My legs tax their downhill muscles,
easing the uphill burn on my shins.
My hips shift backward.
My shoulders lean backward.
And I feel like I'm drifting backward
toward the clutches of my pursuer.
The footfalls from behind
even faster than before.
I struggle to match their pace.
The noble headhouses of Udaius promise
but at each threshold
my hopes crash
draped in red quarantine cloth.