Last Fall

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Ouch! Small twigs snap beneath my bare feet as I run. I should’ve grabbed a pair of shoes when I ran out, even a pair of sandals would’ve been better than having to sprint on an unpaved road. No regrets, just run. I’m no athlete, but it’s amazing what adrenaline will do to the body. Right now, the only thing I can think of is getting away from whatever was about to happen in there.

I’m not sure if Adrian ran after me. He said something when I bolted out of the door, but I was too caught up in the thought of getting away from him that I didn’t get a chance to hear what he said. He came to my house for me. What is that even supposed to mean? A twisted feeling in my gut tells me it’s not something good.

Without stopping, I glance over my shoulder. I let out a sigh. There’s no one behind me, which is a good sign. I can see the lights from my house growing dimmer as I gain distance. My feet hit hard pavement when I reach the road that goes into town. My legs begin to feel sore, so I slow down, which ends up being a big mistake. Huge. When I start to slow down, I feel all adrenaline leave my body and fatigue overcomes me. I come to a halt on the side of the road by some bushes. Panting and gasping for air, I let out a hacking cough. My stomach cramps and I start to feel nauseous. If I didn’t regret this before, I sure as hell do now.

AUGUST 3rd - Three Weeks Ago

Despite it being a Tuesday, it is a calm work day at the office. Not that anyone minds. For the past three months, everyone at Lancaster Enterprises has been working to the bone on perfecting the most important project this firm has ever had to deal with; the Becker project.

Ethan Becker, a philanthropist and fashion mogul, needed a new office space for his company. Since this was Ethan Becker, everything had to be top notch, and so he turned to his good friend Adrian Lancaster to help him out with creating a new home for his company.

Now that the project has been wrapped up and our most important client is satisfied, there isn’t much work to do around the office other than small projects here and there. Nevertheless, I am wiped out completely. For the past few months, Adrian has been on my case for whatever reasons he has; I don’t question him because he never answers and I’d like to keep my job. He’s always assigning me task after task, and I am obligated to nod and agree because he’s my boss. I’ve been staying up all day and night working, and it has really started to take a toll on me mentally. Hopefully, now I’ll have time to relax.

As soon as the clock on my desk blinks five o’clock, I grab my bag and make my way to the nearest elevator. Right now, all I want to do is sleep. Just after I step into the elevator, I hear an all too familiar voice call out my name from behind me.

“Hadley,” Adrian shouts, but I pretend not to hear him and press the ground floor button. The elevator doors start to close. My heart starts pounding with guilt. I shouldn’t feel bad, though, since I’ve allowed myself to be overworked for the past three months. I deserve a little me time.

A hand shoots in between the doors when they’re a few inches from closing. I breath out in frustration and feel my knees weaken, so I lean against the wall to my side.

“Hadley,” Adrian says stepping into the elevator. He’s out of breath. “I’m glad I could catch you before you left.” He loosens the tie around his neck as he tries to catch his breath. I stand up straight and cross my arms in front of me to hide my nervousness. I look at him wide eyed in an attempt to look less like I’d ignored him.

“What are you doing tonight?” he asks. This is my chance. I could tell him right now that I’m busy, so he doesn’t ask me to go over paperwork or something after my working hours.

“Uh - I’m busy,” is all that comes out of my mouth. I feel my cheeks begin to turn red from embarrassment. Adrian takes a step closer to me, forcing me to take a step back. My back hits the wall of the elevator. No where to run now, Hadley. I hear a voice. His voice. My palms begin to sweat and my breathing becomes heavier. My therapist says closed spaces can trigger painful memories, but she doesn’t tell me how the fuck I can get rid of them.

“Are you alright, Hadley” Adrian puts his hands on my shoulders. I breathe harder. Why aren’t we on the ground floor yet?

“Hadley, answer me!” Adrian squeezes my shoulders gently, his voice sounding urgent. “You’re turning pale. Are you alright?” I try to answer him but no words form. My chest continues to heave up and down, appeasing the need for oxygen.

“I - I can-” I want to tell him that I can’t breathe, that I’m claustrophobic, but I can’t manage to do so. Before I can get the rest of the words out, I feel my knees hit the elevator floor. I collapse, but don’t feel pain when the side of my head makes contact with the floor. A high pitched frequency floods my ears and I am unable to make out what Adrian is saying. I can only see that his lips are moving and his eyes are worrisome. Soon afterwards, my vision becomes dark around the edges and the last thing that comes to my mind before losing all sight of things is today’s date. It’s the third of August, which means that tonight is the night.

Tonight is the night I die.

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