by Máté Mohos


  1. A look back between the two trees that marked her fleeing from the trail, as she descends into the thick body of dark woods.
  2. A glance back at the eyes now sleazily jumping from the ground level, two dark stars pinched on the sky of her last terra cognita, a thin, skull-shaped head that covers all the other stars.
  3. Now the figure grows, he has climbed the pile of dirt and garbage in just a second (it took her almost a minute), she is looking back behind her back, she starts to run faster, right to the heart of the forest.
  4. She hasn’t run faster in her entire life.
  5. Between two hectic thumps of her feet on the leaves, the silence before his scream punctuated with her heartbeats dissent her momentum and for a second she feels she is going to fall, he screams.
  6. He screams, not just sound but motion, motion of the air around her, a heavy wind breathed and born from the bottom of his cigarette-blackened lung shakes her from top to toe, the air tightens and smells like ash, the stars above the trees succumb to the blackness of his odor, his voice burns her eardrums, there is nothing but darkness above the stars.
  7. He starts running after her, she slips and falls.
  8. She stands up with an empty cry, not louder than the wind’s howl around her, almost as dreadful as the approaching steps.
  9. She starts to run not minding her bruised knees, her skirts probably torn, she only minds the darkness upfront and tries to make sense of it.
  10. She expects her eyesight to adjust, it doesn’t, she is in utter, total, unbreakable darkness, but she is somehow sure he can see her from behind.
  11. That he sees her blouse soaked in her sweat, every lock of her hair, that he sees where she is going to step next.
  12. As if he already had her body, for just by knowing his way in the darkness he already has more power on her.
  13. Even though she hears from his grunts and his heavy steps that he hasn’t caught up yet, it’s creeping up on her legs, with the soreness of the running, like his cold fingers were there, running up her calf, drawing a half-circle and obscenely pressing into her bruises.
  14. She doesn’t want them to go up any further, so she runs faster.
  15. Runs as far as the river she can’t see and mishears to be somewhere left of her, but it’s there, under her feet, pulled there by his will.
  16. As her face touches the water she wants to scream, the water fills up her mouth and only by springing back to the sheer dark pulsing she calls now (his) reality can she realize that drowning might be more final than he is.
  17. This thought gives her power to run.
  18. So she does, giving up her struggle to see, tries to concentrate not tripping instead.
  19. The momentary sensory refreshment given her by cold water and the unsteady jump in her panic level dulls as she hits a tree with her head.
  20. She doesn’t fall this time.
  21. The steps behind her are vague, but audible, she doesn’t know whether her run has started to gain a fierceness that surpasses his or if she is going deaf from hitting that tree.
  22. She concludes she has started to gradually lose her senses, her body grows numb from the water, eyesight long gone, hearing declining. Around her is so dark and cold she could as well be in the middle of nothing at all.
  23. It’s quite lonely there.
  24. She trusts her running to keep her company, to warm up her legs, her thumping on the leaves to constantly prove her she exists still in this world.
  25. To those cold fingers: whispering hysterically be gone.
  26. To the dark: wishing with pupils wide as the moon be gone.
  27. To the whole nightmare: if nothing would wake her up and her run might not end in a muffled scream of ease of freedom be gone.
  28. She falls.
  29. For no particular reason.
  30. And thinks It’s over.
  31. She can feel his breath on her neck, his grunting echoing in her eardrums.
  32. His knee in her back, pressing her on the ground.
  33. His voice saying You are not standing up again.
  34. She is stripped of her garments.
  35. Crying out loud and desperate, she looks at the sky.
  36. She sees the stars.
  37. She sees.
  38. And hears like cannons shooting their due him still running, far behind, not in the indescribable closeness her fall envisioned.
  39. Her next breath feels like the first one she’s taken in her entire life.
  40. Her standing up feels like standing up for the first time.
  41. Her next steps feel like the first.
  42. Two rhythms in the night: her steps, accelerating, shaking in a ferocious Olympic tap-tap-tap and his, growing heavier and molding into the noises of the night she is only hearing now, cars from somewhere distant, cicadas singing their night song, the wind whispering, as she goes out from under the woods she sees the wind’s hand too, caressing a field of grains from where she is to somewhere that’s far, where she is going, through the field she springs stepping on the soft blades, trumping her way forward and in a silence that now has only the right noises, a darkness that is softly illuminated by silver spots on the sky, in a night just as cold as summer, it’s gonna be far she is going to make it she is outrunning she is faster, it’s her way now and her plane, her chest growing steadier, the grain falling and breaking under her legs, oh yes she will.
  43. She is quite sure,


⊂ ⊃


Máté Mohos is a Hungarian college student, currently pursuing his Media and Creative Writing studies in Shanghai. He likes dogs and travelling alone.