“The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell”
-“It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons
Ella ran; her feet pounded pavement, dirt puffs dusted her shoelaces, her sneakers spit up gravel. She was conscious only of the movement of her feet and legs, every muscle burning and striving to keep going, keep pounding, keep climbing. The landscape around her- from scenic fields through rocky mountain trails to woodland paths- held no meaning, garnered no attention. There was only her running, fueled by a will she sometimes thought of (when she had energy enough for metaphors) as an iron rod running through every part of her soul, and the voice in her head.
“Ella,” he whispered. “Come to me. You can do this.”
And, propelled on by the voice of a man she had never met, she ran. Ella fell a few times. When the fog cleared, when she could finally see more than the next few steps in front of her, she was battered. Skinned knees, bruised elbows, a bloody nose. Her hands were crusted in blood, wounds appearing to have been produced by a cheese grater ripped through the flesh. The sun was out, though, and Ella could breathe again. The air was pure and sweet. The voice resolved itself into a person, whose smile told Ella she was home.