Out of the Woods: In which a girl flees

She ran down the hill, her skirt flying behind her like a little white flag strung up from her legs. It flapped in the wind and snapped the air, telling the world, if anyone had been there to see, that she was laying down her arms, casting away her shield. She had had enough.

She felt the wind whisk by on either side of her face, leaving invisible, nail-thin scratches she would feel long after she stopped running. But at the moment the wind felt fine. It meant she was finally moving, finally putting distance between herself and the dark woods she could feel creeping along beside and behind her, trying to snatch her back into their snares.

She ran and ran. She had been running since morning, but was not yet tired, not yet halted by the stones jagging into her feet, the burning muscle in her thighs, the rasping wheezing in her lungs. All that did not matter now. All that would go away soon. Right now it was time to run, as fast, as hard, as far as she could, father…farther…farther…farther…

…away from the woods.

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