first things first
i'm fired up and tired
of the way that things have been
Meg didn't truly understand the horrors of the world until her father left one night, claiming that he was going to the corner store for cigarettes, never to return. She was only five years old, so she didn't know as to why her father wouldn't come back, the concept itself was almost too difficult for her to grasp. This was especially difficult since her mother showed no signs of distress or pain because of this, or she just hid it well. Her mother's upbeat, optimistic attitude, with a just-right fiery streak, helped her stay afloat in kindergarten, even without a father to play catch with or go to work with on 'Take Your Kid to Work Day.'
She was a bright kid, easily excelling in class, but was misguided, to say the least. Her mother worked three jobs to keep the two of them off the streets so she was never home. Her inadvertent lack of attention on Meg caused her to start hanging out with kids that were far on the other side of the track. By the time she was twelve, she was cutting class so she could smoke cigarettes underneath the main staircase at the junior high and bad-talking both her peers and teachers without fear of the reprecussions. Even with her jam-packed work schedule, her mother could see the kind of person that she would become and knew that she had to do something, anything, to stop this freight train from inevitably derailing.
After a talking to by both the principal of her junior high and a sports coach, Meg righted herself, knowing what she was doing was not a part of her authentic self. She joined the cross country team with the hopes that these long runs would help her stay on track and have a chance at an okay future. Running quickly became her passion with her doing it at every waking moment except when at school or asleep. Her life revolved around track and cross country seasons, her even training during the summer and winter times, her usual off time, just to be prepared for the next season. In high school, through hard work and dedication, she became one of the best runners in the state, preparing to do this in college and maybe even afterwards. Due to her talent, Meg was scouted by various prestigious colleges across the nation, even being offered a full-ride athletic scholarship to Rice University to run.
You break me down, you built me up
The news about her mother being diagnosed with stage three brain cancer hit Meg like a semi-truck skidding into a wall while driving on a wet road, forced to watch it happen, but completely unable to do anything about it. This woman, the same woman who had worked three jobs just so she could pay rent, put food on the table, and buy Meg her track uniform, had seemed invincible to her, but that was no longer the case. Her once tough-as-nails mother was now helplessly confined to her bed, pumping chemical through her body every four weeks with the hopes that this would stop the cancer cells from spreading as she lost her hair and grew weaker and weaker.
Making the decision to not accept the scholarship and stay home to take care of her mother was the hardest decision that Meg ever had to make. She felt that she was letting her mom down, throwing away her possibility of a decent future, a chance to make it out of here to be someone. The day that she emailed the track coach was a tear-filled one, but she knew that if she worked hard at whatever job she got, she could help her mom afford those expensive clinical trials that had an actual possibility of beating the cancer. So, Meg got a job at the local mom and pop grocery store as a cashier to help make ends meet, as her own mother did all of those years ago. She hated the job, but it paid well and therefore gave her mother a chance of living, so she pushed through it.
For five long years, she managed to not murder anyone at work and prayed that her mother would benefit from the trials that she had managed to scrape together a bit of money for. This whole time, her mother had been fluctuating, doing well sometimes, worse others. It was a frustrating time to see her mother struggle so much, yet feel so powerless and unable to do anything to make too much of a difference.
To clear her mind, she went on runs in the early mornings before work, through the nearby forest, through the town, through everywhere. It helped Meg through it all and kept her head on straight. One morning, she got up extra early for an especially difficult run through the forest, never to return home. There were search parties for a few days, but most figured that she had left town in search of a new, better, life than the one of taking care of her mother. Her mother died soon after, the Social Security pension checks unable to pay for the aggressive chemotherapy or clinical trials that her quickly progressing cancer needed.
second things second
don't you tell me
what you think that I can be
Her second trial was by far the worst of them. Why? Because Meg assumed that she would die during the first one, allowing her to escape the hellish landscape. During her first, she hadn’t even gotten a chance to go anywhere near the generators that one of the others that were already there had told her about. Her plan to just hide in a locker for the first trial had gone horribly wrong, the one that the others referred to as the Hillbilly found her, his terrifyingly bandaged face staring deep into her soul as he roughly pulled her out of the closet and beat her with his crudely fashioned hammer until she could barely crawl. Then carrying her to these blood-stained hooks, her left shoulder being sliced open, her blood joining the ones of those before her on that hook, her screaming in pain as her vision began to fade. Meg hoped that this would be the end, but she was not that lucky.
The others managed to find her and the other girl somehow healed her with some plant salves before they took off into the darkness, in search of those generators. Meg wandered around, somewhat aimlessly, trying to find one, hiding in the tall grass or behind objects when she thought she heard the rev of that chainsaw. When she heard a sound, a sound that sounded to her like escape, she ran like hell, in the direction of a glowing control box. None of the others had gotten here yet. She figured that she should just pull down the lever and hope that this meant escape. All was going well as the doors slowly powered, the others still nowhere to be seen. Then, a rev of a chainsaw and she was on the ground, clutching the wound that the Hillbilly had made in her stomach. It picked her up and squirm, she tried, but to no avail. Left shoulder back through a hook, the pain only amplified by her other wounds. A black spider-like creature appeared, she tried to fight it back, but she must have done something wrong as it stabbed her with its many legs, hopefully sending her to death.
Again, she wasn’t that lucky. Meg found herself at a campfire, where the three others were situated around. The same girl from earlier tended to her wounds while the men rapidly talked to her about these trials, introducing themselves as Dwight and Jake. She was the fourth to arrive. Dwight had been first, then Claudette and Jake. Despite her disappointment that she had not died, she was glad to be in the company of three others that had at least a bit of a clue of what they were doing. They had all appeared here at some point, forced into these trials against these ruthless killers. Before she knew it, they had to return to trial, her still unprepared as to what expect. You can imagine that the second went just as well as the first for her.
you made me a believer
She quickly figured out the other people’s roles, fitting in well with them. Dwight was the nervous leader, Jake the solitary survivalist, Claudette the shy herbalist, her the energetic athlete. They worked well together, balancing each other out so they could stay alive. Meg did her best, somehow figuring out the generators and the totems and everything. Sometimes she survived, sometimes she didn’t. Nonetheless, she was stuck here now and making the best of this situation was her highest priority. So she did what she did best, not surprisingly, running. She was still fast and escaping the killers kept her in shape as well as alive.
Meg might have been the fourth, but she was not the last. Others came after her: Nea and Ace and Bill and Min and David. They were all different and unique and brought something different to the table. Ace and Bill had experience with escaping things. Nea and David were bold and brave. Min was small and fast too. They all bickered, but at the end of the day, they had to be in it together if they wanted to outsmart the killers and survive the trials. She cared very much for each of them, teaching them what she knew about running and holding your breath and endurance so that they might be able to use that to their advantage.
At night, when she knew that she could get a break from the hellish trials that she was forced into participating in, sleep easily came, the lot of them staying close together for warmth. The campfire could only do so much, anyways. However, this sleep was not as peaceful as Meg would have liked, her dreams being plagued with nightmares. They were not haunted by the creatures that hunted her and the other Survivors, but by her mother, accusing her of abandoning in her time of need, of leaving her for dead, of her disappearance being the final push into the cruel release of death. She knew deep down that this wasn’t her mother, that her kidnapping by the entity wasn’t her fault, but it still stung nonetheless. Her sleep was no longer an escape from the horrors that her life, if you could even call it that, had now become.
But when it came down to it, if the Hag or the Huntress or the Hillbilly or the Trapper or the Wraith or whatever goddamn killer the entity threw at them, Meg always had her speed, her well-placed steps, her running, that might keep her alive. At this point, to run was to survive.