Now as Anastasia was led struggling into the library by black shapes, she had to fight to keep from puking all over herself and forced her muscles not to turn to jelly. They felt odd and liquid, and she could scarcely stand.

She knew Alice often visited the library. Anastasia assumed Alice liked reading. She didn’t know much about Alice. She hardly ever thought about Alice unless she was in a very bad mood. Not bad enough to hurt her; just enough to stomp off before she did hurt her. At least she knew more about Alice than Alice knew about her.

She ought to have known that Alice hated reading. As the black vacuum that made up a figure shifted a bookcase and shoved Anastasia down some rough stone steps, Anastasia realised she ought to have known. Of course. Alice knew about the secret chamber beneath the library. Anastasia hadn’t known. At least, her subconscious had known. Had known all the time.

She had instincts. She knew she had.

The chamber was dark and dank, and Anastasia began to grow used to the sense of rotting evil which was rapidly filling her lungs. She knew it was there, and always would know, but she was getting used to it, and had enough energy to twist her neck and look forwards.

Just in time. She was tossed roughly down a black shaft, and stumbled as she hid a cold uneven surface, a sharp arrow of pain shooting through her ankle and making her bite her tongue with more pain than elegance. The taste of blood filled her mouth, but not before the feeling of rankling evil grew and strengthened and another wave of sickness drowned her reason.

 Now was the time. She was where she had to be. She could no longer see the shadows, as everything was raven black, but she knew they were there. Now was the time. She took a deep breath.

And twisted from any grasp the shadows may have had on her. Then she began to run, snapping her hands, which had still been bound, from their bonds and sprinting into the gloom. The shadows did not follow her, and she heard hollow laughter in the distance behind. But she kept running into deeper blackness, downhill, until she could run no longer, and sank down onto the rock floor propped against a pointy rock formation, cold and exhausted, and if you had been looking closer, you would have seen the silent tears rolling down her cheeks.

The End

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