He ran through the trees in blind panic. Branches whipped his face and roots sort to trip him up but still he kept going not daring to stop. He stumbled falling to the floor with a huff of air but as soon as he was down he was scrambling back up again. His breath came in laboured gasps as he forced himself to keep up the punishing pace.
Behind him there were the sounds of a search. Men shouting they hadn’t found anything and that they had heard something. Dogs barking as they led the search party closer to him as they picked up the scent. The sounds were mirrored from the left and right, hemming him in and leaving him only one way to go.
A bark sounded closer than before and he tried to push himself to go faster and he succeeded for a moment before he fell back down to the pace from before. He was keeping going on adrenaline, nothing more. His limbs felt like lead, dragging him down, but the need to escape to survive forced him onwards. There was only so much that need could do though and he had reached the peak.
Suddenly he skidded to a stop glancing around in panic. Before him was the edge of a cliff and he could hear the crash of waves on the rocks below. He looked cautiously over the edge only to see that there was no way to clear the rocks if he jumped. A bark from behind caused him to spin around only barely stopping himself falling when he over balanced. Emerging from the trees was the hunting party with their dogs at their sides. One of the men grinned maliciously at him, “Don’t worry now son. You’re safe for now, we just want you to face justice.”
Justice for a murder he hadn’t committed. For the murder of his guardian who had been killed in front of him as he lay on the floor struggling to get up from the pain. When the men had come in they’d seen the ungrateful boy who killed his guardian not the young man who’d done everything he could to protect him. “I didn’t kill him,” he replied urgently as the men closed in on him.
“We know you didn’t son,” one of the men said with a smirk. “But we won’t be telling anyone that,” he added drawing a laugh from his companions. “Now be a good boy and come with us.”
The boy turned away from them and as they lunged to grab him he jumped. As he fell he heard the curses from above and then he did what he’d sworn he would never do again. He unfurled the wings that had been closed tight to his back. He couldn’t help the loud whoop that escaped him at the feel of wind in his feathers once more and the utter freedom that it gave him.
Flapping his wings he rose level with the cliff top to stare at the men who had hunted him this far. “I didn’t kill him,” he roared furiously. “And I swear whoever did shall feel my wrath.”