I’m participating in the 13-Week Streak by Eilidh from Thain in Vain and Charlotte of Drafty Devil. I wrote this last week, but I’ve had some trouble with my dog in the past week and never got around to posting. Here’s my 2nd week entry for this awesome little event!
The fog was so dense this morning that Claire struggled to see. She looked back and considering the distance back to the campsite. It was an hour either way now. No point in going back.
A power transformer buzzed like an angry swarm of bugs. When did my music stop playing?
She pulled her phone out of her sleeve case and examined it. Smashed. From top to bottom. What the hell?
A light above her flickered, and for a moment she thought she could see a dark and wet streams across her arms and hands, but the moment passed.
Claire rounded the corner. The sound of a distant squeal of wheels sent a jar through her muscles.
“Why train so bloody early?” her sister had asked her yesterday – today?
“The marathon’s next month. I’m trying to get used to long distances,” Claire answered.
“But, really! Three in the morning? You’re insane.”
“All marathon runners are,” Claire laughed.
The echo of hard footsteps broke her revelry.
Claire turned around.
“Hello?” she called.
A scream from far away resounded back.
She shuddered. Just ignore it. It’s probably just a couple of pranksters.
Claire knew this path well. She had consulted many a map before she came here, making sure it would be well-lit and had little access to the main road. So when she found herself at fork and a sign with the words “Mercy Grove” painted on it, Claire was a bit surprised. She had never seen it on any map. The small cobbled footpath was surrounded on both sides by tall hedges. She glanced inside; the mist was all but gone here.
The smell of snicker-doodles and fresh-mowed grass permeated through the air. Claire was reminded of her grandmother’s house, before she passed.
She through the shrubs.
“He must have been drunk,” she heard someone whisper.
She scowled and turned.
A pair of headlights pushed through the bushes. Claire covered her eyes and braced herself.
The cacophony of squealing wheels, screams, the shattering of glass, and sirens rang across the garden. Claire’s muscles jerked; a single tear ran down her face.
“Let me at ‘im!” she thought she heard her sister scream.
She blinked. Nothing was there. The cobbled path was unblemished, but a shadow raced towards her.
With a shriek, Claire ran the opposite direction.
“Come into the light,” she heard a familiar voice whisper.
A brilliance beamed onto the path, and Claire saw a golden staircase. With a yell, she leapt at it. The shadow grabbed her foot and tried to drag her back, but she landed squarely on the stairs and held on, screaming.
The light glowed brighter until the pressure on her foot receded. With a guttural yell, the shadow faded away.
A soft, wrinkled hand touched her own and helped her up.
“Grandmother?” Claire said, blinking.
“You needn’t run ever again,” her grandmother whispered as they embraced.
Claire smiled. They walked up the golden staircase to the clouds, leaving the troubles of the earth (and the living) below.