Chapter 47

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Fear. It was a term I had become too comfortable with in my days rotting away behind the walls of the building I had been living in. I had felt that fear mostly for Harry. Afraid of what they were doing to him, what he had done, where they were taking him, how he was being punished, what would be the consequences of his actions. But this fear was not about Harry.

This time my heart pounded with the kind of fear that rattles your bones and clears your mind. A strange tingling made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my stomach sunk. This time the antagonist was calling my name, following my steps. This time it was too dark to see who it was whispering behind me.

"Rose," another quiet voice spoke, but this time it was Harry's. It was cautious, as if spoken too loud the anonymous person would attack. "Crawl as fast as you fucking can, and don't look back."

I was happy to follow his orders. I dug my hands into the dirt and kicked at the ground. I forced my body forward and pushed, which could have been quite literally, for my life. A boiling panic surged through my veins and I could thing of nothing else but to crawl faster.

Harry, too, had immensely quickened his pace. "Keep going Rose," he said in rushed, worried words over the sounds of our effort. He sounded scared and shaken up, a way I have never heard him before. I had to remind myself that he, too, could feel fear.

And knowing he was afraid only amplified what I felt. The woman, I thought it was a woman, had given no further indication of her presence, though. But I knew she was there. If I were to stop and listen, I would've heard that faint dragging sound. But I couldn't quite hear it over my attempt at escape. So for a brief moment I wondered if I had imagined someone calling my name, too, like I had imagined the same noise back in the corner of Wickendale's halls.

But no, this was real. Harry knew it, too, and not only did he share in my observations but also in my fear. Either she didn't exist and Harry and I were both going mad, or she did exist and she was following us. I didn't know which thought was scarier.

I didn't have time for that contemplation, though, and kept crawling forward, heart pumping, adrenaline flowing, and faster than I had ever moved in my entire life. I felt like a wild beast, clawing through the dirt to make a mad dash out of this occupied tunnel. My only sense of comfort, although nothing could be quite comforting in this situation, was the sound of Harry moving in front of me.

But despite that reassurance, I still felt that electric intensity through my nerves and heart like static. I could imagine and almost feel her grabbing ahold of my ankle, her hand inches away, clawing and reaching for me the way I clawed and reached for an end to Wickendale's final horror.

It seemed like millions of surging heartbeats, insanely heavy breathing, and hours of the burning sensation of my muscles later, we had reached a finish. Harry stopped moving. I stopped moving. It was a dead end. Once quiet, I realized she hadn't been inches away like I thought. But we still heard from far down the tunnel that odd scraping; she hadn't quit following us.

"What the fuck was that?" Harry asked in a gasp, frantically feeling the walls for a way out.

"I-" I started, needing a breath. "I have no idea."

"Shit," he said. "Don't let it get close to you; we get out and we run."

I nodded, head turned back in the direction of the strange sounds and whispers. There was nothing separating myself and that woman. Nothing. My heart beat wildly with fear and panic, head not facing anywhere but the direction from which we had come. I drew closer to Harry, looking for any signs of her, which was hard to accomplish in the pitch dark. It was a fear where you cannot think of anything else, and any noise or movement in the dark only added to your jittery nerves. It was the fear that demanded all of your attention until it subsided. And this had not yet subsided.

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