Hey, everyone! Recently I was writing for the school newspaper with a plot line that would eventually turn out to be really long and foreboding. Therefore, I turned it into a possible new idea for a story! Now, it’s not exactly short, so I’ll be breaking it up into different posts. Enjoy!

 

The girl raced down the cold stone hallway, dark without the familiar torchlight to penetrate the pitch-black. She shuddered as her footfalls echoed throughout the hallway, incredibly loud in the empty place. Spooked, she put on a burst of speed.

 

As she neared the end of the hallway, she began to visibly relax in relief, for she was almost safe. She wrenched open the old wooden door, the brass handle almost falling out, and rushed out into the chilly night air, cringing at the deafening creak it made as it fell off its hinges. Ignoring her bad feelings, she swirled around, laughing, in the tall grass as it waved and danced in the light summer breeze. Her ragged blue dress swirled around her as she fell in the grass, still laughing, her blonde hair obscuring her vision out of her clear blue eyes.

 

She stood up, still smiling, but it vanished as she gazed around at her surroundings. She was atop a grassy hill overlooking a stone city that was blinking with tiny candlelights, twinkling like the sparkling stars in the violet-blue sky above. Stone City, the girl thought grimly, her mind flashing back to the memory of her old house in the ancient community – her friends, her family, her home.

 

She was startled out of her reverie by a distinctly unpleasant roar from the dank corridor behind her, set in the side of the hill and covered by overhanging lichen and roots from a lone tree standing tall at the highest height of the large hill. In terror, she whirled around, eyes wide, and began to scramble down the hillside as quickly as she could without tumbling down the slope on her back. Reaching the foot of the hill, she turned around, and was happy to see that the dark silhouette of the somewhat shapeless monster pursuing her was now receding into the night, back to its burrow – no doubt to plague another with its horrifying features and tongue-trickery; the girl felt sorry for the one to encounter such a despised creature after it lost its last prey, as it would be more careful and far worse as it would surely be extremely hungry…but at least it’s not me, she reasoned, skipping off towards the town with a new spring in her step after having impossibly escaped an inescapable maze of active den-monsters. After all, it’s not everyday you encounter something sure to eat you that can’t catch you, mm?

 

The girl grinned as she approached her old town, her torn clothing billowing slightly in the soft winds and each step heavy with weariness; she had started out at an expedition in the mountains and ended out here, where no doubt everyone would be searching for her.

 

As she neared the place, she frowned, for there was naught but a whisper of sound emanating from the silent-as-stone town, apart from the soft whistle of the wind. The girl shivered, hustling down the last stretch of hill to the gates of Stone City.

 

She knew something was wrong as soon as she eased open the door, the creak startling her; as far as she knew, there should have been guards stationed and the hinges constantly oiled. This was not a rotation time…unless it was changed, she hoped fervently as she began to race through the dark alleys, her shoe-less feet pattering on the cobblestones.

 

She began to lose hope, to despair as she saw no one. The streets were bare, the shops empty, the houses locked, and the town square completely barren; no life at all was present, not even the plants in the florist’s window, for they had died with no one to water them.

 

As she began to sink to the ground, weeping, she glimpsed a figure – more of a shadow, perhaps – in the corner of her blue eyes. She whirled around, terrified, but the thing had vanished, leaving her alone again.

 

She bent over to inspect what surely were footprints in the dust. Following it, she hunched over to appear as inconspicuous as possible – although that was difficult as there was no one around. She darted through the darkness, carefully stepping over the shards of broken glass from shop and house windows, street lights, and likely something she didn’t want to know about.

 

As she bounded down a corner alleyway, around the corner of a butcher’s shop and a bakery, a hand – an arm, generally speaking – shot out from her left side, from the pitch black of the lurking shadows. The arm grabbed her wrist whilst another covered her mouth, which was already half-open in a scream of terror. She kicked out, but to no avail.

 

“Hush up,” the man hissed, drawing her into the shadow with him. The darkness seemed to envelope the girl in tendrils of mist that formed a gaping hole as she fell to the ground. The man shoved her further in, where her back should’ve pressed against the wall, but the girl felt nothing and presumed that the shadows hid a hole in the side wall.

 

The man led her through a stuffy tunnel that nearly suffocated the girl as much as the creatures’ burrow, until finally they emerged into the clear night air once more and the girl sighed in relief – although she knew now she was nowhere near safe again.

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