Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined


By @ZoeAmber


WARNING: This story contains adult themes. Subjects discussed ahead, such as physical and sexual assault, abusive behaviours and/or violence, may be triggering or upsetting for some readers. Discretion is advised.

It wasn’t supposed to end here. Not like this. However, our time was running out; the last specks of sand now descending through the hour glass. We had always been running on borrowed time, I guess I just hadn’t realized. Perhaps, it was a miracle we had made it this far to begin with.

I squeeze Maya’s hand in mine as we run toward the forest. The bright reds and blues saturating the tempered blackness of the night around us. Our lungs are bursting, screaming for air. The packs on our backs weigh us down for every step we take, but we continue on, legs beyond tired. She can barely keep up, but I know if she falters for even a second, they’ll grab hold of her before I can pull her back to her feet. We can hear the retched snarl of the police dogs from behind, the sound polluting the air. They’re almost upon us.

We hit the tree line first at breakneck speed. If we can navigate our way through it, we can lose them here. The police lights burn shapes into my eyes, making it difficult to see the path, and I just barely clip against a tree because of it. Maya pulls me out of the way just in time, but the rough bark slices open the skin on my arm. We hear their shouts behind us. They’ve gained a few feet during the chase, right on our heels. I can already see the break in the woods ahead where it meets a road. If we clear these trees, we’ll be too open on the road until we pass into the next section of forest. I try to think quickly and can’t find another escape plan, so I motion to Maya and she nods.

They’re too close, only a few feet behind us now. Suddenly the two of us break off from one another and split up. Her hand leaves mine as we dart in opposite directions. We finally lose them and I hide against a tree. I hear them stop and try to split up to survey the nearby trees in two groups. Flashlights ignite about 20 feet to my right and I head back down the direction we came so I can circle back for her. I spot her from about 70 feet away, pressing her back against an oak. She clamps a hand over her mouth to quiet her breathing, sliding onto the ground. If I can just get to her, we can sneak past them and cross the road into the next part of the woods. She finally spots me and her eyes go wide as the light from a flashlight curls around the tree I’m leaning against. I silently shimmy around the trunk as the flashlight moves on but when I turn my eyes back to Maya, one of them is already right behind her.

I scream out to her without thinking and she catapults off of the ground onto her feet. The lights behind me snap back around as I take off toward her. But it’s too late, the man locks an arm around her and pulls her arms behind her back, signalling to the rest of his group. Shouts erupt from behind me now, pointing out my location as someone tries to lock her wrists against her back. I can see her in the light of my pursuer’s flashlights now. She screams out for me to run, thrashing against the man holding her, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Stop!” One of the others screams, the dogs growling ferociously. “Stop now!”

I know I can’t do that, so I continue toward her. A fury ignites in me as they pull zip-ties tightly around her wrists. I reach out to her desperately, thinking maybe I can tear her from their grasp. But there’s no use. I’m just 10 feet away when they let the dog loose. It digs it’s teeth deep into my shoulder blade and I go down hard on my chest, colliding with the forest floor. She screams as she drops to her knees and my body is swarmed with officers. I know now, once and for all, that this is over.

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