Isabella DeMarco was moaning in her sleep. Her fistsclenched her pale blue sheets; tears and sweat trickled down herforehead as she rolled her head against her pillow.
Hustle it up
, a voice urgently whispered to her.
Izzy raced through the nightmare forest, a terrifyinglandscape of fleshy black trees garroted with hangman'snecklaces of Spanish moss. A fiery moon blazed overhead,casting flickering shadows over rotting ferns and a mattedbunting of ashy gray leaves.Her surroundings heaved with menace and danger. Thesurface of a blood-colored swamp roiled as shapes glidedtoward the boggy earth where she ran. She saw it all with astrange clarity, as if part of her was a camera recording everymoment instead of a young woman in flight for her life.She heard herself panting in counterpoint with her over-cranked heartbeat. Her footfalls ricocheted like shell casingspinging off a tile floor. Heat seared her lungs and her anklesached from running too long and too hard. Then the screamingof night birds swallowed up the sounds.The voice echoed all around her.
If you don't move it, it's allover. They'll die, too. You're on point
.Then everything shifted and the panting was inside herhead, echoing in her temples. The monsters that lived in theforest were after her. They were always after her. They huntedher, night after night. She ran, night after night. She could notstop. She must not stop.