Chapter 1 – Shocking News
Aurora pushed her way through the crowd of people standing around in the dank corridor. Blinded by tears she was unable to hold back. Glare from the bright lights overhead made her squint even more.
The shock of the news the constable gave her was almost more than Aurora could bear. He had given up trying to keep up with her several blocks once she began running. It was the one thing she was good at.
The Bunbenong bred runners. Their culture thrived around running and races of all types. The best runners hailed as celebrities. Aurora wasn’t the best in her town, but it was something she loved. Her dream was to one day bring glory to her family’s name by winning a championship. So Aurora ran everywhere. She ran every day.
And even now, she ran toward the hospital as fast as she could. She didn’t give the constable a second thought.
Aurora liked him, even though he was a couple of years older than her. He was cute in his own way. But the tragic news tore every romantic thought from her mind. Her body propelled her through the streets of its own accord. Her mind a million miles away.
Everything and everybody seemed to pass in slow motion around her. She watched the people as she passed. Eating. Smiling. Talking. Laughing. A band playing loud music. Another dancing to the tune. But it all felt so hollow. So empty. So pointless.
They would all die soon. It all seemed so pointless. Why bother doing anything at all? What was the point of life, if all everyone did was die, anyway. These thoughts swirled through her mind as she continued to race down the street.
No one bothered to look up at the desperate girl’s mad dash down the street. They were used to seeing people run as they prepared for races and competitions. Although most runners practiced in the foothills that surrounded Bunbenong, it still wasn’t an unusual sight to see people running pell-mell through the city streets from time to time.
By the time Aurora reached the hospital, she was breathing a little harder than normal, but had barely broken a sweat. She slowed to a walk as she entered through the wide double doors. A nurse at the front desk asked her who she was here to see. But Aurora didn’t stop to answer the woman. She had been here earlier. And she knew where to go. Aurora headed directly to her grandfather’s room.
Visiting hours were almost over. The corridor was flush with people leaving, as well as those trying to get in at the last minute to visit their loved ones. Grandfather was at the far end of the building, where the crowd was thickest.
Aurora continued to wipe the tears from her eyes as she stumbled past the sweaty, smelly people, laughing and joking around her. She wanted to yell at them and tell them to shut up. She wanted to punch someone who started giggling for the silliest thing.
Finally, she made it to grandfather’s room. It was closed. She paused to take a deep breath and wipe the tears from her eyes. She steeled herself for what she knew would be behind that door. Grandfather’s lifeless body.
When she walked through the door, she someone leaning over the bed with their back to her. Aurora took a step forward and waited for them to turn around and acknowledge her as she tried to choke down the tear and keep her emotions in check.
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