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Rebekah King Rebekah King
Recommendations: 21

At Night: Ante Auroram - Part 1

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At Night - Part 1
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I'm attempting to continue this, but for now I'll repost parts 1 and 2 that I wrote a while back. This is the sequel to "At Night".

My eyes shot open so fast it was disorienting. But my vision was so blurry it was like they weren’t open at all. It was a long time before I could focus on anything. It was making me panic. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It took me a moment to realise I was shivering. I stayed still for what felt like a long time until I regained my senses. I was cold, but it wasn’t the air. It was whatever I was lying on. I looked down and found that it was the hard stone floor.

I looked around myself at the stone walls, the faint light from a candle, the barred door. I started to get up. As soon as I moved my body, my vision blurred slightly again and I realised how sore I was. Everything ached, like I’d run a marathon. But I didn’t feel tired. I slowly struggled onto my hands and knees, the coarse texture of the stone grading my aching hands. I hung my head, trying to breathe.

Eventually I looked up and forced myself to my feet. My head felt clear enough, but nothing else was working properly. It was as though I barely had any control over my body. The more I moved, though, the easier it became. So I staggered across the small room to where the light was. The candle was on a table in the corner. The only other things there were a pen – one of those really old quill ones – and a note. I picked it up and began to read.

Don’t be afraid. They’re watching you – you mustn’t let them see you are afraid. I know everything will be strange when you wake, and you will be confused and hurting. You must ignore all of this. You must escape. Do whatever you have to, whatever is necessary to escape. Don’t try to help the others. It’s much too late for them now. You must get out of there. You must survive.

P.S. Look for me along the way

The urgency and intensity of each word frightened me. Who had left this note for me? It didn’t matter. I should listen to them. But who were the others they spoke of? Surely if there were other people like me here, I should try to help them escape, too. They said it was too late for them. Was this really true? I supposed I would soon find out. But first things first – I had to get out of this cell.

I walked over to the barred door and inspected it. It seemed strong enough and a big padlock held it locked firmly in place. I reached through the bars and angled the padlock towards me so I could see it better. It looked rusty and corroded to me. With the right tool, it might be easy enough to destroy. I doubted I would find much in here, but I began to look anyway.

The first thing that caught my attention was the metal bed in the corner. There was a thin mattress on it, which I removed. Underneath, instead of wooden slats, there were metal bars that ran along the width of the frame. They weren’t bolted or welded, just sitting in place. I inspected the joins between the sides and ends of the frame. Damn – they were bolted on with heavy-duty looking screws.

Then I inspected the metal itself more closely. It looked like it was just aluminium. Not the strongest stuff, and my muscles felt strong despite the aching. I pulled at the metal and, sure enough, it gave. I pulled harder and the metal bent, letting one of the bars fall to the floor. I picked up the bar and studied it. It was made of stronger stuff than the aluminium. It would be tough to mould without sufficient heat.

I took it straight over to the candle and held one end over the flame, turning it over and over slowly. There wasn’t enough heat for the metal to turn red, but enough for it to be hot to the touch. I laid the bar on the floor and stomped on the hot end with my shoe once, then again and the metal flattened. I picked it up and went straight to the door, reaching both my arms and the bar through.

I positioned the bar and drove the flat end into the keyhole in the padlock. It was the perfect size, luckily. I started wrenching and twisting with all my might, trying from every angle to trip the lock mechanism. Eventually, I heard a clear clicking sound and the padlock came undone. I grinned to myself, throwing the bar behind me and reaching around to remove the padlock and dropping it to the floor away from the door.

I rattled the door, but it was still quite stuck. I backed up a few steps and threw my foot forward into the door as hard as I could and it flew open, banging into the wall. I worried about all the noise I was making, but the note told me to do whatever was necessary to get out. And I was out. I stepped fearlessly out into the corridor and looked around. This cell wasn’t the only one. I appeared to be in some kind of prison. If this was a prison, where was the guard?

It was then that I heard it. A terrible sound. I couldn’t put a name to it. It was like breathing, but hoarse like a lion’s roar. It can’t have been human. A frightened breath escaped my lips and I looked frantically around for the source of the sound. To my right, I saw something stumbling down the corridor in my direction. It was too dark for me to make out its features, but its shape resembled a human. It had seen me for sure.

I retreated back into the cell, suddenly not so brave. I sidled to the corner and pressed my back up against the wall. I tried to control my breathing and shut my eyes tight. I could hear it now, coming closer and closer. As it walked, I could hear the sound of chains banging against each other and being dragged across the stone floor. And that other sound.

But as it approached the cell, another sound, something much more human and terrifying. In a high-pitched voice that sounded like it had once been a young female, but was now twisted into something else entirely, it very clearly spoke.


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