He was panting. The sweat that poured down his face instantly clung and cooled to his tattered shirt. He'd been running for what felt like an eternity, but was actually only a few hours. The cold soil no longer stung his bare feet as he ran; he could barely feel them anymore. He knew that there were little splinters of wood rooted under the claws of his toes, that they were no doubt still bleeding, but he didn't care. It didn't matter.
He didn't matter.
'Disgusting little puppy.'
Their words cut deeper than the gashes that graced his arms and legs and back. Sharper than the two missing claws on his left hand. Hurt worse than the hours of torture he'd endured for being something he had no control over.
He broke through the trees with an exhausted gasp, making it only a few shaky steps before he collapsed atop a hill that looked out over a small village.
He could see the blurry shape of the moon shining off of water filled fields that overflowed with rice. He could just make out the smells of fires emanating from the little huts that were dotted about. He could faintly hear other kids running through the village with a sense of ease he'd never known.
And before everything went dark, he could vaguely see a crimson clad figure adorning the roof of one of the wooden homes in the distance.