(STOP) The voice seems to reverberate around my head, joining my own tortured and ragged breaths. It’s strange how loud I sound from the inside; in that intimate place inside my own skull. A place that this voice now penetrates. The shock of violation is sudden and disorienting. I almost do stop from the surprise of it, but I can’t afford to, not now when I’m almost there. It feels like I’ve been running away from him forever. Somehow I have found the strength to go on, even though my feet are bleeding and my lungs feel like they are being gouged with a hot poker.
(JUST STOP) Damn! I can’t believe I almost forgot about the voice. The violation of my internal sanctuary is not so horrible now. It has already been sullied; everything changed after the first time. As I ponder this, a black-on-black shape comes fast at me out of the night. I duck, but not quickly enough and its edges catch me across the temple, leaving broken skin and welling blood. Sweat immediately pools into the cuts, making them sting and burn. I cry out, involuntarily and glance behind me before I can stop myself. He’s just there, a shadowy shape heart-stoppingly close behind me. How did he catch up so fast! I can never get away.
(STOP NOW) No, I can’t. He’ll catch me and that will be the end. But the voice is compelling. It even feels a little friendly now, like it belongs in my sanctuary. So I stop.
And wake up, safe in my bed.