Simon jumped over the three feet high road fence before him. As soon as he slid down the steep slope, someone grabbed him from behind.
"Stop!" it was a man's voice.
They both stumbled and rolled over until they reached the bottom of the road. Regis lose his grip on Simon's hands when his head hit hard on the ground. He glanced up and saw the boy was already crossing the highway, playing patintero with the passing cars. When he reached the other side of the road, he quickly entered the thick forest.
"I said stop right there!" Regis shouted. He stood up and cursed when he felt his head was a bit spinning. He knew he already wasted enough time so he quickly ran across the street, avoiding the fast coming motor vehicles from both sides.
Simon panted as he ran deeper and deeper to the forest. He knew he shouldn't stop so he ran as fast as he could. It became easier when his eyes quickly adjusted to the dark. He just followed the huge Mahogany trees which lined up the trail and stretched up to two kilometers. He ran for almost one and a half kilometers already but he could still hear the officer following him from behind.
Just a few more steps, he said as the trees started to become familiar. Once I reached the cave, it'll be over.
"Police! Stop right there!" He heard the officer's voice again.
"Shit! He's so persistent!" Just as when the path was about to end, he took a short cut to his right and passed right through the giant ferns behind the Mahogany trees. Away from the main road, the ground was moist and so, mud was stuck to his rubber shoes. He looked up and saw a swarm of fireflies dancing up to a hundred feet above the ground. He didn't dare to blink when finally before him was the infamous gargantuan Balete tree that can only be found right in the middle of the forest.
He remembered, he was stuck at the back seat of the silver sports car when he saw the scary looking tree in front of them. From the main road, Rayne suddenly turned right and headed straight to what seemed to be a dead end wall a few meters away from the thousand year old tree. Crawling leaves hung around the rocks, covered with moss and falling water from the mountain. He said his prayers and waited for the car to crash through what he called The Wall of Doom. He closed his eyes, ready to die but the violent collision he imagined didn't happen. He slowly opened his eyes and saw the college boy was still driving in what seemed to be a dark tunnel. The girl beside him was looking at her cellphone while talking indistinctly to the guy.
Simon looked back and once again he heard the voice of the officer telling him to stop.
"Damn, he was fast!" he blurted out. When Simon turned to his right he saw the cave. He heard the sound of the falling water and smelled the damp leaves on the ground. He reached out his right hand when suddenly, he felt a sharp throb in his head.
He felt his fingers getting numb and in the blink of an eye, he fell on the ground. He hit his head hard on a small rock and when he attempted to stand up his foot was already caught on a huge root protruding from the ground.
He thought back, did the college boy turned right before or after they passed by the giant tree. Is it too late? He shouldn't have taken the shortcut.
Simon looked up and saw someone was approaching him. It was the police officer chasing him. When he caught up, he pointed his flashlight on his face. Simon tried to pull his foot away but his jeans were stuck up and he felt no sensations at all. How strange, he couldn't hear any sound at all. And the light on his face became flickering spots of lights moving in curved directions, or was he just seeing the fireflies?
Aah, my head hurts, he thought as his surrounding started to become blurry. It was getting darker than the already dark starless sky and he was sure the officer was the one shaking his shoulders right now. He felt the moisture on the ground as his head fell down.
"Why are you crying?" he asked the little girl who was sitting on the ground.
She looked up and he saw tears from her eyes.
"Zey, why are you crying?" he asked again.
Between her sobs, she tried to answer. "Mama.. and my li-ttle brother's not..coming back."
The little boy looked up at the sky and then sat down beside her. I wonder why suddenly, I'm remembering this. Something hurts inside my head. My chest hurts too. He felt something heavy on his chest, and he felt another sharp pain behind his eyes and neck.