Eve felt the hot breath of her pursuer course over the skin of her neck and wrap itself around her throat. In a panic, she flung herself into a shallow ravine by the side of the path.
She lay with her face buried in the pine needles and mud until she heard the hunter pass. It had been an illusion--the sensation of breath on the nape of her neck--he had, in fact, been several minutes behind her. Still, she knew by the way her limbs shook and cramped that she could not have lasted much longer.
Once she was sure that he had overshot her completely, Eve rolled onto her back and allowed herself to let out the breath she had been holding. It turned into a guttural sob. She clamped one hand over her mouth but the tears wouldn’t stop. Soon her face was slick with tears and snot.
She sat up and hugged her knees, wiping her wet face on the torn jeans she had been wearing for a week. Stop it, you loser, she berated silently. With savage desperation, she bit the inside of her cheek to stop the flow of tears. It worked. Then, she heard a crunch in the undergrowth to her right. Eve froze and stared into the night shrouded trees. Another rustle. Eve’s breath caught and she came part-way to her feet poised to run, though her legs felt like rubber.
A third noise made her actually lift one leg to take off, but then, a grey and brown rabbit hopped from the cover of bushes to sniff daintily among the sparse grass. Eve collapsed back onto the ground with a soft groan of relief and exhaustion.
She lay there in a pile of sweat and quaking limbs for some time and then, without meaning to, fell asleep. A loud crash and a shout brought Eve awake with a sharp gasp. She jumped to her feet and looked around, her long dirty hair flying around her face.
“Run,” she whispered. But where? She didn’t know where the hunter was coming from. More importantly, she had no idea what she would be running toward. For all she knew, she could, in her panic, run right back to the mansion—to the assembly of sneering socialites who waited for her capture.
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