Chapter 1 - The night is full of many dangers and nightmares. Are you ever truly safe?
|The still, silent early morning air sent a chill down Emily’s spine as she staggered awkwardly home. It had been an altogether successful night she supposed. Claire at least had welcomed her 20’s with an unrivalled enthusiasm that had left Emily in awe and a little worse for wear. ‘Poor girl’ Emily thought with a chuckle. She knew her friend would definitely be haunted by her enthusiasm in the morning, not least when she wakes up and is greeted by the spotty teenager that she’d taken home with her.
It was about 4 in the morning now and Emily was making her way home from the night club alone. It wasn’t far to her house really; as she had repeatedly assured her friends despite their drunken protests. The sky wasn’t black like she had expected it to be, there was a faint orange glow which mingled with the ineffective street lamps turning the world a warm and rosy colour. The sky was deceiving though, the cold air made the hairs on Emily’s exposed neck stand on end, she pulled her leather jacket tighter around her, trying to steal from it what little warmth it had to offer.
Emily lived in a flat above a book shop which was about a 15 minute walk from the club. The journey was made considerably quicker though, when you slipped down a side alley between two blocks of garages which led to the back of her estate. Emily slipped into the alleyway without any hesitation. She’d made this journey so many times now that it was almost second nature; her mind was on home, her bed and a hot bath on the morning, so much so that she didn’t even notice the silhouette of a man in the distance.
The man was tall and lean, he had bags under his eyes which suggested many sleepless nights; he was leaning against the alley wall almost casually. He looked up as Emily approached she hadn’t seen him yet and that worked for him. He examined her critically for a moment then a sinister looking grin began to spread across his lips. He pushed off of the wall and stood out in front of her, starring.
Emily nearly screamed when she suddenly saw movement in the alleyway ahead of her, she’d been so absorbed in her thoughts that she hadn’t even noticed that she wasn’t alone. The man looked quite terrifying as he stepped into the light of the street lamp. She noticed that his skin seemed almost translucent and paper thin as it stretched over his tall frame. His eyes were sunken in and so dark that they were haunting but they were nothing to that smile. It wasn’t really a smile, more a snarl, his lips were curled back revealing a row of perfect sharp white teeth. He looked fragile but yet so very dangerous. He was standing between Emily and her home and suddenly the short cut didn’t seem like such a good idea anymore.
Despite how simply terrifying the man looked Emily couldn’t look away. She was in a trance; starring into his dreadful eyes. She made no move to run even though common sense screamed for flight, for any kind of movement. The man dropped back onto his haunches in an animalistic hunting stance, his lips curling further back as a feral growl escaped his throat, and still Emily didn’t run. Her eyes were frantic, her mouth open to scream but no sound escaped. Her knees were locked into place by some kind of invisible force, the same force that was halting her scream in her chest.
One sudden movement and he was upon her his feet hitting her directly in the chest and sending her crashing to the floor. Emily was released from the spell as eye contact was lost and she let out the scream that had been building in her chest. A horrible pain shot through her back and across her chest. His hands grasped each of her arms, impossibly strong for their fragile appearance. Fear and adrenaline built inside her as she attempted yet another scream, but this time it seemed so small and distant that she was certain no one would hear.
The more she struggled the tighter his grip and the more intense the pain in her chest and back became. He pinioned her to the floor using his knees and held her head back with one of his large skeletal hands. His movements were so practiced and he was so strong and so heavy that fighting was futile but she continued all the same. He lowered his face towards her neck anticipation and excitement making his expression all the more terrifying. Suddenly a new pain joined the fray. His perfect white teeth had broken the skin on her neck.
He stayed, attached to her neck like a leech for what seemed like an age, and then he was gone. Bruises and cuts covered her body from the struggle, her head span and ached as she worked hard to focus and remember where she was. A Burning pain coursed from her left shoulder, across her neck following the intertwining system of blood vessels down to her finger tips. Her attackers teeth had been incredibly strong and sharp, leaving behind an intense burning which spread from the deep puncture wounds at the base of her neck.
A faint glow emitting from the, still fresh wound was almost as curious as the unnatural speed at which is seemed to be heeling itself, scar tissue already developing where there should yet be none. Emily swatted uselessly at the invisible flames that licked at her skin, staggering into a wall and hitting her head for what was surely the sixth or seventh time that night.
Tunnel vision and echo-y sounds told her that all around her was dark, and that, though her numb legs told her she was standing, she was in fact plummeting to the floor very quickly. Behind her she heard what sounded like foot falls of strong work boots and heavy breathing. A man, the man who’s voice had caused that foul creature to flee, was running towards her. His arms, outstretched, caught her moments before her head could take another beating from the ground.
“Miss?” She heard his somehow distant, frantic voice in her ear, “Miss? Are you Okay, Miss?” He supported her head, cradling her suddenly limp body as one would a new born. Her eyelids fluttered as she fought to keep them open.
“Stay with me, Miss. My name is Alec, I’m going to take you to a hospital.” Pushing hard against the stifling darkness, the girl managed to open her mouth. Her voice was barely a whisper, coarse and breaking.
“Alec- ….” she choked, “Emily-”
“Emily? Emily! Yes. Hello Emily, I’m going to help you, don’t you worry. Everything will be absolutely fine. Now can you tell me, where does it hurt?”
Alec tried, but he couldn’t get another word out of her. She let out a wail as the burning got more and more intense. Her body twitched and jolted in his arms and he knew he needed to get her to a hospital, and soon. Scooping her small frame up into his arms as carefully as he could, working hard not to jostle her too much. He jogged back towards the main street, her head rested gently against his shoulder.