Hello people! Hope this day brings you joy in some form.
For today’s flashback Friday I’m bringing back a short story I wrote in September 2012. I did a bit of editing, of course. Why is it one can always find ways of improving on a story? I do hope you enjoy one of my earliest endeavors.
Was It A Dream?
His lungs burned with the effort of running. Yet he ran on. He could hear his pursuer behind him as he ran. His feet were bloody, cut up by the sticks, small stones and leaves underfoot. The trees overhead swayed with the wind. His ears were full of the sound of his battered feet hitting the barely seen trail and his labored breathing.
He was terrified because he couldn’t remember how he got to this place. He didn’t know what he was running from. He just knew that he needed to get away. He didn’t even know what was chasing him or why. Just glimpses of something not human, eyes glowing green. The sweat pours down his face and stings his eyes as they search for someplace to hide.
He was desperate to stop and catch his breath. He was afraid if he did he would collapse and that thing would be on him. His fear was pushing him on, his desire to live was driving him to keep breathing and to keep running. He didn’t want to die.
It seemed to him that the sounds behind him were growing fainter. He hoped he had finally outrun it. He spies something off to the side that looks like a shack. He makes a sudden turn without slowing down. A hundred yards or more and he was at the run down building. His shoulder hits the door and it crashes open.
He slides to a stop inside, turns and slams the door shut again. Quickly looking around he spots a wooden chair and pulls it over to jam under the door knob. He collapses in the middle of the room, his breath ragged. He wipes his sweaty face with what’s left of his shirt. He forces his breath to slow, his ears listening for any noise outside. He closes his eyes to listen. But there is nothing to hear. Not even insects. It was eerily calm.
Suddenly there was a loud crash against the door! A large body was slamming against it, but the chair and door don’t give. His heart pounding, he desperately searches the shack for some kind of weapon. Anything to make him feel he might have a chance. He notices a number of small windows set high in the walls. No way for anything to crawl through. A cot with rotted bedding sits against one wall. A large empty fireplace is against the back wall. He notices a heavy, hooked fire poker laying half in and half out of it. It could do some damage if necessary. As he holds it in his hands he instantly feels better, for at least now has a weapon.
He surveys the rest of the shack. Shelves with unknown, rusted tins are on the wall opposite the rotting bed. A small round table sits in the middle of the room with the mate of the chair under the door knob laying on its side next to it. The table has a thick layer of dust on it. Doesn’t look like anyone has been inside for decades. He suddenly notices in the gloom another door next to the fireplace. It was smaller than a normal door, maybe a closet he thinks. He remembers noticing as he ran to the shed, that it was built against a large mountain. So the small door couldn’t lead to outside. That could be a lifesaver he thought, as that thing outside couldn’t surprise him from the back of the house. Or it could mean his death as he had no way out of the shed except through the front door.
Suddenly his nose picks up the smell of smoke. He turns around and sees smoke curling in through the cracks of the front door. Damn! Whatever was out there was trying to smoke him out! In desperation he looks around the shack. There has got to be another way out! He can’t die like this! He won’t die like this!
Taking short shallow breaths as the smoke gets thicker he remembers the small closet door. He races over to it and pulls it open. Maybe by some miracle there will be something inside that can save him. As he pulls open the small door, and he gasps in hope! It wasn’t a closet. It was a door to the inside of the mountain! It was lit by strange crystals. He had never seen anything like it! Briefly he wonders if he was running from one danger into another. But, as he heard the wood behind him crackle with flame he knew he didn’t have a choice. He had to move forward. Behind him was certain death.
He closes the door behind him and walks forward. The crystals give off a glow as they light the way for him. He hopes that because of the fire, whatever is behind him won’t find the small door. The path inside the mountain curves to the left as his bare, bleeding feet raise little clouds of dust.
As he walks he notices the path heading downward, he’s walking further into the heart of the mountain. He spies a bundle of what looks like rags ahead of him. As he gets nearer he sees the bones. Human bones. He can’t tell how old they are, not even from the rotted cloth. His heart skips a beat, but he knows he has no choice but to keep going forward.
As he walks, he loses his sense of time. Seems like hours since he first walked through that small door. Just as he thinks the path will never end he walks into a large cavern.
The strange glowing crystals cover the walls, lighting it up as if the sun shone inside. He stood in awe of the beauty. The colors were clear and pure. The silence unbroken. He is so tired. He can’t resist sitting.
Just for a minute he thinks. I have got to rest just for a second. He leans back against one of those crystals and feels a slight warmth. His hand still held tight to the poker. As his head begins to drop to his chest in much-needed sleep, his ears pick up a noise. It’s very slight, but in the quiet of the cavern it echos against the walls. His head pops up, his eyes searching for the source of the noise. He scurries behind the crystal as he sees something that strikes terror in his heart.
A creature floats inside, slowly coming right towards him! It has green glowing eyes, in a face that is hidden by a cowl. The eyes glow brighter as they fix on him. He saw no feet. Just a light-colored robe of some kind. It went from head to foot in a silvery type material. There was nowhere to run anymore! Just as the creature floats closer he feels himself fading, he slips down and his eyes close. His fingers relax and the poker slides away.
He gasps awake, sitting straight up, terror on his face. He glances around and can’t believe his eyes. He’s home! In his own bed! Was it a dream then? Just a dream! Frantically, with his heart still beating hard he looks around his familiar room. Nothing is changed. Everything is as it should be. He sighs with relief. He swings himself to the side of the bed. His feet hit the floor and he winces in pain. Glancing down he feels the blood drain from his face.
His feet are dirty, bloody, and hurt like hell. Then he notices the smell, like smoke that drifts from his torn T-shirt. No! It had to have been a dream! Right?
Just a dream………….