James was running hard, his shoes slapping against the pavement erratically. He turned around corners and disappeared up dark streets, silent in the late hour. Every now and then he would hear other feet and shouts and occasionally a siren would whirr, but he kept running. His heart beat fast with the exertion and fear.
Suddenly a figure leapt from the
shadows and grabbed his jacket. “Gotcha, stand still, this is the police,” the
man said from behind.
James instinctively shot out his
left arm, directing it towards the feet of the man. Immediately green shoots
burst from the ground, wrapping around his feet and legs, tying him to the
spot. James wriggled free from the policeman’s grasp and leaving him there he
ran on again.
Streetlights cast their orange
glow on the tarmac and James dodged each one as best he could, warier than
ever. More footsteps sounded behind him and he glanced over his shoulder to see
two policemen chasing at a distance. Again James stretched out his arm and the
ground came to life as long tendrils rose up, tripping the men and pulling them
to the ground. James didn’t stop to watch.
Further on he dived into a
darkened doorway to catch his breath and consider his options. He needed to
cross the river, but the bridge was risky. It was open and bright. Still, he
couldn’t wait any longer. He darted out again, hugging the buildings for as
long as he could. When he drew level with the bridge he ran out, ducking low
and sprinting as fast as he could. The water rippled dully below him but James
kept his eyes dead ahead. The end of the bridge drew nearer and then he was off
it, turning left and running along the embankment. The road was narrow with a
low wall on the river side and tall buildings on the other. Then ahead of him,
hidden by shadows James saw a line of policemen, blocking his path. Immediately
two police cars pulled out behind him, preventing retreat. James reached out
both arms and charged. The ground literally writhed with plants growing up
around the police line, then tuning he directed his attention at the two cars
out of which more officers had arrived. They, too, quickly found themselves
rooted to the spot.
“Stop,” shouted a clear voice.
James turned to see someone
stepping from the line of policemen. He fired out his hand and shoots rose up,
but this time they withered and fell back. Again James reached out but again
the plants barely brushed the legs of this newcomer before falling away. James
looked up to see the person remove her hat and long golden hair spill out around
“No, not you,” he said
breathlessly. Then darting forward, he grabbed the woman by the neck and pinned
her to the wall.
“Let her go,” called another
voice, even higher and clearer than the woman’s.
James looked around to see a
girl, no more than twelve push through the line of policemen, still held fast
to the ground. James stretched his hand towards her but once more the green
shoots rose up and withered.
“How is that possible,” James
pulled back her hood. She too had long golden hair and bright eyes that shone
even in the dim light. James relaxed his grip on the woman and stared at the
girl. The girl started back and James saw that her eyes were not the same as
the woman’s but more closely resembled another’s he knew well.
“Natasha,” he said, softly.
The girl blinked and glanced at
the woman who had collapsed to the ground. “Mother,” she said, her voice
trembling slightly, how does he know my name?”
“Because,” said James, stepping
towards Natasha, who instinctively stepped away, “I know your mother and-”
“No you don’t,” snarled the woman
from the ground.
James looked round as she pushed
herself up and then ran at him catching his arm and pulling it back. He
grimaced and looked around. His plants were beginning to relax and the police
were fighting to free themselves.
“The police are going to take
you, James,” said the woman, still gripping his arm tightly.
“Then they’ll be taking the wrong
man,” he replied through gritted teeth.
“It’s over, James,” she said, ignoring
him and pushing him further back towards the river until his legs touched the
stone wall. Over her shoulder he saw the first policeman break free and run
“It’s never over,” he said, and
suddenly wrapping his free arm around the woman he fell backwards over the
wall, pulling her with him.