…Some people will spend their lives trying to avoid making that one fatal mistake…

Ba-dum.

Ba-dum.

Ba-dum.

Ba-dum.

My heartbeat – or maybe my feet, it’s almost hard to tell anymore, as each step echoes off the hollow wooden floors with wild abandon. The intense sounds aren’t enough to keep me from my goal: to run as fast as possible towards whatever exit I can find.

Ba-dum.

Ba-DUM.

BA-DUM.

‘My heart is going to beat out of my ribcage if I keep this up for much longer’.

But I can’t think about what I saw back there, I just can’t.  If I do, I will surely never make it out of here alive; and making it out of this Hellish place is all that matters anymore.

The decaying hallways never seem to end; every door I come across only seems to lead to another long expanse of hallway.  Every step creaking and complaining against my weight, hoping beyond all hope that the exit will lie just beyond that next door.  I hold my breath, sliding the old wooden door open just enough to squeeze through. Another door, another hallway – sighing I continue on.

A short flickering awakens me from a lucid daze and the horrifying reality strikes me like a brick. My flashlight, the anchor that keeps the shadow-made attackers at bay, is giving its final breaths of life – leaving me to complete and total darkness. My only saving grace now coming from the stray moonbeams peaking through small crevices otherwise unseen. Flashlight or no, I simply cannot stand around looking lost, I have to keep going!  How much farther could there be to go anyway?

Shuffling through a few more rooms and hallways I finally come across the doorway I have been so longing to find. The door that is my gateway to freedom, to safety, and to sanity.   Bounding over fallen pieces of rotted wood and debris littering the small set of stairs, I dash through a small opening created by an old broken Japanese screen. Somehow, in the short time I’d been in here someone had boarded up the door from the inside.  Three smaller boards now crisscrossed from one side to the other but upon further inspection those are not my biggest concern.  That small inconvenience is soon replaced by pure bewilderment as I stare at the large heavy beam set diagonally across everything.  A quick evaluation and it was decided: the beam would have to go first. With a burst of energy I wasn’t aware I had, I grab hold of the beam and pull with every fiber of my being.

The minutes tick by as I begin to feel my arms tire and lose their strength; my breathing far from calm and collected as ragged panic begins to completely take over.  Finally, with one final and desperate pull I feel the beam give, just a little.  Momentarily satisfied and collapsing on the floor I glare daggers at the offending piece of wood that is the only obstacle between me and sweet escape. 

There must be something amidst this mess that I can use to help wedge these boards loose. 

Looking around the only things I see are cobwebs, boarded up windows, a giant gaping hole in the floor, old Japanese screens – the list goes on.  However, anything that could have possibly once been helpful is far too aged and decrepit to serve of any use now.

Not like sitting on the floor of an old, rotted, useless room was getting me through that door any faster.

Mustering as much energy as possible I jump to my feet and prepare to attack the beam once again.  The sudden movement, however, earns me a disapproving moan from the hollow floorboards beneath my feet and to my horror I faintly here the neighboring floorboards across the room echo back in remorse.

There is only one word that could possibly describe what I felt then: bone-chilling.  It came over me as swift and strong as the first icy claws of winter, the kind of fear that grips your feet to the floor and dares you to try and move.  A sickening feeling hit me as I realized I had been lured here on purpose and they had no intention of letting me leave.  I couldn’t bear to look behind me, I didn’t need to; I knew she was there, growing steadily closer.

I had known that I would regret coming here; I knew it the first time I laid eyes on this horrid place, but that didn’t stop me.  Perhaps if I’d known I’d end up this way things would have been different, but it’s too late for that now.  Some people will spend their lives trying to avoid making that one fatal mistake, but not me…not anymore.

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