The forest itself was serene that night. The trees kissed the horizon, the moon cast long, dark shadows across the paths. Crickets chirped, singing to the black air. Somewhere close by, a twig snapped, and the scene was dramatically altered.

"Faster!" A man screamed. He jumped over a fallen log, pulling a terrified girl with him. She wiped some dirt from her face and frantically glanced over her shoulder as she followed him. He sped up, keeping a close eye on his surroundings as he ran. Time was running out.

Bullets whizzed past their ears. Lucas pulled out a pistol of his own, and managed to strike two of the attackers. "Go!" he insisted, as the men continued to shoot at him. There was a loud bang. Searing pain ripped into his flesh. He fired one more shot in vain, and collapsed onto the ground with a soft groan. Lucas pressed his hand to the gunshot wound, his face contorted in a grimace. Blood seeped through his fingers. He reached into his pocket and extracted a small recording device. With a wince, he handed it to Rose. "Take this. . .and run. Don't lose it."

"No! I can't leave you here." Rose said to her brother. Her hands shook from fear as she took the little black object. "What if they-"

"Get out of here!" Lucas insisted. "Go. Now. I'll be fine."

Rose hesitated another moment before obeying. She bolted deeper into the woods.

Lucas forced himself to look at his arm. The bullet had passed completely through his forearm, but had caused severe damage to the bone. "Could be worse." He knew he had been weakened, but was thankful that it was not a kill shot. He stood up shakily, ripping a piece of cloth from his other sleeve to bind the wound with. He was beginning to get dizzy. Praying his adrenaline would hold, he ran to find Rose. Gunshots rang out again as he was spotted. He lunged to the ground to avoid being hit. After a few seconds, he sprang back up and found Rose pressed into a cluster of trees. He motioned for her to follow him.

"You're bleeding!" she gasped.

"Yeah, it's a side effect of being shot." he joked grimly.

They could hear the men gaining on them. Rose looked back and panicked. "They're right behind us!" Lucas covered her mouth before she could scream.

"Listen to me, run away and do not look back. Run, Rose!"

"I love you," she whispered.

"I love you too," he whispered back. He gave her a hug, and then reminded her not to lose the recording he had given her. She took off running, and he waited for the men to reach him, knowing this was the only way.

Rose's legs were burning, and her lungs were full of fire, but she knew death, or worse, was the alternative that waited for her if she did not push forward. She leapt over anything in her path, dodged branches, and forced her way through the dense forest. The trees grabbed at her, ripping her already worn clothes, cutting into her face and arms. She ignored the blood that dripped from a cut on her cheek.

In the distance, she heard the heart-stopping sound of another gunshot, then laughter.

She knew then, that nothing would ever become right again.