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Something in the Shadows
The only night Luke had ever felt fear, was during a concert at Lake Gangren. Green and yellow lights lit up the night sky, and a guitar solo thrummed on the wind. The people looked like nothing more than ants from where he was standing on the porch, but the music sounded crystal clear. Just like the shrill scream that came from inside the house.
The rotted floorboards creaked under the heavy fall of his feet, his breath fogged in the cold night air, and his muscles ached with fatigue as he ran.
Not Jen…Not Jen…Oh God, please not her…
Vincent had run for help more than twenty minutes ago. He was supposed to return soon. It couldn’t be her. Not now. Not when they were so close to getting away.
Loose flakes of plaster fell from the ceiling when he blasted through the door. Luke frantically searched through the house. When he got to the basement, the place he had been dreading the most, he saw the lock had been broken and the door hung crookedly to the side. A bright trail of red led down into the black abyss before him.
Luke raised the cold metal in his hand and pointed it into the darkness.
“Get out here you bastard. Stop hiding in the shadows.”
Nothing, not a sound, came back in reply.
Luke snarled at the dark, but still nothing happened.
Time went slowly. Seconds felt like minutes. Minutes felt like hours. Luke knew he had to get to Jen if there was any chance of saving her, and he had to do it quickly. Jen was his reason for breathing. If he had to die to save her, he promised himself he would. Luke reached around his belt to the flashlight. If it wouldn’t come up, he would go down.
The gash on his neck stung at the thought of what had happened last time they ventured down there. Only four of them had returned. Jen had broken her leg, and Vincent’s arm was torn to pieces. Something lived within the dark of that farmhouse, something evil.
Luke turned on the flashlight and descended into shadow.
The first thing that hit him was the smell. The reek of death and mildew made his throat convulse. Second, was fear. His friends were thrown around the room like old clothes. Four pairs of blank eyes watched him as he descended the stairs. Memories of what had happened suddenly swamped his mind and heart.
Beams of light flickered from their flashlights as they ran towards the old abandoned farmhouse. All of his new college buddies thought they were so clever to evade buying tickets for the concert. Twenty minutes later Jack and Lila disappeared. Everyone else had been searching for them when they saw the door to the basement open. Thinking nothing of it, they all went downstairs. Four of them made it back up.
Luke thought of how they had managed to bar the door and lock it up. Jen wasn’t able to move, all of the bones in her leg had been shattered. Luke refused to leave her, and Vincent went for help with Thomas.
A slight sound to his left snapped Luke back into reality. Cloth was dragging against the cement. His heart pounded as he waited. He had learned from the first time never to leave the steps. It was fatal to do so. On the steps, he might have a chance.
Then…a faint whisper…
Pain. Torturous pain. Everything hurt. But the shape that convulsed and twitched around the other end of the jagged pole in his hands made him sag in relief. He had won. Then, it all went black.
Vincent looked around and shuddered. Many of his friends were lying prostrate on the floor, an ominous creature with a jagged pole through its body was slumped in the corner, and they still hadn’t found Luke or Jen.
He ran towards the man who yelled. Under the stairs, in a hidden inlet, sat Luke. His whole body was covered in gashes and cuts. Some went all the way to the bone. Red covered every inch of him. Wrapped in his frozen arms, was Jen. Vincent sank to the floor in grief. They were too late. He had taken too long...
A ragged breath suddenly came from Jen’s throat.
She was alive.
Luke had kept his promise.