She woke in utter darkness. It was damp and musty, and she could hear water dripping somewhere. Taking shallow breaths, she tried to be as still as possible. Even though she couldn’t see, that didn’t mean she wasn’t being watched.
Listening intently she attempted to discern if she was alone. She slowly began feeling around on the floor near her, trying to find a wall or door. After a short time she thought she smelled fresh air, a light whiff of something uncorrupted.
Fighting the urge to run toward the smell, she continue cautiously until she finally saw the tiniest flash of white, a break in the blackness.
Reaching the light, she found a heavy door, massive in size. So large there was no way she could open it on her own. But there was a chance she could squeeze beneath it. The bottom of the door did not fit flush against the floor. Uneven in spots, she was small enough she might be able to make it under.
Peering through the opening, waiting until her eyes adjusted to the light, she was surprised to see how near to safety she was. Between her and freedom was a wide grassy field, she could just make out her home on the far side.
Sitting with her back against the wall, she calmed her shaking limbs and willed her heart to slow as well. She had to have her wits about her if she was to escape.
Closing her eyes she tried to remember how she became trapped. What had happened to her. LIke a slideshow, bits of pieces of her memory flashed through her mind. It came more in emotions ~ terror, helplessness ~ than images.
She remembered running, and the sound of her pursuer hot on her heels. His catcalls and taunts loud in her ears. She remembered him grabbing for her just as she wormed her way into the very room she was trembling in now.
Then she remembered him…
With a start she remembered her race for this shelter was not alone, he was running beside her, trying to draw away the advancing threat. Only now, she could not remember if he found a way in behind her.
Working her way along the wall, making sure to keep count of her steps away from the door, she searched for her companion. She didn’t dare call his name, giving away her hiding place and perhaps putting him in more danger too.
Just as she reached the outer reach of the light, she stumbled against his still body. He was facing her, his back against the wall. Kneeling beside him she felt for signs of life, relieved to find he was breathing, his heart still beating strong and steady.
Lying beside him, lending him some of her warmth, she drew him close to her. Whispering his name, she tried to wake him. A tremble of relief overcame her when she heard him softly answer.
They stayed where they were for a long time, each filling in the other’s lapses in memory. Only then did they discuss what they should do next. They could hide where they were, they could try to find another shelter, one where food and drink could be found, or did they attempt a return to their home.
Questions remained of where their enemy was, if he was laying in wait for them to emerge to continue his persecution or did he leave to find another victim.
As his mind cleared, the nightmare of their race for freedom came back to him. He cringed at the thought of the peril he had put her through. What had he done? By convincing her to runaway with him, he had put her very life at risk. Now, he had to find a way to rescue her, and it could mean leading her back to the very place they had wanted so badly to leave.
The pair followed the steadiness of the wall back to the door and the way out. Breathing in the cool, fresh air, they talked in low voices. Working out their options, they couldn’t stay where they were, but feared breaking from their cover.
From their vantage point, they couldn’t see much beyond the narrow opening. Their clearest escape route was back across the field, back to their starting place, back into their life of servitude. From there they could plan better, plan their escape to total freedom.
Making the final decision to return, they sat and waited, believing the cover of darkness would be their best chance. While the sun dipped further toward the horizon, they took turns watching for their enemy, listening for him, sniffing the air for his scent.
When the final rays of light flicker out, the lights at the manor house blinked on, serving as a beacon for them. Knowing this was their best chance, they both squeezed under the door, took a deep breath and began to run.
In sight of the manor house, close enough they could see in the lights reflected in the windows, they became aware of their enemy, closing the distance between them faster than they were nearing safety.
His yellow eyes glowing with evil intent, his breath rank and hot on their backs, his wicked laughter filling the darkness. Just as he leaped to strike, a huge dark shape stepped out the shadows between them and their pursuer.
“There you are! I’ve been looking for you two all day… stupid cat, what are you doing? Leave them alone!”
Picking up her ferrets, the girl aimed a harmless kick toward the cat, trying to scare him away more than hurt him.
“I was so worried about you guys, where did you get off to? I got a new house for you. It’s bigger and has a lot of things for you to play on, you’ll love it.”
Cuddling the two small furry pets, the girl brought the animals back into the house, setting them inside a large cage. Fresh food and water were left for them as the she shut the gate.
Eating in silence, they made their way to a prepared nest. Snuggling together deep into their bed, they dreamed ferret dreams of freedom.
I was given Chelsea, From the Mouth of a Mother, again to challenge this week. I sent her this: “If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say?” ~ Stephen Levine
Interested in joining the Challenge? Stop by Indie Ink for details.