It is said, that those who go to the Corridor are never seen alive again.
|Her outstretched arm hit the floor first, and a piercing crack! resonated hauntingly inside her pounding head as it was buried beneath her beaten body. The instant bursts of excruciating pain that came with it confirmed her fears.
It was broken.
Well, that certainly made things difficult.
Lucy struggled into a vaguely upright position, clutching the limp arm close to her pounding chest, and fought back the urge to burst into tears.
She stood up on wobbly legs, swaying slightly before catching her balance, and looked around, anxiety eating away at her insides like poison.
But there was nothing.
All was in darkness.
An eerie silence lay heavily about her, and her numbed-by-pain body seemed unable to move. Shakily, her heart beating out drum accompaniments to her frantic feelings, Lucy forced herself to walk forward a few steps.
And then another few.
Progressing painstakingly slowly through the ever-growing blackness, she tentatively felt around for a wall or a door, her left arm now hanging uselessly at her side. Her right elbow hit a cold, damp wall, and she almost fell to the floor in shock.
Instead, she jumped and hit her head on a ceiling.
But … wait …
Had that been there before?
She didn’t understand.
Hazy, clouded, unwanted thoughts chased themselves around her brain, each making littler sense that the last. The pain was unbearable, and she was beginning to panic.
She’d fallen down through that thing, plummeted for miles – or so it had seemed at the time …
But she couldn’t have fallen through a ceiling!
And the bruise now blossoming spectacularly upon her head was proof that the ceiling was solid …
So where had it been a moment ago?!
Deciding she could do nothing about it now but worry about it later, Lucy shifted her gaze, straining her eyes into the seemingly endless expanse of darkness that was fanning out before her.
As her ever-staring eyes oh-so-slowly began to adjust to the gloom, the sharp and biting outline of a long, narrow corridor loomed ahead.
But ... what now?
She didn't know.
She simply stood there.
Paralysed by panic.
She couldn’t remember falling. She knew she had, but the answers to ‘how?’ or ‘why?’ still eluded her.
She couldn’t even remember what she had been doing before-hand.
All she knew was that she was standing stock-still in a dark and dingy tunnel, with a broken arm and a clouded memory.
But one fact had managed to register within her frantically working mind; this wasn’t part of Mr. Lowell’s house!
Babysitting! She was supposed to be babysitting! So how the hell had she come to be in this place?!
God, she hoped the kid was okay. Poor Jamie, stuck in that house all on his own ...
Struggling to reign in her unruly emotions, Lucy raised her head and examined the low ceiling, opting for a more practical approach to the situation rather than losing her head with fear.
There seemed to be something glistening upon it, but she couldn’t quite tell what it was …
It was shining.
It shone like crystals, sending a misty, soothing glow around her head and shoulders. An aura, almost.
It intrigued her ...
But a sudden, thundering roar booming from high above soon distracted her.
She thought her heart had stopped, but the panic must have started it again because it was soon beating at least twenty times its usual rate.
A lot faster than was normal.
This was all too much for her, and nothing made sense!
One part of her brain wanted her to die on the spot. It would have spared her of a whole lot of pain and suffering for her already weakened body.
Her inner-self was trying to get through. It wanted to be heard; it wanted to as good as prophesise a great danger ...
But her mind was already well aware of the presence, even if she didn’t know what It was. Forget prophecies, she was experiencing the living proof that something wasn’t right.
That something was watching her. Waiting for her.
Her eyes darted desperately across the ceiling and she saw that the shiny substance had left a trail leading into the darkness.
As she didn’t feel that standing motionless in the middle of nowhere and panicking would help her, and her legs needed something to do, she decided to follow it. Maybe it would lead to an exit, or something. One after another, her muted, hesitant footsteps echoed around her.
And, strangely ... began to get louder ...
She stopped ...
They stopped ...
She started again, picking up the pace, and they started again too, getting faster. And faster.
Abandoning pretences, Lucy broke into a full-on run her footsteps thudding heavily around her like collosal raindrops.
And so did theirs.
Something was following her.
It wanted her and It had waited a long time for her.
Now, Its time had finally come, a chance for freedom was dangling in front of Its nose, and It had missed out on this opportunity way too many times before.
This time, It was free!
Her brain was aching.
She just wanted it all to stop. Damn it, she hadn’t asked for this!
Sparks seemed to have flown from the darkness ahead, and as fast as speeding bullets they shot out towards her.
What were they? She knew not.
The Corridor had sent them.
It had sent them.
How? She knew not.
All she did know was that she wanted nothing more, all of a sudden, than to just sit down, close her intensely auburn eyes ... and sleep.
Just sleep for a long, long time until light filled her dreams and all the pain was gone.
No more pain …
‘That’s such a good idea,’ she thought, sluggishly.
Her heart pounding, her eyes stinging, Lucy forced her feet to a grinding halt, slipping slightly upon the damp stone floor. Weary head heavy, she leant it against the damp wall, a grave weight of torment and despair tied around her heart. Silently she slid down, her legs giving out beneath her as they refused to support her.
Silently, she listened to the now soft, rhythmic thuds of Its feet as It drew nearer. And nearer.
A warm, welcoming sensation gripped at her, snapping her wits and enclosing her securely inside its protective shell. It tossed at her elegantly flowing chestnut hair and swam through her veins, binding her from within.
And without knowing what she was doing, she raised her head and hands.
It saw this with glee and hastened Its pace, malevolent eyes staring hungrily at Its defenceless prey.
Tears streaming down her face in shame, she tried to pull her hands down, after realizing just how big a sign of defeat those surrendering hands really were.
But she couldn’t move.
“No!” she cried. “I won’t do it!”
And with that, she grabbed for all of her remaining strength and will power, secured her left arm tightly within her right, and jumped up off the floor.
It faltered, slowly coming to realise that Its last chance was escaping.
Taking full advantage, Lucy sprinted off down the corridor, not bothered about where she was going anymore or of the pain that was snapping at her very core.
But it was no use.
The hurting was just too much.
She stumbled to a halt again, panting and clutching despairingly at a stitch in her side. Seeing one last chance, It howled loudly and leapt for her.
She screamed and pegged it again, but fell head-first against a wall before she could stop herself.
A wall that hadn’t been there moments before.
A dead end.
She was cornered.
She was trapped.
She was screwed.
It ran at her, yellowing razor-sharp teeth bared, ebony cape billowing out behind It and blood-stained hands ready in the popularly recognised spell casting position.
A voice echoed out towards her, distant and muted, the harsh clipped tones reverberating around her pounding head.
Searing her heart.
'You all come to the Corridor in the end," It half-whispered, a faint crimson light beginning to blossom between Its outstretched fingers.
Lucy could only glance up in utter dismay, silently praying for a help she knew could never come.
By the leaping tendrils of light that filtered out from the glowing ball of scarlet flames now encased within the creature's hands, she could just about make out a large droplet of the shiny something slithering a silent path down the wall of the Corridor.
Just above her head.
And all thoughts of freedom, of saviour and sleep vanished in an instant, as she noticed that, from close up, the strange, glittering 'shiny something' looked remarkably like fresh, oozing, ruby-red blood…