Chapter 1

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Author's Note:

This is a continuation of The Runner series. If you haven't read book 1 (The Runner) and book 2 (The Wastelands), check out my profile.

I hope that you enjoy the conclusion to Kay's adventures!

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We defeated the Madam's army, freed our people and destroyed the Irrigator, but to me, it was all for nothing.

I couldn't save him. The person who mattered most.

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My heart is in my throat. My legs burn from exertion and my lungs are filled with scratchy pellets of sand, but still I race onwards. I tear across the open expanse of desert, shoving my unruly red hair from my eyes as I run.

The ground below my feet drums with the reverberation of the chase. I glance back over my shoulder, feeling my jaw tighten as I register the sight. The Mech-Enforcers are relentless in their pursuit of me, their lumbering stride driving them easily over the uneven terrain. Unlike me, these robotic warriors will never slow, will never tire. As fast as I am, I have no hope of outrunning them.

Luckily, I'm not counting on that.

I grit my teeth, willing my breath to even and letting my body relax into a long, smooth stride. My sore muscles cry out in protest but I ignore them. Nearly there. I claw my way up the side of a dune, my leather-wrapped hands finding purchase in the shifting sand as I pull myself up and over the top.

Squinting into the sun-filled horizon, I can just make out my target. A dark, jagged scar cuts across the earth, severing the distant desert into two distinct halves. I yank my scarf up over my nose and stoop down low, sliding down the side of the dune at a reckless speed. Sand flies up into the air behind me, spraying into the faces of the Mechs. If they notice the sting they barely react, thundering onwards with their unknowing, unseeing gazes fixated on my every move.

I leap before I reach the bottom of the dune, propelling myself forward and gaining a few precious metres. My bad knee trembles but holds strong, dutifully steadying me as I regain my footing and take off for the chasm.

The landscape plateaus, turning from shifting dunes into hard-packed dirt. I ignore the constriction in my chest as the sound of pounding feet grows louder. They're getting closer. Soon, I'll be within reach. Mentally calculating the distance between the gap and my mechanical pursuers I actively fight against my instincts and force myself to slow. For this plan to work, the Mechs will have to be practically on top of me.

A dark shadow rushes forward as the cliff makes itself known, impossibly wide and deep. With an army of mechanical soldiers behind me and a bottomless gorge ahead, my only option seems to be an ill-fated leap into certain death.

Luckily, I'm not counting on that.

A lone tree grips gamely to the side of the crevasse, its branches stark against the piercing blue sky. I hurtle past it and ready myself for the inevitable.

Moments from the cliff edge and a hair's breadth from a sword's point, I feel my body relax into an almost trance-like state. My heartbeat slows and my breath comes more easily. I plant my foot on the ledge, visualize myself completing an impossible jump, and leap.

There is a light brush of air against my back as the Mechs tumble into the chasm. I keep my arms outstretched, my gaze turned upwards while the earth disappears below me. The moment extends into infinity and I feel myself a part of the sky, weightless, unencumbered and completely, utterly free.

The Rain (Part III of the Runner Series)Where stories live. Discover now