The Jungle
Chapter 1

There was supposed to be a storm out tonight, but I didn't believe it. Maybe it would rain, but the sky was so cloudless now that I could see every star and constellation in the sky; I could see for miles and miles. The moon was huge, pale and bright, a saucer that lit my way in the night sky. It could not, would not storm tonight.

Damn, but was I wrong.

I had been running along a path through some fields I had found when I'd moved to Nebraska. There was corn all around me in this part of the trail, but I ran in worked in paths anyways so whoever owned the field shouldn't mind too much. It was exciting to be hidden as well as blinded by the corn and come out on another side in a practically new area. Of course, the new area looked more like a desert than any fantastic locale, so I wasn't running for the scenery. It was much prettier where I used to live, where there was such a thing as dark green grass and trees and water and life instead of cow, cow grass, cow, cow, grass, ad nauseam. I was running out of love of running. There's something about the pain, the endurance, the mental toughness you need, the way you can go on if you just drive yourself and the epic adrenaline highs from long runs; all of that makes everything else worthwhile. And under a moonlit night like this one, it was perfect. One good thing about the plains of Nebraska was how easily I could see the stars and the moon now. The ever present clouds of Washington weren't threatening me with rain, just the stars delivering promises from miles away. I've always loved the stars; I grew up with a telescope and running shoes. My father, he's the one that started me on both. He would run, and I would follow. When I was younger, I would turn around sooner, but as I got older, I followed him longer. He seemed to never stop, and he'd go until the sun was down and threatened to come back up sometimes. I asked him how he knew where he went, even when it was camping trips and he was without a map or a familiar running ground, and he taught me the stars. What stories lie in the heavens, lying pleasantly to the creators of lies! The weather in Washington didn't really encourage stars, but they shone on without fear of the rain. I ran on without fear of the same. I definitely wasn't afraid of Nebraskan rain — I learned how to swim in the rains of Washington and the waves of the Pacific. Whatever water Nebraska wanted to throw at me, I probably peed more. I hadn't counted on a real storm, like what I got. However, Nebraska does have something I haven't dealt with much in my life.

I just came out of the corn fields, running fast, each stride taking me through when I heard the first clap of thunder. Then I heard the real fear I had. There were no tracks around for many miles, but it was here. There was a train. But it wasn't a real train. It was more terrible, faster, and far less accurate than a train. And it doesn't translate to wooden blocks easily either. A tornado was coming down. It was most definitely time to get home, but you would know I was a couple miles away. I headed back, going as fast as I could to get out of the path the tornado wanted to go in, fighting the high winds blowing me back and the ridiculous amounts of rain beginning to poor down. It quickly began to sting and blind me as I went through the fields. I was going through the cornfields again and shortcutting it past the power plant out in the middle of nowhere when I was blinded by the most intense light I've ever had the displeasure of seeing.

My body was rocked with power, my legs fell out underneath me and I floated and my skin burned and my eyes rolled back in their sockets, my arms flailed like I was having a seizure — I realized I was. The lightning arched through my body up and down, the voltage ripping through my body as the current caused uncontrollable spasms everywhere in my body. The roar of the thunder was the last thing I had heard and the white light of the lightning was the last thing I saw. The lightning finished going through me and I was dropped on the ground. I assume the tornado brought a thunderstorm and that decided that I needed to be a bit crispier than I was this time last night. I don't remember a thing from after the lighting took me on the express train to pain and when I awoke, still in pain but with less actual clothing.

I woke up without real vision. Just blurry darkness. I know that sounds weird, and trust me, it wasn't a picnic, but that's as accurate as I can get. I couldn't see a damned thing and I could barely see even that. It was scary. I thought I might've gone blind for real. But, moving on, I reached down and felt my shoes. They didn't feel melted to my feet, but the tread was melted into a nice smooth layer. Great. And my clothes, I could feel the air through new holes in my shirt, and my running shorts, as short as they were, had gotten shorter thanks to a few huge holes in the material. On the bright side, I wouldn't need to worry about getting too hot because of my clothes now. My vision began to come back, and that was when I realized that I wasn't in Nebraska anymore ... Hell, I wasn't anywhere near Kansas!

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