If you had to get out suddenly, quickly, without warning or fear, what would you take?
The house was silent; nothing but the sound of my cold feet on the floor permeated the inky blackness and strangling darkness of the living room. Incoherent thoughts tore at my mind, mixing with the horror of my racing heartbeat, as screams filled and flooded at my mouth. I fought myself for control; the screams died soundless at my lips.
Ignoring and overwhelming sense of dread, I ran my fingertips blindly along the stair rail, feeling the dust cover my hand like a second skin. Quietly, afraid to run and break the spell, I placed my feet gently on the stairs, and climbed sightlessly into my bedroom. I froze as pale light cast silhouettes over the walls and floorboards. "Alone," I breathed. My voice was a broken whisper, sounding alien even to me.
Fear seeped into the edges of my periphery, and I fought another wave of panic and nausea. I exhaled, allowing my eyes to adjust to the gloom. My hands brushed against the clothes lying discarded on the floor. In the meager light, they looked like lifeless bodies; forgotten and unwanted. I couldn't bring myself to take them, though my mind cried out for a remnant of my former life.
"It's in here. I can feel it."
A rough voice, quietly dangerous, sent adrenaline pulsing through my veins like a drug. I pressed my hands to my mouth, fighting to mask the sound of my breathing; tight and ragged in my chest. My pursuers were in the room below, at the staircase, searching for me.
With trembling hands, I slid my window open, forcing my body though the slim frame. The night air sent shivers through my bones, crystallizing my terror.
There was no time. I forced my feet onto the overhang, biting my lip in pain as the freezing metal bit into my soles. I closed my eyes and let my body drop into the unknown.
My breath was crushed from my lungs as I hit the ground. I clawed at the earth, pushing myself upright and broke into a run. The wind whipped past my face, sending my hair streaming past my neck. It didn't matter that I'd spent so many sleepless nights in a living nightmare, anticipating their attacks. I was alive. For the moment, that was enough.
I reached the lake, throwing myself from the water's edge. Icy tendrils snaked around my body, drowning me in shock. I stroked to the trees, invisible now in the dark shadows and half-light. Fighting the deadly cold, I waited, trembling.
I heard their voices on the bank, harsh and angry.
"Quiet." One of them hissed into the night. "The repulsive thing could already be dead. No normal child could reached the other side. It will have frozen to death."
They laughed, a cruel and hideous sound.
"The world has no place for abominations. To even look at it was blasphemy."
"What should we tell them?"
"That it drowned itself," he murmured darkly. "No one will care that its body has disappeared."
I listened as their footsteps died away, feeling strangely calm and strong. Exhausted, I dragged myself from the water, taking refuge in the shelter of the trees. I jogged to warm my blood, letting my fear diminish with their vanished presences.
There was no place in a small country town for a freak, and yet I felt no shame. My physical being entrapped my psyche, but I would not repent.