The third draft of first person horror/thriller 'Hide & Seek'.
First of all thank you to J. Thayne on here for your incredible feedback. You have helped me to make this story better than I could have alone, giving me honest, encouraging and priceless advice over the last two drafts. It has been a pleasure, you are an angel!
The night had an unusual chill, like the wind was playfully nipping at you, rather than trying to cut straight through you. I had a bad feeling about it, but I couldn’t miss work on account of a bad feeling. So, I trudged into the darkness.
Sounds of the streets assaulted my ears; people screaming at one another, sirens, horns, they all fed into my unease.
I pulled my black coat as close to my body as I could. My hands thrust into the pockets, my bag hanging from my arm. The uneven pavement was still drenched from the afternoon rain, water sprayed up from the road as cars sped past, the water cascading down on those of us who used our feet.
There was a tingling sensation running through me, it was telling me I was being followed. Yet, every-time I turned around to check no-one was there, this did nothing but heighten my fears.
Like always, my phone was in the right-hand pocket of my coat, my hand clasped firmly around it. When it began to sing and vibrate I jumped a couple of steps, startled and surprised.
For a second I looked at the screen, the name ‘Ellie’ flashed, laughing at my stupidity and paranoia I answered it. “Hey Ellie, you would never guess what I’ve been doing.” I announced grateful I would hear a friendly voice.
“Hello Mrs. Hallows,” a broken, deep voice said, laced with confidence. It wasn’t Ellie.
I felt the blood drain from my face, felt my feet stop and refuse to move.
“Who is this?” I stammered no-one should have known that name. I checked my surroundings, even in this panicked state, no-one I could see was paying even the slightest attention.
“That isn’t important right now Mrs. Hallows.” The man, or at least I thought it was a man, replied coolly, his voice deep and chilling.
I could feel my muscles clenching, my back was ridged. Fear was seeping into my core. “Where is Ellie?” I heard myself ask, half chocked.
The man let out a small but wicked laugh, “She is,” he paused for just a beat, “indisposed of at the moment.”
A sharp of intake of air escaped my lungs, leaving me breathless. “Oh, God!” I gasped, horrified.
“God can’t help you now Mrs. Hallows.”
My limbs wouldn’t listen to my brain; I was begging them to move. I wanted to hang up but my hand was clutching the phone so tightly I thought it would break.
“I see you didn’t remarry Mrs. Hallows.” The man taunted a cruel snigger behind his words.
“Why are you doing this? What have you done to Ellie?” anger was beginning to fuse with my fear, making my words harsh.
“Now, now, no need to be rude.” The man said, sounding as if he were a teacher scolding his student.
A sob tried desperately to escape my throat, but I stood fast, swallowing hard.
“Don’t you remember me? Well, I’m hurt.” He replied, his voice mimicking anguish.
Something I had buried in the back of my mind came screaming back into focus. Jason lying slashed and bloodied on the living-room floor, the back window smashed into shards of glass, and our dog lying limp on the kitchen floor, he had been poisoned, and the worst thing of all, the sound of a man talking, a recording playing over and over, telling me why, and how he had slaughtered my family. That voice, this man’s voice.
He had sounded so calm, at ease as if he was doing something he loved. I don’t doubt that he was. I can still hear his words, “Hello, Mrs. Hallows. I know this is a shock but you have to listen. Your family is gone, I have been watching you all for some time now and I do not believe you deserve to breath. Your husband was cheating on you; this in itself is a sin, one I have deemed punishable. However, he cheated because you neglected him. You buried yourself in your work when life got tough, emotionally withholding yourself. This is not how you should live. As for the dog, well he is the only one I feel sorry for having to kill, an innocent in the war against those like you.”
My eyes welled up, filling and overflowing with salty tears; I cursed myself for the show of weakness, but there was no stopping it.
“Please leave me alone, please!” I hated myself for begging.
“But we are playing a game, hide and seek. You hide, I find you, and if you are quick enough you can hide again. Just know that every-time you do I will bring one of your loved ones into the game, and they will lose.” Although he spoke lightly, like a child explaining the rules of a new game, his words shivered through me like ice-water.
With a last laugh he hung up, leaving me alone, and terrified.
My nerves were raw, my head filled with horror, I had no idea what to do. The cold started to seep in, my face shiny and bitter with tears.
For the longest time I didn’t move, simply stood stiff with my phone to my ear, unable to move.
“Excuse me,” I heard the woman’s voice fade in past the traffic. When I managed to look at her she seemed to realise something was wrong, her face crinkled in concern.
“Are you alright?” she asked soothingly, taking a step towards me, her arms half-stretched.
As soon as she stepped forward I jolted back.
“OK, it’s OK.” She said sweetly, as if talking to a frightened animal, slowly putting her arms down by her side. “Are you trying to call someone?” she asked in an equally sweet tone. All the while she was trying to catch my gaze.
I wanted to speak, to explain, but I was struck dumb with fear. Instead I looked around, frantic.
The woman took out her own phone, dialling nine, nine, nine. I listened as she spoke, I could hear mumbling on the other end of the line.
“Yes, hello?” she sounded urgent. A mumbling reply from came from the phone.
“We need an ambulance; I found a woman standing in the middle of the pavement. She is terrified, won’t let me touch her and won’t say a word.”
There was mumbling again, when it stopped the woman looked around and said, “Alton Road, near Barnswell.” She continued to listen to the person on the other end of the line, her face marred with concentration.
“Got it, thank you.” She hung up and smiled at me, “They are on their way.”
The siren drew closer, the flashing lights clipped the horizon and blinded me as they came into full view.
The breaks squealed as it stopped next to us. I heard someone clamber out of the back and my stomach knotted, something felt wrong.
A man came up to us, cool and easy. As he reached the woman he smiled and offered his hand, she took it.
In a second he had yanked her forward and plunged a scalpel into her belly, when he let go she crumpled to the floor.
An inhuman noise escaped my lips and I turned to run, but I had found my legs too late. The man grabbed me by the hair and dragged me to the floor. Every bone in my body shook as I collided with the ground.
The man leaned over me and with a cruel smile on his lips he whispered, “I found you.”
My head was going fuzzy from the knock, but I was sure I was going to die.
“Police, stop, drop the knife or I will shoot!” I heard it somewhere to the left of me. But the man cackled and lunged to slash at me, before his blade reached my skin a loud bang echoed in the busy street, the scalpel hit the floor. Hot, copper-like liquid splattered my skin and the man thumped to the floor next to me.
The rest is just blackness until you woke me up, telling me I needed to give a statement.