Psychedelic pinpoints of light assaulted Grace as she walked through the deep forest. A ruined outpost glowed in reflected moonlight to her left, but all she could focus on was the lights. They moved in sync, a phantasm in the night, a mystery, a dream. But they were not what she was running from.
She heard it panting, right behind her, and pushed past the pain in her calves to keep running forward. Her own breath came in gasps, small puffs of mist forming before her lips then streaking behind her. The chase was causing considerable wind.
A roar sounded and she tripped, the root coming up from the rock covered pathway with no warning. Her toe caught, and the rocks bashed her face, their cool surface no comfort with the stink-filled air of her pursuer covering her back. She forced herself to move quickly, hands underneath, push up, push forward with feet and legs. She managed to get ahead a fraction, a few small inches. Its fingers touched her back as it reached towards her speeding form.
Grace found the light at the end of the tunnel, the opening of civilization after the magic of the trees. The monster hurt them as he raged, as he tried to maim her, to eat her. The pinpoints of light helped it, pulled at her attention, took her eyes from the prize ahead of her. A solution, a sanctuary.
A claw stuck in her sweater and Grace was stopped again, almost grabbed. She willed her arms out of her sweater, willed it over her head and away, so she could be free. Better to be topless in front of a monster than eaten by one. She twisted, shimmied, and got out, but her back stung. She remembered the whippings at camp, the initiation.
This monster would not take down one of the Cider Clan.
The break in the forest was abrupt, and Grace rolled forward when she reached it, making it to the first concrete foot. She looked up. Black lines across a purple-blue sky. Salvation.
Her pursuer ran from the woods, towering head and shoulders above the trees, seeing only sky and stars. The garrote hit his pock-infested green neck and caught, straining against steel scaffolding and concrete lodged fifteen feet into sacred ground. Red and green make brown, which turned to gold, which turned to brilliant platinum light.
Grace pushed a shield out from herself, as the monster’s head exploded and flesh rained down from the sky. Sparks lit the clearing to a brilliant lilac for a minute, then subsided. The ground sucked in the purified flesh. She could hear it sigh in thanks, and gave her gratitude as well.
Then ran off towards The Desert, hoping to avoid the cops one more time.