The damp, moldy hay smell didn't suit me—it didn't suit anyone—but it was better than having Death disintegrate me after some really undeserved torture.
I breathed in the awful scent, filling my lungs to the point it was nearly painful, as I listened to my heart rate's rhythm slow down to an almost average beat. Death had been distracted by a farmer cursing for the animals to calm down and went to go suck the Life out of him. After that, I guess its Spidey Senses had tingled and told it that, Hey! Hundreds of civilians, right down the road! Go on! Kill them all! Suck the Life outta them!
Did Death eat Life? Was that why people died? Or was it simply the balance of things? I wondered idly, stuffing my face in the moist, moldy hay to block the flood of salty tears bound to happen; I didn't want to cry, because, for one, crying wasn't manly, and two, tears wouldn't get me anywhere. My brain continued to wander as I attempted to contain all my tears until my throat burned.
People were going to die—were dying—because of me, but for some reason I couldn't stop running. No matter how much death and destruction I caused, no matter how much pain I inflicted on others and myself, I couldn't stop running. I couldn't. Just like when I was paralyzed with fear in front of Death, but this time there was no light coming to scoop me up and out of the dark; no soft, harsh voice.
The voice… I had no idea who it was. It sounded female, like how Death's sounded male, but it was hard to tell, as if the owner of the voice had no idea or didn't care which gender it was. I only knew one thing: the person (spirit, ghost, all-powerful being—whatever) wanted me alive, wanted me to continue to live. Wanted me to survive.
Okay, even that was debatable, but it was likely considering the voice-person had finally gotten me to move my butt and escape Death's wrath.
And the last words—Run. Find the other. I could guess the first order. I had already run from Death, and for a year. The other thing was what bothered me the most.
Find the other.
Who was stupid enough to anger Death? Besides me, anyway. And if someone in the world did happen to be that insane, how would we meet? If we were both running, what was the possibility that we would run into each other? And if we were both not telling a soul that we escaped Death, how were we supposed to know that we had found the other?
I sighed, feeling my head throb from over thinking—because thinking in general really wasn't my forte. The voice-person must've been a hallucination, because the only thing in that whole last sentence that made sense was run.
Run. Run. Run. Run.
I could run. Have been. Will be. And I would probably never stop running for the rest of my Life, because for some weird reason I couldn't turn myself in like I was giving up, even if I caused death and destruction and all that nice stuff left and right.
I buried myself deeper in the hay, forcing the—nonexistent, mind you—tears to be soaked up so I couldn't feel them. It was nearing evening, and I needed all the sleep I could get before I was off again, running for my Life. It was, after all, either them or me.
Burrowing myself in the dried grass, I fell into a light, fitful slumber.
When I woke up, it all seemed like a dream; a really, really horrible nightmare.
But then reality set in with the moldy stench of hay, and it took all my willpower to not close my eyes and wait for Death to kill me already. Because Death always won, right? People didn't live for forever. Charles didn't even live to be a legal adult.
That sent a pang all throughout my body, sharp like needles. My chest constricted, trying to squeeze my heart till it popped. Charles… Gone. Dead. Not even with an explanation or a body. And I couldn't go back to tell the sad tale; Death would take another of my loved ones. Then I would have to watch all over again the cruel smile twisting and turning…
I shook my head roughly, mentally ripping the thoughts in half and then burning them to ashes and then burning those ashes once again.
That was a long time ago, over a year ago. It was in the past.
Stretching, I stood from the dirty wooden floor, feeling my bones pop and creak back into place. It was time for another day of running. My backpack slung over my shoulder, I quietly tip-toed out of the big, broken barn doors, though I didn't know why. There was nothing to awaken; all was dead.
Outside, the sun was rising over the horizon, sending stray beams of light over and through the woods in front of me. The sunlight reminded me of the light that saved me, that penetrated the darkness that wrapped itself around me. It streamed between the trees, weaving passed them as if they were never there in the first place.
I shivered. Maybe that was why I ran from Death—because I couldn't stand the thought of never existing.
The sun rose higher, blinding me. Covering my eyes with a hand, I jogged over to the house by the barn, the one the farmer had lived in, the one he most likely died by. There was nothing of him now, save for a few particles of ash that danced mournfully in the breeze. The guilt clawed at my heart, but I entered the dead man's home, showered quickly, and took some of his clothes and food, because I was alive and he was dead. He didn't need the food any more than Death needed to lose brain cells.
Feeling fresh—as fresh as I could, anyway—I set off across the once cow-filled, bright green grass, down the dusty dirt path, toward what was once civilization, for I knew that Death would leave no survivors.
Because Death never left survivors.
I only looked back twice: once at the farmer's empty, haunted home; once at the silent firetruck-red grave.