Prologue

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Dead of night Releases 23 October Hallowed Ink Press

© CARLYLE LABUSCHAGNE 2014

Prologue

The pain is sharp, winding through my body like an electrical snake that shocks my veins. Fangs laced with strange, paralyzing venom tear through the density of my bones, weaving into the tissue of my skin and penetrating the nerves in my face, causing the muscles in my jaw to seize.

There is a searing ache that burns through my skull; the entire world seems to detach itself from the very gravity that holds it all together as a wall of dizziness washes over me and I fall to the floor. I can hear his footsteps coming toward me. Through the darkness, it is a slow and silent shuffle across smooth floors. Taunting me. I get the feeling he wants something from me; if he didn’t I’d already be dead.

The cruel assailant keeps his distance. I can feel his presence close by; thick and sinister, like a stubborn dirty stain on a wall—there to remind me of something awful I have done. I keep my breathing shallow, pretending out of desperation that I am unconscious. For me to lie down and hide is very out of character. But the blow to my head has left me feeling confused and disorientated, unsure if I can even fight back. The uncertainty of what I am doing here drives my doubts deeper into my core. Keeping my eyes shut, I hope it is all a bad dream, that any second I’ll open them and be somewhere far away. But it is not the pain, nor the fear, that leaves a hollow fist of anxiety twisting in my stomach—it is the mere fact that I can feel the discomfort associated with agony.

Slowly my other senses start to come around, and my nostrils are assaulted by a sour, acidic smell. I can’t recall the last time I have ever felt so desperate to get away. I want to make a run for it—I need to gather my strength, but my body won’t play along. Lifting my head ever so slightly to gain some sense of balance, I feel the tepid sticky substance beneath my cheekbone, like vinegar and tar adhering to my skin—gluing my face to the cold, hard surface of the floor. My body jerks as a loud bang rings through the air, a shot has been fired. The bullet bounces with a ‘ping’ and ‘pop’ off metal pipes.

“Get away from her.” Calm, yet determined voice calls out.

The reply is another shot, followed by a loud ‘thump’ behind me on the concrete floor, causing shivers to rake over my entire body. Out of panic and desperation my eyes fly open to assess the situation, but there is nothing of horror before me but the stark blackness...all except for a faint shimmer on a pool of water in the far corner of the concrete box. I hear more movement and quickly shut my eyes before either of them come to the realization that I am conscious. A warm liquid flows beneath me—for a second I wonder if I’ve lost control of my legs and bladder. If I believed in religion, in any god at all, I would be praying for my life right now. But belief is a flaw, and flaws are illegal.

A warm hand wraps around my waist, lifting me up from the floor. My legs wobble and fall away from under me as I try to resist.

“It’s okay. I’ve got you.” The same voice from before whispers in my ear.

 My mind tells me to fight, but my body gives into the ‘hush’ that carries me through the dead of night into the safety of a stranger’s arms.

   

*****

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