“Let me out!”
The scream was high and shrill, wavering with the pitch of fear.
“Please! Cody! Let me out! Let me out!”
Sabrina Coleman sank to her knees on the floor, tears streaming down her face. Her brown pigtails bounced at the impact, her nose was running steadily. She gasped for breath, pure fear making it harder to breath with each passing moment. Her lungs felt as if they were constricting, her heart seemed to pound in her ears as the silence rang out in the forest. Dimly she heard her older brother’s laughter as he raced along the trail in the woods, his feet pounding like an elephant’s.
“No,” the nine-year-old whimpered, straining her eyes to see in the pitch black that was the darkness. Sabrina realized her brother could no longer hear her cries.
Full panic set in, and the tiny girl thrust herself at the powerful oak door, pushing against it with all her might. Her small fists beat against the strong wood until they were so bruised and sore she could barely open and close them. She raked her nails down the unyielding surface and was rewarded with the piercing pain of splinters burying themselves up under her nails.
She kicked at the door with all her might, trying in vain to get her teensy foot level with the lock, with hopes of breaking it down. Pain shot up her leg and the other one buckled, sending her crashing to her behind and howling in pain as she clutched her knee. Sobs racked her body, ripping through her diaphragm and escaping through her clenched teeth.
Sabrina wiped her eyes with trembling hands, knowing that it was no use, she wasn’t ever going to be able to get out of here on her own. Her only hope was that her brother would remember he had locked her in here and pray he came back. She crawled into the nearest corner she could find and curled up, shivering as the once stifling air slowly cooled. Having nothing else to do, the child closed her eyes and tried to sleep, knowing she still needed rest.
How much time had passed when she woke, Sabrina knew not. She knew only that the shed was freezing and her knee still hurt. It throbbed, sending waves of pain coursing through the nine-year-old's body. She leaned her head back against the shed wall and let the tears come, taking tiny, gasping breaths as she hyperventilated.
"I want my Mommy," she whispered sullenly. "I want my Mommy."
To ease her misery Sabrina tried to remember all the happy times she'd had with her family, including her brother. She smiled slightly as a memory flickered, a dim one, but a memory nonetheless. There had been a time when their father had taken them camping, when Sabrina was still very young, only about four or five. Cody had been a prankster even then, telling his baby sister ghost stories around the campfire in hopes of scaring her.
Later that night, while both children lay within their sleeping bags, Sabrina curled snugly beneath hers, she suddenly heard strange noises. She furrowed her brow, wondering what it could possibly be. It sounded like a wounded or dying animal, and it broke the little girl's heart and terrified her at the same time. She'd huddled there beneath her blankets, almost too scared to move, too scared to breathe.
At last, when she could stand it no longer, "Cody?"
Her voice was tiny, sounding small and whispery even to her own ears. There was no reply and the noises continued.
She tried again. "Cody?"
Louder this time, more shaky.
"Wha?" He grumbled, rolling over. Sabrina immediately regretted waking him, seeing as he was grumpy and sleepy.
"Did you hear those noises?"
"The ones outside...it sounded like some kind of hurt animal," Sabrina answered. But the noises outside had stopped. Even Sabrina could hear nothing, no trace, no sign.
"There aren't any noises, Sabrina. Go back to sleep." With that her brother had rolled over as if the matter were closed and, to all appearances, went to back to sleep himself. The noises started again a few moments later and had refused to stop and leave her alone until she had run screaming from the tent. Her parents had stumbled from their own tents and Sabrina had run straight to her mother, crying and clutching at her. Cody had emerged from their own tent a moment later, laughing heartily.
Sabrina felt the smile slip then, remembering how much of a prankster Cody was. She began to think that she would never get out of here, never see the light of another day. She felt sure that Cody had forgotten her.
“You really done it?” Robert asked. The boy was watching his best friend, Cody Coleman, his fingers poised over the game controls.
“Of course I done it,” Cody snapped irritably as his parents argued below. His little sister had always been an annoyance, hogging all the attention. It was always about her, was she alright? Was she feeling better? Did she think she could go to school today? Ever since she had arrived Cody had been forgotten, left out. Now it was time for her to pay.
As night seemed to fall, the air in the shed grew colder and colder, and it seemed as if there were less and less of it. Sabrina could hardly draw a breath now. Her mouth was open, her tiny chest heaved as she struggled to suck in air. She squeezed her eyes shut, feeling the tears coming again. They trickled slowly down her cheeks, her nose ran slightly.
In those last few moments, Sabrina knew she wasn't going to last much longer.
It's now or never, Cody. She thought miserably as her eyes slid closed. She couldn't get enough air, couldn't breathe. She couldn't breathe. She felt the panic slide in again, but she couldn't stand up and thrust herself at the door anymore, she couldn't scream for help. Her lungs began to burn, crying, screaming for air. She prayed Cody would come.
Several years later two hikers climbed an old abandoned path that led away from their new house. The old family had moved out after their nine-year-old daughter had disappeared, never recovering from the loss. The sun was shining brightly, a small breeze whispered through the trees, gently teasing them.
"Hey, look!" One of the them called out, it was the man of the pair. "There's an old shed up ahead. I wonder how long it's been there."
"Don't know," said the other, the wife. "Let's check it out and see."
Her husband walked up and pulled out the screwdriver that held the lock in place, swinging the door open. He found something to prop it wide since it was pitch black in the tiny shed otherwise. He reached up and pinched his nose shut as he entered.
"Eww! Smells like something died in here!"
A scream rent the air a moment later and he turned to his wife, his protective instincts rising instantly as he leaped in front of her, wondering what had upset her. His eyes widened and a moment later he was screaming too.
The door to the shed slammed shut, the screw driver slid into the latch, locking it.
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