Sophia raced gleefully across the long grasses of the unmown field. Her bare toes caught at tangled vines on the ground and tore them free, kicking up dirt and dust in her wake. “I wonder if he can see me?” She looked behind and saw his head rising above the swell behind her. She giggled into her pretty hands.
Daniel saw her watching him and paused at the top of the hill, his hands on his knees, breathing in gulps of air. “Stay right there!” she heard him yell above the swirl of the wind.
She yelled back though she knew he could not hear. “For never and forever!” With a flap of her cotton skirts, she flew away from him again, and lost in the chase, he pursued across the rolling ground.
It wasn’t the running that she wanted. She wanted him to catch her. But how could he unless she ran?
Legs flashing back and forth, the sun flitting between them like a flapping projector, in, out, in, out, slowly, the sphere made its way to meet the earth.
Daniel would never catch her. She had too much endurance. He paused again at the top of a steep swell, watching her disappear into the treeline ahead. Smiling a grin of the conqueror, he ran sideways and around to the other side, and set his trap.
Sophia wove about the trunks. She could not see him behind her anymore and she was lonely. Her toe snagged against a root and she lurched forward but caught herself against rough bark. Her heart sank – where was Daniel?
But she had already committed to the chase. She must see it through to the end. Again, she sped along her way.
There was the end of the wood ahead, soon she would be in the clear. The road was solid and clean and she ran faster and faster, hair whipping her face, skirt slapping her legs. This time it was not a root but a soft, giving rope that caught her toes – it had not been there a moment ago. She lurched forward but there were no trees to catch her fall – she would slam her face into the dust.
Warm, strong arms, a sweet smell of windy hair, teasing, laughing, crinkled eyes caught her and held her close. She was snared in a sweet net. Daniel had outwitted her.
He lifted her high and twirled her round in the air, until she giggled and closed her eyes against the wind.
“I’ve caught you fair and square. Never run again, my love. Stay with me forever.”
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