Pat, pat, pat. As I run, I can see the rain falling, falling, and hear it hitting the jungle forest around me. However, I cannot feel it, although I am drenched through and through. Moving, pushing forward, blindly, perpetually, I am disoriented, sick, ill at heart. If they find me? Oh, my dear God, help if they catch me! At the notion, I stumble onward, numbly, unware of where I am going or for how long I have been going there. The rain pelts down like bullets, covering the earth and shading its many sounds.
Pat, pat, pat, crack! Lightning flares just above my head, followed clingingly by thunder. Pat, pat, pat. I can tell my body is experiencing exhaustion, but I cannot slow or rest. It would not make a difference if I could, as I have not felt my legs for so long, so very long. I push all tired and negative thoughts out of my head, focusing everything I have, everything I am, on running. Only on running.
All at once, the ground is rushing up at me, and strikes me with a vengance. I lie on it for a minute and let the exhaustion wash over me, before remembering and jerking up, only to find I cannot. I claw and push on the ground, struggling, but I cannot move my legs! No, no! Pat, pat, pat. Is it the rain, or soldier's feet? Determined, I claw, claw, in beat with the rain, claw, claw until I see a thicket of twisted, knarled vines. I look all around, beseeching the jungle to give me a better hiding place. None appear, and time is running out.
Desperate, I claw, claw the ground, dragging myself into the thorny vines. Fiery pain sears my face, neck, and the rest of my body. I shove the pain out and continue to claw the ground, my lifeline to guide me to security, the heart of the twisted vines. Finally, unable to go on, I find myself lodged in a small, circular space with the vines' thorns surrounding it. "Thank you, God, for creating a small space not covered with thorns!" I rasp quietly.
Pat, pat, pat. The clear raindrops are mixed new with red. That is strange. I have never seen scarlet rain before. After a minute, though, I realize my own blood, cut loose by the vines, is dripping from almost every conceivable place on my body. I sit, deathly tired, and wait. Pat, pat, pat.
Suddenly, I hear a deep, masculine voice. "Come on, you slugs! She's been running for hours! She has to be here somewhere!"
A second voice, less stern than the first, chimes in. "True that, the Injun child is weak. But, all Christians are." The snickering voices sounded as if they were just outside of the mess of vines. Pat, pat, pat.
"Where could she be?" the first asks after a moment, angrily.
"I don't know, but I'm cold and wet, sir. Let's go! There's always tomorrow!" a third whimpers. Pat, pat, pat.
"Tomorrow...! I ought to shoot you where you stand! The orders were for all their deaths, TODAY!" the first yells. Pat, pat.
"But sir---! The s-storm is getting so c-close!" the second stutters. Pat, pat, pat.
"SO IS MY GUN! Now move!" the first cries furiously. I can hear, by his footsteps and the volume of his words, that he is moving closer to my vine hideout. I shudder, and curl up into a ball.
"Sir, wait, it's not safe! Sir--!" CRACK. I cover my ears as wails of agony rise over the treetops. What happened? Are they still waiting? Is this a trick? Pat, pat, pat. I sit, scared, cautious, wary.
After a few minutes, or several hours, I am assured that I am safe, and I see if I can move my legs. Surprisingly, I find that I can! I slowly claw my way back out of the vines, and, upon reaching its entrance, I dart out as fast as I can, for fear of the soldiers. As soon as I begin to run, though, I trip and fall hard, hard. I get up carefully. As I turn to see what had tripped me, I stumble back in horror, fear and disgust clutching my heart. The scorched, forever screaming faces of the soldiers stare up at me hauntingly from the ground. Oh, God! God, help their souls! Even they did not deserve such a horrible death. I, in my small number of years, can see that their chancy deaths were a miracle to myself, though. I cross myself, as I was taught, and disappear into the night.