Ally had been forced to cut through the forest, leaving the protection of the river behind. Her feet bled from the rocks and shrubbery but she moved through the wilds as fast as she could. Fresh tears ran down her face, tears from a mixture of pain and fear. She remembered her experience at the river and bit her lip, trying to force down another wave of panic as she ran through the forest.
She had been making her way down the riverbank, following the shoreline, picking her footing as she moved towards Desperation. Then she had seen them. Two people, at the riverbank, bent over at the edge of the water. Her heart had soared. She felt the rocks stab at her feet as she ran towards the duo, waving her arms and shouting, feeling that for the first time today, something right was going to happen. She ignored the pain and continued running down the shoreline.
It was the smell though, that was the first thing that tipped her off. A smell like rot, or decay, something spoiled. Her running faltered, slowing herself as her cries had rousted the two strangers ahead. As she neared them, the two men looked up and Ally saw them. Monsters. Like her family. Their face was covered in blood, their black teeth glistened with gore. They had been bent over by the river and she saw now why. A body lay in the water, ripped apart as the creatures had been feasting on the carcass. Entrails had been ripped out of the poor man's chest, his head caved in. The water down river ran red with blood.
Ally stopped, her heart in her chest. All the pain and soreness seemed to drain away in an instant, replaced by fear. Stark raving fear. The creatures slowly stood up from the dead body and began moving towards Ally. She stood rooted to the spot, taking in the monsters. They had decomposed badly and wore scraps of rags as clothing and were riddled with maggots and dead flesh. They were covered in dirt and mud, their bodies having turned sour and moldy. But those claws and those teeth were all too real. They shuffled close, mouths gaping and let loose an angry hiss. They were mere feet from her when finally the grip of free released her and she screamed. She turned and ran, straight into the wilds beside the river and never look back.
That had been at least a quarter of an hour ago. Ally had finally stopped running, her breath coming in ragged gasps and all the pain and aches seeped back into her as the adrenalin ebbed. Ally stumbled a few more steps as the forest gave way to a hard packed trail. She dropped to her knees, finding it hard to breath. Ally sat by the road, pushing down a fresh wave of tears and trying to catch her breath. Her whole body shuddered, and Ally felt utterly defeated. She didn't care anymore, didn't want to run anymore, didn't want to live. She finally gave into the grief, and sobbed, knowing that she no longer cared what happened to her.
Her grief was finally interrupted by the clipping of horse hooves down the road. Ally didn't bother to move or hide though, she just sat there and waited. She didn't even look up until the clip clop of the horse stopped. She saw a man on horseback, a man in a cavalry uniform, and she cried again, a fresh set of tears. Though this time, the tears were of relief.
End of Line.