Tobias let out a tiny yelp – completely by accident, but enough to make himself jump – when he heard the door rattle. Somebody on the other side was trying to get in.
Tobias picked up the candle and took it to the door. The rattling seemed far too desperate to be that of the Dark man, who surely knew what he was doing and would surely own the key to get inside the room.
Holding the candle close enough to the door to see the small bolt clearly, Tobias watched it jolt violently up and down, as if somebody on the other side was trying to wriggle it free, maybe try and pick the lock that was just above it.
Tobias hoped that it was not the Dark man who was at the door, but that it was the police, or somebody else that would be able to help them escape the small dark room which they were trapped in.
‘Tobias, come away from the door,’ Danielle said, protective over Tobias, worried that he might be sent flying backwards if the door opened sharply.
Tobias obeyed, edging slowly back from the door, until his foot nudged against Danielle, who was still sat down. Slowly and cautiously, as if a wrong move would trigger an explosion, Tobias set down the candle on the floor just in front of him, then sat down slowly next to Danielle.
As the desperate rattling from the door grew louder, Tobias became more and more sure that it could not be the Dark man. He owned a key, surely, and therefore he would not need to bang against the door, rattle the handle, and generally terrify the residents of the room.
‘Who do you think it is?’ Tobias whispered.
Danielle paused, and Tobias couldn’t help but feel the tension rising with every second. ‘I don’t know,’ she finally replied.
Tobias put his arm around Danielle, and she shielded him with her arms, in case the door flew off its hinges and threatened to hurt either of them. Tobias closed his eyes, trying to block out the sounds of his blood in his ears. Danielle cradled him and rocked him slowly back and forth, reminding him of the way his mother would soothe him when he had had a nightmare so many years ago. His family seemed so distant now. Maybe this was them at the door.
Tobias’ heart lept into his mouth as the door sprung open. For a moment, all that Tobias could make out was a silhouette, as he opened his eyes and looked to the door. The figure was somewhat tall, and took a cautious step into the room before the candle light illuminated their face.
The Dark returns.
Tobias felt his heart sink lower and lower as the horrible realisation that the Dark man had returned edged its way into his mind. The image of his father bursting through the door was wiped away, and the idea of the police coming to their rescue also quickly dissolved. The Dark man stood before them, and he looked angry.
In his hand was something square, and in the light it appeared red, but Tobias could not make out what it was. He put it down by the door, and then seemed to ignore it. Tobias too looked away from it, and back up to the angry face of the Dark man.
‘What the fuck is going on in here?’ He demanded, and Tobias winced, knowing that he was in trouble. For what, he was not sure, but he knew that either he or Danielle would be in a great deal of pain soon enough.
The Dark took two great steps forward, his long legs carrying him to the two prisoners huddled in the corner. With a swift rise and fall of his leg, the Dark man booted Danielle in the face, ripping her away from Tobias’ grip, sending her sprawling onto the floor, blood oozing from her dry lips.
Tobias gave a little scream and scuttled away to the corner. The Dark man had left the door open, but it had not even occurred to Tobias to try and escape. He knew that even if he got out of the door, he would probably have to navigate his way out of the building in which he found himself.
Hiding in a corner, the Dark man did not even look at Tobias, and he watched the bright light from the rest of the building flood in uncontrollably through the door, blinding Tobias, whose eyes were not adjusting to the sudden light.
Danielle was still lying on the floor, barely moving, her chest slowly rising and falling. Blood was lightly dripping from her mouth, and it looked like it took all of her energy just to spit out what blood was filling her mouth. It came out in a thin stream and it splat against the wall and shining in the light. Like a spray of paint against the wall. This room would look nice in red.
The Dark man did not seem to be finished with Danielle. He had obviously not been expecting her to wake up so soon, if at all, and was now annoyed that he would have to deal with her once more.
Getting down to one knee, so as to be closer to his victim, the Dark man raised his left hand, clenching it into a fist, in order to bring it down forcefully upon the girl lying on the floor. Tobias looked away, but heard the violent thud of fist against face, and heard Danielle’s grunt of pain. She seemed unable to scream. Unable to make any sound at all.
As Tobias held his eyes tightly closed to avoid having to look at what was happening behind him, he let out another small yelp as he felt the scruff of his school shirt be violently pulled away, pushing itself into his throat and choking some air out of him. Falling quickly backwards, Tobias felt the back of his head connect with something hard – the floor, he guessed, as all he could see now was the illuminated ceiling.
The view of the ceiling was broken by the Dark man leaning over Tobias, lying on the floor.
‘You’re going to help me, whether or not you want to!’Tobias knew exactly what the Dark man meant to do.