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Speed queen

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She runs like she has better places to be.  

Like there's music in her ears and a treadmill underfoot, her legs pounding the stone tiles in measured strides. There's no waiting, no hiding, no hesitation when Debilitas rears up to attack her; one tackle, two, three, he leaves clutching his side and she keeps going, winded but still running.  

There's a timer running in her mind.  

Rhythmic like the ticking of the grandfather clock, pressing her ever onward. Leaving her stalker, her malicious shadow, in the dust. 

Her dog howls into the night, the sound pained and frightened. She's left him far behind once again, with no hope of catching up to her. The stalker too follows blindly behind, slim shard clutched in her confused hand as she tries and fails to follow him to his master.  

Only the tap-tap of her boots gives her away.  

But it's too late. 

A crash and a cry, the glass pierces her breast and she calls out—

To no one, the girl already through the door, unmoved by Daniella's final moments. Even so, she smiles. A smile to no one, to the glass, to the red running down and the dog struggling to match his master's stride.  

She runs and the covering of her ears is the only concession to the madness that follows her, pistol in hand.  

He's quick but she's quicker. A wiley foe, steadfast in his superiority even as he plummets from the floor above. Outsmarted once again, she doesn't take the time or breath to gloat.  

Only run. 

Far and fast, the machines' whirring struggles to match her feverish pace.  

Did you really think you would stop her? 

Fearless she dodges and weaves, her moves as elegant as a dance and twice as infuriating. Thrice you think you have her but she slips effortlessly away, even the searing steam and your magical arts unable to catch her.  

Even at the end, when your mouth and your mind fill with screams and fire, when your world crumbles around you, you see that ticking clock.  

The last thing you see before your body turns to ash is the freedom in her eyes.