I ran. Blindly plunging through the dark forest, my body obeying the order more than my shattered mind. Branches scratched my face and chest, and the undergrowth tangled around my bare legs.

Eventually, inevitably, I fell heavily. Tripped by one of the myriad hidden roots, I pitched forward, tumbling over and over down a steep incline. What breath remained in me at the end of my descent was shocked from me as my dirty, blood smeared body finally came to rest in the clear, icy waters of the stream.

I flailed wildly, my lungs burning. I was disoriented, unsure of the way to the surface and desperate for air, when suddenly a strong hand grasped mine and hauled me upwards.

On the bank, stones digging into my hands and knees, I coughed my guts up, river water mingled with the gobs of raw flesh my captors had forced me to consume in their unholy parody of communion. My saviour did nothing to intervene, but I felt their gaze hard on my back, calmly assessing me.

After a moment, a coarse blanket landed beside me.

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