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Crashing sounds come from behind as he leaps from the brush at the mountains base, up onto the jagged rocks of the steep mountainside.

A thunderous sound bursts from somewhere behind and below, as a rock explodes just in front and to the left of him. Startled, he almost falls.

The kids! he thinks frantically, I have to get away… I’m all they have!

Scrambling up a steeper part of the sheer, crumbling rock, he loses his footing and slides down a ways before regaining his balance, sending cascades of tumbling stones crashing to the brush far below.

Another burst of thunder from below forces him to quickly change direction, heading for a small ledge not far away. Sprinting, he turns his head to look at his pursuers.

They’re coming! Quicker than I thought they could!

Racing forward, with all his might, he leaps from one ledge of the deep crevasse to the smaller ledge on the far side. Skidding as he lands in loose rock, his momentum almost carries him over the edge. He knows that if he had not stopped, he would have fallen to his death.

Murderous yells come from below… wanting to kill him and leave his kids to fend for themselves.

Directly beneath his belly, another rock bursts apart, sending him scrambling on all fours up the rocky part of the mountain.

A sharp pain flares in his side the same instant he hears a loud boom, causing him to lose his balance and fall. Crashing against a small ledge, he slips over the side and falls through the nothingness between him and the jagged rocks below.

Striking the ground, the wind is knocked from him as his leg snaps. Terrified, his eyes dim as his pursuers close in.

My kids… he thinks with his last breaths. Please, not my kids… don’t…

Losing focus, those who had murdered his kid’s nannie the previous year, and now will murder him, crash through the brush.

Why? Why are you killing us?

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