Friday, February 21, 2014

A Long, Dark Hallway

I issued a writing challenge to my local group a few weeks ago. They were to write a scene/short story of no less than 500 words using the prompt: Write about walking down a long dark hallway.

Since I'm the leader, I figure I should be the first to do these things. Tomorrow is our meeting and everyone who did the challenge is asked to bring their story with them to share and critique. I decided to post mine here as well. 

My shoes sounded a tap, tap, tap on the tile floor as I walked. I could hear the sound of the storm outside as it whipped around the corner of the building and rattled the windows. Thunder resounded and echoed along the hallway, rushing past me like a wave. The tapping of my shoes ceased momentarily, instead, making a skittering sound as I jumped. I bumped into the wall, noting the nubby surface of the finish as my arm scrapped along it. 

For a few minutes I leaned there, listening. The distant sound of rain pelting walls, roof, and windows was like the churning of the ocean which lay only half a mile away. I could almost imagine I was on a ship at sea during a storm. I reached for the mast to cling to, only to find nothing. I sighed. The wall at my back was a comfort as the darkness of the hallway was disorienting. There was a dim light ahead of me and one behind me but the distance between was great and I couldn't really see anything up close. If there were doors, they had no seams for light to seep around. 

Of course, I was below ground level so, unless there were basement windows, there would be very little light from the outside seeping into any rooms down here. And today, it would be a diluted light, infused with the gray of the storm.

I stood up and straightened my dress. I wasn't generally afraid of the dark but this was an unknown. I'd never ventured to this part of the facility before and had no idea what lay ahead. I strained to see if I could detect any other sound above the sound of the storm. I was surprised to be able to even hear the storm down here but then, there was only the ground floor above me. The long hallways and cinder block walls would allow sound to travel fairly well.

Moving forward once again, I stayed close to the wall, letting my hand trail along the surface. Surely there were rooms down here. You couldn't have a hallway traversing a building as large as this one with out rooms and doorways. I glanced back, toward the light that grew smaller the farther I got from it. A shadow moved across it and was gone. I stopped and turned. 

“Hello?”

I waited for a response that never came. Squinting my eyes and straining my head forward, I stared hard at the light. Was there someone standing next to the wall, just at the edge of the light? I shook my head and straightened up. I couldn't tell. With more than a little hesitation, I turned and continued my toward my destination, the slightly brighter light at the end of this tunnel.

I don't know what brought me to this place. It wasn't intentional. I'd been perfectly happy in my job as assistant to the CEO of Barnwell & Sons,  LTD. The pay was adequate and the benefits were nice. I had  a nice apartment and a great boyfriend. The promotion, when it came, was unexpected. 

The sound of someone moaning brought me to a standstill. I was now in the darkest section of the hallway. I judged it to be about the halfway point. Glancing back over my shoulder, again I saw a shadow pass between me and the light, more distinct now, and definitely a person. But that moan, that had come from much closer to hand.

“Hello?” I whispered. “Is someone here with me?”

A scurrying sound swirled around my feet and I gave a tiny squeal and my shoes did a little tattoo as I danced. Visions of mice hordes flitted in my head. Another low moan. I was shaking like a leaf now but  I swallowed my fear and stepped away from the wall and walked faster, toward the light at the end. It was growing larger. 

Two dozen steps later I skidded to a halt as a shadow stepped out of the shadow of the walls and into my path. It was definitely human, tall, and black as suet. 

A whisper of a voice echoed behind me. “Run.”

I wanted to, really, but my feet were planted firmly to the floor. My knees would not have been able to propel me forward or backward without a force stronger than my will.

So, how would you expect it to end? What is going on? Feel free to share your thoughts. 

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