09 | Ashleys Asylum

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Sam shunted Michael off of him, hollering for him to stop.

"Wait a minute! WAIT!" 

Michael did after one last push, his nose and eyebrow bloody from the fight. Sam wiped at his mouth, removing some of the blood and saliva that clung to his chin. They stood breathing heavily for a moment before Sam managed to pant out a question.

"Where's Ashley?"

Michael looked around and clocked the front door open. Still trying to catch his breath he listened for tell tale signs of her. There were none.

"She's gone" he murmured whilst rubbing sweat off of his forehead.

They both stopped moving at that and turned to gaze at one another in the now deathly silence.






Running, stumbling, panting but never stopping.

Ashley didn't have her shoes on, so grit and broken splinters of glass had pierced her socks and the soles of her feet. She kept running, though, down the stairs of the desolate apartment block and then onto the streets. Torrential rain poured down, soaking her within seconds. It was like an apocalypse film set, everything was disused, overgrown and broken without a person in sight.

Finally, tears flooded her eyes, burning and blurring her vision as she forced herself to go on. Every turn brought up more blocks or dead ends. All she wanted to see was people. Her heart raged in her chest, aching for relief, but she was so desperate for safety. She had never been so desperate for something that it was like needing air before surfacing from the sea.

Recognising the graffiti on one building Ashley's heart soured. She was near the road they used to get in, beyond that were main roads. It was a straight stretch, a 200-metre sprint. With salvation so close she pushed herself harder even though her throat burned and every breath felt like a stab in the chest.

She was so close.

A group of teenagers were jogging in from the street probably looking for quick shelter. They laughed in the down pour until one spotted her, a girl, and pointed.

"Please help me!" Ashley cried out.

She could see they were surprised, but as she drew closer they began to back away, spooked by her appearance. She clenched her teeth. She needed their help, they couldn't back away. They couldn't be scared of her, they had no idea what real fear was.

"ASH!"

The teens were looking past her now, they saw something that had them terrified. The girls in the group ran away but one of the boys seemed to struggle to decide if running was the right thing to do or not.

Ashley glanced over her shoulder and dread filled her. Sam was behind her and he was running like an Olympic gold medalist. He looked soaked to the skin, bloodied and brutal. Really brutal. She looked back to see the kids had gone.

"No!" She screamed, anger and despair rifling through her veins. She reached the end, turned the corner onto the main road but it wasn't the main road. It looked like a back road in down town or a road that skirted around the main town. Pier waste littered the street and a few old shops stood unloved. A home less woman sat wrapped up in a doorway but Ashley didn't notice her through the rain.

She could hear the patter of the teenagers' feet hitting pavement and splashing puddles but it echoed. It sounded like they were laughing. They were faraway. They were safe.

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