It was like the beating of a drum echoing loudly within his ears, the solitary rhythm of death, leaving him breathless and afraid.

The ground sped by quickly beneath his feet, a stumble on a particularly viscous root, the angry rustle of the forests undergrowth and his desperate panting the only sounds that reached his ears. And like a thundering giant Thadeous was in pursuit, each step loud and intimidating, the crackle of approaching strides on damp twigs; the rain Courtney had so happily relished earlier now an unknowing enemy, it's puddles reflecting his slight form weaving and ducking when they spelled his doom.

A roar, defeating in his exhaustion and furious made him cry out and cold fear mixed with boiling adrenaline. He started to slow, his body betraying him, his fatigue causing him to hesitate in stride and then something from behind took him off his feet. The ground was surprisingly soft, its stones cradling him as he rolled head over heels before he came to a sudden halt and screamed. Thick fingers were in his hair, pulling and dragging him across the now unforgiving forest soil. Blindly Courtney crawled according to the tug of his hair.

Suddenly his hands were sinking into deep mud and cold water over took his wrists. A second to think, maybe less, before Thadeous ruthlessly forced his head down, submerging his face in the water, holding him down with strong arms, arms that had once held him, caressed him, used him.

It all meant nothing now. Courtney thrashed as his air ran out and a lighter, though still strong, body sat on his back; no doubt Thadeous' spoiled brother, aiding in the killing he had knowingly put into action. He tried to buck but his movement was feeble, strained as finally he was forced to open his mouth and inhale a great breath of water. His lungs filled, felt heavy and his chest constricted as his thrashing ceased.

It was like the beating of a drum, echoing loudly within his ears, the solitary rhythm of death now laced with muted laughter, leaving him breathless and still.