Reeds thrashed at the deer's ankles, leaving long wet streaks against her matted fur. The thick mud sucked at her hooves as she dove blindly forward, unaware of where she was going, knowing only that she must escape the evil that surged behind her. Her breaths came in ragged gasps, chest heaving, muscles burning as they screamed for air. But the swamp was too thick, too horrible to sustain such life.
And where was her forest? Where were the sun and saplings and warm breeze?
It had been so long, she'd almost forgotten the taste of fruit, or the feel of mist gathering on her pelt.
Her forest was lost.
For all she knew, the swamp that swallowed her was once a forest like hers, teeming with new life.
But that was before the Border Crash. Creatures like herself, who had lived peacefully on the Main Line, had no place in this world any longer.
There was a bone-wrenching crack as an elder tree was torn from the ground, and thick purple rays of sun flashed for an instant, reaching through the bruised clouds to claw at the swamp's seething mud. Wretched things darted into dens and shadows, fleeing the light, as though the sun's starving fingers could devour them whole.
All of this flashed by in an instant, and she was off again, into the darkness, blood pounding even harder now that the evil had reached her. The sun caught hold of an unearthly pit, thrice her length in every direction and immeasurably deep, flaring it into existence at the last possible moment. Her heart stopped as she floated, pushing off from the ground. Her legs were strong, but her thin cloven hooves had lost their dexterity in this twisted land, and what should've been a leap was pulled short by the mud clinging to her ankles. The pit rose up, mouth gaping, as she landed soundlessly against its opposite wall. The mud, which had been so thick before, now slipped away as she clawed at it, unable to gain a foothold.
There was no reprieve for the fallen. No mercy for those who had been abandoned on the Main Line.
The evil crashed to a halt at the pit's edge, its stench stinging her lungs with each breath.
And even as she gasped and struggled against the entombing wetness, she couldn't help but feel a smug sense of accomplishment as she heard the evil's scream of despair and disappointment while the pit slowly, greedily stole her away.