By Robert R. McCammon
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Everyone carry on tight. prepared? ” She felt Beth squeeze her hand, and Artie croaked, “Ready. ” Sister closed the lighter’s lid. The darkness fed on all. Sister’s center used to be pounding, and he or she gripped the lighter protectively in her fist and commenced ahead. The water hit her so tough it knocked her less than. She misplaced Beth’s hand and heard the younger lady scream. Frantically, Sister attempted to get her footing, yet there has been anything slick and oozy all around the backside. Water used to be in her mouth and eyes, she couldn’t draw a breath and the darkness distorted her experience of course. Her left foot used to be trapped and held through an underwater item, and a shriek used to be very shut, yet she knew that if she enable it move they have been all misplaced. She flailed round along with her unfastened hand, attempting to carry the lighter up with the other—and palms gripped her shoulder. “I’ve acquired you! ” Beth shouted, her personal physique being battered through the waterfall. She steadied Sister, who wrenched her leg unfastened with an attempt that just about tore the sneaker off her foot. Then she was once free and relocating back, guiding the others clear of the snag. She didn’t know the way lengthy it took them to transparent the waterfall—maybe mins, probably three—but unexpectedly they have been previous it, and he or she wasn’t gasping for air anymore. Her cranium and shoulders felt as bruised as though she’d been used as a punching bag. She shouted, “We made it! ” and led them a distance away ahead of her part bumped steel. Then she took the lighter in her hands back and attempted to strike it. A spark leaped, yet there has been no flame. Oh, Jesus! Sister notion. She attempted it back. one other superstar of sparks—but no flame, and no gentle. “Come on, come on! ” she breathed. The 3rd time used to be no allure. “Light, rattling you! ” however it wouldn’t, no longer at the fourth or 5th makes an attempt, and he or she prayed that the lighter hadn’t gotten too rainy to trap. at the 8th try out a small, vulnerable flame seemed, wavered and virtually died back. Fluid’s nearly long past, Sister learned. they'd to get out of right here ahead of it was once used up, she idea, and ahead of that rapid she’d by no means identified how sanity may possibly rely on a tiny, flickering flame. Beside her, the crumpled radiator grille and hood of a Cadillac protruded from the water like an alligator’s snout. In entrance of her, one other automobile lay on its roof, all yet submerged, the tires shredded from its wheels. They have been amid a maze of wreckage, their circle of sunshine reduce to a fragment of what it have been earlier than. Sister’s tooth had all started to chatter, her legs like chilly chunks of lead. They went on, step by way of cautious step. The tunnel groaned above them back, and extra rubble tumbled down—but abruptly Sister learned that the water was once back off to her waist. “We’re popping out! ” she shouted. “Thank God, we’re popping out! ” She strained to work out mild forward, however the go out wasn’t but in sight. Don’t cease! You’re nearly there! She stumbled over anything at the backside. A gurgle of bubbles exploded in her face, and from the water in entrance of her rose a corpse, blackened and gnarled like a section of wooden, its hands frozen stiffly over its face, its mouth straining in a soundless scream.