. My heavy breathing and rapid heartbeat is the only thing I hear. It echoes inside my pounding head. My drenched brunette hair hits my face as the wind flies through it. I look around suspiciously for anything. Anyone. A crack is heard from a tree branch behind me.
Terror courses through my veins as it mixes with adrenaline. I sprint forward. Finally a village is in site. My legs burning, I run to the first shop, looking for help. It’s a bakery; I see the baker is rolling dough.
I run to him, screaming.
But he doesn’t hear me.
“Help! Someone’s running after me!”
My pleas are heard from no one.
I decide the baker is no help and run down the road towards a fountain. The water spewing from an angelic gargoyle. It seems to be the town square. People bustling, minding their own business.
I run up to a lady, carrying an egg of baskets in one arm, and a young child in another. She seems nice enough to help me.
“Please! Help me! Someone is after me!”
But the lady walks by me, tending to her child, as if I wasn’t even there.
I look to the sky, in hopes of finding some help. I look around again and my eyes land on the gargoyle. It has a chiseled jaw, a long straight nose, and thick lips almost forming the shape of an O. It’s eyebrows are shaped around its almond eyes.
And somehow, I feel safe. I sit down on the edge of the fountain, underneath the gargoyle and try to think of a reason why no one can hear me.
All of a sudden, the sky darkens and the town square empties fast before the first bolt of lightning reaches the earth. I look up, worry stricken across my face. Lightning is seen across the sky, lighting up every shadow of the square. No thunder is heard from the sky. And the heavens haven’t opened up to cry yet. Just lightening.
Another bolt is brought down from the heavens and hits the gargoyle. I scramble away from the fountain and turn around. I stare at the gargoyle’s chiseled jaw as it starts to crack. It’s straight nose bends to the right and it’s almond eyes glow red.
I scream as terror once again courses through my veins. However this time, there is no adrenaline flowing through me, telling me to run. Instead, I am stuck where I am. My feet feel heavy. My legs become numb. I cannot move.
A dark shadow emerges from its mouth and swarms around me. I scream but nothing comes out of my mouth. The shadow stops in front of me; limbs reach out towards me and grab my shoulders. I feel my eyes close slowly. And then all I see is death.
Death all around me. On the floor lay corpses, some still alive, screaming in pain. I gasp as I look around, trying to help them, but cannot. The smell of rotting flesh in the air makes me gag.
My eyes fly open and I’m back in the town square. The dark shadow releases me. I realize that this shadow is death itself. But why is it after me? Was this what I was running from all this time in the forest? Running from death? I look at death straight into what I assume is the face.
Frightened, I feel myself shrink inside, however my body is still standing straight, unable to move. Death swarms around me again as I fall through the earth.
Down and down I go. Finally, the scream that I have been holding in comes out. I scream loud and long. So loud it makes my throat hoarse. My stomach flies up to my throat as I fall down into the earth’s core.
Death has taken me. Back to hell.
Jennifer Gioia (c) 2011