Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Girl in the Night - Part 2 - Flight

<< Return to part 1 - Sarah <<

When Sarah fled her home, at first she was chased only by the ghost of her fallen love, but it was not long before men chased her too. When her senseless screams had run out of breath and her feet had fallen into a steady rhythm, she would hear the horses galloping after her.
Her father, she knew, would have sent people out to search for her. There was probably even a reward posted for her safe return to him. But she couldn't go back. She wouldn't survive if she had to go back. The salt laden air would drown her.
It had been easy for them to follow her at first. The echo of her screams as she ran had surely woken nearly everyone she passed through the city, and once in the wilderness her careless passage and constant falls had left an easy trail for all to find.

With the events of the evening playing through her mind, Sarah ran through the night and into the small hours of the morning. She tripped and fell many times, and eventually she didn't get back up. Exhaustion overtook her and she lay sprawled on her face in the leaf litter. Exhaustion and sorrow drowned her in sleep for the remainder of the night and much of the following day.
In the late afternoon she was jolted from sleep by the muffled sound of hooves, crunching trough the leaves close by.
She froze, panic flooding trough her veins.
The fear leapt up inside her and urged her to run, to flee from this captor who would drag her back to her father, to the wedding announcement that she had barely escaped with her life.
She knew her father would miss her, but she simply couldn't face it. The scenarios that played out in her head when she heard those hoof falls all ended in humiliation. She had been a queen with William on her arm. She could not return as a peasant without him.
With her heart racing in her chest Sarah took a careful inventory of her body. It was aching and sore from the unprecedented exercise of the previous night, but she discovered that the pain was bearable.

The horse was coming closer and Sarah could hear the soft hum of the man on it's back. The sound of the man struck her to the core. It was the voice of Lord Henry. The voice of the man who had stolen everything from her.
The panic had transformed into terror at the sound of his voice and Sarah could contain herself no longer.
She scrambled to her feet and fled deeper into the forest, giving no heed to the startled whinny of the horse, or the angry yell of the man as she rose from almost nothing right beneath them.

Although Sarah was sore, and the horse was fresh and sprightly, the close packed trees and dense shrubs of the forest made the horse and riders progress slow and cumbersome.
Cursing at his horse, and at Sarah's fleeing back Lord Henry dismounted and began to chase her down on foot. Being a large strong man, it was like the under brush parted for him as he swept through it.
"Sarah! Come back here girl! I'm going to catch you anyway, best not to make it harder on yourself!", the voice rang out behind her. The predator taunting it's prey.
The anger in his voice spurred her on. She couldn't let him catch her. God only knew what he would do. She might meet the same fate as her beloved and not even make it back to her father.

Despite her efforts she felt him gaining behind her. The brambles snagged in her hair, her clothes, he skin. She traded the golden strands from her head, the cloth from her dress, and pieces of her perfect flesh in exchange for each step.
Her breathing ragged, she surged through the ocean of green. Green tangles at her feet, green branches in her face, green leaves above her head, and a man, a man pursuing behind her.

Just as he reached his hand out to take her, she felt the vegetation thinning out just ahead.
The clear sunlight striking spears of gold through the suffocating green seemed like a blessing. Somehow she knew that if she could just make the clearing she would be free.
With a final leap she escaped the dense vegetation.
There was a moment when she hung in the air. Perfectly still. Suspended like a star in the endless blue sky. Then she fell.
The thick vegetation had hidden the cliff edge from view until the very second that she had flown over it.

Lord Henry was saved from the same fate by the few steps that he had trailed behind her. As he saw her falling he grasped the thick vegetation and skidded to a halt on the cliff edge. Grasping a sapling for safety he watched Sarah as she flew through the air, and the clear blue water rushed up to meet her.

>> Continue to part 3 - Insight >>

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