run

My mind is reeling. That sickly dizzying feeling crashes over me again and I wretch, heaving. But my feet don’t stop.

It hardly makes any sense to me. I don’t know what’s going on, don’t know why it’s happening. He was so insistent, though. He told me to run. “Run away with ya’self,” he said. “Run into them woods and keep on ‘a runnin’ until one of us gits ya or ya git away.”

I had met these bizarre instructions with a blank stare.

“Time’s a tickin’,” he said through a toothy grin and then he laughed, a hacking guffaw, his big belly rolling under his too-tight shirt and his whole frame rocking back and forth until tears formed at the corners of his eyes. He patted his gun absently and that’s when I decided to run.

That was some time ago. At least I think it was. It feels like it was hours ago, though it couldn’t have been. The sun is still high in the sky.

My back is soaked, my shirt clinging to me. My temples ache with lack of water. My feet have blisters, I can feel them. With each step I imagine them expanding until they grow so large and tender, so full that they will pop right there in my shoes, the juice inside them absorbing into my socks.

To my right and some distance back I hear the laugh. It’s hearty. Happy. It chills me to my bones.

I was just asking for directions, for crying out loud. Just stopping to ask where I was. I was lost. I didn’t see the gun until he had me cornered with it. I didn’t understand when he shoved me into his truck. I still don’t know when or why he called the others, but I can hear them, their dogs barking, their footfalls in the brush. They are coming.

And I run.

Up ahead there is a small creek bed. It is nearly dry, only a sliver of a stream weaving its way along the broken path that once ran much deeper. I imagine water, hoping that in seeing it, in wanting it, it might somehow appear.

I make it to the edge of the creek when I hear a sound, a twig breaking, a stone crunching, some other such woodsy indicator, and it is alarmingly close. I turn to my left abruptly and there he is. The bastard with his gun. He has it leveled on me.

“Knew you’d come to the creek,” he says. He was smiling but there was no joy in the smile.

I raised my hands. “Please,” I say. “I don’t know what this is about, but please. There is no reason to be rash.” My breath is winded. I struggle to speak in smooth sentences.

“Rash?” he says. “I ain’t bein’ rash. I been plannin’ this for a while, mister. Just ease on down to the ground.”

I kneel. He flips the safety. Oh God, I think.

Run.

*Written for the 500 Club.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

7 Responses to run

  1. Samantha Bullock says:

    very nice. vivid. creepy. I was reading fast, skipping over words to hurry up and find out what was going on and why it was happening.

    Keep it up!

    Like

  2. dex says:

    Thank you. It was written quickly in one sitting as a writing exercise based only on the premise that someone was running. Should it worry me that what comes to mind immediately for me is something disturbing?

    Like

  3. Creepy!! LIke Samantha, I was almost panicked, reading this and anxious to find out what happens. Nice job! 🙂

    I am so glad you did the 500 club, Dex. Thank you for participating! I think you’re our first non-PLC member to join in the fun. Thank you for giving it a try.

    Keep up the vivid writing. 🙂

    (Oh, and some of the nicest people I know write the darkest, creepiest stuff. I think it’s completely normal.)

    Like

  4. dex says:

    Thanks, Amy. It was a really fun exercise. And it was a nice break in my writing routine.

    Like

  5. S. C. Green says:

    Nice work Dex!

    The pacing was fantastic. Thanks for playing along.

    I’m curious. Based on your previous post, was your muse along for this ride? Regardless, you keep up this kind of work and you’ll be just fine.

    SC

    Like

    • dex says:

      Thanks, SC. I really enjoyed the challenge of it. It was kind of fun shooting for right at 500 words. Forced me to be precise. 🙂

      And, yes, Vie (short for Violet) was with me on this one. (I’ll have to post about Vie at some point. I suppose most people don’t actually know the name of their muse, if they even know they have one…)

      Like

  6. Really cool stuff, Dex. Such an urgency in your voice. Thanks a lot for participating in our 500 Club. I do think you win the award for the first non-PLC Confessioner to participate in 500 Club. And this is exactly what its all about. Cool stuff and sharing; sharing is caring. Something like that.

    Thanks!

    –SS

    Like

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