My ratty sneakers sink into the mud as I run, my steps keeping time with the quick beat of my heart.
I duck, dodging a low branch overhead.
I run blindly through the foliage, my arms covered with tiny cuts from the sharp twigs, dew sticking my clothing and hair to my skin.
My foot falls into a pool of watery mud, and my left sneaker is yanked off of my foot. I don't turn back to grab it.
I step on a rock with my unprotected foot, and pain shoots up my leg. But I don't cry out. My brain barely registers the feeling.
I see the thick trees separate ahead, and I spot a tall fence in my way.
But I cannot turn back.
Without even glancing behind me, I reach up, and pull myself onto the fence. My wet shoe slips on the wiry metal, so I kick it off with my other foot. My toes cling to the metal as I climb the fence like a ladder, easily finding spaces for my feet.
Soon, I have reached the top. I glance over the other side. Whoa, this is tall, maybe around fifteen feet off the ground! I realize that I wouldn't have been able to climb the fence so easily if it weren't for the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
Before I can stop to consider the safety of the action, I leap off of the fence, my feet planting at least six inches deep in the muddy ground.
I glance up now. A magnificent mansion looms before me.
I dare not go in.
I turn, and dash to my right, following the fence around the house. I cannot see where it ends.
Suddenly, I hear a muffled gasp, and following it, a sharp thwing! I turn my head to face the sound, and instinctively, my hands reach up to cover my face as I see a silver arrow streaking towards my head.
I find myself still in that stance; my hands up, my head turned away, my body curled into an awkward "S" shape, but nothing is happening. I open my eyes, tentatively, to see a gleaming arrow floating only inches from my hand.
My breathing slows down, only to start up again. The arrow is unmoving, balancing on air.
Time is not standing still. I can still hear chirps and scurries emitting from the forest behind me. No, there is only one explanation for this endeavor.
I shriek, the sound ringing through the air loud and clear. It is happening again.
As if the sound waves knock it down, the arrow falls straight to the ground.
"Who are you?"
I glance up. Standing about 50 feet from me is a tall girl, a silver bow aimed at me.
She has blonde hair, braided down the side of her head with a silver circlet. On her face is an expression of pure determination, and her jaw is set.
"I said, who are you?" She repeats.
I can't find my voice. My mouth involuntarily opens, then closes again.
"Aunt Midnight!" The girl yells. I hear a muffled response from inside.
A woman walks briskly around from what I assume is the front of the house. She looks simple enough.
That is, until she sees me. She breaks into a run, heading towards me, a curved sword in one hand, and a bulky gun in the other.
Well, as every intelligent person would be, I am absolutely terrified. I run in the opposite direction, continuing my mad dash left, until suddenly, another girl stands in my path.
She swings two sharp knives in her hands, and the updraft lifts her dark hair a bit. "Where do you think you're going, punk?"
Out of options, I sprint towards her. Just before I plow into her, I hit the ground, hard, sliding underneath her legs in the dewy grass.
But before I can even get to my feet again, the girl has grabbed the back of my hoodie. With ease, she lifts me up, swinging me over her head to slam to the ground in a heap at her feet.
She pushes me flat on the ground, standing painfully on my stomach. Her knives are now replaced with a handgun, which she happily holds against my head.
"Who are you, and how did you find this place?" she growls, kicking me in the side.
I moan, although I had barely felt in when her foot had made contact.
Blood pounds in my ears. My vision takes on a rosy tinge.
Someone else's face looms over me, blocking the remaining light of the dipping sun. I can hear the person speak, but the sound is distorted, as if I'm underwater.
The red grows stronger, until I can't see anything else. Just red; violent, painful, loud, and red.
And suddenly, black.