He could still hear the heavy panting behind him, but he didn't dare look back, for fear of tripping. All he did was kept running, running, his feet pounding over the pavement of Champs-Élysées. The cold winter air bit at his bare hands and face, making his eyes water. With only the eerie yellow glow of the street lamps to guide him, he charged on in the dead of night, the usually bustling avenue completely empty except for maybe a few homeless men, who didn't give a damn one way or another than he was being chased by a giant, lumbering beast.

His lungs were on fire as he skidded around a corner, nearly losing his footing on the slick, polished stone of the walking path, made more treacherous by the fresh dusting of snow that was falling lazily from the sky, an ironic contrast to his frantic dash for his life.

Behind him, the panting suddenly ceased, and there was a loud crash, startling him to an abrupt halt and making him slip up on the icy ground, crashing down on his backside.

At first, he was terrified to turn and see what had caused the commotion, but, finally, worked up the courage and turned around, bracing himself for what he might find.

Long, scrambling claw marks were visible over the sidewalk and street, ending in a pile of snow, first accumulated there by the plows and knocked down by whatever had left the marks.

He considered simply running, but an unusual feeling told him that something was off, and he should go take a look.

His usually jittery disposition for once melting away, he trotted over to the snowbank. There was no visible movement from across the street, but as he approached, a figure came into view. The figure of a very unconscious, very still, and very beautiful...