The Chase

Droplets of rain beat down on me mercilessly. No matter how far down I pulled my hood, water still managed to cloud my vision. Arms screaming from exertion, I paddled on.

Twice on the left.

Twice on the right.

I couldn’t look back. I didn’t even need to. I knew where they were from the sound of their shouts.

“Hurry, we’re gaining on him! Don’t slow down now”

Wave after wave pulled my canoe off its course. As I struggled to right myself, I saw the light in the distance. It wasn’t much further. With a leveling breath, I cleared my mind and focused only on my destination.

Twice on the left.

Twice on the right.

Twice on the le—

A hand grabbed my jacket and pulled me sideways, sending me flailing into the thrashing current. Lungs screaming from lack of oxygen, clothes tugging me down into the depths, I tried to breach the surface. Each time I got close, I was wrestled away by the raging river. I was a prisoner; the river, my warden. Kicking with all my strength, I broke free, gasping for air.

The chaos of the storm had capsized my assailants boat. Where they were, I didn’t know and couldn’t bring myself to care.

Like a man possessed, I only cared about getting to the shore. Years on the swim team were no help to me now. With every inch I gained, I lost another two. Soon I was exhausted and no closer to safety. Unable to tread water, I floated on my back and accepted that this is how it would end for me. There was no winning against nature. I was spent and she continued to rage on, throwing wave after wave over me.

As I began to fade, my only thought was of all the things I had never gotten to do. Seeing the world, marrying my love, raising a family, growing old. Each one evaporating, leaving only darkness in their place.

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