Chapter 10

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How long have I been running? I can't tell

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How long have I been running? I can't tell. Its pitch black. There's no light, no clock, no way to see where I'm going or how far I've even run. I keep moving anyway.

The further I go, the darkness turns into a long hallway, showcasing faceless paintings leaning off the peeling walls. A green door pops-up near the end. I'm not sure where I am, but there should be an exit. If not, some place safe.

I pick up the pace and run faster and faster. But the heavyweight of gravity confines me to the floor. At least I know I'm on earth if this isn't a dream.

Something cool catches my ankle. A dark blob squeezes my skin as hundreds fast approach. Fingers sprout from the goo, flattening into a hand. They grab at my thigh; my waist. My hairs tugged violently back from behind. I can't escape.

They scratch my skin, giving off bites of frost and ice. My breath freezes in the stale air. I try avoiding the hands the best I can, but with each step, I grow tired and my muscles burn. My shoes are becoming lead covered boots.

This is only a dream, it has to be, yet I can't even use my gliding abilities at all. None of my abilities are, but they should. They always have in my dreams. What the hell is going on?

With one more push, I close in on the decorative green door. It's facade of swirls and contours and lion head for a handle. Light seeps out from the base. I latch onto the iron handle and pull it open. And close it just as fast.

The hands ram against. They scratch the wood where my back presses, billowing the sides out. My heels dig into the carpet. I look around, searching for a lock. A giant plank of wood appears high above my head. It's long enough to cross the entire threshold of this door.

It's now or never. I jump up and yank the plank down. It latches shut and rests on its iron arms. The scratches seize in an instant. I can finally feel and hear the erratic thumping of my heart.

An eerie silence cascades over the room, clashing with its Neo Pop colors and dark Gothic inspiration. A brick fireplace is against the right wall with a fire blazing heat into my chilled bones. No paintings hang in this room, yet it feels like I'm being watched.

Mounds of food layout in decadence across a long metal table with a tall and wide centerpiece. There are steaming vegetables and fruit floating in sweet liqueur, and all my favorites chocolate desserts scattered about. A roasted pig sits on the end with a delicious red apple stuffed inside its mouth.

This need to eat overwhelms me. It smells like chicken; like moose pie and ripe fruit. I can taste them in the air. My hand stretches out towards the apple. Its red coating shines brilliantly from the Gothic chandelier, begging me to eat it.

"Didn't your mother ever teach you to never take food from a stranger?"

Hairs rise on the back of my neck. His voice is so deep and chilling. I stand at attention and peek around the centerpieces metal thorns to see who could produce such a hypnotizing sound.

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