The monster in the tunnel

The stairs loomed before him. The first few steps nearly glowed in the bright afternoon sun, but darkness gathered at the top, causing the last several feet to disappear from sight. The boy paused, panting, gathering his courage together.

The enormous shadow behind him grew closer and he could hear the echoing footsteps of the thing following him. Impending doom shoved his courage from his chest to his feet and he stumble-ran up the darkening stairway.

The tunnel’s arching top concealed the boy from the warming sun. His shirtless torso, dripping with fear-sweat, chilled. Pinpricks of goose-flesh raised, causing the youngster to shudder. His bare feet slapped loudly on the grimy, cold concrete.

At the top of the stairs, the tunnel stretched unknowingly, and lightlessly, far. The thundering at the bottom of the stairs whispered to the boy, telling him to flee.

He ran. The broken chunks of man-made rock cut his feet as he flew down the tunnel. His heart beat at his ears, making him deaf to his own ragged breathing. The monster behind had no such limitations.

The boy stumbled. The unforgiving concrete battered his hands, covering them in dust and debris, hiding the blood seeping from countless tiny scratches and cuts. With a wordless cry, the child pushed himself up and onward, ever forward in the darkness.

A low, guttural sound followed his flight. It surrounded him, cutting him off from escape. In the darkness, the boy cried. His arms flailed, his feet pushed him forward, his eyes burned with sightlessness.

Until the tunnel ended, in a pile of rubble too unstable to scale. The boy collapsed, his breath spent and his body breaking.

Silently, he waited. The monster would find him, she always did.

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