Don’t look back. Don’t you dare look back. You know what will happen when you look back. You know what always happens when someone looks back. Don’t you dare look back.
“You stupid son of a b***h...” Jim muttered to himself after looking back. There were more than he thought there would be. At least ten of them had pulled themselves up from the fall. Five or six were crawling. They must have broken something in the fall.
Looking forward, Jim had to swerve hard to avoid hitting a car. What was that about looking back? Oh yeah. Don’t do it. Something bad always happens.
He just had to keep pedaling.
Weaving in and out of parked cars, he pushed forward. Looming over the road, he saw the skeleton of the old steel mill. It had been all but shut down in the past few years. Parts of it had been stripped to pay debts that the company owed. Now all that remained was the frame of the mill.
Banking through a turn, Jim stood up and leaned forward, gaining as much speed as he could. There weren’t as many cars littering the streets here. The mill had been emptying after all. It was a downward slope straight into the mill.
Jim took his feet off of the pedals. He couldn’t keep up with them anymore. Swallowing, he aimed for the small metal bridge that served as the entrance of the mill. Behind him, the screams grew louder.
The mill was a maze. Without the steel that had served to divide certain rooms and certain work areas, the mill was even more complicated than Jim remembered. He had been here once with his dad. Before he was orphaned.
Shaking his head, he refused to think about it. He had to be here. Now. Because if he wasn’t, there wouldn’t be a here for much longer.
Dodging between metal beams, he heard the madmen getting closer. Chancing another glance back, he winced. He was just in time to watch one of them jump through one of the many holes in the wall. The tighter pathways his bike couldn’t fit through, they could.
Looking back, he saw the bottleneck he wanted. Reaching behind him, he pulled out his crowbar. Raising it above his head, he slammed down on a valve. The second he did, there was an intense heat behind him that almost blew him forward.
He didn’t look back. He knew what he’d see. There were still pipelines of highly volatile chemicals down here. It was the last thing the mill workers would move as they had no place to dump them. And they were the thing the mill workers feared the most. A single spark, and if the pipe happened to be pointing your way, there’d be nothing left. His dad had seen it happen first hand.
Jim just kept on riding as the screams behind him grew in pitch, before dropping off all together.