I posted chapter 1 last week. I wrote part of a new short story based on a character I created in Dark Sun 30 years ago and then adapted her to Ravenloft. Hopefully, that’s coming next week on Wednesday. This week, I bring Bad Moon Rising Chapter 2.
Her heart raced. She attempted to will it to slow down. She tried to do the same for her heavy breathing. None of it mattered. They’d hear her no matter what. At this point, her death was a foregone conclusion. She prayed to a God who, if he existed, was not listening. Not on Halloween.
“Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
His voice. The voice she fell for almost immediately. So silky smooth. So gentle. Even now. As he and his friends–his pack he called them–chased her through the halls of the school Hunted her.
Never trust a boy who talks that pretty.
Her mother’s warning. As with most of them, she ignored it. What does she know? With her life experience and wisdom brought on by age. How could she be so stupid?
“I’m sorry, Momma.”
Momma couldn’t hear. But he did. He made sure she knew he did, too.
“I know where you are, Beth. I’m coming to get you. You have five minutes.”
Five minutes. How far could she get in five minutes? They expected her to go from class on one end of the school to the other in two minutes or suffer the consequences of a tardy. She laughed bitterly. Won’t have to worry about that anymore. Jesus, Beth, focus. She mapped the school in her head. This bathroom was in the senior hallway. As a sophomore, she spent very little time here. Even so, for the most part all of the walls were set up the same. Once she got her bearings, maybe she could get her odds of survival to 50/50. He’d never allow that, of course. Unless–
Leaving the stall, she crawled across the dark floor and pushed open the door.
“Kurt.” Then louder. “Kurt.”
No response. Wait, was he actually giving her a chance? Five minutes? Five minutes for what? And why? She pushed the door open more. It creaked. She froze. Still no response. A faint glimmer of hope flared in her mind’s eye. She pushed the door open more. Something slammed against it, closing it on her finger. Tears welled in her eyes and she fought the urge to swear out loud.
“Now, now, Seth. I told you. What fun is the hunt if we don’t give her a chance?”
God, that voice. Even under these circumstances, it melted her heart. How many girls had he trapped? Had he killed many before? How many would he after? Seth snarled a response.
“What if she gets away?”
Kurt barked a laugh.
With that, the hall fell silent again. How many of the five minutes were left? Had the counter reset? In any case, she was wasting time. She either died here or risked a chance at escaping. 50/50? She laughed bitterly.
She stood up, pushed open the door, and stepped defiantly into the hallway. Neither Kurt nor Seth waited there. Slowly at first, but gradually increasing her pace, she walked in as straight a line as she could muster. The hallway met another at a “T”. Everything was still dark, but her vision adjusted. If she was correct, she needed to turn right and follow that hall to the door to outside. Sure, there was one to the left, too, but this one was closer. Also, it looked like there might be a light at the end of the hall. Maybe that light meant salvation. She walked quickly to that light.
No longer the voice that melted her. This one froze her in her tracks. She slowly turned around. Kurt stood halfway down the hall. Directly behind him was Seth. Two others she knew were named Eddie and Nate flanked him on the left and right respectively. She didn’t wait another second. Turning to run the opposite way down the hall, she heard them in pursuit. It would not take them long to close the distance. She’d never make it to the outside door. She would have to take her chances with the door with the light on. Just a few more feet. A hand firmly grasped her wrist, twisting her. She spun with her momentum, kicking wildly. Her foot connected solidly with Seth’s ribs and he let her go, grunting in pain. Eddie caught her leg mid air and she nearly lost her balance. Eddie’s hand slipped and his grip loosened. She wasted no time, turning and trying to open the door. Much to her surprise, it yielded. Slamming it shut, it stuck on something. Eddie howled in pain and pulled his hand free. The door clicked closed. She locked it and leaned against it briefly to catch her breath. The four of them banged against the door, shaking it in its frame. It would only be a matter of time before they broke it down. She looked at the windows on the far side of the room. Not only were they on the second floor, but they were too small for her to fit. Maybe she could use them as a diversion, though. Moving over there, she opened two of them. She ripped her shirt and hung it from the latch to make it look like she lost it in an escape. The banging on the door ceased, frightening her even more. Her diversion in place, she crawled into one of the cabinets under the desks. This plan had almost no chance of success, but maybe God was finally listening.
“Idiots.” Kurt snarled.
Placing a key into the lock, he unlocked and pushed open the door. Eddie entered first. He owed her for his fingers. Seth and Nate followed and then Kurt. Eddie went to the window and swore.
“Idiot.” Kurt laughed. “Do you really think she squeezed through that window and jumped?”
“No she’s in here. Can’t you smell her?”
The other three shook their heads. The overwhelming smell of chemicals used in the lab threw off their senses of smell. Kurt, more senior and practiced in the hunt, sniffed.
“No, she’s in here somewhere. We just need to find her.”
They split up, making a huge show out of their search. Slamming cabinet doors, knocking over supplies, and sniffing loudly to try to discern her location. One opened the cabinet across from her. She tried one last thing. Bursting from her hiding spot, she stood in the middle of the room. All of them except for Kurt stared at each other dumbfounded. None of them believed that she was actually there.
“Boys,” she said seductively, “I have a proposal.”
Stripping off the rest of her clothes, she climbed up onto the table. Nate and Seth exchanged knowing glances. Eddie looked like he was trying to decide if he should get revenge for his finger or have sex with her first. Kurt smiled. She knew that smile. She had him. Or, so she thought.
“Oh, sweetie, you watch too many movies.” He said.
All four of them pounced on top of her. She screamed.
To be continued?
I hope you enjoyed this installment of Bad Moon Rising Chapter 2. The rest will be available next October. Thanks for reading and if you see fit, check out my other collection of short stories, From Shadows.