He panicked, stumbling as he lost his footing on the rain-slicked cobbles. His knees struck the ground hard, only the nearby wall giving him the support he needed to keep from keeling over entirely. He winced, forcing the pain down. There was no time to think about it any more—no time to acknowledge the ever-growing extent of his injuries.
The steady drumming of footsteps remained unbroken in their advance.
A few paces behind him, the figure paused, seeming to hesitate. He glanced up, attempting to gauge the intent, but his eyes would not focus—her features remained a blurry outline, shrouded in part by the steady stream of raindrops falling from the open night sky. If he could only see her eyes, perhaps he would be able to understand.
Yet his assailant remained motionless, observing silently. Only the steady rise and fall of her chest betrayed signs of her presence—the movement all his dwindling vision would allow him to make out against the dark backdrop. He wanted nothing more than to speak up—to ask her why. But he would not.
He feared to hear her answer.
—Excerpt from an unpublished manuscript