We have been crouched down, silently guarding our location from behind the moss-covered decayed log, for nearly ten minutes now, and are both on spy mode against The Enemy: Abigail Madison Miller–or Abby, as I've called her since kindergarten when we became best friends. We weren't friends right now though, since she was The Enemy. Eric and I had teamed up in the beginning, knowing that our alliance would be the only thing between safety and annihilation by the Enemy, and ever since we'd found our secret hiding spot by the edge of the campus, we've been watching for any sign of danger.
Danger signals its approach when the sound of a crunching leaf comes from somewhere close by. Eric and I eye each other in mutual understanding, and flatten ourselves even further against the log. I feel ants begin to crawl onto my arms. Eric nudges me, which means I'm the one that has to stick my neck out and she whether the coast was clear or not. I inch myself slowly so that I can see past the end of the log and into the surrounding trees, but only so that my eyes are exposed– knowing that if she sees me, it's all over.
A flash of color appears and then disappears behind a tree that was no more than fifteen feet away, and I dart back to the safety of our hiding spot. Eric looks at me expectantly and I silently nod back, confirming our suspicions. She was out there. Eric mouths an inaudible "where?" to which I respond by pointing in the direction I'd seen her. He jerks his thumb at me to get behind him, and so we move to switch positions as quietly as possible. From his new vantage point, he shoots a quick glance over the top of our log.
From the way his eyes widen in fear and he flattens himself back against the log, I know he saw her, saw The Enemy. I want him to fill me in but before I can open my mouth to ask, he puts his finger to his lips. If I have to be dead silent, she must be very close. We stay there, paralyzed for what seems like forever before the footsteps not far in front of us are audible. We know that she's getting closer, and with each crunch of a leaf under the weight of her shoes, we begin falling deeper into panic mode and desperation for an escape.
I look Eric in the eyes, mentally pleading with him to somehow save us. I could have sworn that something visibly clicked in his head. He half-smiled at me, the kind I'd grown used to in my years of knowing him, the kind that meant he was up to something. He curls his fingers around a small stone that lay just to the side of us, and aims at a small patch of leafs a good distance to our right, and with a simple flick of his wrist, sends the thing flying through the air. We hear the stone as it crashes into the leaves and rolls on, sounding very similar to the scrambling footsteps of children trying to escape. We hear The Enemy hesitate for a moment, a moment in which everything was deafeningly quiet, and then shift to investigate the area where the rock had landed.
I let out a small sigh of relief in unison with Eric, who then points to the left of me, closes his hand, and then opens it up to hold up three fingers. Three fingers? What did that mean? Then there were two fingers. Wait, was he counting down? Was I supposed to run in the direction he pointed after he counted down? One finger. No time left to figure out what he wanted me to do.
No sooner has Eric put down the last finger than he shoots up and bolts to the left of me. I scramble to my feet and try to follow him, but instantly I realize The Enemy has already reversed direction and was racing after us– and wasn't far behind.
I know she's faster than me, and I know that now that she knows where I am, there was no saving me, but I couldn't go down without a fight. I had to try. I flee as fast as I can force my legs to take me, and with each passing second, I hear her getting ever closer, until I can hear her hard breathing right behind me.
I know it's over, I'm done for, so I let out a final scream in defeat and terror. I see Eric as he whips around, a look of shock and loss painting his face, knowing he was about to lose his ally. I'm about to shout to him to keep going, to leave me behind, when I feel her hand wrap around my arm, just above my elbow.
Pulled back by force, I fall to my knees, literally in the hands of The Enemy. I look up at her face, where she is visibly panting and small beads of sweat are forming on her forehead. A victorious smile stretches across her face.
I have lost. Despite the strenuous effort we made to prevent her victory, I lost. I've been tagged.