PART 6, SECTION 19

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Jason writhed around in pain and fury. He let out a low howl that sounded like a rutting buck. He took an unsteady swing at me, but I leapt back and he missed connecting with my jaw. Instead, he lost his balance, fell off the SUV's hood, and landed with a dull thud on the ground. I heard the knitting needle break.

He groaned. His head rolled around, but he didn't even try to get up. The sedatives had almost knocked him out completely. He was only half conscious.

I stepped farther away and tried to catch my breath.

I couldn't believe what I'd just done. It was like waking up from a dream. I'd just wasted so much time, lost in my spite for Jason. And no matter how strangely aware I'd felt a moment ago, I was bound to pass out from the pill soon. 

And now that I'd caught my breath, the sedatives were hitting me hard. The one thing I could absolutely not let myself do was to collapse in this empty field and wake up in the morning beside Jason, just as he himself would be rousing.

I had to move fast.

I knelt and fished Jason's wallet from his back pocket. I clutched it tightly in my hand, willing myself not to drop it.

I tried to stand, but I fell backwards, scraping my bare backside.

I picked up my pants, but no matter how hard I tried, I was too woozy now to put my foot inside them. The burst of energy and the clarity I'd gotten before was totally gone. I was about to pass out. I had no choice but to leave my clothes behind.

I had to get as far away from Jason as I could before I lost consciousness. The night was quickly closing in on me. The world was spinning. I grabbed half of Morgan's torn shirt and my dad's map in one hand, and Jason's wallet in the other. I squeezed them tightly in my fists. I willed myself to stand. Finally I found my feet, wobbling unsteadily.

And I ran. I ran as fast as I could. 



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