Clara's heart pumped and her breathing had sped up so much that she was dizzy. She lost her grip on the bag and dropped it at her feet.
Her eyes widened as the sharp noise of the bag hitting the linoleum echoed down the hallway. All three hooded figures looked up and saw her. As the glowing figure dimmed, Aunt Maureen's body relaxed and sunk back into the bed. Seeing that snapped something inside Clara. She ran.
She made it to the first corner before she heard the figures approaching behind her. She didn't turn to look. She rushed to the hospital's central intersection, only then realizing that she didn't remember which direction led to the glass walkway out front. Clara went left, but it only took her a few seconds to realize that it was the wrong choice – there were no doors leading out.
She heard footsteps and took a quick look behind her. One of the hooded figures led the chase while the other two were further down the hallway. The taller one was holding the shorter, lumbering figure, helping him along. This seemed to be the only reason they hadn't caught up to her yet.
Clara took the next turn and found herself in a short passage that led to a series of operating rooms. A plastic sign mounted to the side read "AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY – PRESS BUTTON TO ENTER". She slammed her hand on the huge metal button. A buzzer on the other side of the door sounded, but no one was inside to let her in.
The footsteps grew louder. She scanned the area and saw another sign on a small door. Yellowed cardboard in a rusted metal frame read "REHAB ROOM". Clara gave it a hopeful push and the door opened. She burst inside, pushing it shut behind her. She looked for a lock but the industrial handle had none.
The Rehab Room hadn't been used in many years – something Clara could tell from a quick glance. Workout equipment had been scattered across the floor mats. Benches stood at odd angles. The walls were faded and the everything inside smelled like detergent. With her arms out at her sides, she crept across the room, hoping that the trio chasing after her would pass it by or encounter someone in the hallways to scare them off – unlikely as that seemed.
Clara reached the far side of the room and hunted around behind the larger pieces of equipment. She'd hoped to find a door leading outside, but there was only a solid wall. She followed the wall around and saw another door that led out of the back of the room. As she debated whether or not she should investigate it, Clara saw narrow shadows pass by under the front door. A second later, they were back. She opened the rear door and went through it just as her pursuers entered.
Clara found herself in a large storage closet – really, a room unto itself. She took inventory. The shelves held weights, cables, mats, pads – but nothing that looked like it could be used as a weapon. Especially against three people. She went in further and kept herself still.
A mumbled discussion began in the Rehab Room. The voices went silent – and then a deep male voice said, "In there." It sounded like he was just outside the closet door.
Clara looked behind the shelves – there was no other door leading out. She scrambled, looked up – and saw a small window high above the shelves, filtering in moonlight. It was at least fifteen feet up. She could hear the figures approaching again and worked her foot onto the lowest shelf.
Getting herself off the floor wasn't a problem, but getting from the first shelf to the second, then from the second to the top, took all the upper body strength she had. She hoisted herself all the way up and then laid flat. The door opened and the she heard the figures enter.
Clara couldn't be sure if they'd seen or heard her – there was still a chance that they didn't know she was here. The figures moved around beneath her. One of them whispered, "I thought I saw her," which gave Clara a deep chill. She really was being chased, she thought. People were actually looking for her. And Aunt Maureen... what they did to her in the room...
The figures turned and started back toward the door to the storage area. Clara felt bolder now – she peeked her head over and watched them. Maybe she'd be able to get away. She could feel the chill start to leave her body.
Then the last figure stopped – looked back – and straight up at her. She couldn't see any features other than his glaring eyes. "Up there," he said. The other two whipped around and looked right up at Clara.
She sprung forward and grabbed the window, yanking on its tiny handle – but it was stuck. The figures climbed onto the lowest shelf, helping each other up. She could see the details in their clothes now – dirty work boots and rough cuffs on their hoodies. She pulled harder on the window but it wouldn't open.
Clara looked around the top shelf. The most sturdy object it held was a weight bar. She grabbed it and shoved it through the window, smashing on the first try. She took a few seconds to clear as many of the shards from the frame as she could before looking down. The figures were now up to the middle shelf.
Clara reached across the gap between the top shelf and the window and grabbed its frame. Then she pulled – hard enough to get the top half of her body through the window. She looked around and saw the full expanse of the courtyard below her, with a winding path that led to the front of the building.
Clara pulled harder – she was almost all the way through, but the window frame was too small for her to bend her legs in any way that would help her free herself. Instead, she flipped around, grabbing the top of the frame, and pulled herself further through.
She wriggled and got her thighs through the window, carefully maneuvering her legs to get past one remaining piece of glass still stuck in the frame. Clara had almost freed her legs when she felt a hand grab her ankle on the other side. Her fingers gripped the frame tighter and pulled, but the hand had a firm grip on her. It began pulling her back inside the building.
Clara visualized where the body attached to the hand was positioned. She gave a hard kick in that direction and made solid contact. She heard a muffled grunt as the hand released her ankle.
She flew backward through the window. And as she went down, the lone glass shard dug into her leg, ripping through cloth and skin.
Clara let out a helpless moan as she slammed into the damp grass of the courtyard.
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Breach Point (Haunted)Paranormal
When high school sophomore Clara Tuffney is hired for a summer internship at an engineering firm, she accepts an invitation to live with her Aunt Maureen in the quiet seaside town of Breach Point, New Jersey. Soon after arriving, Clara learns of t...