I run through the dark tunnel.
And I see her tears.
A puddle sprays over my pants. Echoes of footsteps—mine and the others—bounce off the concrete walls and ceiling. I can feel ties of the train tracks underneath my shoes. I’m drenched from sweat, covered with blood from the gashes on my eye and cheek.
I hear her sobs.
I’m sprinting underground, in another hidden and shadowy passageway leading to God knows where. It doesn’t feel like I’m in Chicago. It doesn’t feel like I’m in college.
Nothing feels right. Nothing’s ever felt right since I stepped foot in that godforsaken little town I thought I left behind. Three years and I’m still running in the dark.
The Devil is chasing you for a reason, she tried to explain. You can’t escape on your own.
I feel her arms wrapped around me, her body quivering, just before they take her. Her screams will always be buried in my mind.
She warned me about this, but I still find myself in denial, believing I can finish this, telling myself I just need to end things once and for all.
I want to look at my iPhone, but I don’t dare.
Every moment matters. Even the seconds count.
Streaks of hazy light seem to melt off the shaft walls, telling me I’m getting closer. The air I gasp for seems full of chalk, full of grit.
Three years ago, I fell for her.
Three years ago, I realized I loved her.
Three months ago, I broke up with her.
As I run, I know this: I’m an idiot, once again.
I’m nineteen and know better than this, yet I’ve willingly given everthing away, including her. Especially her.
But I’ve been a stranger from God for some time.
I remember her words.
“Let it go.”
But I can’t. I still don’t think I’ll ever be able to let this go.
More light ahead glimmers as I round a corner, the steps still sounding from behind me.
I’m close, but so are the men chasing me.
The pocket knife used on me is closed and in my jeans.
I’ll use it. I’ve used one before.
All I care about is getting to her.
The lack of wind, of any air, makes this more difficult. I feel I’m suffocating in some sort of rectangular box.
I know the forces at work here. They suck out the light and the oxygen and the hope in this world.
I also know this now: There is evil inside my mind.
And in my heart.
The tunnel opens up into a large, cavernous terminal of sorts, abandoned many years ago. Scattered safety lights tower above me on the stone walls, glowing like lit-up blood bags.
I don’t slow down.
I’m almost to the lone freight train box car sitting in the center of the terminal.
I’ve already killed.
I’ve already been left for dead.
I’m ready to rescue her. Again.
Sprinting over the railroad ties, I’m fifty yards from the box car when a blast of light consumes the space, blinding me for a few moments, making me squint and blink.
And then I see Kelsey.