Ben stood on the tips of his toes and tried to see over the heads of the people around him. Although he did not know exactly what the goal looked like, he thought he might see something on the horizon if he tried. He was disappointed. He could only see thousands of people, all walking in the same direction he was. Ben sank back into the group and continued to march.
There were more people the closer Ben got to the goal. Soon, there were so many that the pressure from their bodies bound Ben's arms to his sides, and the group began to move very slowly. A smell like rotten eggs filled the air, and Ben saw that the man in front of him had a back stained with sweat. He wrinkled his nose, and focused on the fact that he would be rewarded for this.
The crowd wanted to move forward, and got its desire by nudges and pokes. Every few minutes, a stomach pressed against Ben from behind, signaling him to move an inch closer to the sweaty back in front of him. Between steps, in the moment after the man in front of him advanced and before the man behind him grew impatient, Ben stood on the tips of his toes and craned his neck, and looked out over the crowd. At sunset, he could see a pillar of smoke rising from the ground in the distance, set against the burning horizon.
Night fell, and the group kept pushing forward. Ben was very close now, and there were so many people around him that he could not move at all. He was pushed toward a goal that he could not see by the collective force of the people behind him. He tried to lift his head over the crowd, and was not able to. He peered between the shoulders of the people in front of him, and was surprised to see a red flicker. Then, a few feet in front of him, a row of people disappeared. He heard screams, and felt someone struggling against him, trying to fight the crowd, but helpless against the billion bodies that opposed them.
Then the struggling stopped, and everyone in front of Ben vanished. As suddenly as if a blindfold had been whisked from his face, Ben found himself standing over a great flaming pit. He could see a hundred others standing around the rim. He watched as their blank faces, lit by the red glow, turned into expressions of fear. Their arms swung wildly and their elbows struck back into the mass behind them, but it was all too late. He saw them lose their balance. An instant before they began to fall, Ben felt the stomach of the man behind him apply a little more pressure.