Very much behind, here is H. Apologies for the wait, I will catch up with the April A to Z, it’s been a hectic week of new job, revision and planning for the backlog of posts.
The growling feels like it’s all around, coming from the walls of hedge as I run through them. Wherever the exit is, it’s evaded me for as long as I can remember. I keep running from the fear of my pursuer springing forth from a bush behind or diving in from above. It’s everywhere.
The loose gravel crunches under me as I dash from corner to corner, it feels as if I’m running in circles but I know I haven’t seen any of this before. New networks are continually opening out in front of me, a never-ending spiral of hunting ground.
This is it’s pantry, and I am the prey.
Curling around corner after corner, I’m getting nowhere without a marker to make progress from. The walls tower over me at least twice my height, casting me in a dull shadow at all times. Hitting a straight path, I slow my pace to approach a lump of what looks like the previous victim. A mix of gristle and hair, the only distinguishable feature of the last unfortunate is the rags of checkered shirt leafing off the rotting remains. Stepping over the warning of what’s to come, it takes me a moment to collect myself before thinking of running again.
I sweep into an open expanse of flattened ground and an inconceivable number of exits. They were everywhere, some thin and sinister, some wide and inviting, all of them whispering with the promise of escape…or the end of everything.
Hearing the rustle of my demise creep up from a nearby pathway, I leap into the middle of the circle and look for some sign of promise in the countless options before me. With a quick spin, I see one path stretching for a distance. Dashing for that, I catch the thing in the corner of my eye.
I have been spotted.
Knowing the next few seconds are crucial, I throw everything into putting as much distance between me and it as possible. Feeling the ground shake beneath my feet, the proximity between me and my death is quickly closing.
This is it.
Flicking my head back to get a glimpse, I trip and fall onto my back and it closes the gap in seconds. Screaming once, faintly, I realise I am alone and it makes no difference. I watch the creature in awe as it towers over me but just beneath the top of the hedges. With a deafening roar, it raises its arm to deal the swipe that will end it all. I close my eyes and curl in on myself, not wanting to witness whatever is coming.
In the darkness, I hear a rip of flesh and another roar, this is different though, not victorious but hurt. I lift my eyes and I’m rewarded with the sight of the thing crashing to the ground behind.
As the dust settles, I see a figure behind the carcass. Covered in greens and a mask, I wouldn’t have seen him if the path wasn’t stretching behind.
He waves once, and jumps clean over the hedge to the left.
Taking a moment to shake the dizziness, I stand slowly, brush the gravel embedded in my thigh and limp forward, searching once more for the way out.
“That’s not the only one” I hear from nowhere.
“Be careful” says the voice again.
Feeling as if I had never heard someone elses voice before in my life, the familiar sound filled me with life, testing the pain with a few tentative steps, I’m ready.
And I’m getting out of here.