Decaying structures formed a gray tunnel of stone, glass and iron, through which Lucy fled. The turn-of-the-century factories and sweatshops directed her along a cadaverous street. The tarnished cityscape crowded around her, lit but dimly by a few forlorn street lamps. Wrecked windows glared down at her, black voids in the darkness. Empty doorways and loading bays flashed past as she ran, their barred and locked gateways like crooked, toothy sneers that mocked the futility of her flight. Above, the full moon followed her like a spot light.
She tripped and fell, the asphalt ripping flesh from her knee. She grasped her leg in both hands, pulled it to her chest and rocked back and forth. Was she going to die here? Who was following her? The presence of her pursuer—or pursuers—was thick in the air.
Despair washed down the street like a smoke filled tidal wave. Tears formed in her eyes and flowed over her cheeks. She looked back and then all about.
Nothing. Nothing. Only unnatural silence. No cars, no sirens, nothing.
Then, as though spawned from the night, someone—something—was there. A physical presence, or so it seemed—dark and menacing, hidden in the ruin of the old district.
Watching. Laughing silently at her terror.
She leaped to her feet and continued her flight, favoring her good leg. Her breath came in ragged, shallow spurts, heart pounding like a hammer. Misshapen shadows flittered along after her as she stumbled through pools of blue light—speeding phantoms that reached out for her with black, twisted.
She tried to scream, but it was lost in her gasps; she couldn’t find the breath.
The sound of boots pounding on the asphalt echoed off the walls of the old factories. Invisible hands played at her neck. She pulled away, sprinting as fast as she could. The ground grew rougher, rocks and bits of broken pavement sliding and bouncing under her feet. A dark foreboding fell over her as the feeling of a hand—or other appendage–slid through her hair. She stumbled, dived ahead as her ankle crashed into an old hole, twisting painfully and spilling her like a
corpse over the hard ground.
With uncanny clarity, Lucy knew she was dead.