It was a bright and warm day in the land of Elkadesh, filtered rays of blue-tinted sunlight fell gracefully past bright green leaves onto the earth. A scarce amount of foliage and twigs covered the forest floor where Jalthea crept. She tiptoed across the dry, summer ground in great anticipation. Her immature and childish face barely flinched to maintain absolute silence and go undetected. She held her breath, to avoid making any noise. A drop of sweat formed on her forehead and fell from her chestnut toned hair, down to her soft chin. Without making a sound, she approached a thick brown tree. Her small, tanned hand embraced the trunk as she turned her head from the left to the right. Her undeveloped frame moved slowly around the tree, hugging its bark with her back. She continued to creep along the forest floor until she saw a field hidden behind a series of branches.

The meadow was completely lit by the grace of the afternoon sun. With excitement, she quickly exhaled from what seemed to be the longest breath she had ever taken. She took a bold step forward, with her neck still tense and her head low, when suddenly; snap. The shrill, antagonistic noise caused her ears to ring. This one sound disturbed the silence of the entirety of the surrounding environment. Her heart stopped and her eyes widened, she could almost hear the blood rushing through her veins. She looked down at her little bare feet and saw it; a broken twig beneath her foot. She inhaled a short and loud gasp of air into her lungs and hoped the sound of the snapping twig had gone unheard. She knew, however, that her hope was absolutely futile. She knew the sound had not gone unheard.

Without giving herself a single moment of thought or consideration as to how to proceed with clandestinity and tact; she projected herself into a full force sprint. She ran past a few trees and approached the shield of branches, which seemed to protect the sunlit plain ahead. She knew she could be faster if running in an open field, not having to avoid the occasional grounded tree or fallen branch. Unfortunately for her, she did not consider the unavoidable truth that the same terranean advantage would apply to her pursuer. She could hear him. Amidst her sharp breaths, panting, and hastened running, she could hear the loud footsteps of the one chasing her not far behind. A man, with tensed muscles and a fierce face. Jalthea was a mere child thus there could be no conceivable way she could outrun the man. This thought, however, did not cross her focused mind. She was set on the field ahead. Covering her face with her arms, she launched herself into an ambiguous leap. She momentarily soared through a small space of air, as she broke out from behind the barrier of branches.

Reaching the other side, her feet touched the ground and her arms tore from her face and back to her side. She began her accelerated trek on foot once again. Jalthea had no chance to marvel at the features of the field she had entered. She did, however, notice the small plain of knee-high grass was completely surrounded by trees. She would, in just a few moments, be in the centre of the oval-shaped meadow and a few moments after, she would be surrounded by the forest once again. She could hear the branches break apart behind her as her chaser entered the field.

Jalthea let out a subtle shriek in between one of her quick and stunted breaths. She had almost reached what seemed to be the middle of the plain when she felt a sharp and sudden pain surge throughout her entire leg, beginning at her toes. As she was bringing her leg forward in a sprinting stride she had struck a solid object with the attributes of a rock. The sudden disruption to her fleeing caused her to plummet to the ground. Her elbows hit the grassy earth first, followed by her face and the rest of her body. She could feel the hot sting of a bruised and bloody leg radiating from her shin. Jalthea knew she could spend no time in vain. She quickly got to her feet and reignited her fleeing. Her tiny body hadn’t even advanced a single foot before she realized she was too late.

The time she spent on the ground, even if for a single moment, had allowed her pursuer enough time to catch up to her. She could feel two strong, large hands grasp her waist. Effortlessly, she was hoisted off of the ground while she let out the loudest scream her exhausted lungs could conjure. Her body spasmed in hopes to break free while her legs relentlessly kicked the air in front of her. The adrenaline fled from her body and she let out a short cough, followed by a bellowing session of laughter. She smiled as she was returned to the floor of the grassy meadow. She was gently forced down on her back, with her face towards the veiled sun. Amidst her giggling and panting, she belted, “You got me!”

E, Jalthea’s pursuer, laughed with her and found his place lying next to her, gazing into the blue, watery sky.