Track Star

Author's Note: I'm in the Halloween mood, and this is definitely nothing like anything I've ever written before. This story is completely a shot in the dark- I'm hoping I'll learn as I continue writing this. I'm not positive if I'm good with the supernatural thriller mystery INTENSE stuff, but it's cool. It's cool. Enjoy. ((:

I was panting, gasping for breath. My heart was hammering and my hands were shaking, but my legs kept pushing. I kept moving, running, practically flying. I was out of breath, but it wouldn't stop me. My eyes were watering from the speed I was throwing myself. No matter how far, how hard, or how fast it wasn't enough. I had to keep going. It was the sudden decision to turn the street corner that made me fall. I stopped and I wanted to weep.

I hit the sidewalk with a loud thud, on my hands and knees. My chest was heaving and I could barely control myself as I threw up on the sidewalk. Pain was shooting through my hands and knees, up my arms and through my legs. I couldn't get up. There was no way I could stand up.

"Have you stopped running, pet?" his slithering voice said, mocking me. It cut through all the noise I was making. My heart jerked in its place in my chest, almost as if it wanted to fall out of my chest and keep running. My arms gave out and I collapsed on my side, closing my eyes. I was hoping, praying, begging that it was all a terrible dream. I moved my lips in prayer-- something I hadn't done in years.

"Praying won't help, darling," another voice said, deeper and harsher. It sent chills down my spine, and raked my ears like nails on a chalkboard.

"Leave me alone," I cried, opening my eyes to darkness. There were three of them, standing above and around me. They made no noise, but sauntered around me like vultures. They craned their necks to look at me, but did not bother to bend at the waist. They looked from down their noses, chins raised high. It made me feel weak, and dead. The way they gazed at me like some kind of meal made me feel dirty and vulnerable.

"No can do, sweet heart," the first one said, his voice seeming to wrap itself around my mind. It was a slow seduction, something that should make me want to give into his whims. I fought with myself, telling my mind to push him away. "You ran, Katty dear, you ran." How does he know my name? I screamed, trying desperately to rid myself of everything around me.

"You started the chase," a third voice said, meeker but just as seductive. I watched them, unable to move and unable to defend myself. They stopped—one standing above my head, and two at my arms. I couldn't run, so instead I curled myself into a ball and wept. I sobbed into my own arms and I didn't care how I looked. I was tired, sore and broken.

"We simply end all beginnings," the second one laughed. He stood at my head, his foot coming to caress my forehead, trailing from the center of my hairline to my left temple. I cringed from the touch. It felt lethal and icy cold, even through the thick sole of his shoe.

A sudden roar rang in the air and everything stilled. I imagined that they had killed me, and that there wasn't a light to the afterlife. I imagined that I was sent to Dante's Hell, thrown into some circle for treason or maybe Satan would gnaw at me with one of three mouths. I deserved Hell, as I had deserved these men chasing me. Or maybe I didn't deserve Hell. I'm no Ulysseus, and I've no lover like Paolo who would weep as I told our tale. My thoughts and inner workings continued as the roar turned into a deep growl.

"Get away from the woman," a feral voice shouted, rough and demanding. I opened my eyes, having closed them from the fear of the roar, and saw a young man, hunched at my feet. He was large- huge- and broad. His body was thick with large bands of muscle and his eyes were dark. The new stranger looked powerful, but I wanted nothing but to crawl to him. Through the initial fear I realized he was someone to run to, someone that would comfort and protect.

"Leave, shape shifter," the first man said, his voice more venomous than seductive now. "Leave and there will be no trouble."

"There will be trouble if she dies," the "shape shifter" growled, hunching more. His posture made him look like an animal, ready to pounce. I was terrified but too in awe to actually fear him. The three figures above me took a step back and my heart raced. I knew they wouldn't give up so easily. There was no way I would be safe. Ever. I could feel the danger lurking around us.

"Until next time, darling," the three chorused before vanishing into the night. Literally, they had taken a second step back and into the darkness of the night surrounding us. I sat up quickly, searching for where they had gone. No one would just disappear, it was physically impossible. The thought alone was irrational.

"Are you okay?" the shape shifter asked, relaxing those thick bands of muscle and lending a hand to me. I shook my head and moved away from him, wanting but unable to trust the outthrust hand. My heart continued to jerk in my chest, uncontrollably. I kept backing away from him, crying and shaking.

"Dylan," a stern voice said from behind me. I jumped, falling back to my side. "Can you take care of this?"

"Leave, Dad. I'll be fine," the shape shifter said.

I didn't see a man. Instead all I could see was the shape shifter—Dylan?—and a pigeon fly away. There was no one there.

"Where am I?" I asked after a few moments. The shape shifter swayed on his feet before crouching down to look at me. His eyes were like early fall leaves- golden, brown and green blended to look like a painting. His skin was tan and his mouth was set in a frown. He wore a simple old t-shirt and worn out jeans. His hands were no longer offering aid, but instead his long fingers were woven together in front of him.

"You ran so far you don't know where you are?" he asked, laughing lightly. His breath was minty, unlike my own. I could taste everything I had eaten during the day in my mouth. It made me want to gag again. I shook my head as a response. "You're at the docks."

"I ran that far? Holy shit," I gasped, looking around. He was correct. The river was slowly flowing only yards away. Cranes and cargo boxes were to my left, and empty buildings to my right. The docks were at least four miles from my apartment, where the three men had found me.

I had just gotten into the door when they came. It had all been so sudden that I barely remember what I had done with my things. My things were left in a haphazard pile on the floor in front of my door when I started running. I was glad I had worn sensible shoes to work. Unfortunately, my favorite jeans had been ripped into shreds at my knees.

My head was spinning with questions.

"What happened?" I asked, looking at my bloodied hands. "What the fuck happened?" I was becoming hysterical.

"You ran."