quietly, very quietly – carefully putting one foot in front of the other, she crept meter by meter, slowly through the forest.
From time to time, when the moon shone through the high treetops, she stopped and looked around.
In these moments she did not dare to go further for fear that her pursuer, whom she thought was already close behind her, saw her and the game was over prematurely.
But when hours later still nothing had happened and he hadn’t caught up with her, she thought she was the winner and went back to the camp with her head held high.
Everyone was still asleep. As the tiredness overcame her, she did not wonder why nobody came to receive her, but went straight to her tent.
As soon as her head touched the thin pillow, she was already fast asleep.
Hours later, she woke up from a dreamless and restless sleep and felt numb.
A cold shiver ran down her back when she noticed that apparently everything was still sleeping outside.
„How long have I been asleep?“ she thought, got up, put up her tent and looked around.
Nobody was to be seen and also far and wide nothing to hear.
No laughter, no dog barking, even birdsong could not hear them. Strange. The tents of the others, were all firmly closed.
Judging by the position of the sun, it was already noon.
A little perplexed she walked towards her sister’s tent. This tent was also tightly closed, nothing moved inside.
A few meters before she stopped, not sure if she should open it.
But in the end it did, the tent was empty. Looked like it had never been inhabited. The blankets lay carefully folded, on the thin mats.
Nothing was lying around. You’d think nobody had ever been in here.
But something scared her.
Her sister was a year older than her and back in the old days, before the epidemic, they lived together in a tiny room in her parents‘ small apartment building.
While she was the neat one who never left anything lying around, her sister was chaotic.
Something crunched behind her and let her drive back, scared. Cold sweat broke out of her pores, which could have made the crunch.
The camp stood on earth and lawn and especially the area around her sister’s tent was very clean.
Not a branch that could have cracked.
The hairs on her neck stood up when she heard sounds coming towards the tents.
Vocal murmurs, voices unknown to her. What to do?
Whatever had happened, it was definitely not a good thing and she had only escaped the whole thing because she had played the game.
Kai, the man chasing her, hadn’t shown up either. He was the best of them.
The voices came closer and she was almost stiff with fear when an idea came to her.
„Hey Kati, hey. Wake up. “ Someone shook her, moaned, her eyes opened. Her head was pounding and blood was throbbing in her temples.
She rubbed her aching head and sat up.
The members of her clan stood in a semicircle around her.
Their pale faces glowed in the moonlight, strangely bizarre.
She looked around questioningly. What had happened, wasn’t she just in the tent?
Uwe, the leader and friend of her sister, bent down to her, „Kati, what happened? Kai was looking for you all night. He just came back to camp alone.“
You had been missing for 48 hours and we looked for you several times and we were also here and now, on the way back to camp, you are suddenly lying here unconscious.“
She started shaking and her head hurt so much.
„Take me to camp.“ That’s all she could come up with.
When she arrived in her tent, her head fell on the thin pillow and she was fast asleep.