Leaves rustled behind her. She pressed back against the tree, desperately wishing for camouflage or some measure of invisibility. She knew what followed her through the underbrush. Monstrous beasts guarded the prison, seven feet tall with skin black as tar, hornlike protrusions on their heads, shoulders, and elbows. A loud snorting breath sounded just behind the tree. Her time was now. Gripping the ax, she leaped, screaming, slamming the ax into the head of a horse that followed her from the prison. Her horse. The horse she had stolen, befriended, and then been captured with. The horse she was imprisoned for stealing.
The animal screamed and fell, legs thrashing. She lifted her head horror-stricken; hope for escape drained away. She saw the bull-like prison guard, muscles bulging, black lips lifted over sharp teeth in a grimace. A wicked whip in one hand and short cudgel in the other, she knew her fate was to be beaten and torn to shreds by the merciless monster.
Her death came as she wrenched the ax from the horse's gore, gripped the leather handle tight in both hands, and slammed the blade into her own skull.