She ran around the corner, hair streaming out behind her. She was fast, faster than he’d expected, but he knew he’d catch her. She didn’t stand a chance. Her feet pounded the grass, her breathe came out as half a pant, half a sob. She was tiring quickly. Soon she would be done. All he had to do was keep it.
She dodged under a tree branch; she was heading into the woods at the back of the house. This late at night, among the trees and with no light except the pitiful amount being shed by the half moon hanging above in the still night, the woods were a dangerous place to be. Tree roots tripped you up and branches snared your clothing. Both of them were forced to slow their pace, as they pushed their way through the trees.
She shot him a panicked look over her shoulder; he smirked in response. Both knew how this would end. She was all out of ammo and as long as he was careful, his shot would end it. She plunged ahead, forcing aside the undergrowth. Even if he did lose sight of her for a moment, the path she was leaving would have been clear even to the most inexperienced tracker. However he grew up in these woods and he knew how to follow a trail.
Ducking and weaving through a fantastical web of twigs and falling leaves, he gained on her. He had always been competitive and he was determined to win this game of survival. He would not quit, not when he was this close to victory.
Another look over her shoulder told her that she couldn’t continue to out run him. He was too near for that now and she was exhausted. She had one ace left up her sleeve and that was to outthink him. She started glancing about for the right place and at long last, opportunity smiled upon her.
Seeing a dead hollowed out tree, she dove to the ground and scrambled along on her hands and knees. She rounded the fallen log and braced her back against the rotting wood. She tried to control her breathing as best she could; willing her racing heart to slow down, lest its frantic beating alert him as to where she was hiding.
He advanced through the trees. His eyes darted back and forth, searching for clues as to where she had disappeared to. He had seen her hit the ground, but she hadn’t cried out meaning that she had planned the fall. Seeing the log before him, he smiled confidently and walking on his very tip toes, he silently advanced towards her. He knew his prey; she would never have crawled into the deteriorating tree; she had a fear of insects, especially spiders. No, she would not be inside.
He readied his weapon and hands raised, he paused for a moment and then with a blood-curdling scream, he jumped across the log and hurled the water balloon at the place where he thought she would be. Water exploded at the point where the balloon contacted the wood. He had missed; she wasn’t there. Puzzled, he stopped; victory had been denied him and he was suddenly weary from the chase.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw something move and looking up quickly, the pulled back and released pine branch caught him full in the face. He crumpled, howling to the ground as she stood, hands-on-hips, smiling down on him from above.
Victory, he learned, was never ensured until the war was over.
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