"I’ll carry her back," I said, stepping over to the girl. William pulled himself up and watched curiously as I picked her up. We walked back in silence.
"Should we take her to the hospital?" William asked after we cleared the Fog.
"No, there’s nothing they can do for her," I responded. "I’ll take care of her for now."
"Why did it happen, Ely?" William asked after a time. "Why didn’t you stop her?" I set Cat down and looked at him.
"I couldn’t." He stared at me, processing. I didn’t react quickly enough to evade the first punch.
"What do you mean you couldn’t?!" he cried between shots. "You didn’t even try! You just let her run right past you! Why didn’t you do anything?!"
"You don’t understand!" I shouted back, dodging. "I tried everything! I called her name, I got in her way, one time I even crippled her, but she always got past me! Every time, no matter what I did, she always ended up like this!" Will’s anger was giving way to confusion, but it didn’t matter. "Do you really think I didn’t want to help her? If there was something I could do, anything, don’t you think I would have tried it? Of course I would! But there’s only so many times you can fail before you realize that your cause is helpless! I am not all-powerful, William. I am not a god. I wanted to save Cat more than you can imagine, but there was nothing I could do. Not now, not any of the hundred times before."
"Do you know how many times I’ve had to relive this moment? How many times I’ve had to endure this anguish? You may love her, Will, but you only have to lose her once." I pointed at the tunnel. "Go. This lesson is over."
His eyes widened in horror. "Lesson?"
"Everything is a lesson, Will."