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In The Tunnel

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The tunnel was dark. A single bulb hanging loosely beneath the low ceiling flickered in steady rhythm, matching the woman’s quick breaths as she struggled to run. The sound of the sloshing water as she stomped on it was a buzzing noise in her ears, a fury so loud that her eyes ached in fear. The water was dark, and she didn’t want to imagine the creatures that lurked in it. It stank, and the stench rose to the air like a putrid vapor, revolting her. She ran in the speed of fear, oblivious of the blood that gushed from her shoulders and down. Her head pounded in pain, her body grieved for bed, her lungs clutched for air, but she remained oblivious of all that. The woman could only think of escape.

Quick, quick, was all she could think. The monster was closing in to her-- it floated in the darkness, a silent being that prowled in the shadows. She heard it hiss, felt its breath on the back of her neck as she hurried for her life. She couldn’t think. She couldn’t breathe. Her heart beat loudly against her ribs, like a wild animal shaking its cage. A bloodcurdling scream tore on her throat, raked on it as it blistered out her dry lips. Her eyes were wide open in terror, dazed in shock as she tumbled forward-- to where, she didn’t know. She only needed to run.

A rat dashed in front her, its eyes glowing red as it gave her a menacing look. Then it was gone as it faded into a corner of darkness. A rock caught the tip of her foot, making her tumble in the dark water. She didn’t feel the pain, but tasted the bile of water. She choked on sobs as she pushed herself up, as she limped forward and borrowed support from the hard wall.

The monster was near.

It stalked in along the dark, whispering cold messages. The woman fought back her tears and continued to limp forward. She couldn’t die, she thought to herself, not here, not like this. She saw a dim light at the end of the tunnel. She had to get there.

But the monster leapt out from the dark, an enormous figure that threw her against the wall. Pain burst in her head as it hit the rough surface, followed by a stream of blood that made her vision blur. Slumped against the wall, her legs and hips swallowed by the cold water, she was helpless as the monster slowly walked toward her.

Its eyes were scarlet with murder, its body covered in dark fur. Its horns were short but sharp, sticking out from its head like small cones. Its fangs were bared in fury, its lips smiling darkly. It took the steps toward her with deliberate moves, like a predator cornering its prey.

Then it lunged.

The woman refused to look at the monster as it sunk its teeth on her shoulder. She couldn’t feel the pain now, not really, because her body was already numb. Instead she felt the pain in her heart as she stared at the small, white light that lay neatly at the far end.

She wanted to touch the light for the last time, to feel its warmth on her skin instead of the damp cold that made her sweat. Slowly, she closed her eyes and prayed. When she opened them again, the last thing she saw was the eyes of the monster. They would hunt her forever. Then she was gone from the world.




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