"I must run. I don't know why, but I must run."

Clarissa, not quite normal, must run. She must find her sister, Marianna, who has been taken from her. She doesn't know who took her, she doesn't know why, but she is determined to find out.


2. I Must Run

I must run.

I snap my eyes open. I can't breathe. I'm shaking.

All I know is I must run.

I calm myself, breathing in slowly and exhaling shakily.

I must run. And I have no idea why.

I get up shakily, not daring to turn the light on; they are watching me. I pull my converse on, the closet thing I have to running shoes. I pull on denim shorts, I pull on a tank top.

I must run.

I shove clean underwear into a backpack. I shove in a jacket and another set of clothes. I shove in my toothbrush, baby wipes, first aid kit.

They are coming.

I pack a picture of my family. I zip it shut. I must run.

I look around my room for one last time; I know I will never return.

Then I hear it.


It's coming from downstairs. I must run. I will go out the window. I open it, forgetting the drop of 14 stories.

Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. I must run. I must run. I must run.

I grab my leather gloves, I go out of my room, to the landing, to the laundry shoot. I open it, I grab the umbrella next to it.

Creak. Patter. Patter. Patter. I must run.

I throw my backpack down the shoot, I get in, closing the lid with the umbrella. I let go of the sides. I must run. I slide down thrillingly fast. I want to scream; I can't. My hair is whipping around my face, my body is throbbing with my pulse, I am scared. I come towards the bottom, putting my hands and feet out to slow me down before the bend. A horrible noise screams throughout the building; it is my sister. I must run.

I come out the bottom of the shoot, I can sense the darkness closing around me. I shine the torch into the darkness; a hiss. I wield the umbrella in defense, torch in my mouth, backpack on. I turn my head to locate the hiss, no corner left unseen. I look up, there is nothing on the ceiling.

A cool breath tickles the back of my neck, I stand stock still. I feel a rough, dry, heavy thing run down my arm, coiling itself down slowly, a tongue flicking my finger tips. I know it is a snake without looking at it, and I cannot look at it. If I look at it I will want to run. If I run now, I die. It goes down my leg, wrapping itself around the limb, it's rough skin scraping against it. I pray I don't bleed. It glides off, languidly, I don't know where, I don't want to look at it. I slowly turn my head towards the door, then lower the light to show the path I must take. It is clear.

Slowly, slowly, I walk towards the door, my footsteps heavy, the sound light. I don't look down, I look at the door. I make it, I turn the door handle gently, a scraping noise echoes throughout the building as I do so. I wrench it open, the alleyway greets me. I go out into it, closing the door behind me.

It is silent. I look around, it is deserted, it is dark. I wait, I don't know what for, but I know I cannot run now, I must wait.

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