The Mad Tunnel

Standard

Amora stopped walking and stared ahead into the darkness.  “How did you find it?”

Phoebe glanced from her to the tunnel ahead of them.  It was still full daylight, but her sight could not penetrate the shadows within.  She had expected more overgrowth—vines snaking up from the sides of the tunnel’s arch, weeds bursting from cracks in the crumbling concrete of the road that once led into the tunnel.  She had expected rotting wooden boards blocking the tunnel.

But aside from a few metal poles that were erected in the middle of the tunnel entrance, to stop cars from driving through, there were no other obstructions, certainly not for pedestrians.

“Wasn’t hard,” Bradley said, “I just searched for local haunted spots.  One of the crappier ghost-hunting shows even visited one time.”

“Did they find anything?” Phoebe asked.

Bradley grinned at her.  “What do you think?”

“I think they probably recorded themselves asking if there was a presence here.  I think their recording using crisp, clear audio equipment somehow ended up sounding crackly. And I also think, there was like one second of some noise in the recording, but they claimed it was a voice speaking.”

Their other two friends, who’d been lagging behind, caught up to them.  They’d come in a separate car.  They weren’t too far from the highway, but the road connecting the highway to the tunnel had been purposely obliterated.  It had been a bit of a walk to find the tunnel.

“I watched the video three times,” Brad said.  “That’s exactly true.”

Phoebe shook her head.  “What did the recording say?”

“I’d stay out if I were you,” Amora said.  And everyone turned to look at her.  She glanced over at Phoebe.  “It didn’t sound like that, but that’s what they claim the voice said.”

Bradley rubbed his hands together and looked at Amora.  “It’s show time.”

Phoebe walked over to Amora, whose dark-eyed gaze was still staring ahead at the tunnel. 

“Take your time,” Phoebe said.  She wanted to tell Bradley to stop staring, but she figured it would only make Amora feel more self-conscious.

“So?” Bradley said.  “Is there anything in there?” 

Phoebe thought she heard something.  Like a metal pipe dropping onto the concrete.  The sound echoed out from the tunnel toward them.

She wasn’t the only one who heard.  The others turned their heads toward the tunnel.  Except Brad, who kept his gaze on Amora.

“Anyone in there!” Tina called out, pushing away from Gabriel, but still lightly holding onto his hand. 

“Yeah,” Brad said, stepping toward Amora, “is anyone in there?  Or…any thing?”

Amora’s shoulders stiffened slightly.  A breeze kept wafting toward them from the tunnel.  It was a chilly breeze.

“We should leave,” Amora said.  Her voice was low and quiet. 

Brad closed his eyes, scrunching them up before he opened them.  He sniffed.  “Why?  Because there’s something dangerous in there?”  He finally broke his gaze to glance at Phoebe.  “You know I already know what’s in there, right?”

Brad had done the research.  He looked at Amora again.

Amora just kept staring.  “It doesn’t want us to know it’s there.”

Brad was shaking his head slightly.  “Why not?  Is it introverted?  Is it shy?  And what is it?  A ghost?  A demon?”

“It’s not ready yet.”

“Did it tell you that?”

Amora didn’t answer.

“Let’s find out for ourselves,” Brad said.

“I’m not going in there,” Amora said.

Brad shrugged.  “That’s fine.  You can wait out here for us, or by the cars.”

Phoebe had already decided that this time, she would stay with Amora.  They would both go back to the cars.  Maybe they would even eat all the snacks they’d brought before the other three came back.  Brad would sulk probably.  He wouldn’t talk to her for a few days maybe.  But in the end, he’d understand.  In the end, he’d come and grab some fries off her plate at lunch and start telling her about whatever obscure book he’d started reading that week.  No apologies needed. 

But something happened that hadn’t happened before.  Not at the old abandoned house on a hill in the neighborhood where Tina used to live.  Not at the cemetery where Gabriel’s great-grandfather—also named Gabriel—was buried.  Not even when they were in the supposedly most haunted room on board the Queen Lorraine, the ocean liner that was decommissioned, permanently docked at Nevernott Bay, and turned into a hotel.

“You’re not going in there either,” Amora said.  She didn’t say it with any force.  She didn’t say it like a command.  She said it as if it were a fact that she was mostly sure was true. 

Bradley pointed to her.  “You don’t have to go, but you can’t stop the rest of us from going.”

Phoebe heard the sound of something scraping across the ground.  It was echoing out from the tunnel.

“You’re idiots,” Amora said.  “You’ll go in there.  Something will happen to you.  Something bad.  Something permanent.”  Her voice was getting harder as she kept speaking.  “And I will carry that guilt for the rest of my life.  And people will ask me…”  She cocked her head slightly and her voice and expression shifted to that of mock concern, “‘Why you didn’t do anything to stop them?’”

The whole time, she didn’t look at any of them.  She just stared into the tunnel.

“If you were going to walk into that tunnel anyway, you didn’t have to bring me,” Amora said.

Bradley’s face started to turn red.  Phoebe felt her pulse quicken. 

“Calm down, girl,” Tina said, letting go of Gabriel’s hand and approaching Amora.  “B did you a favor.  Gave you one more opportunity to show us your stuff.  To prove your abilities.  Now, how can you do that if someone doesn’t go check out that tunnel?”

Gabriel walked up behind Tina and slung his arm around her shoulder.  “And how can you expect us to believe you after all the false alarms?”

“Those weren’t false alarms,” Amora said.  “None of those places were haunted.”

Brad laughed out loud.  “A cemetery?  A cemetery is not haunted?  Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the people who live in a cemetery are ghosts.”

Gabriel frowned and turned to him.  “Who’s point-one percent—“

“Groundskeeper—some of them live on the grounds.  But anyways…let’s not get distracted.”

“I never said I could sense ghosts,” Amora said.

Phoebe found her voice.  “Guys, maybe—“

“It’s not on you what happens, okay?” Brad said.  He threw out his arms and with his eyes all wide, his smile looked a little maniacal.  “You are absolved of all guilt.  There.  Now you can wait by the car.  And wait for us to bring back proof that you were right, and there’s something dangerous in there.  And that we were prepared to handle it—by escaping.”

“We’ve got iron bars, salt, holy relics from what—four different religions here,” Tina said, pointing behind her to her backpack.  “There’s a signal booster for our phones too.  But I don’t know if those work.”

“But it is on me,” Amora said. She was still staring only at the tunnel.  “It was on me as soon as I told you the truth.  As soon as I told you there really was something in that tunnel.”

Bradley huffed a sigh through his nose.  “Then why didn’t you lie?  Why didn’t you tell us the only danger in that tunnel is tetanus, or being bit by a rabid possum?  You didn’t lie because you wanted to be all tortured.  You’re not the only person I know who’s sensitive to spirits.  But I brought you here.  I chose you.  By the way, those other people, they’ve seen some stuff too—good and bad.  They don’t mope around like you, like some dog that’s always being kicked around—“

“Brad!”  Phoebe shook her head.  He knew better.  She knew that he knew better.  She felt guilty.  He hadn’t said so, but she was the reason that he’d brought Amora along.  Maybe there was some evil wind coming out of that tunnel, and he was breathing it in.  Maybe that’s what Amora was really warning them about.

“What’s in there,” Amora said.  And she seemed to be calming down, for no reason that Phoebe could see. “What’s in there doesn’t want to kill you. Doesn’t want to possess you.  It wants to do something worse.”

Brad threw his hands out again.  “Torture?  You can say it.  Well, great.  I can handle that.”

“It’s gonna be okay,” Tina said.  She turned toward the tunnel.  And as she turned, Gabriel turned.

They started toward the tunnel.

“It doesn’t want to torture you,” Amora said.

Brad shook his head and turned toward the tunnel.  He too started walking toward it.  “Let’s go and come back before it gets late.”

Once again, Phoebe prepared to tell Amora that she would stay behind too.  She would keep Amora company.  But once again, something happened that hadn’t happened on their few other ghost-hunting trips. 

Amora began to scream.  “No!  Don’t go in!  No! No! Noooo!”

Phoebe grabbed Amora by the shoulders.  “It’s okay!” she yelled.  “I’ll get them!  I’ll stop them!”  She tried to yell over Amora’s screams. 

Suddenly a wave of force struck Phoebe, pushing her back, forcing her to let go of Amora.  At the same time, Amora stopped screaming.  She stood there, no longer looking at the tunnel, but just downward, downward at nothing in particular.  Her chest and shoulders heaved with shallow breaths.

Phoebe put her hand on her friend’s shoulder.  “I’ll go get them, okay?  I should have stopped them.  But I’ll get them.  Okay?  I’ll push them out.  Just stay here.  Just breathe.  Stay here.”

Phoebe didn’t want to leave Amora like that.  But she also believed Amora.  She always had.  And that meant Brad, Tina, and Gabriel needed her help more than Amora did.

Phoebe turned around, unsurprised to find her other friends gone, unsurprised that Amora’s screaming hadn’t stopped the others from plunging into the tunnel. 

She approached the tunnel and picked up one of the flashlights that Tina had left on the ground.  One for Phoebe and one for Amora.

Phoebe pulled up the hood of her jacket and buttoned the top button of her shirt, right at the neck. 

Then she plunged into the tunnel.

***

Brad had told them that walking to the other end of the tunnel would take half an hour, more or less.  He’d been planning on going slower, so they had a chance to record any sound phenomena that occurred, and take pictures, and really examine the walls and floors.  There weren’t any other structures inside, like maintenance shafts or anything. 

Phoebe had her flashlight on before she entered, and she entered slowly so her eyes could adjust.  She peered ahead.  She didn’t see the others yet.  She didn’t even see the light of their flashlights, or hear their voices.

“Brad!” she called out.  “Wait up!  I’m coming!”

No one answered back.  Phoebe turned around.  She was still close to the mouth of the tunnel.  She spotted Amora just outside, staring ahead into the tunnel.

Phoebe wondered if Amora would hear her if she called out. 

She decided not to try.  There would be no need if she found everyone right away.  She was probably strong enough to drag Tina away, especially if Tina didn’t consider the tunnel worth having a physical fight over.  And if she could draw Tina away, Gabriel would follow.

That left Brad.

***

It was quiet in the tunnel save for the sound of her footsteps and a constant dripping.  Phoebe waved her flashlight around the tunnel.  The light fell on weathered stone bricks, some of them cracked, a few absent, leaving gaps, like missing teeth.  The stones appeared to be sweating.  The air in the tunnel was cooler than the air outside.  Water vapor was condensing on the stones as the humid air passed through the tunnel.

The floor of the tunnel was also made of stone bricks, and also suffered cracks and gaps.  She wanted to walk faster, but she made herself slow down so she wouldn’t twist an ankle if her foot fell into a gap.

It grew dimmer as she moved farther into the tunnel.  The darkness clung wherever her flashlight didn’t shine.  She turned around periodically to see how far away from the entrance she was.  But seeing it grow smaller and dimmer made her start feeling closed in.  So she focused on what was head of her.  She kept the tunnel wall directly to her right, only moving away from the wall where she saw a gap from a missing brick—just in case a rat or something popped out at her.

Her mind spun with thoughts of encountering everything from the natural horror of a bear hunting for food to the mind-destroying horror of a skeletal zombie clinging to the ceiling as she waved her flashlight overhead.

She was so relieved when her flashlight fell on the backs of her friends, she let out a sob.

Phoebe sucked in her breath and approached them.

“Brad,” she said, trying to speak normally, but managing only a hoarse whisper.

Brad did not turn.

She drew in another breath and called out to Tina.

Tina didn’t turn around either.

Phoebe slowed her approach.  She forced herself to keep her flashlight on her friends.  The light was trembling.

“Phoebe.”

Phoebe stopped. 

“Stay behind me,” Brad said. 

Phoebe swallowed and found that her mouth was dry.  “What are you doing?”

“Let’s just keep going,” Tina said.  “Just slide on by.”

“I don’t want to get bit,” Gabriel replied.

“It’s fine,” Brad said.  “We don’t bother them.  They don’t bother us.  And if they do, we’ll just run for it, and we’ll go to the hospital first thing.  Get a rabies shot, and we’ll be just fine.”

Phoebe felt her brow crease.  She started forward again, slowly.  She walked up behind Brad and tilted her head to see past his shoulder at what they were seeing.

Four or five animals stared at them, their eyes glowing yellow in the light of the flashlights.  They looked like raccoons, but something wasn’t quite right about them.

“Raccoons?” she asked aloud.  The animals had long striped tails and patches of black fur around their eyes and their tapered noses, and light fur around the patches.  The larger two were about the size of a house cat.  

“That’s what I thought at first,” Bradley said.  “But they’re not.  They’re lemurs.”

“I thought lemurs were rare or endangered or something,” Tina said.  “Where did these come from?”

“Doesn’t matter.  We’re going past them.”

Gabe’s flashlight suddenly shifted to the right, ahead of them.  “Is that another one?”

Phoebe caught movement just outside the perimeter of her own flashlight.  She glanced to her left.  “There’s another one.”

Seven pairs of yellow eyes now blinked at them from the glow of the flashlights. 

But outside the range of the flashlights, in the dimness of the tunnels, Phoebe spotted a pair of red eyes. 

Then another.

“There’s more of them,” she said. 

“Let’s start moving,” Brad said.  “Slowly.”

“Let’s go back,” Phoebe said.  “This is enough.  Let’s get back to Amora.”

“She’s right, Brad,” Tina said.  “We’re closer to the other side, and if more of these raccoon-lemur-things come out, we need to make it to the cars.”

“Do they swarm?” Gabriel asked.

Phoebe stepped backward.  She reached out to grab the sleeve of Brad’s jacket and start pulling him back with her when she heard a low hissing growl from behind.  Another started from ahead.  Flashlights began to swing in different directions, searching for the source of the growls.  But the animals that the lights fell on were just staring at them.

The growl from behind came closer.  Phoebe stepped back toward Brad as she directed her flashlight behind her. 

The entire way back was blocked by dozens of the stripe-tailed animals.  They looked bigger now.  And they weren’t standing on all fours.  Their forelimbs were just off the ground, as if they were hunched over.  They blinked and stared.

“Grab the pipes from Tina’s bag,” Brad said.  “And start moving slowly.  Everyone back-to-back.  If they start moving toward us, don’t panic.”

And as soon as he said the word “panic,” a growl answered and the animals started rushing toward them.

Phoebe kept her flashlight on the animals behind them as she pushed Tina forward.

They started running.  But Phoebe saw they were too slow.  She didn’t have anything—no pipe, no tree branch, nothing she could use to hit anything that came close.

Brad swung his pipe and batted a few of the things away from him.  Phoebe stayed behind him.  She heard something snap its jaws just beside her.  She swung her flashlight at it without looking.  The butt of her flashlight hit something with a thud.  The light flickered for a second. 

She didn’t want to be in the dark with those things.

But she didn’t have time to stop and reach into Tina’s bag for a weapon.

The best thing she could do was run faster.

She ran between Brad and Tina and past them. 

Dark shapes bounded beside her. 

She thought of the tunnel mouth.  She just had to make it to the tunnel mouth.  She had no reason to believe the animals would stop chasing her at the tunnel’s end.  Except that if she believed they would stop chasing them, then they had reason to keep running.

She pumped her legs and her arms.  She pumped her arms so hard and fast that she felt her elbow punched something, something with fur.  She was landing her toes.  Watching the ground.  Missing all the cracks and the gaps.  Jaws snapped around her.  Her heel flew back and struck something.

Terror and adrenaline drove her. 

The snapping jaws fell away.  The shadows moving beside her, the heat from all the bodies.  They began to fade.  Her lungs were starting to burn, but Phoebe didn’t plan on slowing down.  She didn’t plan on stopping.

She wouldn’t stop running until—

“Gabe!”

The scream curdled the blood in Phoebe’s veins.  She brought herself to a stop and swung her flashlight around behind her. 

Bradley was pulling Tina forward, dragging her forward.  Tina was facing away from Phoebe, her arms stretched out toward Gabriel.

Gabriel had fallen.

He lay on the ground.

And it really did look as if the creatures were swarming around him.  Their striped tails flicking in and out of the light.

Tina’s flashlight shifted upward, and its light rolled over Gabriel and onto the thing that was pinning him down.  Its fur was striped.  It was tall, as tall as a bear.  Its mouth was open and dripping with slime and muck.  It lowered its mouth toward Gabriel, and as it did, its eyes flicked up and looked at Phoebe.

Phoebe’s stomach churned.  She turned around, and she pushed off running again. 

Her vision was blurred. 

She heard Brad behind her.

“Run, Phoebe!” he said.

She ran.

She ran, and she ran.

She didn’t wait for Brad.  Or Tina. 

Somewhere in the back of her mind, she decided she would wait for them outside the tunnel.  She would check on them once she was safe.  Out of the tunnel.

She ran and she ran.

And she started getting tired.  She didn’t want to stop.  But her body was making her stop.  Her legs were wobbling.  If she didn’t stop, she’d trip.  She might get hurt.  And she wouldn’t be able to run anymore.

She slowed down, and she stopped and turned her flashlight behind her.  She saw Brad and Tina.  They were far behind her, but they were still coming.  She searched behind them.

But she didn’t see anything following them.

Maybe they would have time for a few breaths.

Brad stopped and dropped Tina to the ground before he dropped to his knees.  He wheezed and groaned.

“Gabe,” Tina muttered.  “Gabe.”

She lay face down on the ground.  “Gabe.”

Phoebe let Brad rest a moment.  “Hey, Tina.  Come on.  Let’s get out of the tunnel first, okay?  Then we’ll figure it out.”  Her vision went blurry again for a moment, and she realized she had tears in her eyes.  She blinked them away.

“Gabe.”

“Come on, Tina.”

“Gabe.”

“Tina, come on.”

“Gabe.”

“Tina!”

Phoebe grabbed Tina’s backpack and yanked at it.

Tina’s left foot had sunken into a gap in the bricks.  But as Phoebe watched, the gap widened.  Tina’s foot slipped further in, then her ankle, her knee.  Tina was starting to sink into the widening gap.

Brad glanced over.  He grabbed Tina under her arms and pulled. 

“Gabe.”

“Tina…Tina look at me.  Look at Brad.  Tina…” 

They started pulling Tina out of the gap, but then she got snagged on something.  Phoebe was thrown off balance.  She let go of the backpack for just a second.  Before she could grab it again, Tina slipped away.

The gap opened and swallowed her.

Brad held on. 

Phoebe knelt beside him so she could help him pull Tina up.

“Gabe,” Tina said.  She was looking down into that dark abyss.

And then something came out of the abyss. 

A grunt. 

Tina slipped.  Something was pulling her down.

“No,” Brad said.  “No.”

Tina’s backpack was open.  Phoebe saw something squirming inside of it. 

An arm shot out of the backpack.  It was gray and withered.  The long fingers formed a claw.  The hand pushed Brad’s chest back and then raked his shirt. 

But he held onto Tina.  The hand reached for his throat and wrapped around it.  Phoebe beat the arm, kicked it.  She hit it with her flashlight, but it wouldn’t let go.

And Brad wouldn’t let go.

“Brad, let her go,” Phoebe said.  “Let her go.  Let her go-let her go.”

She stopped attacking the gray arm, and starting forcing Brad to release his grip on Tina.

His hands were sweaty.  His grip was already weakening.  It was easy for Phoebe to make him let go.

The hand around Brad’s throat released him.  It fell—with Tina—into the chasm that had formed.

“I’m sorry,” Phoebe said as she grabbed Brad, and dragged him away from the chasm.

***

They jogged, so they could keep running without having to stop and rest too often.  They didn’t speak.  Every now and then, one of them glanced back to check for anything that might be chasing them.

Every now and then, they would stop for just long enough to catch their breaths.  They would check their phones for reception.  They would check the time.  And then they would run again.

They both knew it, but didn’t say it aloud.  They should have made it to the other side of the tunnel already.

“I’m not ready to give up yet,” Brad said.  He was staring at his phone.

Neither was Phoebe.  But they had no food and no water.  At some point, they would have no choice.

Brad suddenly looked up at her and then behind them.  He shone his flashlight behind them.

Phoebe gasped.

Amora was walking toward them.  She was limping toward them.  The bottom of her pants were torn and ragged.  They looked bloodied.

She didn’t have her jacket on.  The shoulders of her shirt were covered in something that looked like tar.

“Is it really you?” she said, glancing between Brad and Phoebe.

Brad nodded.  “It’s us.  It’s okay.  It’s us.”

Phoebe stared at her.  “How did you make it through?”

Amora winced a little and smiled.  “The same way you did probably.  I got lucky.”

“And your sense helped you?” Brad asked.

Amora nodded.

Brad shook his head.  “We should have listened to you.  I should have.  Gabe and Tina…”

“I know.”  Amora looked at the ground.

Phoebe frowned.  The hairs on the back of her neck prickled.  “Amora?” 

Brad approached Amora and let her put her arm over his shoulder, so he could support her weight and ease her limping.  “Can you help us get out of here?” he asked.

Phoebe shifted her flashlight away from them.  “Brad…”

Amora glanced up and looked at Phoebe.

In the dimness just outside the flashlight’s range, Amora’s eyes glowed red.

Phoebe gulped.  She sucked in a breath.  Before she could call out to Brad, a gray arm and a clawed hand reached for him.  Long sharp fingers pierced his chest.

Brad’s eyes widened in surprise.  But then they looked at Phoebe.  He couldn’t speak.  His lungs were punctured.  He threw out his free hand.

He was telling her to run.

I’m sorry, Phoebe thought.

She turned away from the thing that looked like Amora, the thing that was gripping Brad over his shoulders, through his chest. 

She turned her back on Brad.

And she ran.

She ran and ran.

She knew she would never reach the end of the tunnel, but she wouldn’t stop.

Her vision was blurred.  By tears.  So when her eyes spotted a dim light ahead, she thought it was just her flashlight at first.

But the light ahead grew brighter and bigger.

Phoebe ran.

Something was going to pop up at the last minute, right at the tunnel mouth.  She knew it would.  But she wouldn’t stop.  She would get as far as she could get.

She wouldn’t stop.

And she didn’t stop.

She didn’t stop as she approached the tunnel mouth.  And she didn’t stop when she ran past it and out of the tunnel.  And she didn’t stop until she saw Amora.

***

Phoebe slowed and stopped just before Amora.  She wiped her eyes.

She was too terrified to be cautious.

She grabbed Amora by the shoulders.

“Is it really you?  Or is this a trick?  Am I still in the tunnel?”

Amora blinked.  Her brow creased.  “It’s me.  You’re not in the tunnel.”

Phoebe peered into her friend’s dark eyes.  There was no sign of red.  But she did see something she hadn’t seen with the Amora in the tunnel.  There was someone there behind those dark eyes.  A human being.  A human soul. 

“It’s you,” Phoebe said.  “I know it’s you.  I can tell, can’t I?”  She gripped Amora more firmly.  “Listen to me.  We need to get away.  Get to the cars.  To the light.  We have to call…”  She couldn’t finish the sentence.  She felt her muscles turn to jelly as she thought about calling Gabe’s parents.  And Tina’s.

And Brad’s.

“Phoebe, you need to breathe,” Amora said.  “It’s not too late, okay?”

A wave of force struck Phoebe, pushing her back.  She let go of Amora’s shoulders.

“Let’s go and come back before it gets late.”

Phoebe froze.

Amora had not spoken those last words.  The voice that spoke them had come from behind her.

Phoebe turned around and saw Brad standing in front of the tunnel.  Just behind him were Tina and Gabriel holding hands even while they checked Tina’s backpack.

Her friends.  The ones she’d seen getting maimed, devoured, taken.  The ones she was afraid were dead.  They were just standing there in front of the tunnel.  Ready to go in.

Phoebe glanced behind Amora.  In the distance, just peeking through the trees were two cars. 

She was still shaking.  But her breathing, her heartbeat started to calm. 

She looked Amora in the eyes.  “I saw….I saw what you saw?”

Amora’s dark eyes looked at Phoebe.  “I’m not sorry,” she said.  But there was sorrow in her eyes.

What Phoebe had just lived through—or thought she lived through—that was what Amora had seen.

Phoebe turned toward her friends.  “Stop!” she said.

“We’re not gonna wait for you forever,” Brad said, turning to her as he walked backward toward the tunnel.  “Stay with her or come with me.”

Phoebe pulled out her phone.  She absently noted the time.  In her vision, she would enter the tunnel five minutes from then.  She narrated the number she was dialing out loud. 

Brad stopped.

He stopped because he recognized the number.

The call connected. 

“Hi Missus Wen,” Phoebe said, surprising herself with how sweet and steady she was able to make her voice.  “Yeah, it’s me.  The study session?  We kinda changed our mind.  Brad just wanted me to let you know he’s on his way home.  And did you need him to pick up dinner or anything?”

Brad’s eyes widened.  They widened the way they had when the thing in the tunnel had pierced his heart and his lungs with its claws.  They widened at a surprise betrayal.

Phoebe was piercing his heart this time.  But he would survive this betrayal.  He was already stepping away from the tunnel.  And Tina and Gabriel had stopped to watch a possible drama unfold.

Brad would never let his mother worry.  He wouldn’t linger.  Not matter how badly he wanted to see what was in that tunnel.

“Tomorrow at lunch,” Phoebe said as he walked toward her.  “I’ll explain why we’re leaving.  And why we are not coming back.”

Tina sighed and shrugged.  She nuzzled Gabe’s neck and whispered something to him.  He smiled and they moved away from the tunnel.

Brad glowered.  His gaze flicked toward Amora and then to Phoebe.

Phoebe’s vision went blurry.

Brad’s frown suddenly vanished.  He looked away as he moved past Phoebe and walked toward his car. 

Phoebe blinked away the tears that were forming. 

Angry or not, he would probably check on her later.  He’d only seen her cry twice in their lives.  He didn’t like it.

“How do we make sure they don’t come back here?”  Phoebe asked.

“They won’t,” Amora said.

Phoebe turned to her.  “How can you be sure?  How far into the future can you see anyway?”

“I’m not sure.  I’m just…confident.  And I didn’t look into the future.  You did.”  Amora glanced down at her feet and back up.  “You didn’t see through my eyes.  I was seeing through yours, through all of yours.”

Phoebe winced.  “Amora…that’s terrible.”

“But it was also wonderful.”

Phoebe raised her brows.  “Wonderful how?”

“I can see now what you mean when you say he’s a good guy.  You can run fast, Phoebe.  But it wasn’t your legs that saved you.  It was your friend.”

Phoebe put her hand to her heart.  Her chest still felt tight from running so hard, even though she had only been running in her mind. 

“It was both of my friends,” she said.

 

Copyright © 2020  Nila L. Patel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.