Behind Tern and Grace, the town grew small in the dark night. With hands clasped tightly, they ran for their lives into the wilderness.
Cast out into the dangers of wild, reaching the ancient forest was the only hope of survival. Stories of the magic and the realm beyond had long held sway with their people. No one came back from the world beyond their sanctuary. Predators that outmatched their own strength were hunting them, and the sound of their cries on the wind meant they were catching up.
Across hilly grasslands they fled, hearts pounding, muscles screaming as the howling cries closing in.
Forbidden and far from home, the old forest loomed in the distance.
Exhausted, Grace pulled Tern to a stop.
“I can’t go on.”
He pulled her close as the cold wind stung. “We have to, there is no choice now. It is this or death.”
Holding tight to him, his pain and tears made her heart clench. Another howl made them turn to the blackness behind, their home long out of sight.
“I’m sorry I did this to us. To you. You could have been bound to someone else by now.”
“I’m not sorry. We will make it, and hope. But we must move, now.”
With that, he pulled her behind him, the ground sloping down, and they neared the trees. Rushing into the wood, the bracken dry underfoot, sheltered from the wind, they kept their courage.
In the distance, a faint light shone, and they headed for it, leaping over fallen trees, dodging branches.
Strength surged with the end before them. Their pursuers made the woods. Tern held Grace’s hand tighter.
The precipice hung over water beneath it, mist hovered, filtering light that shone upward.
“This is it,” Tern panted as they came to a stop.
Grace heaved her breath as she peered over the edge.
“What if there’s nothing? What if it is just a story?”
“Then we die together, on our terms. We did nothing wrong, but make our own match and fall in love, but it’s done now.” He cupped her face, taking a last kiss.
“We were enemies once.” She said softly, even though the noises grew louder. “I remember thinking how much I hated you.”
“I thought you were cold.”
“I’d rather live like this than have lived without you.”
They looked at each other, then Grace took his hand, and with a nod, they ran forward, leaping into the unknown.
word count: 411 words.