The hellish blackness surrounded me as I ran.
Another dream. I could tell it was a dream because I did not hurt anymore. My ankle held my weight, my hands were not covered in blood, and my throat was not sore from screaming.
I ran into the darkness because that is what I do. I keep moving, I do not dare stop, not to pause or to contemplate why, I just keep moving forward. What else can I do when surrouned by darkness? Keep moving forward because behind you is an altogether total darkness that is too much to handle.
This is all a dream. I have to keep reminding myself that this is all a dream and that I will wake up soon. I cannot get lost in the thoughts. If I twist myself around, make myself unusable, I will not be ready when I wake up.
But I keep running. Running into the blackness.
I step outside myself, see myself running. My canvas Converse shoes are worn and broken, pieces flapping off with each footfall. The shorts I am wearing are tearing in the knees and in the crotch, exposing me and creating pockets my legs keep catching on and tearing father. The faded black shirt has Bannville High School across the chest on a gold pennant. In the right corner of the shirt are a constellation of small holes, leftovers from thousands of beer bottle caps being twisted off.
I stare at myself as I run and again wonder why. Why do I bother to keep moving, to keep going forward in this dark room, in this dark hallway. Why not just stop, sit down. I am tired, I can see that in my gait, in the way that I am no longer sucking in my gut and just allowing it to sway and bounce. I thought it was smaller than that, that I had lost weight with all the running. Another reason to stop, or at least to take a break. There’s no use without the evidence.
But I keep running. The dream continues as I move forward, not stopping. Not stopping for anything.
I am thrown back in my body as the floor ends. The path I had been running down ends and I fall, I tumble end over end and down and down, hitting nothing. My heart spikes in my chest, a dull thud one after another. The pain of the excitement, of the thrill of having nothing threatens to wake me.
Oh, I am still in a dream, I think. Another dream.
My heart slows as I think this. But the pain stays. The pain grows and throbs and stays. My heart aches from the adrenline and I want to scream but I do not. I do not scream as the pain becomes too much.
My legs are still moving and I am still falling, moving downward instead of forward. There is nothing left but to fall, to let go and allow it to happen. I am lost in the dark and moving without a thought. Moving without hope. I am falling and waiting to hit bottom.
When my eyes open, I am still in darkness. I suck in a breath and find I am no longer falling. I am tied to a chair.
The smell of motor oil fills my nose, making me want to sneeze. I look up and across from me Natalie and Cassidy are hanging from chains, counterbalanced by an engine. Cassidy’s eyes are wild and panicked but she is quiet due to a rag duck taped to her mouth. Natalie’s head is slumped forward and blood flows from her wrists where they are bound above her.
“Well, well. The librarian’s up,” a voice said to my left, “Go ahead, librarian. Pick which woman you like the best. Cause we gonna kill the other.”