He ran through the forest as if his life depended on it. And, in a way, it did. Artix wasn't the fastest kid in the village, nor the tallest. Even as long as he'd been running he couldn't be very far from the village.

From his home. From...The monsters.

The crackle of the leaves underneath his feet sounded deafening as he ran. With his heart pounding in his chest and his arms thumping across nearly every sapling he came near as he ran, it seemed like everthing in the world could hear him. He knew they could. They were just waiting for the right moment to attack.

His thighs were on fire but he couldn't stop running. He wasn't far enough away. Not yet—he could still smell that rot and that smoke. There wasn't any time to waste resting, it was almost dawn. He had to keep going.

He had to survive. For them. For everyone he'd had to—

Atrix blinked back the tears. No. He couldn't cry now. It was hard enough to see already in the Doomwood twilight, he couldn't afford to let the tears impede his vision even further.

The wolves' howls grew fainter as he ran, but he didn't notice. He couldn't hear it. He had to focus. He had to keep running.

He had to survive. And he would. For them. For all of them.