by J.P. Fischer
Two separate stories melded into one. Three desperate travelers try to escape.
The light passed along the wall, an ethereal cold white glow that cast strange shadows on the wall. As it travelled down the corridor, it illuminated a large wooden crate, which had remained mouldy and unused for several years.
"Get back!" Hissed the man, whose name was Bridgemore, as he and the two behind him shrunk against the box, shielding themselves from the light. It paused on the crate, staring intently.
"Oh gods, it heard us!" Whimpered the woman, Leniru, tears running down her face.
"Shut up-shut up!" Whispered Bridgemore.
The girl, named Reannette, stared at the light, entranced.
"We're going to die." She said calmly and clearly, and although she spoke softly, it seemed to echo through the endless hallways. Was the light getting closer now?
"Were not going to die, don't say that little one!" Blubbered Leniru, her voice just as loud.
"Oh yes, we are." Said Reannette, an odd smile on her face, "But it's OK. We can be with them." Her eyes were glassy and unresponsive.
"No, no, no, stop it, stop it!" There was no doubt about it, the light was getting closer now, wobbling, as if its caster was taking slow, lurching steps.
"Run!" Shouted Bridgemore, not bothering to be quiet anymore.
He grasped Leniru and Reannette's arms, and shot off down the corridor. Leniru ran with him, sobbing, but Reannette shook her arm out of his grip.
"My baby!" Shrieked Leniru, distraught. Bridgemore, who was so intent on escape, risked a glance behind him, but what he saw made him stop completely. The light, which was a now a warm shade of orange, was just behind the box, centimetres from where Reannette was hidden. She shot one last joyful look at them, then stood up, directly into the light. The glow turned a deep red colour, and the caster of the light started singing. Not beautiful rhythmic singing, but a deep indiscernible melody. A shadowy figure was barely visible through the crimson glow. Tall and elegant, it moved towards Reannette, who was staring blissfully at the figure. She opened her mouth to say something, but never had the chance. The thing casting the light shot towards her, unbelievably fast, its strange singing turned into a horrible screech, like a war cry.
Bridgemore, all bravery lost now, grabbed Leniru's arm and ran down the opposite end of the hall, practically dragging her. She kicked and shouted, but a strange adrenaline rush had come over Bridgemore. Reannette's screams echoed through the endless halls, drowning out Leniru's yelling altogether.
THREE MONTHS EARLIER
If there was ever a word to describe The Blind Beggars Tavern & Inn, filthy would probably be that word. The glasses were grimy and chipped, a layer of thick dust clung to the furniture like glue, and the stench of alcohol hung in the air. None of this must have bothered the customers though, because the Blind Beggar was also quite successful. Every seat in the house was often filled, and today was not going to be an exception.
".... And then she said to me she did, she said, I accidently left me' coins on ya' kitchen table! An' I said, yeah, sure you did missus'! Just like I left my house on this rich fella's property!" Rambled Private Stots, who was more commonly known in the Blind Beggar as 'Stottsy'.
The whole tavern roared with laughter as he told his story, including a small, stubby man sitting next to Stottsy, who was known as Mr Bridgemore Blue. Mr Blue had a peculiar accent and a mop of curly brown hair, along with a rather toothy grin.
"What happened next?!" He asked Stottsy eagerly.
"The lunatic slapped me right across the cheek!" He yelled, and the tavern once again lapsed into an uproar of mirth. This was the kind of thing that happened every night in the Blind Beggar, and it was just as the barman began to tell a tale about his bad leg, the mayor's wife and a very drunk dog that the daily routine was rudely interrupted.
The door of the tavern slammed open, and a ferocious looking woman stepped inside.
"Bridgemore!" She shrieked to the far side of the room, where Mr Blue was seated. He seemed to shrink in his chair as the lady stormed up to him.
"What time did I tell you to be back!?" She yelled at him, her round face contorted in rage.
"S-Seven dear..." Said Mr Blue feebly. The tavern proceeded to watch quietly as Mrs Blue ranted at her husband, who cowered in his seat.
"Said you would be back at a reasonable hour! Seven pm you said, and what time is it know? Eleven! Eleven o' clock at night! We've got a wedding to go to tomorrow, in case you haven't noticed, and what am I going to say when we show up and you've got the mother of all hangovers!?"
With that, she grabbed him by the back of his shirt and steered him out onto the open street, where they could hear the Blind Beggar burst into laughter once more.
"What were you thinking?" Asked Mrs Blue.
"I was going to come soon dear, honest-"
"As if! Come on, we'd better get some sleep or we'll both look like a disaster at the wedding!" She said, shooting him a filthy look.
Mr Blue didn't dare to talk back to his wife. But he was still a little disappointed as he lay in bed with her, thinking about what the mayor's wife could've possibly been doing with a drunk dog.