The impenetrable darkness pressed in around her, concealing the hideous, decaying wallpaper lining the hallway. The clacking of her shoes echoed in an unearthly rhythm, as if a wicked phantom was conducting the reverberations. The beat became hasty as she rushed for the veiled door ahead. It was there. She knew it was. She just had to reach it.
Extending her hand forward, she slowed her fearful pace, and crept slowly, feeling for the door. Finally, she felt the icy cold steel of a handle sting her hand. Biting back the chills that wreaked havoc through her trembling body, she grasped the handle tightly and pushed the creaking door open.
She gagged, as the musty, putrid smell of rot filled her nostrils. Death, she thought. It smells like death. Blinded by an even deeper, inky blackness, she halted, fear ripping through her like a dull knife through a sheet of cloth. From across the dreadful room, the eerie ticking of a grandfather clock serenaded her arrival. Clutching a short note in her shaking fist, she squinted into the dark around her, looking for Him. He said he would be here. He had promised.
“H..hello?” she questioned, her voice hanging thick in the air, anticipating, like a hunter waiting for its prey. There was no answer. Only the haunting tick, tick, tick, of the taunting clock responded to her. Swallowing hard, she inched backwards to where she knew the door to be. He’s not here, she thought miserably.
“Is he not?” A deep, ghostly voice replied. She could not be sure what part of the room it had come from. In fact, it seemed to come from every corner, but the impossibility of that chilled her skin. The air was as still as a battleground after the war is over, and a multitude of bodies lay sprawled out on the ground.
“Who’s there?” she asked, her voice shaky and forced, choked with threatening tears. Again, only the clock responded. Go home, she ordered herself. Just leave. Spinning around, she flung herself in the direction from which she had come. Instead of finding the ancient, chipping door behind her, she hit the ground with such brutal force that she could swear she had been pushed. Don’t be ridiculous, she thought desperately.
“Yes, don’t be ridiculous. You can’t leave now.” The voice could be heard from across the room, right at her ear, floating near the ceiling, and even from within her head. Tears slipping from her eyes like water from a leaky faucet, she lay on the floor, frozen with magnificent terror. Her breathing was uneven and quick, a small rebellion against the consistency of that horrible clock.
Still clenching the small crumpled note that had brought her to this horror, she slowly reached forward, feeling for the gateway to her freedom. She crept at a minute speed, inch by inch across the cool, tile floor. Finally, her hand reached something. She could feel the object’s presence before she had even touched it. Gently, hesitantly, she stretched out her hand and felt the moist, soggy texture of rotting flesh.
Her blood-curdling scream pierced the silence violently, as she ripped her hand away. Some of the skin remained in her hand, having torn away like wet tissue paper. Please let this be a dream. Please let this be a dream, she begged, an insane tone even evident in her thoughts.
“This is no dream,” the voice answered. Her cries became hysteric. A door slammed from somewhere in the room. A quiet chuckle sounded all around her. And she was lost from the world.
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