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Stephen was scared.

It didn’t happen often. The few times he actually felt fear. But now, now that was all he could feel.

The slapping of twigs on his face and the slick sound of him skidding after his father on the muddy leaf clothed ground. The thumping of his heart against his ribcage so brutal he was almost sure the organ would rip its way out of him.

His breathing was ragged and labored and only added to his turmoil. He could feel the tight unrelenting hand that clutched his wrist in order to not get split up. He could hear his father’s wet footsteps ahead of him and the shouts and gunshots from the slavers behind them.

All of this added to his fear.

But it wasn’t the time to be scared, it wasn’t the time to risk their lives and Stephen knew that. He just wished he could stow away his fear. Wrap it up and throw it away, never to be seen again.

He wanted to believe he was more then a helpless fifteen year old. That if the slavers caught up to them, which they eventually would, that Stephen could actually have a chance to defend his father and himself.

But that was wishful thinking and there wasn’t time for that either

The rain was relentless. Water trailed into Stephen’s eyes and made it almost impossible to find traction on the forest ground. He was practically sliding after his father hoping not to trip

The forest was thinning and Stephen could just make out a clearing up ahead and even though he couldn’t hear what his father was saying over the pounding rain it probably had to do with getting to that clearing.

Just as a loud gunshot pierced through the forest air and bullet like rain, they burst into the clearing.

His father face planted, sprawled along the mud on his stomach and trying fruitlessly to at least get onto his hands and knees. Stephen followed his father’s momentum, due to the hand still wound around his wrist and fell onto the man so that the two were a struggling heap in the mud.

Stephen tried to find something to keep him upright and out of the mud but the slippery muck gave no traction and each attempt ended with his face back in mud.

Finally after what felt like ages of trying Stephen felt a large hand wrap around his wrist from behind and let out a sigh, relieved that his father had been able to stand and help him.

At least until the rain washed the mud and guck from his eyes and Stephen was able to make out the form of his father in front of him struggling to get to his feet.

Stephen’s breath hitched as he realized the thick hand and hot breath behind him did not belong to his father. Slowly Stephen raised his electric blue eyes to the man behind him and a choking noise got stuck in his throat.

The man was tall and well built with protruding muscles and a thick beard. A wicked smirk stretched the man’s chapped, thin lips.

Stephen’s eyes widened as a gun was raised above his head and before he could find an iota of strength or will to move the butt of it came crashing down and all he felt was a sharp pain before everything slipped away into darkness.