Chapter 2 (cont'd)
He thought maybe it was Mark or Jenny come to tell him something they’d forgotten. So he kept on walking, thinking if it were them, they’d shout for him to stop. But no such luck. He even hoped that maybe it was Dan come to beat him up for looking at him, then all warmth seemed to seep from him, like somebody had dabbed him with a really cold sponge. He daren’t turn around.
The noise followed him through the first alley, then he crossed the road and entered the next one, and the noise was there again. It was weird, a similar scraping noise like he’d heard last night. But it was slow, so he expected to lose it if he walked fast enough. He was walking so fast he might as well have jogged home. Yet still, the sound came closer and closer to him.
He was so close to the end of the alleyway, the last alleyway before he turned off for the street that he wanted to sprint to the end, but something told him to keep on walking.
By now the scraping was right behind him, it felt like something was breathing on his neck that sent all his hairs on end. He almost turned around, some vague desire to see his tormentor before that same part of him decided that would be a bad idea too. Just keep walking, master your fear.
With as much will power as would come to him, Jamie exited the alleyway and kept on walking, facing forwards. He felt utterly exhausted.
He stopped before he entered his house to take a breath.
When he moved again, he ended up walking into the locked door. Stifling a curse he took out his keys and unlocked it. There must have been nobody home, everything was in darkness. He closed the door and leant against it, sliding down to the floor. He took several breaths, trying to calm down and forget all the strange stuff that kept happening, forget that he was in the dark.
He daren’t open his eyes.
It had come from the landing.
Once more the scraping noise moved ever closer to him. He tried to squeeze his eyes shut, but he couldn’t. He slowly opened them, transfixed on the top of the stairs.
Creak. Creak. Creak.
It was at the banister rail now. Some shadow seemed to slide into view. His chest swelled with terror and he couldn’t breathe. He had the sudden urge to run, to open the door and sprint outside into the glorious light. Then the shadow took a step down the stairs.
He wanted to cover his eyes, claw them out if that’s what it took to stop from looking but he couldn’t move his arms, they felt frozen to the floor, like literally frozen. Beads of ice-like sweat fell from his brow as the shadow came ever nearer.
With painfully slow, drawn out steps it dragged its feet as if in a daze. As it stepped under the window, the light shone on its face and for a moment, he thought he saw his mum. Then it passed through the curtain of light and wrapped itself in darkness again.
The thing held out its hand, wanting to touch him, its fingers were right in front of his nose and he felt himself go cross eyes. He was passing out from the cold and the fear, feeling like he was falling. Then he woke up.
He moved his head with a start and banged it against the door. He was on his side in an awkward position, kind of leaning on an arm which ached really bad.
He stood up, his legs weak and buckling. He staggered through the hallway, wary of any sounds and made it to the dining room.
Jamie had to clutch onto the door frame and keep his hand on the wall, he needed something to keep his head from swilling side to side as a boat in a storm, the walls were straight and sturdy and seemed to help ground him. With effort, he made it to the kitchen before leaning over the sink. He suddenly felt nauseous as well as head-achey and generally dizzy, both hot and cold at the same time.
What the hell was wrong with him?
Not just this sudden illness that had come on him, but these terrors, it wasn’t natural. Something was up, he was certain now.