by Rissa Toxlor
The beginning of a much longer story that I’m writing.
|I was covered in blood. It stank of death and decay. Just another day at work. There was something slick and sticky sliding through my hair. Ewww. . . I needed a shower. Walking through the double doors, into the foyer, I put my bag down on the counter. No one was around. Strange.
“Colin!? Jessie!?” My voice echoed around the cave-like hall. Thick stone walls rose high above my head. Balconies cut out of the walls on each level, leaving the high open area of the entrance hall. Tapestries hung all over the walls on every level and thick carpets spread over the floors. Bright florescent lights shone from the ceiling. Hallways stretched off from the far end of the entrance hall and an elegant, grand staircase lead upward to the next level. Moonlight shone through the large windows. It was quiet. Silent as the tomb. Nothing stirred, not even a rustle of wind through the high, open windows. Whatever was in my hair slid down to my back, sliding something heavy and disgusting down my spine. I shivered. Something was wrong.
“Colin!? Jessie!? Where are you?!” I moved off, my footsteps muffled by the carpet. I crept up the stairs, silence pressing down on me like water. Nothing moved. The house was still. I turned down a hallway, heading to the back of the house. Fear was starting to gather in my gut, clenching my insides in a tight knot. I didn’t call out again. The lights were dimming, flickering, then they turned off. The house was clocked in thick suffocating darkness. I couldn’t breathe. Panic shot through me. I spun, searching, preying. Something moved. I froze. Footsteps. There was something behind me. Breathe, breathe. I had to keep calm. Slowly, I sniffed the air. Something was close. Something… sweet. A heavy, sweet smell. Like flowers, coated in blood, but different. Something unique. Something… I froze. Blind, deadly terror ripped through my body. Tearing at my guts, my heart, my brain. Killing, destroying everything but one simple instinct. Run!!
I ran. Slipping and stumbling over everything, pounding over the floor, through the dark hallways. I don’t think I’d ever run so fast, but it didn’t matter. It was chasing me. And it was gaining. Something closed over my wrists. I tripped, hitting the floor hard. The air whooshed from my body in a single rush. Pain lashed through my chest. I tasted blood. But it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. I twisted and struggled, pulling at the manacles that bound me. The rough metal cut into my wrists, chaffing my skin. I didn’t care. Blood ran over my wrists, sliding down my arms. The pain faded away, dwarfed by the panic and fear that controlled me. If I didn’t stop, my hands were going to be cut off. I didn’t care. I pulled and struggled with everything I had, and it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t get free, couldn’t run, couldn’t get away. Tears flooded down my face, blood cascaded down my arms, and I didn’t care. Footsteps. Slow, deliberate steps. Behind me. I didn’t turn. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to see. Something wrapped around my neck. Pressing hard to my throat, cutting off my air. I couldn’t see. Air brushed over my hair and a voice whispered in my ear. I whimpered. The dream shattered and I woke up.
I didn’t think, didn’t stop. I just moved. The first thing, I knew was kneeling in a fighting stance, my back to the wall. I was breathing heavily but I stood steady. I took me a few seconds to realize that no one was attacking me. That nothing held me. There was nothing in the room with me. The fear and panic slipped away. I collapsed against the floor and rested my head on my knees. The need to cry overwhelmed my senses and exploded from my body. I cried. I could still feel the manacles tightening around my wrists. I looked at them and I would always see the marks. The scars. I still see them. Damn it! Would I never loose them?! Wouldn’t there ever be a day when the memories didn’t haunt me? When that hold would finally break? I was free. I’d gotten away. Wasn’t that enough? Apparently not. But I’d never be a prisoner again. Never.
It took me another few seconds to realize I held a sword in my hand. A long, razor sharp blade, It looked a little like a Katana but thinner and the hilt was customised by thick metal wiring, twisted into a protective cage. I’d made this sword. I must have grabbed it as I jumped out of bed. The results of hours of practice. And paranoia. I put the sword away, noting the way my hands shook as I did. Man, that nightmare really got to me. It always did. The sound of footsteps through the halls. Sliding metal clamping around my wrists. That He’d found me. That He’d tracked me to my safe haven, caught me… hurt my friends. Stop it! It was just a nightmare. Just a dream. A recurring dream that spoke of my inner most fears. That reflected the pain and anguish of my past and explored the feelings I buried while awake. Stupid brain. I sighed and made to leave, but I had to stop. I know it was stupid, but I got my sword and scabbard. Clipping the scabbard around my waist, I left the room. Yeah, I’m paranoid, but I just felt better with it then without it. There was no way I could sleep now.