By Lexie Stammeyer, Decorah SECOND PLACE – ADULT FICTION
Blood mixed with clear water, turning a rusty red color, before flowing into the sewers. My hands rarely shake as I grab the daisy towel, hanging at hip height near my bathroom sink, and dry my pale hands. Click, click-click, the lights flicker before going out, leaving me in thick darkness as I turn to bed.
Thunder struck outside. A flash of light briefly illuminated the darkness of my room, allowing me to see, for a fleeting moment, where my bed sat ready to embrace me with its warmth. Blindly following my feet through my room, I reach the foot of my bed and let gravity drive me the rest of the way to my pillow. My eyes closed quickly as my energy drained.
A long dark hallway stretched out in front of me, lit only by the dying glow of old bulbs spread out with miles of shadow between them. The same silent scene greeted me as I looked over my shoulder.
A shrill cry from a specter broke the deafening silence. I turned, trying to find the source of the cry. My eyes chased the shadows that stalked me, my heart beating in my ears like a speeding drum leading me to my doom. The hair on my neck stood straight as I felt the cold breath of death slide down my back. I turned around to see nothing. Another cry pierced the silence and my legs wobbled forward.
The sound of shattered glass chased me down this endless hallway. My legs have weakened and my breathing is sporadic; I tried to want my body further but to no avail.
I skidded until a wall materialized in front of me. My eyes widened, my heart beating rapidly like cornered prey. I froze when I heard a hoarse voice whisper in my ear. I glanced over my shoulder.
Eyes dulled by death stared at mine with hatred; Crimson tears rolled down her face, black hair mixed with blood, mud and gravel stuck to her face as she stared at me. Bloody hands, fingernails pulled out as if she had dug from a grave, reached out to caress my face. I tried to back down, but fear and a supernatural element kept my feet on the ground.
“Murderer,” she croaked, her voice hoarse from screaming.
I jumped up in my bed; my knuckles turned white from my grip on the sheets. I try to slow my breathing and remind myself that it was just a nightmare, but a shiver ran through my back as I felt something staring at me. I looked up and met the dead gaze of my dream. Its shape wavered before my eyes and then appeared above me. She straddled my stomach as her cold hand moved up my chest.
I couldn’t scream as his hand sank into my chest, wrapped around my rapidly beating heart. It was the last thing I felt as the darkness consumed me.