What have you done?
Knobbly fingers, twisted and dry, tried to pull me back into the dark. I slapped the ones grabbing at my face, merciless aiming for my eyes, and made them snap into little pieces. I couldn't let them slow me down. I had to getaway.
My feet dug into the soft earth below, each step felt slow, so slow. Too slow to getaway. Every muscle screeched and ached as they sluggishly got into a rhythm –
left and then right,
left and then right,
left then right,
left then right,
Finally getting somewhere, I was running.
The surrounding forest around me began to blur. Dark silhouettes against the dull moonlight became less defined and far less menacing threats. My heart crashed against my ribcage as I kept the pace up. It drove me on.
I didn't know why I had to run. I didn't have a reason but I had a feeling. One of dread and pain and sorrow. It hung heavy across my shoulders and ached from deep within my body. If I stopped, I knew I would have to face the thing that caused this. I didn't think I could take that.
And so, I kept going on. I had no goal or aim or even a sense of direction that I could recall. This place was foreign to me. I could have been running in circles for all I knew. That wouldn't stop me though. I went as fast as I could, dodging saplings and trunks and battled against the rising gusts all the way, hoping to stay straight and true. Hoping I was going somewhere.
Though I was sure I made enough distance between me and the thing I feared, something lingered. A strange smell of salt and iron filled my nose. I glimpsed down and my eyes widened. I wanted to look away yet, somehow, I couldn't.
Whispers amongst the leaves spread ill rumours. Or was just that my own mind racing too fast? My shirt was white and blue, thick stripes that went all the way down the front. And red. I was covered in red. Sticky, sickly dark red. My feet slowed to a gradual stop.
The monster out there didn't matter so much anymore.
I dug my feet into the ground as if bracing myself for a second glimpse. Because maybe, if I didn't, I might topple straight over in shock. I peeked, letting the dizzying feeling wash over like bathwater creeping across bare skin.
It was everywhere. All down my front and smeared up my arms. I wanted to tell myself it was just pasta sauce, a whole lot of pasta sauce. But that smelt fresh and tasty, it was a smell that always had me smiling. Not this. This had my stomach twisting into knots. Saliva filled my mouth. This was like old pennies and damp salt. It was drying, in places sticky like thick gel. It was unmistakably blood.
I felt alright, peachy even, but I had to be sure. You hear those stories about people who barely feel severe injuries during stressful times and horrific accidents. I had to be sure. I lifted up my shirt, preparing myself for the sight of a ghastly wound. But, aside from unnatural tint to the colour, a coppery tone, my torso was fine. I was okay.
Then it hit me. Tears began streaming down my face. I was okay and fine. Not even a scratch.
Then whose blood was it? And why was it all over me?
I looked around. All alone with the damning silence. I felt like this whole time I was running from some monster… Had I been wrong? Had the terror always been closer than I realised?
The wind picked up again at long last. It was lonely and empty without something as simple as the wind around. I smiled as if greeting an old friend. I took in a gulp of air, hoping it would lighten the heaviness sitting on my chest. It didn't. Neither did the second one that quickly followed.
Along the breeze, drifting like a delicate autumn leaf, came a shrill voice.
"Alis," it called. I turned around, expecting a person to be standing behind me. Only shadows in the moonlight flanked me. Yet, it came again, even louder than the last one. "Alis, what have you done?" I spun all the way around, twirling like some clumsy dancer. No one was there. I was alone.
But somebody knew what I had done. The awful thing I must have done because there was no other explanation.
"Alis, what have you done!" The shrill words echoed again and again. Hot tears began to pour down my face, my knees felt weak. I didn't know. I didn't. What had I done? I threw my head up towards the sky. I cried out until I was hoarse, a mixture of wails and words.
"What had I done? Tell me, what had I done!"
Something knocked hard against my head and I bolted upright. Blinking hard, I couldn't see anything, just pitch black around me. Then I realised, I wasn't in a forest, I was in a darkened room. My bedroom. I was tucked up in my cotton bedsheets in my own bedroom having a horrible nightmare. That's all.
I rubbed my sore head. It was that same dream again though. The one in the forest and the blood and the voice. I sighed, growing more and more accustomed to the gloom. I couldn't remember when I first had that one, I think I've always had it. But recently it had been particularly bad, every night it seemed it wake me in a cold sweat.
The worst thing is I didn't even know why. Really, nothing about it should shake me up like it did. There was no monster or horrible vision of gore. Nothing was that scary.
I shook my head hard, my hair got into my sleep-encrusted eyes. That didn't matter. For now, I needed to get back to sleep and hope that the voice and forest stayed far, far away from the rest of my dreams tonight.
A/N: I hope the tease on this All Hallows Eve gets enjoyed. I've been holding on to this for a little while - probably should finish a certain project here before I start yet another but... Spooky time. Plus, what's one more hinting piece to this story? If you're eager beavers who likes a thinker, try and work out how this relates to Call me by my name. Anyway, before I get too carried away with this shameless self-promotion, Happy Halloween all.
Lots of spookiness,