The fire stung, and teh soudns of exploding trees and cracklign flames filled my ears. A hard sweat broke out over my whole body, yet still I kept up my furious run with the demon in close pursuit, licking hungrily at my heels. My mind and body were both ravaged by torrents of pain and misery. How much more would I, could I, endure?
I heard a shriek of pain and sorrow, and with a jolt realized it was my own. A dark figure came hurtling out of the trees at me. Claws ripped at my chest and back, and I ehard a sickening crunch emmitted from one of my hind legs as I was thrown to the ground.
I may have screamed then.
Yet somehow I managed to cling to the last bit of sanity I had left,fight back the panic of impending doom. I felt my good hind leg collide with one of the terrors behind me, and then I was running again, fleeing from the stronger terror.
But this one did not give up so easily. It was an unfair, uneven battle, with myself on the losing side. I knew that Death was near; it hung over me like a dark veil shrouding my eyes from daylight, like a sharp sword hanging above my head, waiting to drop.
Yet still I ran.
On and on throughout the night, my muscles tiring, my legs burning, my lungs screaming for air. I tripped at one point and collapsed onto teh wet ground.
At first I couldn't tell what the dark liquid pooling around me was. My own blood? I could tell my body was bleeding freely.
But no, this was a soothing wetness, one that seeped into my deep wounds and healed. Water.
I twisted my head around and drank like a starved wolf who had caught its first meal in well over a moon. The liquid quenched the burnign in my throat, and I raised my head once more to look at the flames surrounding my lake.
The fire's undying hunger, its unyielding flames, prowled around teh water's edge like a pack of skinny coyotes around a terrified rabbit, fighting over who would maek the kill.
My eyes reflected the light, and a slight quiver ran trhough my body. Not of pain, not of fear, or cold, or hunger, or thirst... But of relief.
I had survived!
I had evaded my Death itself, settling the demons that ravaged my mind and body alike. I was free!
And as I watched the fire burn itself out, whimpering like an angry wolf pup who hadn't gotten what it wanted, I felt a sudden peace in the world. The demons inside my mind were still there-No, they would never leave as long as I lived. But I ahd found a way to evade them. That way had nearly taken my life, yet I was still here.