The Darkest Sum
The embodiment of the world's evil has but a single fear, one homeless girl.
Twenty-two year old Liz Linden and her nineteen year old brother, Jacob, have lived in the storm drains that run under Las Vegas for almost one year. There are many others living in the makeshift camps. She does her best to make their concrete camp into a home until she can save enough money to get them out of the tunnels and into an apartment.
Of late, her wish to get out has become desperate, as she's come to realize something else is down there--the offspring of malice and hypocrisy. It lives, it grows, and if not stopped, it will fully exist. It is the total of mankind's evils--The Darkest Sum.
he air in the tunnel was thick and dank, and as black as a shadow’s shadow. Our single flashlight was woefully inadequate. Darkness encased my brother and me while its offspring prowled the concrete corridors searching for us. I’d been fighting for survival my whole life, but never before had I so thoroughly felt it.
Over the next twenty or thirty minutes we made several turns and while I tried to keep my bearings it became more and more difficult. The water rose again.
I had an unreasonable, albeit powerful urge to turn around and run back the way we’d come. It’s possible, as Jacob had argued; it would have been suicide, but maybe not. Maybe we would have made it through and been long out of there.
As the cold water buried more of me, creeping upward faster than I was brave enough to acknowledge, that sounded more and more promising.
In all the months we’d lived down in the tunnels, I had never experienced claustrophobia. That was something for which I had neglected to be grateful. However, with us being so far in, with the water threatening to shrink the tunnel to nothing but a concrete box without air and no known way to escape, our home of almost one year might well have been a tomb.
In order to go on and not allow terror to overcome me I did what I always do when I feel close to surrendering to my circumstance. I focused on my brother. Though in all fairness, it was Jacob who’d taken control. He led the way, he held my hand, and although he was afraid too, he kept his fears from me as I had always kept mine from him. I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse.
I hadn’t a clue as to what was going on outside. Even if the rain had stopped, the water in the tunnels would continue to rise. It was the place where the town shed its’ unwanted excess.
Every so often I made a request to Jacob that we stop for a moment to rest. I didn’t need to. My legs were strong from all the walking we’d done since becoming homeless and even with the water resistance, I hadn’t yet tired. What I needed to do was to listen without the noise of our sloshing through the water.
I didn’t hear the sound of something swimming. Maybe, like us, it was walking on actual legs.