Rut Race

I’m down, deep deep down.

No air. No light. No where.
I reach out blindly. Feeling forward with my hands.
Slowly, tentatively.
I touch soft, damp, something.
Rub my fingers together. It crumbles.
Press my fingers further, dig them into it.
Up to the wrists, hands suffocating…

Get them out! Get me out!!!

I scream but produce a thin stream of air.
Try again. No sound, though my throat is vibrating, perforating.
I raise one leg.
Feel with my foot trying to gain purchase on the black in front of me.
Hit something. Put weight on it, slowly, slowly.
No support. the ground crumples beneath my foot.
Back where I began.

Again I step out and up.
Again the crumbling, falling.
No progress.
Maybe faster.
I move my legs in turn.
Climbing invisible stairs.
Each time the ground shifts.
I get nowhere.
Faster still.
I pump my legs.
Left right left right.
Feeling nothing substantial.
Movement beneath me.
Not going up, not getting out.

I inhale a dank deep breath.
I exhale into the blankness
and sprint.
My legs pinwheel.
Faster, harder, pumping like an automaton.
My arms are right angles.
Pistoning back and forth.
Faster, harder, again, again, again…..

I’m moving with incredible speed
of an athlete,
a cheetah,
a machine,
but I’m no nearer the surface.
No nearer light, freedom, life.
I feel the surface on which I’m running, move.
It slides from under my frantic feet.
Like scree down a mountain.
I’m sliding, out of control now,
I can’t stop.
My limbs flail.

All I can do is keep running,
must remain upright,
not let the darkness consume me.

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