There are nights that cling to you. The air thick with moisture, the sweat trickles down your sides and yet you walk fast. The darkness seems to grow from block to block and the silence is loud in your ears. Every muffled footfall booms down alleys and around corners making you feel as though you are being followed by yourself. You just want to go home; to shower away the day and have a drink. There is no breeze tonight, though if there were it would help little. The streetlights ahead blink themselves away, a conservation effort by the city. It only feeds the hungering darkness. Walking, you keep walking, forever in motion. Home was close, right? Why do you never seem to reach it?
An idea begins to creep in. Is this a dream? Is it real? Pausing you reach out to touch the building on your right. The wall is cool despite the oppressive heat that surrounds everything. It feels like brick, pushing against it, the wall bends under your hand. As flexible as rubber. You pull your hand away and stare at the wall, uncertain. This had to be a dream. Walls do not bend. Looking at your hand you see an iridescent film has begun to form on your skin. It slowly creeps along the surface of your palm in a wave and reaching your fingers, begins to curl around them in shiny tendrils.
Now you run. You know what this is and you have to reach her. Now. Before it is too late. Before she disappears. Running, sweating, heaving yourself across the pavement. She cannot be allowed to leave. City blocks fly by you now and you are draining what little energy you had left. Still you run, and run. You run until you cannot breathe anymore. You have to stop for a moment and catch your breath. Hands on your knees and head bowed. Breathe in, breathe out. Look up. There is her building across the park. You look behind you and you can see that the city has disappeared as you’ve run. One small thread of panic starts to weave its’ way through your veins. You look at your hand and the iridescent film has turned black.
You sprint across the park, faster than you’ve ever run before. There is a set of row homes on the other side of the park and you can see hers ahead of you. Taking the stairs leading up to her door two at a time you burst through the entryway and into the foyer of her home. You see him lying on the floor and your heart stops. He’s not dead, is he? Dropping to your knees and breathing heavily you cradle his head in your hands. He is breathing. Relief floods you and you attempt rouse him.
Where is she? Scott, where is she? Scott groans in response. Scott please, please wake up. Where did she go? Scott’s eyes slap open and there is terror there. He claws at your arm. He scrambles to get up. You move as one body, as you always have, as is always your way. With no words spoken Scott pulls you towards the basement. There is light coming from the cracks in the frame of the doorway. The door melts away and the stairs are ahead of you. You reach for Scott’s hand and find that it was always there. As it always has been. Slowly you descend into the room. When you reach the last step you can finally see her.
She is sitting in the center of the empty room sobbing. She has not seen you but she knows you are there. The light comes off of her body in waves, pulsing in time with your heartbeat. The trails leave patterns on your retinas. Reaching out with your mind you call her name. Her head snaps up. Oh Ryan. The thought wails through your mind and buckles your knees. Scott still has your hand and keeps you upright, lending his strength despite being barely able to stand on his own.
She looks at Scott and she cries out. Why would you bring him here? Though she knows you came of your own accord. She looks at you standing there together. Hands clasped and leaning on each other for support. The corner of her mouth twitches as though she may smile. At least you’re together you hear her think. She looks at Scott who has tears streaming down his face. Lex please, he begs.
I told you to go she growls. I can’t take you with me. You have to go.
We won’t leave you. It’s all of us or nothing.
I said GO she shrieks in our minds. The pain is intense and the sound of her voice is deafening. She stands. Opens her arms in front of her as though she could at that instant fling herself into our embrace. Instead she throws her arms up above her head and as claps her hands together, everything goes black.