“I thought you said he was your dad!” He cried, ducking under a tree branch. Her hand was sweaty and slick in his, and honestly, Tristan thought he was dying. The shotgun went off once more, and he ducked instinctively, nearly sending both of them careening into a tree. She yanked on his arm and he twisted, ankle sliding in the mud, and sending him into her arms.
“NO, I said he was LIKE my dad!” She corrected, yanking him upright, and then ducking under a different tree and tugging him along. She’d always been a bit stronger than he was, and now he was grateful for it, because the beacon of her wheat-gold hair in the moonlight was enough for him to follow through the woods.
Another shot rang out, and the tree next to his head exploded, and Tristan yelped. His heart pounded, his chest ached for breath as his feet tried to keep up with hers. Over a rock, under a tree, around an oddly shaped shed that honestly wouldn’t have hidden them at all. He was glad when she jumped down into a gulch, at least until his leg went out from under him and he landed ass-first in mud. He had to bite his tongue not to curse out loud, and scrambled to his feet, the mud sucking at his shoes like a child taking a toy.
“What do you MEAN, like your dad?! He’s not even related to you!” He hissed, surprised she could be that graceful at three months pregnant. With his kid. Oh god, that was his child in there, being shot at by her creepy caretaker.
“He adopted me when I was little, okay?! I never thought anything of it until he started taking me to look at wedding dresses when I turned fifteen, okay?!” Her voice grew higher, terrified, as another blast blew through the little shed behind them. “Then I met YOU!”
Yeah, him. The odd twenty something hiking through town with nothing but a backpack, and some odd jobs. He’d managed to win her heart, because she’d won his the moment he’d seen her. He could still see the smile she’d given him in the farmer’s market, and wow, was it beautiful. She threw a strained version of it over her shoulder at him and he saw the glint of moonlight off her teeth.
They burst out of the brush and into the highway leading out of town. He stopped, because if they could get a ride before he caught up… She tugged impatiently on his hand, desperate to get him to follow her into the woods on the other side. But there was a truck coming, he could see it, maybe they could get a ride out into the next city, where he could get a job, and she wouldn’t have to marry some crazed sixty year old man.
Pain. Blinding, absolute agony, ripping through his thigh, and he went down, knee buckling. The concrete beneath him was hard, and he could feel a pebble pushing into his face. He thought he might have taken Isolde down with him, and he wasn’t sure, but the boots on the blacktop were his, the old man’s, and oh god. Oh god, there was a shotgun in his face.
“NO! Please, don’t, I’ll never run again, please just DO-” He could hear her shrieking, and then the sound of the trigger. He never heard the boom of the gun, just saw a flash of light.