By Adriana Haris

Stepping into the tunnel robbed me of one sense and heightened the others. It was disorientating to be almost blinded but given the ears of a wolf. Even the soft swish of the leaves felt heavy in my ears. The decomposing leaves made the atmosphere heavy and thick. The blackness nurtured a sense of claustrophobia inside me even though the woods stretched unbroken for miles. The narrow path, which was made uneven by the knotted roots that crossed it, branched at intervals. There was no map to follow, but even if there were, the permanent black prevented me from using it. I was left to follow my instincts, which I’ve learned not to trust.

A bright golden light blinded me for a moment. Its glow sent shockwaves through my dark soul. It shone like a ray of sunshine ready to burst out from the shadows. The only source of light in this dark tunnel was right in front of me. I tried to reach for it. But instead, it left me feeling as though my heart was beating slower and slower. It felt like everything inside me was shutting off. My legs started to wobble; my hands started to shake; my entire body trembled. Unable to hold onto it, the object fell from my grasp. A sudden heartbeat shocked me back to reality leaving me feeling faint but revived. My strength returned and with it, I ventured further into darkness and farther from the light.

I turned around to find that where I came from was gone. It had disappeared into oblivion. I decided that going deeper into the tunnel was the best and only option. It was cold, damp and wet. I heard water dripping from the ceiling. One cold droplet touched my face sending shivers down my spine.
A gush of wind had caused me to loose my balance and fall. I was met with a hard surface intensifying my fall. I felt something cold beside me that smelt of rusty stainless metal. I grabbed it and realized it was a long and endless chain. I pondered at the significance of it. Was it attached to someone or something? Horrible images of a beastly creature shackled to it appeared in my mind. I chose to ignore these frightening pictures because the only thing I wanted to do was find a way out.
This noise became louder with every step I took. Something was telling me that I was close to the end. I was closer to finding what I had voyaged long and tirelessly for. I was met with two choices: left or right. Using my instincts that I’ve learnt to fear, I marched towards the left.
“This way will not lead you to your destination. Go the another way.” I stopped to think about this hard choice. Should I trust my gut or trust the words spoken by the ancient walls of the tunnel? I didn’t know where it came from but I chose to listen. After walking in the chosen side, the dark atmosphere of the tunnel seemed to lift.
The next thing I knew, I was running for my life. Light shined all around me but the noise of animals barking, roaring, and growling made me run. My breath came in small spurts; my fingers curled into sweaty fists; my legs moved like the wind. Behind me, I could hear the baying howls of the dogs and jeering laughter of my enemies. “Please God, let me live.” I cried aloud, throwing myself forward with even greater speed. My lungs and heart were pumping, but the air didn’t seem to be enough. I was reaching the end of my tether. I was ready to collapse…

so collapse I did.

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