Alex reached out for Cora as they were entering the forest, and lifted her in front of him, just as the van was right behind them. The light disappeared, the tree branches forming an impenetrable canopy that shrouded them in darkness. They continued to run, dodging trees and navigating over fallen logs and twisted tree roots, their footfalls cushioned by earthy moss and dead leaves. It was only seconds before the explosion, but it felt like minutes were ticking by, time seemed so slow. Their adrenaline was pumping through every inch of their being, wielding a time-stopping effect against them. Alex sensed the change in the air’s vibration before the van collided, before the engine roared even louder with the sudden impact. The driver had no time to stop, no time to turn, not when the forest was looming in such close proximity. The elegant yet terrifying black Suburban crashed into the wall of Redwood trees, and it was only seconds before the smoking engine erupted into a show of sparks and eventually a fireball of gas. The dead debris littering the forest floor was ignited, along with the tips of branches and protruding edges of bark. The two teens paused, astounded by the sight, watched as the flames grew higher and hotter, and expanded with every passing second.
“Cora, we must go. We must tell the others what we saw,” Alex said sternly.
She tightened her hand around his. “But what if they don’t like me?” What if they kill me?
“You are with me, they will listen to me. They will understand. You just have to trust me,” he looked at her with sincerity in his eyes that made her heart swell.
“I don’t trust anybody, Alex.”
“Neither do I, but how will you know you can trust someone if you don’t give them a chance?”