Running. Terrified. Like a thousand hungry hounds from Hell, he’s biting at my heels. Corners. Kitchen table edge in my hip. Tripping. Almost falling. Running.
Breath caught in my throat. Chest so tight it seems frozen in time. Can’t breathe. And yet all I’m aware of is my chest’s seismic heaving. Breaths so huge that all I see is my chest, fighting for air over swells so large I’m going to drown. I can’t breathe.
Out the door. Down the steps. He’s gaining. His fingers swipe the back of my shirt and I’m down. Snow up my nose. In my silent screaming mouth and down my throat. He’s on me. Dragging me backwards. Getting enough breath, finally, to cry for help, I see a neighbor looking through their window. I swallow the cry, the breath, my pride, my sorrow. I get up and walk silently back to the house. I breathe again.