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I jog lightly across the windswept plains, my footsteps silent while my eyes and ears remain perked for any game. Rays from the setting sun creep over the dunes, turning the shadows long and painting the sky with vibrant streaks of colour. A dappled light shimmers ahead of me and I change course, aiming for the palm trees and the pool hidden in their midst.

Movement from the brush causes me to slow. Carefully, I ease my hand over my shoulder and finger one of the feathered arrows protruding from my quiver. The regular rainfalls have caused herds of animals to appear all over the Wastelands but old habits die hard and I remain as careful as ever, not wishing to waste a single shot.

Squinting into the sunset I watch as a figure emerges and leans against the crooked trunk of a tree, arms crossed as though they have been waiting. Keeping my weapons within easy reach I creep closer, instincts on high alert as I squint into the sunlight. A stray gust of wind passes by me and whips her hair into a fiery frenzy, causing my tracks and heartbeat to cease.

It's her.

Willing myself back into motion I stop when we are still a few feet apart. Placing my bow and quiver upon the ground I straighten and study her, half expecting the mirage to waver and vanish.

But Kay remains as solid as ever. She wears a tentative smile and the sight is more beautiful than anything I have ever witnessed.

I tilt my head, asking the first question that comes to mind, "Have you been waiting long?"

"Ages." She replies. "I am much faster than you."

The grin I have been suppressing breaks free and I slide my pack from my shoulders, dropping it into the sand and closing the distance between us in two swift steps.

Our kiss holds the breadth of countless battles fought and won. I hold her close, scarcely believing that she could be here, in my arms hundreds of miles from civilization and months after having given up all hope. My hands tangle in her hair as she laughs softly against my lips, tugging me closer and kissing me again.

I do not know how long we remain tied together before she dances backwards, green eyes bright as she turns and takes off toward the sunset. Gathering my things I run after her, the sand turning to clouds beneath my feet.

Faster and faster we fly, earth and sky becoming one as we chase one another into the horizon.

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