Heart racing, a young teen sat, crouched in the darkest, smallest, corner of the room. Veda Marie prayed to God that he wouldn’t notice her. She quite enjoyed being a living, breathing human being. The girl tried desperately to stop her breath from producing a loud, gasping noise. 

Across the room, the man leaned over a young boy of only 6 years. His hand reached out. Loud, crying shrieks exploded, surrounding Veda like a malevolent mist. The screaming stopped suddenly. The girl choked out a gasping sob, as she saw the boy’s body go limp, as though he was dead.

Hearing a noise, the man spun around, his eyes alight, like a cat. Scanning the room, he sensed movement. His eyes narrowed in the direction of a huddled figure. Unable to discern whether it was living or not, he stepped forward. Veda held her breath as the wretch stared at her. Did he realize she was there?

Veda slowly crunched together, trying to go unseen. But alas, it was not so. Snarling, the man bounded forward with his hands spread apart. Autodrive kicked in, and she gracefully slipped between the beast’s legs and sprinted out the door. Her feet slapped against the worn wood floors, alerting every intruder in the house of her position. As another man unsuspectingly lept out in front of Veda Marie, drawing a high-pitched shriek from her throat. 

She pivoted to her left and bounded up the abused stairs. Reaching the top, Veda ran into the nearest room, shut and bolted the oak door, and collapsed to the disused floor, exhausted. She heard banging and pounding. More feet ran up the stairs and Veda heard garbled speech that sounded like gibberish. The newly arrived man, let out a string of words that Veda very much understood. She winced.

Realizing that the men could break-in at any second, she pulled down that attic door and the rickety ladder unfurled. As Veda started climbing up the ladder, she heard the sound of wood splintering. Tears of fear gathered in her eyes. She was gonna die. Right here. Time slowed. The door exploded and splinters flew. One particularly sharp splinter assaulted the frightened girl right below the eye, snapping her out of her coma.

Swinging her hand up, she grabbed the ladder’s first rung. She managed to get her other hand on the rung, and then, using all of her strength, she was able to hoist the rest of her body onto the ladder. Veda grabbed for the next rung, and stood, clambering up as fast as humanly possible. As her foot was leaving the second to the first rung. An intruder jumped up and wrapped his fingers around her bony ankle. 

Veda used the other foot to nail him in the nose. His grip loosened, giving her the room she needed to rip her detained foot from his fingers, and finish climbing up the ladder. Time resumed to normal speed again as she scampered from beam to beam in the attic. She knew that she had the advantage. She was lighter, more graceful, and she knew the path of the support beams in the attic.

Careful not to misstep, Veda ran across the large house hoping to get to the window on the other side. Then, she could jump out, and run to the neighbors. They were a safe house like the one she was in right now was. She knew the procedure. Take the tunnel to the hidden part of the house. Don’t let anyone follow you. Don’t let them know what you are capable of. Hide. Wait. And whatever you do, DON’T GET CAUGHT!

But alas, life cannot go as you plan. She had been discovered. And now, she had to run. Recalling where the entrance to the neighbor’s tunnel was, Veda lost concentration for a split second, and that cost her everything. She missed the beam and fell through the roof. The fall felt exhilarating and freeing. For a moment everything was forgotten. There were no intruders, and she didn’t have to hide. But that was a fantasy. And fantasies have to end. Veda’s fantasy ended at the jarring impact with the hard cold floor.

Scrambling to her feet, Veda prayed that the men wouldn’t notice that she had fallen through. That was not meant to be. Nothing was going Veda’s way, and she knew it. The beastly men jumped through the hole. The girl ran like the heavens. She ran to the front door and screamed. That would grab the neighbor’s attention. She ran around the house multiple times, just to throw the chasers out of wack. 

It worked. Veda could see the half-hidden entrance to the tunnel. She sprinted toward it, knowing that in less than two seconds, at least one man would appear around the sharp corner. He would see the tunnel, and that would be the end of that. She dived into the dank tunnel and slammed her hand on the rusty close button over and over again.

As the door creaked shut, Veda turned around just in time to see the man staring, with beady eyes, straight at the tunnel. Scared, she sprinted towards the hidden entrance of the actual house. A loud crash sounded behind her, and Veda knew that the men had gotten into the tunnel. This wasn’t possible. Only people with her special abilities could have managed to break through that. Only people with her abilities. Only her abilities.

Disbelief hit Veda like an actual object. She was being chased by her own. She was being betrayed. Didn’t they understand? Once she was in the authorities’ hands, they would experiment on her, and eventually, kill her.  She refused to die unless she died with dignity. Slowly fading away from being experimented on was not dignified.

The sound of shoes pounding on metal echoed throughout the tunnel. Veda was starting to freak out. The man was gaining on her. There was no chance of escaping this man. He was stronger, faster, and had better senses than her. Fear washed over her like a waterfall. She wasn’t afraid of dying. She was afraid of the pain that would lead up to her death. And there would assuredly be much pain before she died. If they even let her die. What if they kept her alive in pain, for eternity. 

The very thought of living an eternity in pain motivated Veda to run faster. She sprinted, so fast that her feet barely touched the ground. Her heart pounded out of her chest, beating like a drum. Bum Bum. Ba Bum. Baboom. Baboom. Thump. There was no rhythm. No pattern to the beating in her chest.

Her lungs began to protest. There was no denying the fire in them as she ran, gasping for more air to breathe. Clutching her side, she rounded a corner and collapsed to the ground. Let the man find her. She would fight him off. She could fight him. She just didn’t know who would win.

The man found her. She finally got a glimpse of his face. She choked on her breath. The man’s face was distorted. He frightened her. Just that momentary distraction was all the man needed. He punched her, slamming her head against the wall, and paralyzing her. Unable to fight Veda said a prayer asking God to accept her soul. Then, instead of trying to dodge the blow, Veda let the man knock her out. He lifted her off the ground in triumph. Then the man, the traitor. The man of Veda’s kind carried her off into the unknown.