An eerie skin crawling scream pierced the absolute silence. The sound sunk fear deep into my heart and panic high in my chest. I shuddered. There was something out there. Something moving about in the cool night. My heart was beating so fast and loud I thought it would give me away. I held absolutely still. I thought I might suffocate for breathing so quietly. Another slicing razor edged scream jolted across my ears. I shuddered. I could hear it now. A muffled crunching and ticking moving about in the night. I wanted to be gone. I did not want to be here, how was it that my life had led me to this moment? When did this become inevitable? What choice did I make that had put me in this creature's path?
I could tell that it was near. It was too black to see anything, but I could feel it. I could sense a large creeping something and it was very very close. I thought I might black out, I felt hot all over and the sound of my heart was loud in my ears. Pounding out the last minutes of my life, one deafening beat after another. The icy night wind blew across me, it carried an unfamiliar and horrifying smell. I couldn't describe it. If I say it smelled like death you will get the wrong impression. It didn’t smell like rotting meat or decay. It smelled as if the essence of death had been distilled down to one smell. It was mild almost, like water, but so so horrible. It made me feel like I was already stepping through that doorway to the other world. It made me feel weak and afraid and full of nothing. It sapped the will from my soul; what was the point of all of this if I was already dead? That smell was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. Silent tears crept down my cheeks and I struggled to keep my breathing silent. I felt like I was drowning in the cool night because I couldn’t take a full breath. Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop! I thought. I wanted this to end. This awful waiting and wondering if I would make it till morning. I wanted it to stop.
Another shriek moved through the air above me. It sounded like a whisper now. I hated that more. It was so quiet my straining ears thought they had imagined it. I pressed my back to the bolder I was hiding behind. The hard stone felt like no protection at all, surely a creature who breathed death would not be stopped by a boulder. For that matter, what hope did I have of staying hidden? Whatever was out there was going to find me eventually, that was certain. I held absolutely still. I did not breathe. My blood pulsed through me at a frantic pace. My hot skin burned the cool night wind. The sound happened again, and I could tell it had only left the place of its origin moments before. It was fresh, and close, and accompanied by that awful smell of death. The beating of my heart became high and light, pounding away in my throat. My body screamed for air. The adrenaline inside of me was frantic to get out, my panic tearing around inside of me. I could feel all of my limbs buzzing, my distant hands shook. The whisper of the scream oozed through the air above me again. I thought my body might combust from the fear raging within it. Death trickled over me.
I ran. So much faster than I thought I could. My body took control and I snapped, I was scrabbling forward before I knew what was happening. The darkness rushed forward to greet me. I scrambled over everything I encountered, boulders and rocks and low spiky bushes. I felt nothing, I could have broken my leg and not noticed, nothing was going to stop me from getting away.
I could hear the loping stride of the thing behind me. I could hear its clicking breath.
I screamed– no, shrieked. I couldn't help it, the boiling red-hot panic inside of me needed to get out. I had returned to something deeply primal, my brain and body moving in perfect sink, I flew over the rough night-covered landscape. I was not going to die. I needed to survive. The eerie skin crawling sound of the thing sliced the air behind me. I let out a panicked hysterical gasp, and hurtled madly through the blackness before me.
Except that it wasn’t black any more, there in the distance lay a single glowing windowpane. It was like the gates of heaven itself. A jolt of relief flooded through me followed by redoubled panic. I had to get there. I ran crazily through the night. The thing was gaining on me. Its crunching steps drew nearer and nearer and nearer. I was breathing hard now. Adrenaline and panic were the only things keeping me going.
The light drew closer. I was almost there!
“Help!!!” I screamed wildly, “Help me!! Open the door!!” A blossoming rectangle of light opened in front of me, a young man dressed in a crisp uniform partially blocked the doorway. I saw his face contort with horror as the light from inside illuminated the thing behind me.
“Quickly!” The man yelled, stepping aside. I have never moved faster in my life than at that moment. I hurtled franticly through the open door, the man slammed it behind me and I heard the creature skitter to a halt. It let out another of its mind ripping shrieks, and I could hear it gently butting at the door, I could almost feel its mind busily working, trying to figure out how to get in. I collapsed on the ground and burst into hysterics. Tears flowed from my eyes and my breaths came in great gasping sobs.
A single shot echoed off the walls. The soft tapping on the door stopped, and a strong hand touched my shoulder.