Elizabeth and Gemma rushed through the doorway at the back of the room and found themselves faced with a wide, grey stone staircase which they hastily began to climb. Each of the stairs was furnished with a crescent shaped indentation in the middle where they had been worn down by countless footsteps over nearly two centuries. The stairway was dark and dimly lit, the only light coming from a window on a small landing about halfway up.
Gemma led the way, almost skipping with excitement as she tried to work out the room from which the now-silent screams had originated. “Over here! This must be the one!” she cried out, stopping in front of an open heavy wooden door.
Elizabeth came to a halt after a couple of steps when she noticed the figure of a dark-haired young girl leaning against a wall at the far end of the corridor.
“Are you coming?” Gemma shouted loudly from inside the room.
Why the hell doesn’t that flaming woman come with a volume control
Elizabeth tried to focus more clearly on the figure of the girl walking unsteadily towards her. She gagged as a putrid odour reached her and quickly raised a gloved hand to cover her mouth and nose. Breathing deeply, she inhaled the leather scent of her glove and the warm tones of her own perfume to keep her stomach from churning. As her eyes ran over the open sores and what appeared to be small red puncture marks covering the arms and neck of the girl’s deathly white body, it dawned on her that this was one of the Living.
Without hesitation, Elizabeth removed her coat and rushed towards the girl, wrapping it around her shoulders, struggling again not to retch at the sickening odour in the air around her. The girl did not appear to even register Elizabeth’s presence. Her eyes remained fixed straight ahead, her pupils dilated.
Gemma appeared in the corridor behind Elizabeth. “What the hell’s that stink? Where did she come from?” She asked, keeping a healthy distance.
“I’ve no idea. She needs a doctor," Elizabeth replied calmly.
Paul appeared at the top of the staircase and ran towards them. “We need to get out of here now! Where did she come from?” He asked, his eyes darting between them for an answer.
“Elizabeth found her,” replied Gemma. “What’s the rush?”
Elizabeth felt the whispering before she heard it crawling through the building. The hairs on the nape of her neck stood on end and she shivered.
The teenage girl beside her began to weep pathetically. Paul reached out and pulled her towards him with a tress of her dirty black hair. “They’re awake and they’re coming!” he announced. The fear on the girl’s face communicated that his message had at least made its way through her trance-like state.
“Where’s Tashriel?” asked Elizabeth nervously.
“Gone for help!” came his quick response. “Hurry! We’ve got to go!”
Gemma appeared as confused as Elizabeth felt. They turned and were about to make their way back to the stairs when the whispering was joined by a rustling sound and it felt as though the whole building was crawling with some form of invisible insect. Something large, black and vaguely human suddenly swooped down from the ceiling above them and snatched a shrieking Gemma with it into the room she had previously been investigating. Her piercing screams echoed out into the corridor and throughout the building. The young girl began to rock on her feet.
“What the freak was that?” shouted a ruffled Elizabeth.
“Something we weren't expecting,” replied an equally ruffled Paul.
Labels: Elizabeth, Present Day, Refuge of Delayed Souls, Web Fiction