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I COULDN'T FEEL the wind anymore, just my heart pounding against my chest and the freezing air stinging my lungs with each burning breath.

"Which way are they coming from?"

"Left side!" Jeremey panted.

I whipped my head around as we darted through the field. Two yellow lights crept closer and closer.

"Maybe he hasn't seen the car," I wheezed. I turned my head back around, facing the direction of the pines in the distance. "It's parked in the other direction." I took another deep, painful breath. Daggers stabbed inside my lungs. The soles of my shoes pounded against the ground. "If we can make it to the woods, maybe we can sneak out without him catching us."


The trees were only about four hundred yards away. A quarter mile. It wasn't that far. We could make it. I focused on running as my lungs continued to burn. I lied to them and told them if they could get me to the woods, I'd quit smoking for good.

"Shit, Harper!" Jeremey shouted. "Get down!"

I spun my head around. Two bright lights blinded me, blurring into one seamless flash. I froze in place, a lone silhouette, like a ghost caught in the negative. The light was ice. Joshua was pulling into the driveway.


Without pausing another second, I dove to the ground, landing on my hands and knees. Pain shot thought my limbs, and my palms stung as sharp pebbles scrapped against the not quite healed scratches. I grimaced and let out a small whimper.

Jeremey turned his head back to face me. His eyes were wide in the moonlight, his pupils more dilated than I'd ever seen them, and I'd seen him pretty fucked up before. "Did he see you?"

"I don't know," I said.

"Stay low and follow me." Jeremey began to crawl along the ground, low enough to keep his body concealed by the tall, dry grass that grew like weeds as the field met the woods in the distance.

I crawled after him, making sure to keep my body down as the light blasted above our heads. My heart pounded in my chest, and my pulse throbbed in my hands. My palms were sticky and wet, but I wasn't sure if it was sweat, blood, or some combination of the two. They stung. I pulled the sleeves of my sweatshirt over them to provide some minimal protection. My lungs screamed at me, but I pushed myself to keep moving.

Only two hundred yards to go.

Dogs barked from the driveway—fifty yards away.

"Shit, shit, shit," Jeremey chanted as he crawled ahead of me.

Joshua's voice echoed in the distance, but it was a low tone. I couldn't make out any words.

More dogs barking.

They sounded closer.

I turned back around to face the house and the driveway. My eyes stretched wide, and I bit down on my tongue so hard I tasted blood. The two dogs were barreling towards us, snarling and barking as their legs pounded through the dirt, kicking up clouds.

"Jeremey, run!" I scrambled to my feet. I didn't care anymore if Joshua could see me. It was too late for that. The dogs were already on us. He knew they were chasing after something. It was only a matter of time before he figured out what.

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