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By Zahira FPublished 2 months ago 5 min read

Running, Running with no end in sight. The hallway is dark, the ground hard and rough. Pain shooting up my legs radiating through my joints with every step. My lungs are growing weaker and weaker. Every breath more laborious than the last. It's like I'm suffocating, but I can't stop. If I stop, for even a second. It's going to catch me. I don't know what it is, but I know what it smells like.

Every time I've risked turning around all I see is its breath in the cold and I smell the overwhelming stench of rot and bile. But I feel its eyes on me, I feel it on my heels now. I know if I stop running, it's over.

I feel blood pooling in my boots and taste it in my mouth. I don't know how long I've been running this time but I know I'm reaching my limit. If I don't make it to safety soon my body will quit on me. I can't give up, I can't let it win. I keep pushing, "just a little further... I can make it. This time, I'll make it."

I see a light appearing down the hall. An end to the tunnel? For once it doesn't seem to be getting further away. It's not a trick, I'm so close! I'm gonna make it, I'm gonna be safe. "Soon I can stop running. Just a few more meters." I push a little harder, ignoring the pain.

Suddenly, my toe catches on a loose brick and I go careening towards the blood soaked stone. "I almost made it..." I think to myself as my hands land first. Followed by my head bouncing against the ground. As everything is going dark, I feel its claws wrap around my ankle and my face dragging against the cobblestone as it pulls me back to where I started.

I know where it's taking me, because that's how it always goes. Just as the darkness envelopes me, my eyes open with a start.

I'm in my bed and without delay, the pounding begins. Like drums, loud and steady enough to keep me awake. But not quite enough to make me alert or put me on edge. Just enough to make the pressure in my skull grow. The pain becomes more unbearable the more I come to.

A deep breath, followed by a cough. I didn't realize how dry my mouth was, or how much my lungs hurt. I reach for my water, but it's empty. "Ugh of course." I slink out of bed wrapping and tying my comforter around me. Then pulling my boots and some wool socks on. My cozy armor to protect me from the cold as I venture forth to gather some water from the well.

Despite my best efforts, as I open the door the brisk morning air rushes under my protective barrier. Little bumps rise on my skin as my arm hairs stand on end. I grab the empty pitcher from beside the door. Taking my first step out of my warm haven, I feel the frost coated grass crunch under my boots and hear the morning birds songs.

The air is so fresh, the sky just starting to turn pink from the rising sun. Soon the frost would melt and the world would be damp and warm. This slide from winter to spring is always so transformative, refreshing. I look forward to the bright spring flowers and longer days.

I would give so much to just bask in the warmth of the morning sun and appreciate the beauty of this land. That dream always takes so much out of me. It's like I didn't sleep at all. But my head is on the verge of splitting. The pounding is getting more aggressive and my tongue feels like sandpaper. 'First things first, water,"

I squint, my vision blurring with every beat of the drum. I take a deep breath, cool air rushing into my lungs and my focus turning to the well. Five meters and I'm there, ten total until I'm back to the warm safety of my cabin. Gripping my pitcher I make my way there. Every step feeling like I'm walking through tar. Finally I am able to rest against the cold stones that make up the well.

I feel my fingers grow numb as I pull the bucket up by the rope. Does it feel heavier than normal? Or maybe I'm weaker today. I pour the icy liquid into my pitcher. As the bottom of the bucket becomes visible I notice... Something. "There's something in here... I really hope it's not a rat..." Though that could be why I feel so sick, so weak.

But I can feel my brain pressing against my skull, the pain is getting worse. Is my proximity to this object making the pain worse? Should I even risk touching it? I need to decide fast, the pulsing is growing stronger and it's getting harder to stay upright. I decide I have no choice. I grab the pitcher in one hand and the object in the other. Leaving the bucket to hang.

Suddenly, my vision clears. The pain stops and the jug feels lighter in my hand. I run my thumb over the strange oval shaped object. It's smooth and cold. But not like a stone, there's warmth under the surface. Like touching someone's arm when they've just come in from chopping wood or playing in the snow.

I look down at it for the first time. It's the size of my palm, dark but not stagnant. There's a flow of colours. Purples, golds, blues and some colours I've never seen before. Working their way around, swirling and mixing. Moving across each other, making new colours and moving into the core of the object. It's beautiful, It looks like they're all flowing in and out of a small pitch black circle no bigger than a shirt button in the center.

I give it a gentle squeeze. Expecting it to be firm but it relents to my touch, forming to my fingers and pulsing. Startled, I drop it and as it hits the ground. It bounces as any rock would from that height, but it feels like a blow to the back of my skull every time it hits the ground.

The pain returns tenfold and I collapse. Breath getting heavy, chest tightening, Vision fading. I reach out for the object... and it reaches out for me.


About the Creator

Zahira F

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