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Fog hugged the sodden soil, its persistence unaffected by the feeble rays of the slivered moon. Darkness ruled, imposing a different visual order than extant by day. The usual sounds of night, the constant rhythm of omnipresent crickets and the intermittent hoot of an on-the-hunt owl faded from significance, overcome by the harsher sound of deliberate footsteps mere metres away.

Joycelyn pushed her back tighter against the granite slab of a hundred year old gravestone, wishing to melt from sight. Beaded drops of water from the earlier heavy rain clung to its vertical surface, providing a welcome sensation for her overheated back.

Laboured at first, her breathing settled some in the five minutes of hiding in place. Her heart raced still, more from apprehension than from the near marathon run of earlier.

The hard sprint along city streets and through the hazards of backyards taxed her endurance, even though she kept her thirty-year-old body toned through daily visits to the Y pool. Joycelyn slipped on dog shit and smacked a leg on an unseen lawn ornament. No one saw her mad run, at least no one of impartial opinion. They hid behind locked doors, a robotic action taken in compliance with a law enforcement order portraying her as a dangerous villain.

A branch snapped further ahead, a sign their first sweep of the graveyard passed her by. She risked a headrise, reconnoitring the viability of a run in the opposite direction. Joycelyn couldn’t be sure how many looked for her, but she guessed no more than three. They didn’t have torches, but they carried mobiles. Not at all police, she suspected amateur bounty hunters, fast-food diners who saw her and the news bulletin in the same instant and wanted the seven figure reward.

With a deep breath, Joycelyn ran again.

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