First chapter of a story in the works. No name yet. Any feedback would be great!
| I ran as fast as I dared, the ground muddy and slippery from the pouring rain. Lightning flashed through the pitch black sky and thunder boomed overhead like a cannon. I could hardly see where I was running, the tall, thick trees blocking any moonlight that could possibly reach this deep into the woods. The flashes of lightning illuminated my surroundings for a brief moment, creating the only bit of light to help me see where I was going.
My heart pounded a mile a minute and my lungs struggled to get enough air, my breathing getting heavier with every step. Blood ran down my arms, caused by all of the twigs and branches that caught my arms as I scrambled almost blindly through the trees. I didn't know how much longer I'd be able to go on like this. My legs felt like they would give out at any moment. Maybe I could rest just for a minute.
No. No, if I did that they would catch me. I didn't know how far behind me they were but I could not take the chance of stopping even for a minute. I knew I wouldn't be able to carry on like this for much longer though. I needed to find somewhere to hide, or somehow find any hint of civilization where I could get help.
Another flash of lightning revealed a large branch directly in my path, just a second too late. My foot caught the branch and I went tumbling down in front of it, my knees scraping across the ground and my face entering a puddle of mud. I stood back up as quick as I could and wiped the mud out of my eyes with the back of my sleeve. I let myself stand there for just a second to catch my breath before I forced my legs to continue.
My soaking wet clothes felt like they weighed a thousand pounds, slowing me down even more than my screaming legs, but they were the only things saving the rest of my body from being bloodied up as bad as my arms. The chilly fall air felt like icicles through my drenched clothes, making me wish I had taken the time to grab my coat on the way out. My opening was so small, though, that I didn’t have any time to truly think about what I was doing. This may have been the only opening I ever got, and I had to jump at the chance.
How long had I been running through these woods? It felt like hours, though I think it had really only been a few minutes. There was nothing to distinguish one part of these woods from another, so I really had no way of knowing how far I’d gone. Or if I’d made any kind of progress whatsoever. I could’ve just been running in circles for all I knew, though I imagined if I’d manage to run back where I came from I would’ve run into one of them already. I had to reach something, anything soon right?
Just as that thought crossed my mind, a tiny glimmer of light shone through a very small clearing up ahead, the only light I’d seen beside the lightning crackling across the sky. I stopped dead in my tracks and debated for a moment if I should head towards it. What if it was one of them with a flashlight? Did they find me? I really had no other options though. I knew I was close to hitting my limit and had to do something soon.
I willed my feet to move forward a little bit at a time, fear coursing through my entire body. I stepped as lightly as I could, not wanting to make even a little sound in case it was one of them. I couldn’t afford to give up my position. The fact that the light didn’t move gave me some hope that it wasn’t them. A flashlight would be moving, wouldn’t it?
I reached the two trees that were far enough apart to let the light through. I poked my head out and I could see that the woods had run out. I was now facing what looked like a large field, the light seeming to come from a building in the distance. Was that a house? I took a hesitant step out before I stopped again, weighing my options. If I stepped out into the field, all cover that I had in the woods would be gone and I would be completely exposed, but if I could reach that building I may be able to get help from its occupants. If it had occupants. I decided that I couldn’t stay in these woods any longer, and I began my sprint towards the house, my head darting back and forth, scanning my environment.
I could feel the rain starting to let up, even if just a little bit, as I neared the large house, now able to make out more details about it. It was a beautiful two story house with a large, wrap-around porch, and a long driveway that led so far it went behind more trees and out of view, leaving the house completely secluded. Beds of flowers of all colors decorated both the front and backyard, neatly kept. One large tree stood in the backyard, a tire swing dangling from one of the branches, other children’s toys sprawled out across the yard. The kind of house you dream about having.
I quietly walked up the couple of steps leading to the front door, raising my fist up to knock on the door, hesitating. What would these people do? I would be giving them a shock of a lifetime. A soaking wet, muddy, bleeding girl showing up at your door in the middle of the night would give anyone quite the shock.
I took in a deep breath, gathered up all the courage I could muster, and knocked on the door. I could see a light turn on through a window upstairs, and I waited on the porch, the light above the front door blinding in this pitch darkness. I could faintly hear the creaking of the stairs as someone descended them, their footsteps getting louder as they neared the front door. Almost as loud as the heartbeat coming from my chest.
The door opened slowly, revealing a rather large man pointing some type of rifle directly at my chest, a look of surprise taking over his face at the sight of me. I took a step back as I raised my hands up at my sides to show that they were empty.
“Who are you?” he asked, lowering his gun ever so slightly.
“Please!” I shouted over another boom of thunder. “You have to help me!”
He hesitated then, probably debating on what exactly he should do with me. After a few seconds, he lowered his gun to rest at his side and opened the door further, stepping off to the side to let me in. I took one more look behind me to make sure no one followed me before I stepped inside the house.
“Honey, what’s going on down here?” A woman, much shorter and smaller than the man, walked down the stairs, freezing in her tracks as she laid her eyes on me, a gasp escaping through her partially opened mouth.
“Just go call the police,” he answered her, his eyes not leaving me.
She scampered frantically off to the next room, the kitchen it looked like. She took one last look at me before she disappeared behind a wall. I could hear the sound of her dialing the phone.
I could see two smaller faces peering around the corner at the top of the stairwell, one holding a teddy bear in her little arms. They both looked very frightened at the sight of me, naturally. The man saw my eyes drift up the stairs, which made him turn around and see his kids.
“Go back to your rooms,” he ordered, pointing back up the stairs. I could hear the patter of their little feet as they darted back to wherever they had come from.
The woman returned then and went to stand behind her husband, looking like she was going to go into shock.
“The police are on their way,” she said quietly, like if she spoke too loudly I would eat her or something.
“Why don’t we get her some dry clothes while we wait?” the man said to his wife. “She looks to be about your size.”
She looked like she wanted to protest, but she did as her husband asked and walked back up the stairs, returning just a moment later with a shirt and a pair of lounge pants.
“There is a bathroom just through there,” she said as she handed me the clothes and then pointed down the hallway. She looked ready to faint. “First door on the left.”
“Thank you,” I said before making my way to the room she pointed to. These people were terrified about what was going on, but they were still showing me kindness. More kindness than I think I have ever seen in this messed up life of mine.
I dropped out of the wet, muddy clothes and changed into the new, dry clothes, immediately feeling more comfortable in their warmth. Was this really it? Was I finally going to escape out of the horrible hell that had been my life for all of these years. Would I finally be safe?
I returned back to the living room where the kind, but frightened couple waited for me, and I managed to put on a small smile. A few moments later I could see the unmistakable bright red and blue lights that meant the police had arrived, and maybe even my freedom.