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After

By IEatBooksForTea

Mystery / Romance

1 - Chris

It's found me. My throat chokes as its spidery limb snaps around the door frame, my body tensing, sweating, breaking.

I scramble backwards up the bed, the sharp cold of the wooden headboard sticky against skin of my back. I hear Sam's stern voice in my head snapping, yelling for me to stay still.

But it can still see me. It clicks it's neck, it's fangs protruding from its scabby jaw, it's limbs scuttling towards me. It enjoys taunting me, watching me squirm, it's eyes toying with the sweat that drips down like wax from my forehead.

No matter what I do, it can see me. It can always see me, sensing my body heat, every drip of my breath. The twitch of my eyes. My breathing is too erratic for me to stay still. I'm panicking, crying out to anyone, anything!

The creature twists it's neck unnaturally as it pulls it close to me, it's throat cracking with a bird-like screech.

"No," I whimper, helpless as I feel it's rotten breath crawl over my skin, scuttling into my mouth.

I desperately yank my arms to protect myself, to do something, but they're twisted into the headboard, the wood curled and coiled like trees around my limbs.

My throat erupts with a scream, my body shaking uncontrollably, my eyes desperately trying to dart away from the monster's face, to shield my mind from the death I know is coming. But they are locked on it. On its face.

It rears closer to me, to my face, it's fangs inches from my nose. It snaps it's mouth open to screech-

"Chris?"

It speaks. It's has stolen Ashley's voice, like she's trapped inside it.

"Chris?!"

I stare in fear as the wendigo's waxy skin twists and morphs into the features of Ashley, her eyes staring with watery tears at mine.

"Nooooo!" I scream, wanting to get her out of there. Or out of my mind, wherever she was trapped.

And then she snaps her jaw open, the bone dislocating, as she lunges to rip my throat out-

"Chris!"

I jerk awake.

She's sitting there, worry creased across her face as her hand reaches to cup my sweat stained cheek.

"Ashley," I breathe, capturing her hand in mine and pulling her down into a hug. "I'm so glad you're safe." My words are swallowed up by a gulp, my throat dry and relieved.

"Of course I'm safe," she insists, as if my words were the most idiotic ones she'd ever heard. Hearing her sarcasm now couldn't be better. It assures me she's herself, she's unchanged. It is only my mind that is messed up.

She pulls my head back from her shoulder only to cup my cheeks like a nurse and inspect my weepy eyes as if she could find some kind of cure in them. A cure for the madness inside of me.

I simply gaze back, swallowing hard, watching for her deduction.

"It was them again," I finally croak, finding my hand reaching up to touch hers.

Her eyes, for a brief moment, shiver with fear, a splinter of a past memory - one that feels all too close. Then; "They're dead, Chris." She seems to be trying to convince herself of the same fact, her eyes steadying. But her voice shakes.

"Yeah," I breathe out, nodding, my own method of convincing. "They're dead."

"They can't get us here," she repeats as we slowly adjust to our mantra, the words that keep us sane.

My body instantly finds the routine, my mouth repeating her words.

"They're dead. They can't get us here," I chant along with her as our eyes are locked. The connection we share is the one thing that brings me back to life here. It keeps me saying the words. "It's all over."

Once we finish, she nods quietly, assuring me and herself. Silence wafts in, covering us. It is a blanket, protective. When there are no sounds, there are no monsters.

The bed covers rustle as I lean forward and tentatively caress my lips against hers. A thank you. She is the only one keeping me sane, keeping me alive inside the prison of my skull.


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