I had been ripped back up the tunnel, the angry ghosts, millions of dead souls, flailing at me as I did so. I was scarred, blackened, and weeping openly in agony. I could barely focus. Blood seeped into the void around me, and I picked up speed. There was sound now, a howling of air, and a smell of wet stone. Like a smoking bullet, I plummeted back into reality. Through my damaged eyes, I got a glimpse of halogen lighting, and a puddle of black.
I was back. I looked like shit, and felt even worse, but there was a chance I could be saved.
I struggled to get a purchase, my metallic arm a dead weight. My limbs would not respond, every movement a searing pain on what little nerve endings I had left. Finally, I managed to move forwards.
My breathing was wheezing and wrong, and I knew I had little strength left. Not far now. I just needed to get out of the cave.
There were voices ahead. A tiny piece of hope surfaced in my shattered mind.
Was I safe?
I could see them now. Soldiers, Thornhill’s I hoped.
I tried to call out, let them know who I was behind the damage, but all that came out was a wet howl.
The soldiers formed a perimeter, their weapons levelled at my face.
I was frantic, trying to make them understand. But then it came to me. This was my punishment. This had already happened. At the other end of the tunnel was Elizabeth watching all this with a Geiger counter clutched in her hands, and in a couple of hours, I would be seeing footage of this unfold. The knowledge of what I had discovered was lost forever, and I was about to be the victim of human ignorance, the very thing that had cost me my life. Whatever the creature was that orchestrated this, I was sure I would see it again. I would wait with the other ghosts.
I lurched forwards, and the rifles barked noisily.
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