Last Hope

March 20, 2010
The girl was beautiful—that much was undeniable. But she was too far gone to be saved. She stumbled through the warm night air, clutching a baby to her breast like a life line. Her long, dark hair was matted and sticking wetly to her face and pale skin from the stream that she'd jumped into and run across an hour or two before. Her eyes matched her hair in darkness, but they were wide with fear and panic—they were the eyes of someone who knew his or her time was over. Lightening cracked overhead and the baby started to cry again, burying her little head in her mother's chest. "Shh. Shh, Jasmine." Her mother murmured frantically, wild fear consuming her now as she looked frantically into the darkness.
Were they here yet? Were they coming for her? She heard them then, heard him. He was pounding through the warm stillness, his familiar, heavy feet seeming to make the ground shake. He, too, had heard little Jasmine crying. Jasmine's mother began to run again, exhaustion settling into her very bones, nearly making her collapse. Somehow, she kept up the strength to keep moving. Not Jasmine, never Jasmine. They're never going to get her. She thought, pumping her legs to the beat of her thoughts.
There! A small town came into view, just over the hills and through the woods. A sob of relief and hysteria burst from the beautifully haggard girl's chest as she stumbled forward. Now she was moving fast through trees, Her feet found a path and as the girl saw a light ahead she gave another small gasp of relief, ignoring the rocks cutting into her bare feet. She was going to live—Jasmine was going to live.
But when she burst through the trees, she didn't see houses. Instead she saw that she was in a small clearing with ten large, ragged boulders forming three arches arranged in a triangle, with a single, flat, round stone in the center. Sitting on the stone were three teenaged boys, and they'd made a fire on the rock. In that instant she could clearly see the marshmallows on the sticks they held, the shocked looks on their faces as they whipped their heads around towards her.
But most importantly, she could hear them so close behind her. They were coming for her--coming for Jasmine. "Please..." She whispered, fear taking her voice before she could make a sound. As the boys got hurriedly to their feet and rushed over, looking scared and concerned, the girl knew—these boys were Jasmine's last hope.





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