Running. The word thudded in my head like a maddened animal was trying to escape from the inside of my skull, reverberating onimously into my desperate thoughts until all I could think was that word, that relentless, exhilirating word. Running. I could hear them behind me, rampaging through the crooked trees with only one thing on there mind. Me. I could hear their voices and their heavy clad boots pounding the sludgy ground but I needn't have heard. It was obvious they were surrounding me. I ran faster. Faster. I hear a loud, menacing voice resound through the forest followed by a throaty laugh: "You can run, but you can't hide!" That's where he may be wrong...
Yet I couldn't afford to stop running, especially not in this glop! It splattered everywhere and slowed me down to a snails pace. A fast snail. But if I stop now (even to hide) it would be a crushed snail. I daren't think about that. In fact, it was the exact reason I was not thinking that I landed in the water. I am such an idiot sometimes but you would have thought that even I could have avoided the Furlana Pool, thinking or not. Just before I hit the pool I heard the bullies snort and joke yet the unmistakable shuffling of backing away. Cowards.
Splosh! All I could see was murky water and I was so cold I could barely feel the weeds gentley stroking my legs. Maybe the stories they told weren't true, but just penny dreadfuls used to make some money. Maybe. The stories of magic and strange, evil powers and rats tails and extra eyes or well, anything for those who just dipped a toe in. But to be completely submerged in the water, the magic could do anything to you. I rose up and my lips broke the slimey surface of the pool and I found myself confronted by the group of boys, watching with baited breath and waiting for the impossible. Nothing happened. I waded through the grimey muck and started to clamber onto the shore. Nothing happened. I sat dripping, waiting tense for them to sneer and pounce on me. Nothing happened. Then suddenly I started coughing, choking in a throaty rasp. They fled, screaming into the woods.
I was just about to clamber to my feet when the tingling started. It rippled through me like a warm wave of water lapping gently over me, pushing me down into the murky depths of sleep.
I woke to a distant splash behind me. Where was I? I shakily lifted my hand and fiddled uneasily with the webby film between my fingers, then my toes and finally reached over to my neck. There were several slits there! What did the bullies do to me? I padded over to the shadows of the trees and carried on until I reached the distant trickle of the brooke to my left. The temptation won me over and I leapt into the babbling stream and vanished under its silky skin into the darkening night.
They weren't just stories, after all...