The water whipped against her skeletal wreck of a body, turning the papery skin of her hands pale blue. She took one ragged breath, and her heart pounded and pulsed in her chest, ears and at the back of her throat, a violent drumbeat. A larger body than hers was being pulled away by the rushing rivers, and Katherine was glad to see it go. The broken pieces of the old wooden bridge had bashed against Aaron, and now his brawny carcass looked well and truly dead as it washed away. Katherine tried to climb out of the water, but the muddy slopes bordering it were slippery. Just as she managed to climb halfway up, she heard a noise that turned her blood cold.
“Katherinnnnnne…..Kattttttttttherine…….don’t let me diiiiiiieee……”
Aaron’s voice wailed, half-choked by water. Katherine tried to ignore him, clambering up onto the grass at the top of the muddy slopes bordering the river. She was shivering violently, her wet hair plastered to her face. Aaron was silent as he drifted away again, well and truly dead. Now she was coughing up water, choking on it a little, but it wasn’t going away, her lungs were bursting, collapsing, withering away like flowers, just like when Aaron had shoved her head underwater and kept it there when they’d found her at the swimming pool three years ago. Chlorine stinging her eyes, heart ready to explode through her chest and then…
Katherine Hunter awoke drenched in a cold sweat, her pulse racing, an array of horrible images from her youth playing through her head like a disgusting and insane art-film. Across the room, a pair of amber eyes blinked at her, glowing like lamps in the darkness. One of her cats, a dust-coloured creature named Jimi, was staring at her.
“Yeah, I’m going insane.”
She told the cat, stroking it with her thin and trembling fingers as it jumped onto the bed.
Though some might say you were never really sane in the first place. Everybody here in this building hates you. The people you work with hate you. Your own family disowned you…you worthless whore. Do you remember that Katherine? Katherine the worthless whore. “Get out of my house and don’t ever come back, you worthless-?”
She almost shouted, to silence the little voice in her subconscious as she turned on the lights. She picked up the unopened gaming magazine lying on the floor, and began flicking through the flimsy, colourful pages, until she found the large advertisement for a new “psychological horror videogame that will take you to hell and further.” The first words of the ad, printed in bloody-looking letters had caught her attention. It read “Hell may be closer than you think.”
“We have to get this.” She told her other cat, the one that she had named Jagger, as he entered the room, his yellow eyes alight. Katherine closed the magazine and tossed it onto the floor.
Hell may be closer than you think… but you’ve already been to hell, haven’t you Katherine?