It took Justin around half an hour to escape the woods after escaping the Bellisario house. There were moments he stopped to catch his breath, but those moments were fleeting. He couldn't risk being caught and he had to save his friends. A primal instinct took over Justin whenever he felt himself running out of energy. He couldn't stop.

Once he reached the last set of trees and entered the street nearest the border of the woods, he felt some kind of unsatisfying relief. The hard part was over, but now he had Tiffany to save and he had no idea where to find her. He thought about going to the Hawkins mansion but she barely spent time there anyway. The Pandora Café would be closed. He thought of all the things he had been through that night and assumed Tiffany would have been through worse.

His thoughts turned to the hospital, thinking maybe she would be there if she was hurt and no doubt she would be.

He sped off again, the brief pause helping him recover his stamina. The streetlamps provided some feeling of safety, but the empty houses on the street dashed his hopes.

He kept running. He'd pick up the pace when he thought maybe he was being followed but couldn't help slowing down a little when his heart leaped up this throat. His chest burned. He was not as physically fit as Eric who would have been perfect for this.

Justin felt his spirits lift when he saw a payphone, thinking he could call his parents for help. He ran to it and entered the box. He picked the phone up, ready to dial the number, but stopped when he remembered he had not one scrap of money on him.

Somebody walked down the other side of the street. Justin exited the box and shouted over to them. "Excuse me, do you have any change?"

The person, a middle-aged woman, kept walking despite hearing Justin's plea. He could see her in the light of the lamps. She didn't look familiar to him so he assumed she was either selfish or she had heard his story on the news. She was kind of smart to stay away from him.

Justin didn't ask again and let her walk away. He stepped back into the glass box and closed the door. Emergency calls were free. He knew phoning the police could be a bad idea, especially after Christina's warning of what happened when she did it the week before, but he had to do something.

He dialled the number for the emergency services. Once the ringing tone began, he looked around. He caught someone approaching from the bottom of the street. The figure was shrouded in dark until he entered a beam of light from a descending street lamp.

It was Byron.

"Shit," Justin yelled as he let go of the phone and scrambled to open the door to the phone box. An operator's voice suddenly sounded but Justin didn't have time to stay where he was. Byron was fast approaching, running at a steady pace, one Justin thought would allow him to be caught if he didn't move fast enough.

The door almost jammed on Justin but he managed to pry it open with ease. He barrelled out of the box and down the street. Byron continued to follow, stalking him, like a vulture waiting for somebody to die.

The more streets Justin ran down, the more civilised it looked. More lights were on in houses, but the pavements and roads were still deserted. He wasn't too far from the Town Square, even though it would take him longer to reach the hospital if he took that detour. When he glanced behind his shoulder, he realised he would never make it to the hospital; Byron was catching up.

Another burst of energy roared Justin into life. His thighs scorched the jeans he wore, his speed now giving him a little distance between him and his pursuer. His panting grew louder, more violent.

The chase continued for a couple more blocks before he reached the Town Square. There were several people walking around for late night takeaways and drinking at some of the pubs that welcomed their disgraceful behaviour. Drunk people made Justin extremely nervous, but he needed help. Desperately.

Ashes of the Innocent (Abyssal Sanctuary #2)Read this story for FREE!