I remember running down the tunnel, thinking “where the fuck am I going to go?”. My legs ached at every step but I couldn’t stop. The creature was closing in on me and I could feel the hot breath on my neck, the stench of which was indescribable. The thunderous roar of his wings was almost deafening. My heart was pounding in my throat and I could hardly breathe. Waves of nausea were threatening to bring me to my knees and I was unsure how much longer my body would keep going. One thing I was so sure of was that if I didn’t get out of this tunnel, then there would be no tomorrow – of that I was certain. I didn’t want this to be the way I finally went. I wanted my final breaths to be taken doing something amazing, not running down a dirty, dark orifice in the underbelly of the city. Other things much stronger than this had not defeated me, and I sure as hell was not going to die in that place. As luck would have it, fate had other plans.
I spied a shadow to the side of the hallway, close to where I was running but I was moving too quickly to figure what the shadow was – I just readied myself to keep barreling past. Suddenly the wind was ripped from my chest as the shadow reached out and pulled me into an icy hole, the wall slamming shut again behind me. I could feel the frozen ground beneath me as I lay there trying to comprehend what had just happened and where I was. My lungs felt like they were exploding from the running and the icy air was burning with every gasp. The world was spinning around me and I heard a voice faintly just as I felt myself drifting into unconsciousness, “we better get her inside or we will lose her”. The world went dark and there was nothing I could do to stop it…..
As I awoke, I could feel the searing pain in my face and lungs. My eyeballs felt like they were full of jagged rocks scraping and shifting against the soft lenses, tearing giant chasms. I decided to keep them closed for a bit and took stock of my body which ached like never before. I felt like he had been hit by a truck, which is so unlike me. I am super fit and although my adventures can leave me feeling a bit worse for wear, why such a strong reaction with my body? Something wasn’t right. The words “not normal” were running through my head. I remembered it had been really cold but I had been almost hyperthermic before and not had this reaction. As I was working it through in my head I heard footsteps beside where I lay and tried to open my eyes. The pain was excruciating and I yelped – a mixture of pain and fear of not being in control. I felt a firm touch on my shoulder and gentle voice of a male reminding me that I had been rescued from the hallway and my inevitable fate. I was grateful that fate had intervened but I had so many questions. Again I tried to open my eyes and the now familiar pain caused me to groan. The voice was saying “don’t try and open your eyes. It will take another day before the swelling goes down. The icy air outside of here is tinged with acid and we can’t go out in it without protection. Unfortunately we had no choice if we were to get you out of the tunnel. We figured you wouldn’t mind paying the price of some discomfort to maintain your life”. It was true, I was grateful but I couldn’t wait for the swelling to go down. I had so many things racing through my head and I was eager to find out where I was, but I just had to be patient – not my strong point. Waiting is hard, but I was still alive. I remember laying there thinking that in the end, all things equal, today was a good day and I looked forward to tomorrow.