Chapter One: Running
Cold water, briny and deep, bit at my waist as I moved through the darkness, through the moon-washed night. It was hard to keep my footing as the current tugged on me. My bare feet slipped and slid over the smooth, but somehow piercing, rocks lining the riverbed. Searchlights spun and glared through the fridged night and gunfire crackled through the air, but they weren't shooting at me, yet. I was pretty sure that they didn't even know I was here. I needed to get far away before they did.
There was a faint wind and screams were carried on it. It was a miserable thought, but I wished that the others would do their dying further away. One fo us had to escape and I had the best chance. Most of them still had their collars on. I got my collar off. Even less of them had slipped over the fence and down into the prickly underbrush. I had gotten over the fence and all the way down into the river. Others were blundering in my direction, leading Jack-booted soldiers with large automatic weapons to me. If they got any closer, I'd have to dive deep into the running current, let it drive me helplessly away. I didn't like the idea of being helpless.
Sticks snapped and dead leaves crunched aloud and for a moment, I wondered if the soldiers had shot one of the others dead, letting their body roll and pinwheel its way through the brush. It turned out not to be so. It was Macula. Macula was a moose of a man with a shaved head and shunken-in eyes, making him look like he was wearing his own skull. I didn't think that he would've been able to get this far, that he could've even got his collar off. He stole into the river, splashing wildly as he made his way towards me.
"Cherla, they're coming. The soldiers, they almost got me." Macula said, breathlessly. It was normally difficult for people to understand Macula. His nose had been smashed in at some point and had never healled properly. Him being breathlessly made it doublely difficult.
"Shut up." I hissed at him, ducking down low, putting the cold, churning waters at my chin. Macula didn't take my hint and kept standing. He scanned up the hill, studying the underbrush as if he was expecting others to imerge. That wasn't what we planned. It was everyone for themselves, everyone running in every direction. That way, at least one of us could make it out of the Northlands.
I started moving my way throguh the waters and away from Macula. If he wanted to get shot dead, then I'd let him. Hopefully, the soldiers would assume that Macula had followed the patterns of the others and was alone. Bullets zipped downward and into the riverwater. Macula shrieked aloud and started rushing towards me. I started rushing away from him until I couldn't. A bullet sliced through my leg like a hot knife through butter. I fell forward, into the water and for a moment, I breathed in the cold river. I rose up from the water as bullet whipped down into the river. I coughed the river out from my lungs as Macula ceased me about the shoulders, lifting up onto his shoulder and into easy firing range. I don't know how I ddin't die.
"Into the river, deeper into the river. Like it wash us away." I called Macula. Macula dove long and far, slamming backward into the faster currents. We were both washed away.
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