The Underground

I saw a mountain on the distant horizon early yesterday morning as I raced on. My body was weak (and lighter) from more exercise and less food. It begged me to reconsider the race and threatened to quit. The recent caloric deficit was straining my body but strengthening1 my spirit. My spirit soared but my body dragged. The mutiny of my own body’s members reminded2 me that although my sights were on the invisible things above my body was visibly stranded on earth below.

A shot of adrenaline suddenly reunited us when a large dog chased us beyond his jurisdiction and around the next bend in the road. That’s when I saw the hole at the base of the mountain.

I approached and looked inside. It was not what I expected, but rather a moving stairway into the darkness deep beneath the mountain. I was curious.

I stepped onto the first grated steel step. There was no turning back. My feet rested but my mind questioned. Where was I going? I looked back, but the lights dimmed and faded to black as I descended. I feared no evil yet I felt the shadow of death3 from the depths below.

The tunnel’s moving stairs stopped in a large chamber suspended above an abyss of blackness. I imagined this to be a place where I might run into Bohu again. There were many stairways into the chamber, and I saw other people. There was artificial light in the chamber yet it felt genuinely dark.

The figures appeared human but behaved like comatose zombies. Not wanting to draw their attention, I acted like them and followed their movement. We boarded a waiting car and moved deeper. The doors slid shut behind us. Colors faded to black and white. No one looked up, and neither did I. I had to get out of there before I became like them!

The doors reopened and I slid out before they slid shut. I looked for light in the darkness. No one spoke and no one noticed my quandary. I was searching when one of them spoke to me.

“Señor, por favor, ¿puede usted decirme cómo llegar a La Iglesia del Carmen?”

Why would this woman ask me for directions? Can’t she see I’m a stranger in this place? I wondered. But I was so happy to see a body with a spirit in it, I agreed to help her find the church she sought.

I located an exit to the surface.

“Señora,” I told her, “este es el camino que usted busca.”

She started to go into the light with me but suddenly turned back. I continued up into the light. I expected to find the church the desperate woman sought, but I saw a building instead. Is that why she turned back?

My race was not over. I ran.

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