I woke up on a cold stone floor. Where was I? Then I remembered. I had died. But that was impossible… Here I was on the floor, aching but still alive, very much so. I had a bad headache and an aching arm, but none the less, here I was. I looked around at the room I was in and then realized everything was all sideways. What? Then I realized I was still lying down. Right. What had happened to me? I thought hard as I eased myself off the floor into a sitting position. My arm was really aching now. I rubbed it gingerly, trying to remember all I could about what had happened:
I had decided to go for a walk along the pier to try and clear my head after my ex-best friend’s body had been discovered in a street in town. Then, a car had pulled up alongside of me, and a man had leaned out.
‘Get in’, he had said. ‘I’ll take you home. Look, you’re getting all wet.’
It was true. The rain was lashing down, and I had forgotten to bring a jacket. But I wasn’t going to get in a car with this rough-looking stranger. He was wearing an expensive suit and aftershave, but he had an unshaven face, with eyes sunk deep into his head, which were also too far apart, giving him a sly look. He also had a slightly waxy quality to his skin, as if he rarely saw daylight.
I had politely declined the man’s offer, saying I was very close to home. I could tell he didn’t believe me. Hell, I didn’t even believe me. I had always been a terrible liar. He got out of the car, and insisted I let him bring me home. Again, I refused. He paused. Then there was a curt command from inside the car. I hadn’t noticed another person, but then I saw the tinted glass on the windows. The first man smiled, no, leered at me: a terrible grin, full of teeth. Again came a curt command from the second man. I couldn’t make out what it was saying, but I knew it couldn’t be good. I turned and tried to run, but the man was too fast for me. He caught me easily, and put his hand over my mouth. I struggled, but it was no use. The man might have had arms of steel, for the use of all my struggling and biting. I was thrown roughly into the back of the car, and a blindfold was pulled over my eyes. The first man got into the drivers’ seat again, and started the car. I screamed. My companion in the back, the Mystery Man, covered my mouth with his hand.
‘Hey!’ he exclaimed. ‘None of that. You could wake the dead with a scream like that.’
‘Get off me!’ I tried to yell, but all the came out was a muffled ‘Mmmm mm mmmm!’
‘Looks like we caught a wildcat, Raf! Did you ever here the likes of that scream?’ the first man chuckled.
Then, I saw the knife. I saw it glinting in the shadow of the Mystery Man’s other hand. He slowly raised it to my arm, and suddenly plunged it in. I screamed again, and this time no one stopped me. The knife was pulled out, only to be thrust back in again. I screamed, and screamed again. Still no one stopped me. The pain was like red hot rods being pressed into my arm. I felt the warm blood seep through my clothes. Suddenly the car stopped. The Mystery Man yanked me roughly out, causing a fresh wave of shrieks to rise out of me. I was blinded by pain, so I could only feel myself being lifted, and then falling, falling, falling. I knew it couldn’t end well. My last thoughts were on the Mystery Man… Or so I thought…
I sat up on the floor, holding my arm. I remembered what had happened now, with the unshaven stranger, and the man with the voice like ice. I remembered that I had died. So was this death? A cold stone floor, an empty room and bloodstains on my clothes. I hoped it wasn’t… I hoped there was more.