Chapter 32

The rocks fell around the fleeing crowd. The tunnel was beginning to collapse, as had so many other sewer tunnels before them. At this point many of the members of the crowd had accepted that not all of them would escape, everyone was just trying to make sure they could get out with what was theirs. Damien was no different. He had joined the Arrows in the hope that his betrayal would kill, or at least maim, the name of his life, but now it was crashing down around him.

 

Half his original troupe had been trapped behind a cave in, while the others had all separated from him in the crowd. Useless, he thought to himself. Once I get out of here, I will start my own gang and be done relying on the strength of others. He had been fuming since the attack had failed. He had given them Spring Street on a silver platter, in exchange for money and a couple of powerful artefacts, but since the attack had backfired he had been met with scorn and derision at every turn. He had even called in debts to pull in powerful fighters on his side, and still Laurence had managed to come out ahead.

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He swung his fists in rage and knocked over a couple of people in front of him. Everything he had worked for had failed, all because of one stupid, albeit strong, child. The person in front of him collapsed at the strike, so he trampled over their body. They were in his way, and the moment they fell they were also effectively dead. Even if they survived the trampling from the crowds, there was no way they would be able to get out before the tunnel collapsed. Damien knew this, but he simply did not care. He was getting out, and no measly thief from a second rate gang was going to stop him from getting out alive.

 

Looking ahead, he could see a path to the right, and a path that quickly led to an open exit. The crowd in front of him were crying with relief at the sight. It was their sign of life, their path to freedom. While there was light they had hope, and every person who got out of the ground made some sort of cry or scream over the fact that they survived, spurring those still in the tunnels on. They were so close, they could feel the fresh air on their faces, they could see the light, hear the wind. They were almost out.

 

Then the ceiling cracked. There was a rumble and a snapping sound as the ground above the fleeing crowd began to give way. Screams began echoing around Damien as he ran even quicker. He stopped thinking, stopped being angry, stopped mindlessly attacking people. He focused everything he had on surviving his gauntlet. The screams became worse when the cracks reached the cavern entrance and the entrance itself began quickly caving in. Within seconds it was impossible for anyone to escape in that direction. Some could not believe it, some could only cry at the fact that their escape path had been cut off, some even began digging in a hopeless attempt to either save someone or to get through the rubble wall.

 

Damien knew that there was only death if he stopped moving, so as he reached the turnoff, he began sprinting down it, with around twenty other people following his footsteps. They all knew it was a race against time, and that if they could not get out they would be as dead as a doornail.

 

The cracking sounds followed the gaggle of fleeing thieves. Each step they took felt like their entire lives flashed before their eyes, the cracking and crumbling that surrounding them just built upon the idea that their demise was imminent. There was a rumble, and the earth began caving in behind them. The screams grated against Damien’s ears. His lungs burned as he ran for his life, not daring to stop, not daring to look back.

 

Something caught against his foot and he tripped up, the world tumbled and then there was only darkness.

 

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Later, maybe an hour, maybe minutes, maybe even a day, Damien awoke. He was surrounded by rocks and his side hurt, but he was alive. He coughed a little due to the dust, before deciding to move some of the nearby stone away from his face. The disturbed stones made others fall around him, but they ended up just clearing more of a path than before.

 

His field of view had increased to the point where he could see the clearing around two metres in front of him. It was not a pretty sight. There were two corpses of people who had taken rocks to the head, one whose head had been crushed like a watermelon, with brain matter leaking all over the floor. It made Damien laugh, then choke a little. He seemed to still be luckier than some.

 

He looked up and saw, much to his delight, a small opening, one that could just fit a person. All he needed to do was remove some of the smaller rocks trapping him, then stand up and climb out. It was easy. He brushed off the rubble, moved a couple of big stones and tried to move his legs out. That was when he realised he could not feel his legs.

 

He could not feel his legs.

 

The sheer shock at the dilemma that had been presented to him destroyed all hope that he had of getting out. He could not feel his legs. It was a death sentence in the situation. No one would come to the rescue. Anyone who he had favour with was likely dead, not to mention the fact that only madmen would look around in places where the ground had recently collapsed.

 

The weight of the nature of his legs crashed down upon him and he could not help but scream out in fury, and anguish. Sadly only the dead could hear his cries.

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