GENRE: Suspense/thriller – fiction about harm about to befall a person or group and the attempts made to evade the harm
I couldn’t breathe over the thrashing of my heart beating an erratic rhythm up in my throat. Calm down, I mumbled in thought as I attempted to take in slow breaths of stagnant air.
The silence was deafening outside my own head, so much so I feared he could hear all of this turmoil rising up from my insides. My eyes brimmed with tears, but I gritted my teeth and shook my head in one quick jerk, defiant to the last.
From this spot, hidden behind the musty crates of ages past, I strained my ears to listen for him, for any sound that he’d discovered my refuge.
The silence dragged on and so did the agonizing fright that kept me from taking a normal breath, that kept the air from my lungs, and squeezed the strength from my limbs. I mentally calculated the hours left until daylight. If I could just make it until morning . . .
A shower of dirt shook loose from the walls and sprinkled the old concrete floor, making a sound that reminded me of a handful of sand being tossed into the lake all at once. I couldn’t suppress the shiver that coursed up my spine and sent my fingers to trembling, loosing my grip on the rusty iron rod I’d grabbed for protection.
But that was a joke. Nothing would protect me.
The warehouse door that had been swung open closed with the same slow creaking lumber, the implication of it coiling in my gut. I lost it; all ability to think, to plan, to escape rushed from my mind only to be replaced by the sure dread that my life had just ended.
The demented beast tormented me with his silence. He knew as well as I that I was trapped, and he toyed with me, merciless to the last. Fiend.
I strained harder to listen for any sound, any indication of his whereabouts, but my own stupid heart thrummed in my ears, blocking out the most essential of my senses.
A whoosh of air breezed past the wooden crate I sheltered behind and wafted against my cheek, the rustling of it sending dust particles dancing around my nose. I squeezed my eyes closed and held my breath, willing away the desire to sneeze.
The need to cry out, to scream, to rush from the tight space I’d crammed myself into for protection overwhelmed me with insanity as my breathing came in short huffs, dizzying my head in a lightheaded mess. My eyes shot open, wide with horror, but I could not take another breath. Little black pinpricks of darkness speckled my vision.
My pursuer continued on in silence; not a word passed his lips, but I could make out the distant hushing swipe of something soft being dragged along the derelict warehouse floor. Barely any light entered the crusted-over windows that sat high up in the metal walls, and I could not bring myself to chance a look beyond my hidey-hole anyway.
But what if it was Davey being raked over the debris-strewn floor? Poor Davey. I’d left him there by the hollowed out tree where he’d fallen. He’d screamed for help, and the image of his face as he’d clawed the air, reaching toward me in panicked supplication, flashed before my eyes, blinding me to the dim light slowly filtering in through the opaque windows.
I’d left him there. In my hysteria, I’d stumbled backward, away from his hand and ran . . . ran for my life, toward a freedom that would come only by his sacrifice. I knew I was a terrible friend, that I’d left my only one behind, and that I would burn in hell for my betrayal, but I could not take it back now.
The heavy cloth-dragging sound stopped. I couldn’t tell how far away, but it hadn’t been close. At least I didn’t think it could be. I pressed myself back against the crate that created my third wall and waited with baited breath for any other sound to assault my now-attuned ears.
No. Wait . . . .
“You didn’t think you’d escape. Now, did you?”