Running Wild

The grey moon smiled down on him as he walked. He was on the run. But he had been running a while now and his legs were getting tired. But he kept walking. Briskly, but cautiously. Looking over his shoulder every few seconds. Treading carefully. Making sure that not even a twig breaks beneath his feet.

He moved through the shadows inconspicuously. The moon guiding a path through the thick woods, its light shimmering down in thin beams through the canopy of leaves above. He didn’t know where the path led, or where it emerged, but he had to keep moving. A monster was chasing him. He had to run for his life.

This monster was unlike any creature he had ever seen before. The vaguest attire covered its skin. A small tuft of black fur covered its head. It stood on two legs and held a dark cylindrical metal instrument in the remaining limbs. He had noticed the tip of the metal instrument peering at him through a distant shrub, the moonlight glinted off it, making it clearly visible. And he had twitched, as a premonition made a shiver run down his spine. And within that instant, a loud sharp sound had enveloped the forest, birds had flown out of the trees they had been hiding in, the entire floor had quivered, and he had thanked his stars that he had twitched, for a sharp object had flown past him into the tree behind. And he ran.

Knowing that this monster was dangerous, knowing that if he stopped, the metal instrument would expel another sharp object, and knowing that he was its target. So he ran deeper and deeper into the forest, as fast as his limbs would allow him. He could hear the monster charging through the branches stumbling through to get to its prey. He couldn’t allow that. He wouldn’t.

But he was slowing down now. His muscles were getting exhausted. So he walked stealthily through the forest. He couldn’t hear the monster behind him anymore. Had he outrun it? Had it taken over and was it waiting for him on the other side of the woods? Had it decided to stop chasing him? There was no way he could tell.

Then, far away, the sharp sound rang out again. The birds flew out of their trees again. The forest floor quivered again. And again, he twitched. For a moment everything was chaos. And then silence. A long, eerie silence that told him that he had survived that night, but maybe another stag just like him, had not. A pang went through his chest, and he lay down among some shrubs, out of sight, for the rest of the night.

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