Today’s guest post was written by Gabriel Davis, a college student in Tennessee.
It was happening again.
I was running, out of breath and seemingly out of time. My footfalls felt hollow on the wooden bridges that made up the framework of my world. I was there for something. I knew that much, but I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see the ground either, only the bridges and the platforms between the trees. Something was chasing me—and yet nothing was. There were no voices, no wind, no sounds—nothing. Looking back over my shoulder I felt as if whatever was chasing me was right there, across the bridge and staring back at me, but there was nothing but the previous platform surrounding a wide-girthed tree.
Turning, I saw what looked to be a large round button, larger than my torso. I knew this had to be the place that I had come to see. I realized something as I pressed the button: I had not come to investigate something, but to steal something. I wanted something badly, but I couldn’t—no, I didn’t know what it could be that drove me so wildly to find it. I felt fear grope its way up my esophagus and into my throat, its tendrils feeling at the nerves in the back of my mind. The elevator opened and I dashed into it. I could almost feel the fingers of death caress my back as I leapt from its reach, but when I turned to look out of the window of the elevator, there was nothing.
I breathed a sigh of relief as the elevator lowered and the dimness of the cabin cloaked me. I was safe there, alone. I didn’t have time to think, however, for all too soon the elevator opened, and I found myself in a room. It was like a study, with books and maps and tools that I did not recognize. I was looking for something, something important. I knew that if I could just see what it was that I would be able to recognize it and take it. I walked over to the table in the center of the room, nearest the wall. There was a large book on an easel with letters I could not read, but that didn’t seem like that was what had drawn me here. Or was it? I reached for the book slowly, as if moving too fast would spell my end.
My hand froze when I heard footsteps. It was coming for me.
I decided to forget about the book and dashed for the elevator. The moment I dove inside, the door closed, and again I could see nothing but the presence of my stalker. It was overpowering, filling me with the fear I could only know in my dreams. I could feel it and see it, though there was no image. There was a wavering in the air that I saw outside the door of the elevator, and in an instant it was all a vague memory as I was once again pulled upwards to the platforms above me. I knew I had to move, to get out. I felt sorry that I couldn’t get the book, but I had no other choice. I had to escape! He was coming faster now, knowing exactly where I was and where I would try to go to next. I could feel him, hear his breathing ragged and sharp like daggers. I ran again, but this time I had a new sensation. This had happened before! I know that I had been here, in this place, chased by him… I had escaped then, but all of that was being pulled from my mind as I stumbled while his presence made my soul scream for mercy. Struggling against the pressure, I scrambled to my feet as the presence drew closer, his breathing silent and composed—yet I could almost feel it. The book and its secrets were nothing to me now as I ran across the bridges, around the wide-girthed trees that tethered my existence in this place. I was scared for my life, but somehow I was able to sense where the exit was. To my relief, around the next corner I saw it. Bolting as my legs began to shake and give, I sprang for the tall black gates that would protect me from my pursuer. I ran through the decaying exit as if I had won a marathon. Breathing hard, I began to feel safe again, though fear still lingered calmly at the back of my consciousness.
That’s when I felt it. In my ears like the rushing winds he spoke to me, chilling my blood with his words.
“Silly boy. There is no escape for you.”
Blackness took me as I faintly heard my own scream break my throat as my soul became entangled in the winds of his reality and my flesh slowly ripped from my bones.
I had failed.
Less than three,
“Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” ―Jane Yolen