Was I leaving a trail?
Would the scarlet spatters show against the confetti of colors on the ground?
When I stopped, just for a second, the rough brown texture of tree bark felt like a scream against my cheek.
I leaned and exhaled.
And tried to inhale.
A whimper escaped my lips.
Just a tiny sound.
“Careful. Careful!” I warned myself softly.
He was closer now. Too close.
I could hear his sing-song voice surround me like a taunt filled fog.
“Ollie-Ollie-oxen-free! Try to get home…just try,” he chanted.
I sobbed in terror against my blood-crusted fist.
Then I ran.
The leaves crunched under my boots…
…until they didn’t.