Silence.

Everything remained still. The hoo-hoo-hoo of an owl nearby distracted all attention from the crackling of the small fire that materialised at the boot of the car. The car laid still now, upside-down, no sound coming from inside. Two bones tied together to form a cross was dropped to the floor by someone who witnessed the accident. The unknown person wore no clothes and was out of sight again as quickly as they had appeared.

A cough disturbed the forest. Christina stirred, her eyes firmly shut. The windows of the car had completely blown out. A thin layer of smoke slivered sneakily through the car. The engine hissed.

Christina's eyes quickly shot open. Seeing that she was upside down inside a badly-smashed car, Christina screamed. She wanted to cry out for help. She knew better. Christina didn't know how long she was out cold for but she suspected the men that drove her off the road were still going to be around. Christina looked down at the roof of the car.

Covering every square inch of the roof were dozens of dolls. Not only was the doll that Christina threw out of the window earlier lying there; it was accompanied by an uncountable amount of even creepier effigies. As Christina struggled to break free, her eyes could not divert to anywhere else. They were planted on the dolls.

Christina noticed one that looked like a shrivelled mummy corpse. One of them was supposed to be a pretty porcelain doll but blood dripped from its mouth and its hair had been torn off. Another doll had no eyes. A different one had its mouth shredded off, exposing rotten, bloody teeth. A wide-eyed ventriloquist dummy sat directly beneath Christina's head. Its eyes watched as Christina finally pulled free from her seat belt.

By putting her hand down on the roof, Christina landed softly against various dolls that she would have preferred not to touch. The stranded girl didn't realise how damaged she was herself. The motion sickened her. Her head felt lighter than air. Her bare arms could feel the dampness of the dolls. A mixture of muddy water and blood covered her clothes. Christina struggled to get one leg out of the smashed window without tearing her flesh.

"Hey, where did you go?" A voice came from inside the car. Christina looked around desperately. The voice was small and sounded like it was being smothered. Christina felt something under her stomach. Moving down by sliding further out of the window, Christina could feel whatever spoke rising until she met it face-to-face. It was a teddy bear with its paws on either side of its face. Without warning, the teddy bear lowered its paws, taking its face with it, revealing a bloody skull underneath. "Peek-a-boo, I found you!"

The sick sight forced Christina to let out another scream. She scurried backwards quicker than she should have; her head pounded and the vomit reached her throat. Shards of glass cut Christina's knees. The adrenaline made the pain minimal. Christina continued to scurry backwards, keeping her eyes on the teddy bear that placed its face back on and then pulled it off again.

Finally, Christina stumbled out of the car, grabbing her handbag that had spilled out of the window. She landed on her side, exhausted but relieved. Christina wasn't a claustrophobic person but being in a car filled with twisted, horrific dolls ensured she could never be in a small space again. She coughed through the smoke that was now billowing from the fire. Her vision remained blurry until she stood firmly and squinted at her surroundings. Slowly, she could make out the woods around her.

Where the car had landed was in a clearing before the density of the forest ahead ensured travellers a very unsafe journey. Christina didn't know whether she should feel lucky or not. The situation could have been a lot worse and she could have been dead on impact. She looked to the sky and whispered "thank you" to nobody in particular. After everything she had been through, Christina knew she had to be thankful for those tiny miracles, even if they didn't necessarily make her safe. She was alive when she should have been dead. Like a cat with nine lives, she dodged another bullet.

Ashes of the Innocent (Abyssal Sanctuary #2)Read this story for FREE!