The river runs, and it runs, and it runs.
Right through the building. Washing over every floor. Coating all the walls, and filling every hall.
The river runs.
Black tar, river runs.
It builds on the walls. Closes off the doorways. Makes open and shut impossible for them. For us.
Time is running.
Running river, black tar.
Run from the river. The river is running for you.
It runs for you.
Run, run, run from the river.
Through the building. Down the halls. Tripping over stairs as people sit at desks. As people work. Whittling away at my creations. At the tasks assigned to them. All of these ignorant fools, sitting trapped in cubicles I constructed.
Because the river runs, too.
It’s moving fast. Plummeting through the building. Starting from the top and working its way down. Falling from the heavens, but full of Black Death. The night sky vomiting into my building. My office. My empire.
I don’t care.
When the waters rise, what else are you supposed to do? I’m no captain. I don’t have to go down with this ship. It isn’t my responsibility, is it? Not what I signed up for. I don’t remember agreeing to this.
So I don’t agree.
Of course, the elevator isn’t working. That’d be too easy. I have to vault down the stairs.
All eight hundred of them.
It doesn’t make a sound as it rushes. The black tar is too thick to slosh. The people are too preoccupied to scream. The river runs silent down the slopes of these halls. Down the stairs, and through the evaluator shaft. It runs thick, hot. Burning, charring—destroying everything it touches like a virus. Tainting it, staining everything I’ve ever built with tar.
It’s hell, honestly.
If I think about it, it’s hell.
All my work dashed.
Blackened beyond recognition.
But I don’t think about it.
Because even if the building burns, or gets swallowed by the river. Even if the people all die and we have to start all over. Even if every project and every idea gets devoured by the tar—
We can start over.
I can start over.
As long as I make it, I still have a chance.
I still have a chance.
Down stairs and stairs and stairs. Tripping over my feet. Hopping over the rail. Doing my best to speed up. To keep ahead of the sticky river.
I make it to the lobby.
And the river…
It pours from the ceiling.
Spews from the elevator shaft.
Erupts. Bursting as if a dam had been holding it back.
I run faster, no stairs to stop me. I run, full speed ahead.
Outside, to safety.
Outside, to freedom.
I’ve made it.
At long last, I’ve made it.
When I look back, I can see the tar coating the windows of my empire. Seeing it oozing from the frame of windows. How it sloshes through the lobby. Eating away at everything that I’ve ever built.
But it’s okay.
I’ll start over.
I built an empire once. I can certainly do it again. I always land on my feet.
I begin to walk across the street. Walk, finally, instead of run.
I step away from my building, off the sidewalk—
And I’m in my office.
The walls are clear. The window overlooks the city. I can hear the hum of the offices at work. Calls on hold and faxes being sent.
I’m in my office again.
But, again, I find myself accompanied.
I’m not alone.
Looking at the demon, I remember this scene before. The way it’s mouth grins. Gray teeth in a black, inky face.
Not again. Not this time. No way—
It opens it’s mouth. A visceral void of liquid. It opens its mouth, and it spills out.
It spills out again.
Black tar like a river. Bursting with energy, with life.
And, once more, so do I.
So do I.