Haunted once again by the nightmares of his childhood, Pete is beginning to fear that these twisted scenes may be more than figments of his imagination, that they may be trying to warn him of somet...
It's nighttime, the sky an inky black canvas dotted with dabs of light.
A long cloud-like puff of air smokes through my lips and my teeth begin to chatter.
My house comes into view, I begin to rush up to the porch but something distracts my attention.
I hear someone crying beyond the yard.
I start walking forward, towards the source of the sound.
"Hilary?" I call.
All I can tell is that the voice is female, I don't recognize it at all.
Arms outstretched, I run in the direction of the sound.
But then I have to stop.
There's a white-hot pain right in the center of my middle.
I place my hands over my stomach and bend over.
I just might get sick.
I glance back in the direction of my house, but I can't seem to see it through all the trees and brush.
I can't even see the night sky anymore.
I hear a footstep somewhere behind me, leaves crackle, branches break.
I stumble, still bent over clutching my stomach, as best I can towards the whimpering, dodging bushes and other obstacles with my one outstretched hand.
The ground turns to mush beneath my feet, slowing me down more and more until I have to stop and catch my breath.
I can still hear that faraway voice, but it's getting farther and farther away, deeper into the forest.
I strain my ears to hear something, the footsteps behind me, the whimpering in the distance, anything.
But the only thing I can hear is the wind, combing through the dead leaves, whistling in my ear.
I take a small step and feel the ground get deeper, coating my foot in ick.
I hear the footsteps behind me again.
I try to step out of the mud, and I succeed, only when I pull my foot up, the ratty black Converse that was there a few moments ago is gone.
Pain sears my stomach.
I struggle to move.
I grab hold of a dead limb for support, but I slip, landing on my butt, the muck seeing through my tight jeans.
I count to ten - one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand - and try to steady my breathing, to shake the steady aching in my stomach but it won't be long before I get sick.
"Peter," the darkness whispers.
I close my eyes and concentrate on something pleasant, bending over as far as my muscles will allow, trying to steady myself.
She's calling me now, by my name.
"You can't run, Peter," a voice comes from the darkness again.
I'm not going down without a fight.
I scramble for a rock, a stick, anything to protect myself.
I find a rock.
It's small, but it's sharp.
I look up, searching for the north star to guide me, but the stars are hidden behind the treetops.
I crawl out of the mud, struggle to stand, clench the pebble in my hand, and hobble for a few moments, still reaching outward.
I look up to where the trees have started to clear and can make out the crescent of the moon.
A rustling behind me once again distracts me. I look around, blinking, trying to adjust my eyes to the darkness.
Finally my vision begins to focus and I see a human figure standing just a few feet out of my reach.
The figure remains still, as do I, just extends his arm, as if to show me something. It's a bouquet of some kind.
The moon begins to illuminate the cluster of flowers in the mans hand, the color, the shape.
Somewhere in my conscience I know what lilies mean, I just can't place it.
I find my strength and dart away, leaves and twigs crunching under my heavy feet, brush tearing at my face, cutting the skin.
Suddenly I feel a searing pain in my shoe-less foot.
I feel a full-fledged wail escape my throat.
I reach down and feel a large stick jabbed into my heel, as far as it will go.
I bite down on my arm, swallowing some of the pain.
I need to run.
I can't stay here.
I have to escape.
I have to be fast.
I try to pull the twig out of my heel, but the ache in my stomach keeps me from bending any further.
I bite my lip and pray for the pain to go away.
But it isn't enough.
Bile rushes up my throat and I hunch over, leaning against a fallen tree.
I wrench, the ick making a soft patter as it hits the ground, seeping towards my feet.
"Peter," the darkness whispers,"I know your secret."
The whispering is slow and thick, so close to the back of my neck that I swear I can feel it.
I open my mouth to scream, but my throat is still clogged with bile.
Bile and mud.
Up my nose, in my eyes.
My hands fly to my throat, I feel myself choking.
The stone is still held tightly in my hand.
I press its jagged edges into my palm and throw it.
Light invades my senses.
I'm sitting up.
This is ungodly hard to write; let me know what you think