Thinking she’d put enough distance between them, she’d slow her pace for a minute. Almost immediately, it would work its way around her ankle and slowly pull her down as it spread. And unless she immediately took action, it would continue to grow till she was completely enveloped. Nearly immobile.
The immediate response required to stop it was not always possible. Not always what she wanted. The pain it brought was familiar. And comforting. Like a sad song that cut too close, combined with memories so vivid they brought back the moment. The people.
And she liked it. Liked giving into all things dark once in a while and remembering, even though it hurt. Just as she liked joking about all things dark when she didn’t give in. Joking like she didn’t give in. Keeping things light, exceedingly and purposely light, was basic physics after all. And it took constant vigilance to keep that light on - and all things dark at bay.
Hours would pass then, sometimes days, before she’d snap to, realizing she’d been lulled into complacency yet again. Left to feel like everything was settled and safe, instead of volatile and temporary. And she’d kick it away, pushing forward with purpose. Harder, faster. Setting a furious pace and burning with a brightness she knew it wouldn’t catch this time. A flame it couldn't extinguish.
Because every time it did, it tugged a little stronger, pulled her a little deeper and fooled her just enough to be a little terrifying.