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Countdown Til Dawn
December 12th, 2014 by Coral

This is what I wrote in response to a writing prompt. The prompt was to write a scene that involved a count down. I used a character from part of a story I’m working on and this is what I got.

Ten.

I gasp for air, stumbling through the thick bramble. Thorns and broken branches scratch my face and arms, but I ignore them. I have to make it back before dawn breaks. I have only seconds left, the faint glow is already making its appearance.

Nine.

I make the mistake of glancing back. My eyes can see perfectly in the dark, I see the first tendrils of dawn reflecting off of their pale feathers. My own sable wings are tucked to my back in an attempt not to catch them on the thorns and slow me down.

Eight.

A root grabs my hand, snaking out from the hard packed dirt. It’s almost as if the forest is mocking me. The war is lost, I know, my people have lost, but that doesn’t’ mean I have to die today. I refuse to die.

Seven.

I pick myself up, forcing my muscles past the point where they scream for reprieve. Air stabs through my lungs as I crash through the forest. It seems to be getting thicker the farther I go. The harder I run, the slower I seem to move.

No. I will not let them have me.

Six.

Five.

Four.

The Stone Arch waits for me, welcoming me with the dark corridor beyond the threshold. I reach the clearing, unfurling my wings for a burst of speed. The gust of wind from their powerful beat propels me towards my destination.

Three.

Pain tears through my left wing, releasing a cry of pained outrage from me. Fresh, stick blood runs across the feathers, standing out crimson against black. I turn, pausing for the barest second, and tear out the barbed arrow. It was attached to a cord, no doubt to drag me back from the Arch.

Two.

The sound of their wings breaking through the trees sends a thrill of terror through my veins. I clutch my wing, the blood staining my hands. I make one last dive, a desperate attempt to save myself. Dirt and rocks scrape against my wounds, my entire body screaming.

One.

Dawn arrives, but too late to aid them. I roll into the shadow of the arch, wrapping the shadows around me like a cloak. The darkness envelops me, and I smile as I disappear from their sight. Their looks of outrage at losing their kill are enough to make me forget the pain for a moment.

It returns, however, and I am incapacitated. The muscles in my left wing have been shredded by the arrow, I may never fly again. And I am alone, no help is coming for me. They saw to that, the pale winged enemies.

My breathing slows as I try to slow the flow of blood, and I notice my hands are shaking. I have escaped them, but I do not know if I have survived.

Zero.

 


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