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Mansion for Mortals
She glanced to the left, then to the right, and finally most fearfully behind her. The door lay in front of her but seemed days away. How long had she been in here? Would it follow her still?
She decided to make a lunge, but fingers stretching towards the doorknob she was stopped. An invisible hand with iron fingers gripped her ankle and brought her crashing to the ground. She felt the warm blood drip from her lip.
There was a second pause. She knew what was coming. She felt herself being pulled backwards, body sliding against the wooden floor panels, leaving drops of blood like a cookie-crumb trail.
But she fought back. It would not have her again.
The grand staircase whipped by and her arm shot out to cling for her life. An incredible pain shot through her being as body part attempted to separate from owner.
The terrified girl dared to look back. The invisible arm was pulling her towards a shadowy doorway; nothing could be seen beyond its depths. Fear vibrated through her and it made her shake uncontrollably. What resided in there?
Her adrenaline surged. Using her other leg, she kicked as hard as possible at where her captor’s hand gripped. She felt it loosen. She kicked twice. A livid yowl echoed through the mansion.
Her arm hurt. Her leg ached. It would not have her again.
On hands and knees she looked up the spiraling staircase. It was her only chance now. A deep growl started to emanate from inside the monster’s doorway. It increased in depth as the monster’s breathing quickened.
Like a wounded animal, she limped up one stair step at a time. In the wild, she would be an easy catch for a predator. Here, she didn’t know what to expect.
The wooden staircase enclosed her on both sides. She couldn’t see to the right or the left, only ahead. But she could hear the monster creep out of its cave, heavy thuds as its feet moved across the floor.
A whimper almost escaped her lips, but she swallowed it back, biting her tongue. Blood was foaming from her mouth like a rabid animal. She felt crazy to be part of this. Right now, being shot would be easier than living through this terror.
She couldn’t make any noise. It would find her. It would not have her again.
She stopped abruptly and the creature stopped. Its nostrils breathed deeply while she held air in her lungs. Seconds passed, and its slow, full pant continued, searching.
She felt a tickle on her chin but it was too late. An enormous burgundy stream of blood slid down her chin and landed with a loud splat on the wood. It navigated through the cracks of the ancient wooden structure and fell to the ground beneath. She sighed silently. With her luck, it had probably reached the ground in front of the monster. He could see, no doubt.
She heard the monster snort and take three quick sniffs. She imagined its ugly fleshy head leaning down and studying her blood. She squeezed her eyes shut. Why won’t it leave me alone?
The wood panels groaned as the monster extended to its full height. It threw back its head and roared.
She waited for the inevitable. It would not have her again.
She was suddenly violently thrown on her side as if a tremor had hit. It wasn’t any earthquake. And she couldn’t help it. She shrieked.
Too late, she stifled her scream. The beast did not hesitate. It had found her. It swept around the stairs, grabbed the bottom of the wooden railing and began to shake, wildly and without control.
She started to slip down the stair steps, slowly but surely. She grasped at anything but all she felt was smooth surfaces slicked with her own blood.
Panting like a wounded animal, she gazed in horror as her legs rounded the curve in the staircase. The animal stopped and jumped up to grab them. She jerked back and took the momentary pause in movement to scramble back up the stairs, and disappear around the bend.
Now the creature decided to take a more direct route, and it started to ascend the stairs. Its body was so wide it made the side railings creak and bow outward.
Further up, a life was losing hope. Pulling herself up to the second floor, she lay on the ground, her strength diminished, confidence waning. There was no one around now, only her and the beast. And now there was no way out, except death.
She shook the thought from her head. Not after what she had been through. She would survive to warn others, to stop them from making the same mistake of entering this haunted house.
Yet, the monster continued its path up the stairs, practically devastating what was left of the structure. The whole building began to sway on its foundation. The ceiling started to crumble.
There was a glass window at the end of the hallway and as she raised her weary head, she saw it. It was like a light at the end of a forsaken tunnel. Lurching, teetering, she raised herself, and used the wall to guide her throbbing fingers.
The window was open and a light breeze blew through, filling her lungs with the scent of verdant air. A sense of calm came over her now. She heard the creaking of the staircase stop suddenly, and then the clacking of long, evil nails against wood.
Tenderly, she reached into her back pocket and pulled out a picture, worn with age, creased at the edges. It was dotted with blood- her blood. A few strands of Johnny’s dark black hair also stuck to the picture; the hair she had loved to stroke whenever he told her to not be scared of what happened next. A content smile reached her lips and she kissed it; the memories it gave her.
Folding it tightly, she threw it into the moon-lit air, and sighed. Maybe someone someday out there would experience the happiness she had felt with Johnny. For her, there really was no reason to continue without him, was there?
She felt the darkness from behind embrace her with cold arms. It had her.