The air felt stale and had a harsh cold bite to it. My cheeks were taut and raw from the nipping cold. I stifled my breath even though my lungs were burning and desperate. The air hung thick, like fog. The world was quiet, and even the ever-whispering forest seemed to sleep. There were no sounds of crickets or birds, there was no stray snap of a twig from a curious raccoon. The brooks didn’t babble, the bugs didn’t chirp, and the wind did not howl. Finally, there was cautious rustle and the crack of twigs.
My fear overthrew my best efforts at stealth and I began to run with reckless abandon. Within moments he was running too. With each pounding step of his my heart convulsed with panic. I felt adrenaline push me forward far past my regular threshold. I forgot about my tired, blistered feet and my aching knees. I forgot about my lungs, even though they stung like hell and felt like they were going to burst. To my horror he began to gain on me, his shambling footsteps got louder and louder and my blood rushed faster and faster. Despite my best efforts I felt his hot breath behind me. In desperation I begged my legs to carry me faster under my shaky, panting breath.
He jumped, I hit the ground with all the force of his body, my neck jerked from the force and my face smashed into the ground. Before I could recover my arms were jerked behind me and I felt cold metal of what had to be handcuffs slap my wrist. My arm snapped away from him and attempted to squirm out from under his weight. He was too heavy. I laid still, tasting blood bubbling at my lips. The panting hadn’t stopped, I was sweaty and exhausted. It felt easier to give up. I was hopeless, panic filled my stomach and stretched my chest. In between the rocky, muddy ground and the officers body I felt like I was in a vice, the pressure building and building, the tension becoming overwhelming, my head pulsing and pounding with thunderous booms and my blood rushed over my forehead in painful waves.
A few yards away there was a rustling, it became panicked, the officer jerked his head to look just as Freak jumped from the bushes with tears in his eyes and leaves in his hair. He stumbled forward in hysteria and screamed. “NOOOOOOOOO”. His voice cracked. There was a blinding blue flash; everything turned white and my ears rang like alarms. The weight of the steel toe boot was lifted of my chest and there was a heavy thud just a few feet from me.
When the world returned my entire body burned white hot. My vision cleared and I saw the gigantic figure of the officer on the ground and Freak on his knees. I could see him shaking. For a moment, I felt for him. I might have offered him comfort had I remained in my haze for any longer. “Freak?”, I mumbled through my swollen lips. He was hunched over his knees, sobbing. He looked pathetic. Even though I now knew what he was capable of It was still hard to fear the sniveling mess lying in the dirt. I looked to the dead officer and felt my relief and compassion replaced with burning rage. I said his name again, this time with aggression. “FREAK, YOU IDIOT! YOU KILLED HIM!”