The path lengthens in front of me. The road is barren to each side. The night is empty save for the thumping. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. And it goes on.
There are three options ahead. One, turn off onto the grass at the edge of the road and try to get lost in the night. Two, keep running forward on the path with the bounce the asphalt adding to my speed. Three, stop and face the monster in the darkness behind me.
And so I keep running. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
There are no words to describe the level of shit I’m in. I know I can’t outrun the monster; I know I’ll tire long before it does; I know I’m going to die. And yet, I can’t bring myself to stop running. I can’t bring myself to give up. Because if I give up, I die, and if I run, I might just survive. And that small shred of a fraction of hope is all my aching legs and racing heart and burning chest need as motivation to go on. I might just live. I might just outrun this monster.
As I run I tire. My hope dies a little more with each step. I know my end is inevitable, but that little voice keeps whispering “not today”.
The monster who chases me is a huge cloud of thunder who runs on four legs and has long, sharp teeth. It wants to drown me. The monster will squeeze me until I can’t move. The monster will fill my head until I believe its lies. The monster will replace my whisper of hope with hollow despair. I can hear its voice even now; the voice like black sticky oil. It leaks out and trails after me: “You are not loved. You are not valued. Give up. You have nothing to live for. Nothing and no one can help.” It repeats on loop in my head.
I run down the path, and tears stream down my cheeks. I cry out to the night sky in anger and despair at the unjustness of life and the cruelty of living and the pain in this world. I scream my last stand of defiance into the cold dark air as my legs fail me, and I fall to my knees in defeat.
The monster takes me.
I open my eyes and see only darkness. I hear only darkness. I touch only darkness. I breathe darkness. “Help,” I try to scream, but only darkness falls from my tongue. There is only hopelessness and despair and hurt in this world. There is only darkness, and I am drowning in it. I curl into a ball, shuddering sobs racketing my body. There is no light; there is no end; there is no hope. There is nothing.
I sit there for what feels like ages. Time passes without me. I am a spectator to its events. I feel hollow and cold. An empty shell. I am alone. So so terribly alone.