"To be immortal is commonplace; except for man, all creatures are immortal, for they are ignorant of death; what is divine, terrible, incomprehensible, is to know that one is immortal."-Jorge Luis Borges

It's become so I can tell when they're close.

The instinct to survive, to live free, out of a cage, honed to a needle that stabs deep into my veins when they're catching up with me, something that tells me to keep on running.

I can taste their hatred, the thirst that drives them like hounds after an animal.

At night I dream about that cage they have in mind for me, the walls closed around me. I wake gasping for air, suffocating in the prison, the darkness I'm locked in.

I'd rather die than live like that. If I could die, could age like a man should.

I guess like everyone I thought about the fountain of youth once or twice. But no one ever told me that immortality flowed in a man's veins.

My veins.

Or the lengths people would go to just to obtain a drop of the blood within.

They're like all people I suppose. Afraid of death, of sickness, of age. Thirsty for eternal life.

They're so close now I can hear the sounds of their voices. I throw myself forward and roll down the embankment into the darkness.

I hear the crack of bone as I land, feel the pain wrap around my arm. I cradle it against me, holding my breath, waiting.

They pass close, right above me, their flashlights skimming the road at my back. Somehow, fate, chance, I'll never know, they miss the ground where I lie.

They move on, heading back into the woods, voices echoing long after them like disembodied memories from the past.

I find my feet and run toward the road, my arm hanging limp at my side. A trickle of blood smears my sleeve, drips down my hand, and splashes onto the pavement.

It's a confirmation that I've made it through one more day, one more night. I've lived free one day out of an eternity.

Tonight they will not drink.