[Part 1] - [Part 2] - [Part 3] - [Part 4] - [Part 5] - [Part 6]
I am tired, exhausted. My muscles are aching, my body protesting. But I must complete this note. I can't forget.
I had fallen asleep soon after typing the last note, unable to fight the exhaustion any longer. When I opened my eyes, Dave and Cecilia were already awake. Dave was whispering something to her, both his hands holding her face. Tears were streaming from her eyes as she tried to control her sobbing.
I tried to ignore them, as I looked around us. Nothing much seemed to change. Below, Amanda and the dead continued to wait, their eyes trained on our platform. They never flinched, never blinked.
They knew that sooner or later we would need to go down. The platform would not keep us safe forever.
A tap from Dave broke my thought. He had a weird determined look in his eyes, and I would never forget his final few words to me.
“Take care of Cecilia for me.”
“No, you would not be able to run as fast as I do.”
“There’s no way for the three of us to survive this together.”
“I will try my best to see you guys again, I promise.”
I protested. I knew Cecilia did too. But there was no changing Dave’s mind once he’s decided on something. He made us promise to him that we would follow his plans, that we would not deviate and we did just that. Cecilia and I ran. We ran like never before. While Dave ran in the opposite direction, towards the flame, leading the creatures away from us. Baiting them. Taunting them.
Shouting “Stay alive” with all his might, before his figured disappeared, blended in together with the tunnel.
We ran past Colin Nessbit’s Mustang. Past the pickup truck. Past the boat. Past the Myvi. We ran towards the bend in the road. We did not know what awaited us after the bend, but somehow it felt right. And it was. As soon as we stepped past the bend, reality altered. From the bleak, dark tunnel we were running from, the stinking stench and tortured voices, we were greeted by a proper road and uniformed lights that lined the tunnel. Normal cars passed us, some slowed down to stare at us.
I looked behind me, expecting to see remnants of where we came from, but only the sight of a normal and proper tunnel remained, with the exception of a slightly mangled Myvi against the tunnel’s walls. A tunnel that we should have been through. It was like we stepped right through a portal that connected two worlds.
I turned immediately towards Cecilia, elated. Our nightmare was finally over. I grabbed both her hands and jumped around in joy. “We made it, we finally came back!” I happily exclaimed.
But she only looked at me with confused eyes. “Came back from where?” Her body had bruises that appeared out of nowhere and I felt a sudden, stabbing pain in my arm. A long gash ran down it, blood oozing. There was smoke coming from the crashed Myvi, its front crumpled against the wall.
But shouldn’t it have been somewhere else?
Confused, I checked my watch. It read 12.00am, the date being the day before, when one day should have passed. I opened my phone, wanting to see the notes that I had written previously, to convince we did experienced a night of horror, but they were all gone. I only stood there, stunned.
According to the medics who came later, we had crashed the car into the wall of the tunnel while we were driving down. We lost control, they said, but I don't remember driving the car. They told us that we're lucky It was only a minor accident, as both Cecelia and I walked away there unharmed, with only minor injuries and bruises.
I asked about Dave, about Amanda. But I was only returned with more confused looks. There were only two people in the Myvi when it crashed, me and Cecilia. I tried talking to Cecilia. “Don’t you remember Dave? Amanda? That the four of us came her for vacation?”
She only stared back weirdly at me, with a baffled look. "It was only the two us who came for this trip... I didn't wanted to come alone, and you offered to be my travel buddy."
I was told that I may have suffered a concussion during the crash, and it may have affected my perception of reality. That I am remembering things that are not there. Or that what I remembered were dreams instead of reality. But I knew better. That scent of the decayed flesh. The abandoned cars. Dave, my memories of Dave. They can’t be false. They can’t be my imagination. They felt too real to be a dream.
On the ambulance to the hospital, I checked my Facebook. I checked everything online. There was no Dave among my friends. No pictures of me and Dave. I searched his family’s Facebook. No profile of him. Searches of him online returned zero results. There was no profile of Amanda either. It’s like they never existed, when just one day ago we tagged our group picture in Facebook.
I made calls, sent messages. To anyone who knew Dave or even Amanda. Their family, close friends. But every single time, I only received the same response.