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You Were Asleep
By Sarah Schwister
When chimes rocked her out of her chair, Emily’s face smashed against the cold floor. Coughing the dust from her lips, she pushed herself up as the clock tolled on. Groggy eyes panned the stained, thick wood panel walls held together by the black and white tiled floor. An ominous green velvet ceiling held the box room down, casting a cheap chandelier though the center. Directly across the poker chair she fell from was a grandfather clock, from top to bottom, clunking its pendulum to and fro as the face droned its last bell.
Emily rose on her failing legs and teetered to the clock, her hoop skirt tipping her over as if the room swayed like a ship. Swallowing and shaking her head, she made the last swoop to run against the glass handle on the clock’s door. Grunting, Emily heaved the door open.
A hallway opened to her, only lasting a few yards before it collapsed into the darkness of the forest. Trees grew in the fallen structure, the branches sighing in the wind. The sound of running water pulled her attention to the left a stream stuttered down the cracked drawers before unfolding into a small pool. Emily pulled open a drawer. A key sat against the waterlogged drawer. Eyes narrowed, she started to reach for the key when a tentacle came out swatted her. Shocked, Emily jumped back with a silent shriek, the sound never leaving her lips. She was mute.
A growl punctured the silence. Fear shot to Emily’s heart as she stared into the darkness, breathing hotly. A rustle and a pair of sharp, brown eyes unfolded to her. Silent cries spilled out her parched lips as she looked around frantically. The clock door behind her sealed shut with a click when she turned, and a whimper pulled out of her chest. The brown eyes started bobbing closer. Bolting to the dresser, Emily pushed her hand into the steely water. The tentacle grabbed her wrist. Whimpering, Emily turned to the eyes nestled in the head of a bear-like wolf that towered in the hallway. It arched its neck back, a stench thrusting into her nose as it snarled.
Screaming, Emily grabbed the key with her other hand and stretched for the door. Another tentacle shot out of the pool at the dresser’s feet, ripping her to the ground. Emily’s shrieked as the wolf attacked her.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHH,” unzipped the cozy silence of her room. Emily thrashed, causing Ashton to jump. He quickly snatched the laptop from her frenzy and put it on her night stand before he grabbed her by her shoulders.
“Emily! Em, come on, babe, wake up,” he whispered, nuzzling his cheek against hers. Eyes fluttering, Emily twitched back to consciousness.
“Ashton,” Emily murmured, before grabbing her bruised neck. Her boyfriend pulled back, eying the purple lines around her neck. Brushing a black curl behind her ear, Ashton went to kiss her forehead. Emily winced.
“Babe?” he breathed, but felt the heat of eyes on his back. Turning to her bedroom door, Ashton saw a pair of sharp, brown eyes unfold in the dark threshold.
“Zach?” Emily asked hoarsely, withdrawing into herself as she said that. Her brother’s outline looked tense.
“I didn’t know he was going to be here,” Zach spat, going back to empty hallway.
Emily froze, the sense of déjà vu firing her brain. Her fingers slowly trailed back to the fresh bruises on her neck.
“Your stepbrother is a creep,” Ashton grumbled once he was sure Zach was out of ear shot. “I guess I better start heading home—”
“Take me with you,” Emily interrupted. Ashton raised his blonde eyebrows at her. “I don’t care what I said earlier.” Hot, angry tears stole in her dark eyes, “I just realized something, is all.”
“That you do love me?” Ashton swallowed, wide-eyed and hopeful.
“You could say that,” she muttered, eyes watching the darkness, as if expecting a growl. Curious, she crawled over Ashton’s lap to reach the nightstand. With a grunt, she opened the top drawer.
“W-why do you have that?" Ashton stuttered. Blinking, Emily reached into the drawer and pulled out a M9. It was loaded.
#Unreal #ShortStory #FlashFiction #Tentacles #Imagery #CreativeWriting #Dream #Boyfriends #WeirdStepbrother #Lit
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