The night air is unusually cold for October. You wish the ample moonlight was ample enough to warm your shivering skin. But it provides enough light to illuminate your white puffs of breath as they slither up into the cold air. And there's a lot of those puffs, for you are running. Your lungs are getting as much of a workout as your leg muscles as you barrel through the prickly brush of the woods. Even though the air is cold, you're sweating profusely. The run is warming you up. But that isn't any comfort. Your heart pounds. So does your brain. It pounds with fear.
It's the fear of what's coming. You are terrified of it. You are trying to run from it, even though the rational part of your brain tells you that it's futile, that you cannot outrun it. But that part of your brain isn't in the driver's seat right now. It's an annoying little voice in the back as your panic and fear plunge you forward. Terror crackles in your mind as the sticks and leaves on the ground crackles from the stomping of your feet. You run faster, yet it is coming closer. You can feel it. The monster is almost here.
You stumble. You slip. "Can't stop!" you think as you plow forward on all fours, clawing the dew-covered dirt and leaves below with all ten of your digits so that you can keep moving. You can hear the chirping of the crickets and hooting of a nearby owl even though your labored breathing tries to drown every other sound out. You try to get back up on your feet, and you do, but briefly, before you're somehow down on all fours again. Running that way begins to feel more natural. The monster is getting closer! When the monster catches up you know that horrible, bloody death will follow. You've never been more terrified.
The coming horror is now inevitable. Even your lizard brain knows it now. But you still have to run as far as you can. Deeper into the woods you must go. A branch of sticker bush catches you. You yell out in pain as the thorns tear at your skin. Then you hear it, the growling of the beast. It grumbles and rumbles into the night air. It'd horrifying: angry, hungry, and unbridled.
You run faster, galloping with all four of your limbs. Your insides start to knot up tightly. Your stomach feels very empty. You start to feel warmer. You bite your bottom lip. A metallic taste covers your tongue as you taste your own blood. You feel warmer still. It becomes easier to run on all fours. And then it becomes easier to run in general, as you find yourself breaking through the end of the woods and into an open, grassy area. It's a farm. A woman is standing in the field, her white dress almost glows in the moonlight.
"Oh no!" you think. But that's the last human thought you have for a while. Now all you think about is hunger. Your stomach growls almost as loudly as your throat. You look down at your furry arms and long, black claws. The woman screams. The monster is here. The horror is here.
The horror is you.
You are not afraid any longer. Just hungry.
You catch up to your dinner. You sink your teeth into the sweet, bloody, tasty meat as it screams, writhes, and kicks back at you. The struggle makes it taste sweeter. It's almost disappointing when it stops moving.
Later you awake. It's still dark out. You're naked. Cold again. And wet from the early morning dew. Why do you try to outrun it every time? For you can't outrun the horror if the horror is you.
For We All Float Down Here: The 2017 Halloween Horrorquest