It's All in a Name
by Gerikes
Part 3

Antonio dodged the trees that blurred past him. He tried to concentrate on the girl ahead of him, but the forest was littered with obstacles. Sara seemed to be in good shape, so he wondered how he was catching up with her. Then he flashed back to days where he would run away from the bullies at school. Years of fear led him to gain acute knowledge of quickly dodging the loose branches and small stumps.

Through panic and fear came stupidity. They hadn’t been a half-mile into the woods before Sara darted away. Antonio was surprised she didn’t start running back to the city, but instead he found himself running deeper into the woods, slowly closing in.

He realized a patch of huge pine trees up ahead. In a desperate attempt of escaping, Sara darted into them. Antonio had no choice but to follow.

He stared ahead at more pine needles. She was easily getting away now. He stopped for a moment and listened to the sound of nothing. A surprisingly close sound of branches made him change course to the right, and finally out of the patch.

Through all the rustling of the pine, he couldn’t hear the soft sound of the river up ahead. Barely seeing the flash of Sara’s sweater, he jolted to her position, and once again tried started to catch up. The river became louder, yet he still couldn’t see it. The trees were lessening now, yet no water could be in sight.

Now, Sara was in plain view. She was on the edge of the forest, gasping for breath, yet somehow, still running. He saw her take a quick glance back, saw the fear in her eyes, the worry on her face, and started to slow down.

Sara saw him slowing down. Soon, he grew farther away. Then, he darted at her again, but not in an evil way. He yelled something, but she didn’t hear him. The voice was muffled by the sound of the river, but that wasn’t the reason. She was concentrating on the fact that there was no land below her.

Within a second, she landed in the river and disappeared from sight. Antonio ran along the river banks with the current, hoping she would pop back up. After a generation of waiting, an arm appeared from the water, followed by a head. Her face was more terrified than when she learned the truth.

As her lungs filled with water, she was barely able to stay conscious. Boosted adrenaline helped her grab onto a root from one of the trees on shore. She pulled her other hand out of the water, only to get it half way to the root when she fell completely unconscious. She stayed awake only to feel a sharp pain in her wrist.

A bright light bled into her eyes as they opened. She struggled to free herself from the sharp pain, then stopped when it turned dark. Her eyes were open, but it was dark. Her feeling started to kick back in, as she realized moving was close to impossible; she was weighed down by a few heavy blankets. She was still shivering in the nights cool air.

Turning her head, her unfocused eyes caught glimpse of someone sitting against a tree. His head was buried in his hands, almost as if crying. He too was shivering, she realized as her eyes adjusted to the darkness.

His head perked up at her movement, and soon his face could be identified. It was Antonio. At first, she was going to try to run again, but she was too weak. Curiosity crept over her.

"What happened?" She asked in a confused voice. She expected to hear a sharp tone, but instead heard an easy, even a little scared voice.

"You fell into the river. When you tried to grab something, it--it let me catch up to you, and…" Antonio trailed off. He still was in shock from what happened hours ago. "and I lifted you out." Sara could guess the rest. He’d saved her life; first lifting her out of the water, then warming her up. After a brief moment of thinking, she looked through the darkness and really saw Antonio for the first time.

"You’re not like your father, are you?" Antonio was surprised at the sudden statement. He didn’t know anyone but his mother who actually thought that way. He could tell she didn’t need an answer, her mind was set. He simply shrugged.

"Listen, Antonio. Back there, when I ran, well, I’m sorry for running. I should of thought about how I knew you before I knew you were, well, what everyone thinks of you, you know…" Sara shyly stated. Antonio did know. He almost smiled at the fact that he was now known by many, just like his father. "Is there any way I can make up for it?" She asked.

After a brief brainstorm, Antonio replied, "You already did." Sara was confused by this. She was going to ask, but then thought about it first. Without any conclusion, she decided to put it in the back of her head, maybe to think about it later.

Antonio stood up, then walked to his sleeping bag. Sara offered an extra blanket, but Antonio refused. "You need it more than I." With that, she let weakness take over her, and fell fast asleep.

Antonio stared at her through the darkness, then turned up to the sky. The trees blanketed view of the stars. He couldn’t see them at all. He was hidden from the lights, leaving him to wonder how much longer till the breeze blows the branches away

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