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Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by moffnat, Aug 8, 2014.
IN THE DEPTHS OF ENGLAND LIES
A DANGER MOST SINCERE
Blue eyes shot open in a panic of words not meant for her, taunts of some other life bleeding into her consciousness. Like so many nights before, Jane had dreamed of blurred obscurities kept secret behind a scarlet curtain, of others speaking nonsense in hushed and secretive tones, but as her anxiety escalated she couldn't remember exactly what they’d said. Shattered glass and high-pitched shrieks floated aimlessly in her mind like a fly she couldn't swat away. It buzzed and made an unwanted home in the core of her mind. The med student within her wondered if this was what amnesia felt like, trying to remember an event like a word on the tip of your tongue. It frightened and frustrated her. She placed a hand on her heaving chest in attempt to calm her ragged breathing and regain a sense of sanity; such dreams had always put aberrant thoughts in her head and she knew this is just another setback.
She blinked slowly. It’s too dark to see anything. A light, I need the light. She pushed the sheet from her naked body and reached over in a hurry to switch on the bedside lamp.
“Ow!” she hissed, retracting her hand to the protective clasp of the other. In place of a lamp rested a steel bar, peculiarly fashioned and immovable, an unexpected thing that she clumsily smashed her knuckles on. Jane slowly extended her arms to grasp the vertical bars in her palms and shake them, desperate to know if they were real.
Cold. Her body finally registered its frigidity. Taking the sheet from where she had carelessly shoved it, the young woman fashioned the fabric around her body as a shield from the chill and to preserve her dignity.
Dignity? she wondered stupidly. Dignity is as useless as a paperweight. This is another nightmare. I’m just in a cage this time.
The pain in her hand felt real enough. Doubt sent shivers down her spine.
As her eyes adjusted to the surrounding black, the awkward shapes of broken furniture, the clatter of hanging chains and the smell of rotting meat flooded her senses like wildfire. Jane wrinkled her nose from the foul scent and the memories that came with it, lunging forward to grip on a different set of metal bars and shake them continuously in search of a loose one.
Nightmares were common for her. She had fallen into the habit of surviving her horrors until the blare of her alarm woke her, but several years of therapy and healthy behaviors had taught her how to wake of her own accord. “Just another dream,” she repeated to herself, not above a cautious whisper. “You’re in your soft bed, sleeping in an overpriced London flat. Wake up. Wake up.”
Her breath caught in her throat after moments passed. It isn’t working. Wake up, Jane. Wake up!
The moon hung full behind the darkly cracked windows as the drip of some unknown liquid filled the heavy atmosphere of the girl's nightmarish surroundings. That slow dripping was constant yet perfectly synced with Jane's increasingly ragged breathing, the already cold air growing steadily colder as time stretched on. The wind rustled dry leaves outside, the autumn weather not fit for the drafty room, and as a steady beat settled in the terror it all ceased, the night growing worryingly still before the sound of a rusty gate opening reached the room's sole occupant's ears. Click, click... click... there started a maddening melody as footsteps approached, followed by a strange and terrifying hum from a smooth baritone. As the sounds grew closer, the tripping started again, slowly followed by the cry of a crowing raven in the distance, sharp even from the far away origin of the cry.
A chuckle came from the darkness, and suddenly a sense of being watched filled the room as the rustling of chains, no doubt issued by the wind, resumed along with a strange and sharp sound resembling the shearing of scissors getting sharpened... or was it a blade? The sound stopped as soon as it was perceived, however, as did the hum... and the footsteps. In fact, all was still again, save for the soft breathing of another mingling with Jane's own...
“I see you have awakened, my dove. I trust the travel did not inconvenience you? Ah, of course not, for you were coming home, were you not?” There, a dark chuckling was heard as footsteps, close and sharp this time, were heard until a pale face could be seen in a ray of moonlight before the poor girl. “You are home now, after all...” The face, that of a man, was grinning sinisterly at her now, eyeglasses flashing sharply as the man whom it belonged to moved closer still.
His tone pleasant enough, yet it seemed off, and the current setting was far too sinister to hide the cruel tint of his words and face as the man gently took Jane's chin into a gloved hand, the grasp steely and cold when the man's grip was secured. Long fingers caressing her cheek almost tenderly, the caress was gone as soon as it was completed, the man's heavy presence with it as the rusted sound of a key turning in a lock could be heard nearby.
“You will do, my dove. I leave you for now, and wish you a good stay. Until we meet again...” There was that dark chuckle again, along with the slowly retreating footsteps followed with the heavy slam of a gate... then the sounds came back in earnest, as if the man had scared away any life that could be found in these grim surroundings.
There was no resisting the shiver that bombarded its way through her body at the mere sound of the stranger's voice, his touch on her skin, the way that he moved and spoke and held himself. The man left her paralyzed even long after he was gone, taking any sense of bittersweet comfort with him, and she was once again alone in the darkness of what she presumed to be a chamber of his own making.
There has to be a way out. There must be.
No longer concerned with the interpretations of reality and dreams, Jane reached forward and gripped the iron one after the other, desperate to find a loose one. A high rattle startled her as she shook a third set of bars. The door, she realized. Fondling along the cool metal, she touched a round object and slipped her finger through the arch—an open lock!
“D-did he...” she stuttered with an anxious frown. Jane attempted to push aside the warnings in her head, the nagging sensation within that none of it felt right, and took the easy escape as a rare blessing. She clutched the sheet tightly around her, though it barely fit, and tied the corners together around her chest to form a cover of makeshift sorts. Maybe she could find some clothes too, no matter how unrealistic the idea was. Anything to help me survive until the sun rises. She fingered the hook out of the metal hole, cringing as it clattered to the stone floor in a cacophony that was like to alert anyone, and the exit to her cage groaned upon opening. She crawled hastily out of the iron prison and her legs wobble as she stood upright.
Determined not to let the uneasiness tighten its hold, Jane stepped cautiously towards the damaged table in the center of the room. Dead flesh and putrid something filled her nostrils with their stench and she covered her mouth to hold back vomit. The pattering of rats echoed endlessly. She had to get out of this disease, had to run, had to escape and survive and kick and scream until she bloody well woke herself.
This is a dream. This is a dream. This is a dream…
The shape of stairs in the darkness had an eerily shadowcast aura that shook her to the core, but staying in the makeshift dungeon was a death sentence Jane had no intention of succumbing to. She tightened her grip on the thin sheet, a soft, icy wind with an unknown source turning her skin to gooseflesh. An audible shudder was pulled from her lips. Too warm for hypothermia, yet the fingertips of frozen waste caressed her like a helpless child in an iron crib. Liberation and safekeeping must have rested at the top of the stairs, she wanted to believe, she had to believe for the sake of anything she holds dear. Is this a dream anymore?
With a deep and foreboding breath, Jane Cardolet stepped up along the cold stone and put her hopes in the obscured exit beyond.