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Run, run that's all I can think of as my feet carry me across the woods, the clear night sky brimming with stars lighting my way in the darkness. I stop and hide behind a tree to catch my breath and to look down at the sleeping baby wrapped in my arms hoping he's okay. Caden was thankfully still asleep. I look down at myself, my blouse and jeans are covered in sweat, my bare feet are bloody from all the twigs and rocks digging into them. I move some strands of my hair out of my face and fix the blanket wrapped around Caden, making sure his head is covered. I steal a glance at the wedding band on my ring finger fighting back the tears that threaten to surface, wishing David was alive. I take one more deep breath and resume running.

I should have known something was wrong when Keith invited me on this camping trip. Ever since David died six months ago Keith had been acting strange trying to get me to go out with him. Even after I told him that I was in no mood for a relationship so soon after David died and with Caden to take care of he kept acting clingy and touchy whenever he was around me. But I couldn't just cut him out completely, he was David's best friend, and now it's too late. NO, I can't think like that I have to think about Caden, I hold him close and keep running.



Oh no, he's so close, I've got to keep moving. There must be a ranger's station or somebody in these woods that can help. I come up to a steep hill. If a can find a safe way down this could help put some much-needed distance between us.


Hot searing pain hits my right shoulder forcing me over the edge. CADEN! I quickly turn myself into a ball, making sure I'm covering Caden with my whole body. As I roll down the hill I can feel the wood and rocks scrape against my body. A sudden excruciating pain pierces my side making me scream, just as my back is slammed against a tree knocking the wind and of me. I slowly open my eyes my body lying on its side. My first thought is to check Caden. I look at the bundle in my arms, miraculously he's okay. I let out a sigh of relief and that's when the pain hits me. I'm covered with cuts and my clothes are torn from the fall. I look over at my shoulder to see a hole in it, blood spilling out. The bastard shot me! I go to move, but an excruciating pain in my side stops me. I look down to see a large splinter of wood sticking through my abdomen, blood just pouring out. I hold Caden in one arm, using my free hand to pull the splinter out, as I do I let out an ear-splitting scream. The pain was unbearable, but adrenalin and thoughts of keeping Caden safe kept me conscious. I drop the splinter and put pressure on the wound with my hand, I move into a sitting position using the tree as support.


The sound of a twig snapping makes me look up, and I see Keith standing there, out of breath with a rifle in his hands, his jeans and shirt covered with sap and sweat. His face is covered with blood from the four slashes I made with my nails, from when he tried to force himself on me.

"You shouldn't have run Karen, look at the mess you've made." His voice was calm, but I could hear the anger behind it.

Keith looks at me with a disgusting smile "Your losing too much blood now, the only sensible thing to do would be to put you both out of your misery."

"Go to hell Keith." Using both arms to cover Caden, Keith just chuckles.

"That's what I always liked about you Karen, you were always a tough one, David wasn't man enough to handle you. You needed someone like me to break you in."

"You'll never be man enough for me or be half the man David was! He was a doctor and cared about people. You're just a drunk fry cook, you always were and always will be a leech who sponged off David!" I yell back at him his insult towards David making me angry.

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