I Wish He Was Here

A sharp shot of aching paint whips my inner thigh. Ignoring it I keep running, pushing my legs as hard as they will take me. They give way. My hands reach out in front of me as I plummet full speed to the ground. My face is met with the cold dry surface of autumn morning leaves. I focus my eyes to the trees above, seeing the empty sky. I hope I’ve outrun them. Desperate for more coverage I crawl to shades of the trees and prop my back against the nearest one.

I look down to process the river of blood freshly gushing out of my leg. Sitting neatly in the raw flesh pocket sits a Shuriken, the same lion engravement making my stomach twist and pleat. I rip my bag of my back and dive for the flask of water. I guzzle the last rations I left for tomorrow without hesitation before swapping it with what’s left of my emergency aid kit. I scavenge for the bandage and the saline solution. I unscrew the bottle with my mouth and compress the wound as I open the bandage. As I pour the solution over my leg I feel a stinging ripple of pain spike around the wound. Methodically and quickly I bandage it up.

That was the last bandage, I used them all yesterday. It was only yesterday I was at camp. Safe. Me and Taylor were chatting away infront of the roaring fire under the night sky. It warmed us, made us feel alive again, let us forget the chaos and wreck that had previously consumed our days. That was when they arrived. I will never know how they found us again but nevertheless, they did. They took him from me. As they circled the sky over our heads they drove three shurikens into his chest. I watched the light fade from his eyes like a fire burn out on its last match. I ran towards the trees.

I’ve been running since then, only stopping for minor breaks before launching of again. Accept for my bag I left everything there. The food, the weapons, the equipment. Everything I left behind is still sitting there amongst his body. I miss him. I want to go back, not just for supplies but to see him. Just one more time. I can’t. Surely. Can I?

I wake myself back out of the trance and jump to my feet, again checking the sky above for affirmation. I head back the way I came, constant south I came so constant north I will go. My heart pumps in my chest pounding heavily at every footstep. I try and ignore the pain gnawing away at my thigh. Each crunch of each leaf and splinter of each stick beneath my feet gives me an ounce more of hope resting within my heart.

After what feels like hours of running, walking, sprinting, resting, I hear the sound of heavy propellers above me. I scurry to the closest tree hoping it’ll cover me. I put my spine against hers and watch the airship cast a shadow over the tree. I stay still. They know I’m here, but how? I wish Taylor was with me, he’d know what to do. In the shades of the trees ahead I see a bright white light scanning over ahead. It zigzags slowly. My face is soon blinded by the deafening light. They see me, but I can’t move, everything in my is frozen to the tree. I wish Taylor was with me. I hear distant shouting. Someone telling me to get on my knees. But I can’t. Taylor should be here.

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