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Thump, thump, thump. My heart beat fast, desperately trying to pump blood through my heavily bruised, cut body. The blindfold slowly slipped down my face, the bright sunlight blinding me. I immediately closed my eyes but didn’t stop running. It took me a moment to adjust, but when I did, I saw a paradise, an oasis. Running water, birds chirping and other kinds of animals could be heard not far from where I was. But what captivated me the most was the green lush mountain ranges full of trees, with the sun resting between mountains.

I quickened my pace until each step became leaps, my feet flying over the green grass. I could feel the wind whip my hair back from my face. Overwhelmed with emotions, I screamed freedom the way William Wallace did in Braveheart before he was decapitated. The air started to feel light, the hair on my body no longer standing up and the chills fading away the moment the ground I was running on became wet and soft. I knew I had escaped, I knew I was safe so I stopped running but my feet kept going. I tripped and fell onto the dewy grass. As I touched the green grass, calmness started to wash over me.

“Haha,” I laughed, relieved. “Hahaha!”

I hugged the ground and rolled over to lay on the grass to rest. I laid there, thinking about how peaceful everything had become. It was all quiet. The beating of the blades in my ears had gone, and the pain in my chest disappeared.

“It’s over.” I smirked and started laughing out loud again.

I sat up and looked at the horizon. I felt like I was on cloud nine. I started running again, but this time I took the time to appreciate my surroundings. I ran around flinging my arms in the air, not minding that I was fully naked. I skipped around. I felt light, like a cotton ball, like a dandelion seed being blown away by someone. Delighted, I jumped around and realized I could fly. So, I flew up the sky and pierced through cloud after cloud until I exhausted myself. The lake below me glistened as it reflected the light coming from the sun.

I watched as the sun set and everything slowly succumbed to darkness. My smile faded, and my anxiety came back. I felt my stomach churn and my guts twist.

‘What if the forest swallowed me again after dark? I don’t want to experience that again, it felt like hell.’

Enveloped in fear, I flew towards the sun. I planned to catch it, to hold it in my arms so that this paradise did not fall into darkness. I pushed harder and flew faster. The cold air bit into my lungs but I didn't mind. Adrenaline coursed through my veins as a thin layer of sweat covered the nape of my neck. I reached my hands out as if welcoming a long-lost friend onto my arms. But I was too late; my ability to fly nullified as the sun hid behind the mountain.

My eyes shut tight as I started to fall into the dark pit of the lake. There was nothing that could stop my fall as gravity pulled me down. After a long, sheer drop, I felt a whiplash on my back as I flopped on the water. I could not comprehend how, but my body slammed to the bottom of the lake onto a pointy rock. It pierced through me, and blood escaped my body. Out of nowhere, a sharp wind penetrated the lake, and the water parted. The tornado-like wind rapidly went down and struck me right through my heart. I laid there, with a hole both in my back and in my chest, in emptiness. My eyes were wide open, not feeling anything, emotionally or physically.

With the water parted, I saw lights appear in the sky, twinkling like stars. Suddenly, a surge of pain enveloped me. I cried out loud as I felt my insides burning. I curled myself into a fetal position in an attempt to control the pain. I writhed in pain for who knows how long; all I knew was the moment it stopped. My body, drenched in sweat, let exhaustion take over as the blinding light appeared yet again and a warm feeling of human touch enveloped my whole body.

Then it all went black.

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Manyana Hobbit

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