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Fiction Suspense

It was brisk out. Tanya inhaled deeply, filling her lungs with the chilling air. She focused on her heartbeat, which was increasing rapidly. A feeling of panic started to rise in her throat, but it was quickly choked back as she took in another breath.

“Everything will be just fine.” She whispered to herself, though she was not quite sure she had even said it aloud.  Just as her thoughts started to race, they were interrupted by a heavy hand on her shoulder.

“You look a little green around the gills champ!” Tanya recognized the deep voice as her brother Kyle’s. Kyle, the adventurer, the one who got her on top of this dreaded mountain. He somehow guilted her into this trip. How could she have said no, it was after all a special occasion.

“Green? Me? No way!” she lied. “I was just thinking about how sweet it is going to be when I beat you to the bottom.”

This comment made her brother laugh. It was a deep bellowing laugh. It was unsettling to Tanya and she started to fidget with her feet. This was her first-time skiing. Even though Kyle reassured her numerous times that it was safe, she could not shake the feeling of fear. It was now or never. There was not turning back, the only way was down.

Kyle could see how uncomfortable Tanya was feeling. 

“Everything will be okay sis. Before he passed, dad used to take me skiing every year. You were too young at the time but now I can do the same with you.” Her brother exclaimed. “Besides, if you break a bone or two, there are medics everywhere.”

Tanya rolled her eyes, “Well isn’t that reassuring.”  She took another deep breath, held it a second and let her body relax. She was ready.

They both lined their skis up to the imaginary starting line. Even in the below freezing temperatures, Tanya could feel her hands start to sweat. She ignored it and closed her eyes, so she could focus on her brother’s words.

“On your mark. Get set. Go!” Kyle hollered as he pushed off and started racing down the slope. 

Tanya still had her eyes closed, but pushed off and felt herself moving. She allowed herself to peek with one eye open. Tanya was able to make out the shape of her brother, whizzing down the slope. There was no way she was winning this race, not that it mattered. Tanya was concerned with making it down the slope in one piece.

Her momentum started to pick up. White, brown and green was all Tanya could make out. The shape and the color of the trees and other skiers started to melt together.   The familiar feeling of panic started to rise again in Tanya’s throat. She could not remember how to slow down or even stop if she needed to.   She started going so fast, Tanya felt like she could hardly get air. All she managed to do was breath in quick, short gasps. It was all becoming too overwhelming. Tanya had no choice but to ride it out until the end. She thinks she saw a tree and then there was blackness.

******

There was a void. A dark and vast void. Any sound immediately fell off, leaving a ringing in the ears. It was nothingness, comparable to death. Then Tanya appeared. 

Skiing, the last thing Tanya had remembered was skiing. It was her late father’s birthday and she had gone on a trip with her brother. It was peculiar, she did not remember anything afterwards. Fear started rising as she realized she had no memory of where she even was. She was immersed in complete and utter darkness.        

           Where am I, Tanya pondered. This was all very confusing and disturbing. It was as if Tanya was existing in a separate space and time. She started having her intrusive thoughts.   What if I am going blind? What if I am dead? Is this all a dream? It all started to becoming heavy. A crushing weight on her chest, the weight of the terrible unknown. Tanya was about to scream, but no sound escaped her lips. This only furthered her dread, but just as it was about to become too crushing, Tanya heard a small whisper in the distance.

She whipped around fast, loosing her footing. She could not be sure, but she swore the whisper had said her name. This time as she opened her mouth, Tanya was able produce an almost inaudible, “Who’s there?”  Almost as if it was in response to her question, a small glow appeared. It was so soft and faint, that Tanya had to rub her eyes to make sure it was not a trick of the mind. She was hesitant whether or not to go toward the light.   What choice did she have? She was in unfamiliar territory and it was so dark she could not make out her hands in front of her face.

Just as Tanya was about to make up her mind and head towards the light, she heard a faint growl behind her. This sent her on alert. She was not the only thing in this void. Tanya bolted upright and stood frozen in fear. She could not judge how far the glow was or how close the growl was. Her fear made her mind up for her.  Tanya was not about to find out what unimaginable creature was lurking in the darkness.

Tanya started heading quickly towards the light. She was not sure what awaited her but it seemed far better than the mystery behind the growl. The growl, it had happened again, though this time it was more like a snarl. If it was possible, it sounded more aggressive and also a lot closer. Tanya started running now. The glow appeared to get bigger as if she was getting closer. She could not be sure. As she was running, she heard heavy footsteps behind her. Was she being chased?

Tanya screamed and frantically raced towards the glow. She was too afraid to look back, all she could think of was getting away. The light grew brighter and fuller as she approached. She was could not be sure, but the shape started to take on another form altogether. It transformed into the shape of a man. 

Everything that was once sensible and plausible to Tanya, became foreign. Nothing made sense anymore. She reached the illuminated figure of the mysterious man and stopped dead in her tracks. Tears immediately started falling from her face as she recognized the man. Her father. He was standing there with his arms open, as if awaiting a hug. Between the fear and confusion of the events that had unfolded, Tanya was at a loss for words.

“Wake up.” He simply said.

Tanya was not sure what he had meant, but she did know she missed her father and that she did not want to meet the creature of the dark. She heard the heavy footsteps still steadily approaching behind her. She ran towards her father and fell into his hug. And then there was light.

******

“WAKE UP!” Kyle screamed. Tanya opened her eyes. She saw an array of faces hovering over her. She felt the icy cold creeping up her spine. She was completely confused.

“What happened?” Tanya questioned. She went to sit up and felt a throbbing pain on her forehead.

Kyle started laughing. He started to explain to his sister, “We have been trying to wake you up for the past five minutes. You started off great, kept good momentum. Shoot you probably could have won, if you stopped and didn’t run into a tree at the bottom.”

January 21, 2022 14:56

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