The metallic scent in the air made her feel she would never outrun the snarls and
howls that chased her through the woods. Logic pointed out the blood was on her so
why wouldn’t they be able to follow? A blink to clear her vision had blood sliding down to
replace the sweat beading along her brow. It made her eyes burn but swiping it with the
back of her hand was useless. Blood and grime coated her fingers, almost as much as
A sharp pain stabbed through her stomach, forcing her to double over. One hand
braced against her stomach in an attempt to comfort her unborn daughter except the
familiar kick didn’t come. She bit back a sob and pushed herself up, beginning to hobble
along to the best of her abilities. Her lips moved in a silent prayer, aware of the blood
running down her arm in fat globs from the torn mess of her shoulder.
The sound of a triumphant howl raised goosebumps on her flesh as she
stumbled forward. Oblivious to the rocks and sticks stabbing the tender soles of her
sock-clad feet, she stumbled on and tried to dismiss the sound of running paws and
menacing growls that seemed to surround her.
It was faint and distant but ever closer as she ran. Her chest burned with pain,
her feet ached, and her own fear threatened to choke her. Blood continued to drip into
her eyes, from her shoulder, and onto the ground in a visible trail; however, she had
neither the strength nor the time to bother hiding it as her stomach was assaulted with a
fresh wave of pain.
Stumbling out of the tree line, she darted toward the house. Every muscle she
possessed screamed with agony and her toes burned with numbness from the cold
night air. It took everything she had to stumble onto the porch, a hand still searching for
a sign of life from her daughter except she felt nothing.
Where there had once been a solid, reassuring kick against her fingers, she felt
nothing. A rough sob escaped as she managed to close her blood-stained fingers
around the edge of the screen door. It swayed under her touch, slamming the door jam
as her hands fell away, and she sank down with a cry of pain.
“Help.” The word came out a hoarse croak as she curled up, forehead against
the cool wood and arms curled against her stomach, though the ability to stay conscious
became difficult while the door began to open. “Please, help . . . the baby’s coming . . .”