They never gained on her; she was always ahead of them. No matter how fast they stumbled, she somehow moved faster. She did not even seem to have to take steps. Her movements were smooth and even, as though she were a mist floating close to the earth.
Constantine squinted. He had lost track of her countless times, the lightly lit figure blending into the surrounding motif of trees. He had panicked each time, his heartbeat racing as he searched the trees ahead, but when he had felt as though he might have lost her for good he had caught a glimpse of her ahead.
Aspen fell, wrenching Constantine's shoulder. He yanked at her. She whimpered.
"Come on, we're going to lose her," Constantine fixed his eyes on the distant figure of his mother.
"I can't," Aspen snapped. She might have been seriously injured, but she would not cry, she would use anger instead. She would try to make Constantine weaker and herself stronger. "I don't see her anyway."
"She's right there, but if you don't get up, we'll get lost." Constantine retorted.
Aspen glared silently up at him until he took his eyes off his mother's retreating figure to look down at her. Her jaw was clenched and, though it was dark, Constantine could feel the blaze of Aspen's gray eyes.
"We're already lost," she settled back on her heels, relinquishing her grip on his hand. "We're just getting more lost."
"My mom is right there," Constantine gestured in the direction he had last seen the figure, though he did not turn, afraid that he would no longer be able to see her. He was certain that she would no longer be there.
"She is not lost."
"She's not there - I can't see her."
"Would you honestly rather sit her to wait for -" he paused, unwilling to bring up the bats. It would only remind Aspen that Jana was missing. It would only recall the creeping weight of the winged hoard. He shuddered. "A bear or something."
Aspen's silence told Constantine that she was remembering Jana and that she resented Constantine for leading her out into the woods. She stood deliberately, staring at him. Aspen grasped his hand, clenching it tightly. She was definitely angry, but Constantine was gratified to realize that she was also frightened of the dark, endless woods.
Biting his lip, certain she would no longer be there, Constantine turned back to the woods in search of his mother. The light of the moon was faint, brushing the ground in sparse, pale blue patches through the trees. Everywhere that the light did not touch was black as coal. Constantine could not make out the shapes of individual trees, much less any figure beneath them.
Aspen's silence became condemning as it lengthened. Constantine strained his eyes in the darkness, but he could see nothing. The soft rustling of the trees and undergrowth became deafening and his skin prickled at the noise. He swallowed convulsively, surveying the empty woods. He had lost her; she was gone.
Constantine could tell Aspen was resisting the urge to speak, to berate him.
Notes: As embarrassing as this is, this is it. I've been busy and I was gone for a couple days so I'm not going to do penance. I promise to try harder.