Will’s voice echoed off the walls of the tunnel as he entered it. It was completely dark in there, and he had to feel ahead of him before taking each step. There was a light somewhere, far ahead, but the tunnel seemed to go on forever. Will wondered when he would reach the end. It also seemed impossible that Lindsey could have gotten to the other side so quickly. She had just left his side moments ago. Was that right?
He couldn’t remember. Will paused. Why had Lindsey run into the tunnel anyway? Was she chasing something? No, she was too old for that. She was almost a teenager, for goodness’ sake! She wasn’t going to chase rabbits or other animals into a tunnel! But then why had she run in? And where had she gone?
The echoes of his voice died out, and there was silence. Where was she? Will was scared. She was all he had after her mother had died. He couldn’t lose her too. He realized he was being melodramatic. She wasn’t gone. He just had to find her. The light didn’t seem any closer than it was before.
It seemed to be getting colder. Will could see his breath misting in the gloom. Just where was he? He couldn’t remember that either. What were he and Lindsey doing before she ran off? They were home. No, that couldn’t be right. There were no tunnels near where they lived. And it didn’t make sense that Lindsey would just run out of the house. How did they both end up here? He could feel his head pounding as he tried to piece things together. It didn’t matter, he decided. All that mattered now was finding his daughter.
As he walked through the cold, he could feel his chest tightening up. He had been diagnosed with a form of cardiac arrhythmia three years ago. It hadn’t bothered him much until after Helen’s passing. He ignored the pain and kept going. He couldn’t give up.
More memories started coming back to him. He was watching TV. Lindsey had just come home from soccer practice. No…she had come with him. He’d picked her up from practice, and then they were watching TV together. That wasn’t quite right either. And how did any of it connect to this? Where did Lindsey go? Will was getting frustrated. Stabbing pains were shooting through his chest. He stopped, doubling over. It was hopeless. He couldn’t remember.
Will straightened up. “Lindsey? Oh my god, Lindsey! Where are you, honey?”
No response. “Lindsey? Can you hear me?”
Will quickened his pace. “I’m coming, Lindsey! Hang on!”
“Don’t go, Dad!”
“I’m not going anywhere, sweetheart! Just stay wherever you are!”
The light seemed a bit closer now. Will could see more of the tunnel ahead, see the broken lights that lined its walls, the moss that crept along its arches. He started sprinting. Lindsey was close by. He was going to find her.
“I’m coming, honey!”
The end of the tunnel loomed ever closer. Will kept running until he made it all the way to the other side. There she was.
Will’s eyes shot open. He was in bed. There were beeping noises all around. Lindsey was standing next to him, her freckled cheeks soaked with tears.
“It’s alright, Lindsey,” a reassuring voice said. “Your father’s going to pull through.”