Chapter 3

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| Chapter 3

Valerie Kite was on her morning run when she saw a man stumbling around far down the packed dirt trail.

Great, some drunk dude who didn’t find his way home from a party. This always happens on Mondays, she thought.

She loved this trail for it’s seclusion, walled in by tall pine trees and much softer than running on pavement. The only problem was, that part of it went behind a neighborhood that was notorious for parties, and every once in awhile she’d come someone plastered stumbling through the woods. She almost turned around, but she didn’t want to let it ruin her run. Valerie was all about routine. She got up every weekday morning before school and went for a run. Then she got ready and stopped at the gas station on her way to school where the cute guy sold her a bran muffin and a cup of coffee. She studied the man’s stride to see how much of a threat he might prove to be.

It’s not like he’ll be able to catch me. He can barely stay on his feet, Valerie thought, so she kept running. As she came closer she changed her mind about the partier. He was old, and dressed in some kind of ripped up gown. Her heart went out to him. He looked lost and in need help. She ran up to him, paused her stopwatch, and leaned down to look him in the eyes.

“Hello sir. Are you okay? What are you doing out here all alone? You look like you could use some help.”

The didn’t look up at her, but he grabbed her. Valerie thought it was to steady himself, but then he pulled her down. She hit the ground and cried out in pain, but no one was around to hear her. She felt his old hands grab her left leg with a surprisingly strong grip. Then it happened. To Valerie’s horror the next thing she felt was dull teeth biting down into her leg until it broke the skin. She thrashed but he was far too strong. He held her down against the dirt trail and bit into her leg. She screamed for help. Then the man let go of her and stood up, continuing down the path from the way she came. Valerie gathered the courage to look back at him. She was waiting for him to turn back and attack her again, but he just kept stumbling away. She was still crying hard, but her fear was suddenly replaced with rage.

“Why did you do that?” she screamed.

She stood and looked around for something to throw at him. It didn’t take her long to find a rock the size of her head. She limped over and picked it up. Each time she put weight on her injured leg fresh pain shot through her, but she was determined to get him back. She let the pain in her leg fuel her anger and she started to jog towards him. When she was about five feet away she stopped and yelled at him again.

“Hey! What are you doing? Why did you bite me?”

The man didn’t respond. He just kept shuffling away.

“I’m talking to you you freak!”

Still no response.

She started running towards him again, and then used the momentum to throw the large rock as hard as she could at him. She was sure she’d miss but to her surprise the rock sailed from her delicate fingers and smashed into the left side of his head. The sound it produced when it hit made her sick, and so did the blood that spurted down his face. She waited for him to turn around and come after her but he just kept walking. She screamed one last time, and then continued down the trail.

The trees seemed to be flying by much faster than she was used too, but she figured it was her nerves and adrenaline playing a trick on her. She couldn’t possibly be running as fast as it looked. She came to a tree with an orange 2 painted on it, and she knew that it was a mile marker. She started her stopwatch over, and ran. Before long she was at the familiar tree with an orange 2.5 spray painted on it. She had to be dreaming because it felt like she had only been running from the last painted tree for less than a minute. She looked at her watch. It read 0:46:17.

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