“Find him. Find him now,” one of the officers yelled into the air.
The only other thing he could hear was the sound of his own heavy breathing and the wind that rustled through the trees. The smell of those trees moved in and out of his lungs. At times he felt as if he was breathing with the wind itself and he sensed a brief connection with the land around him. When he was finally able to calm himself down he closed his eyes and listened. The sound of shooting and shouting stopped. They were re-grouping and deciding what to do. At any moment they would figure out what he had done and come for him. For an instant, he closed his mind off from that fear and just tried to calm down so that he could think clearly of a way out of this mess. His panting slowed and he relaxed and listened. He closed his eyes.
The wind moved about him in calm and playful caresses and he became aware of its movements through the trees and rocks until he imagined he could see it as shrouds of fabric moving through the air. He opened his eyes and maintained the image and the world became alive with waving trees and the dancing playful motions of the breezes. But something was different. He became aware of a steady wind coming from one direction. He isolated that area in his mind. There it was: a steady sound, like air coming through a deep tunnel. It was a weak sound nearly covered over by the air that spiralled and expanded in all other directions. But it wasn’t air. It sounded like something heavier–like water.
Sounds behind him broke through his concentration. These were not gentle but crude and anxious noises. Feet stomped on broken twigs and coilguns were being loaded. They were coming his way and it was time to go. Erut focused his attention toward the direction of the new sound and took off across a field as fast as his feet could take him. There was another small stand of trees on the other side and he made that spot his new objective. Before he could reach it, though, soldiers burst forth into the field from the trees and raised their guns. This time, Erut decided to just go full bore toward his goal to maintain a full distance between him and his pursuers. The gamble paid off for a time. The soldiers had a difficult time trying to run at full speed and fix a target for their rifles. Shots went far and wide but came closer each time they were fired. By the time Erut reached the trees, shots were coming in closer to him. He reached for the tree closest to him so that he could pull himself behind it but a projectile landed exactly where he planned to put his hand and ripped bits of bark from it. He switched directions and headed for another tree. A projectile whizzed by him just where his body had been had he not turned. He dove and rolled until he was behind a line of trees. He took some deep breaths before he moved deeper into the woods. He could just make out an opening in the tree line just ahead of him so he made a mad dash for it. He ran while dodging low branches and exposed rock until the opening became wider. The soldiers were entering the woods.