Catch me if you can

“Don’t chase after love — instead, chase after passion. Chase after places that make you feel alive. Chase after adventure. Chase after dreams that terrify you and excite you at the same time.”

– Andrea Davis 

Legs burning. Lungs heaving. Face whipped by branches and tall grass. I keep running. Everything is covered in dew from last night’s mist. It clings to me, soaking me to the bone. I keep running. Squelching through thick black peat bogs, wading through frigid streams and clambering over jagged rocks. I wish I was wearing shoes. I keep running. Can’t stop. Too important. Everything I’ve ever done, every bit of my training has been in preparation for this moment. My vision is blurred by the wind and the leaves and branches as I crash on through the underbrush. I don’t need to see. I can hear him clear as day. He can’t be more than a few metres ahead of me. I keep running. A dark flash just up ahead. He’s heading right. I change course to follow him. Excited whistling behind me. Voices yelling my name. My fans, urging me on. Can’t let them down. I keep running.

He didn’t come this way.

I stop, backtrack. A faint rustle in the bushes to my left. I can smell his fear from here. I tread carefully. Silently. I can hear his fast, shallow breathing. A flash of movement just above me. A pale yellow butterfly, fluttering gently through the canopy. Its wings light up for an instant as they catch a lone ray of morning sun shining through the trees. It’s the slightest of distractions, but that’s all it takes. A twig snaps underfoot, revealing my location. Stupid! A flurry of movement from the bush. He’s on the move again. I yell at him to stop, but it comes out like a strangled shriek. I’m running too fast to yell. My sides are killing me. I’m regretting eating as much as I did before heading out this morning. I could give up right now. Let him win. Is it really worth it? My heart is pounding in my ears, but I can still hear them calling my name behind me. They’re counting on me. Can’t let them down. I keep running.

The dark figure wiggles through the giant roots of an ancient tree. There’s a cave down there. I dive at the roots with a mighty leap, try to catch him before he disappears from reach. I miss. He’s smaller than me. I don’t fit down there. Not yet. Can’t let him get away. I’m on all fours, digging frantically at the damp ground. The roots and the rocks tear at my skin. I push my head into the cave to listen. I can hear him, scrambling deeper underground. I still don’t fit. I keep digging. I’m covered in dirt, it’s on my face and gets in my eyes. It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters if I don’t catch him. I keep digging. Muffled footsteps behind me. It’s too late. Hands gripping my legs, pulling me back. I try to fight them, but the grip is strong, and I am weak from the run. It’s no use. My legs dangle below me uselessly as I am hoisted up off the ground. Gentle hands brushing the dirt out of my face. I will go with my family for now. Rest. Eat. Replenish my strength. There will be other mice in other fields. I’ll just have to hope Chaos doesn’t get there first.

Legs burning. Lungs heaving. Face whipped by branches and tall grass. I keep running. Everything is covered in dew from last night’s mist. It clings to me, soaking me to the bone. I keep running. Squelching through thick black peat bogs, wading through frigid streams and clambering over jagged rocks. I wish I was wearing shoes. I keep running. Can’t stop. Too important. Everything I’ve ever done, every bit of my training has been in preparation for this moment. My vision is blurred by the wind and the leaves and branches as I crash on through the underbrush. I don’t need to see. I can hear him clear as day. He can’t be more than a few metres ahead of me. I keep running. A dark flash just up ahead. He’s heading right. I change course to follow him. Excited whistling behind me. Voices yelling my name. My fans, urging me on. Can’t let them down. I keep running.

He didn’t come this way.

I stop, backtrack. A faint rustle in the bushes to my left. I can smell his fear from here. I tread carefully. Silently. I can hear his fast, shallow breathing. A flash of movement just above me. A pale yellow butterfly, fluttering gently through the canopy. Its wings light up for an instant as they catch a lone ray of morning sun shining through the trees. It’s the slightest of distractions, but that’s all it takes. A twig snaps underfoot, revealing my location. Stupid! A flurry of movement from the bush. He’s on the move again. I yell at him to stop, but it comes out like a strangled shriek. I’m running too fast to yell. My sides are killing me. I’m regretting eating as much as I did before heading out this morning. I could give up right now. Let him win. Is it really worth it? My heart is pounding in my ears, but I can still hear them calling my name behind me. They’re counting on me. Can’t let them down. I keep running.

The dark figure wiggles through the giant roots of an ancient tree. There’s a cave down there. I dive at the roots with a mighty leap, try to catch him before he disappears from reach. I miss. He’s smaller than me. I don’t fit down there. Not yet. Can’t let him get away. I’m on all fours, digging frantically at the damp ground. The roots and the rocks tear at my skin. I push my head into the cave to listen. I can hear him, scrambling deeper underground. I still don’t fit. I keep digging. I’m covered in dirt, it’s on my face and gets in my eyes. It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters if I don’t catch him. I keep digging. Muffled footsteps behind me. It’s too late. Hands gripping my legs, pulling me back. I try to fight them, but the grip is strong, and I am weak from the run. It’s no use. My legs dangle below me uselessly as I am hoisted up off the ground. Gentle hands brushing the dirt out of my face. I will go with my family for now. Rest. Eat. Replenish my strength. There will be other mice in other fields. I’ll just have to hope Chaos doesn’t get there first.

3 Comments

  1. Marion

    Go get them Google!

    Reply
    • Anita

      Brilliant, again!!!

      Reply
      • Anita

        Oops, wrong button, sorry 🙂

        Reply

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