Photo credit:

Hannah Thornton

8–31–16 — Make ‘Em Wait

“Who’s there?” a genderless, toneless voice echoed softly throughout the pitch dark tunnel as goosebumps rose across every inch of my skin.

I stumbled away blindly until my back was flat against the rough tunnel wall. Blood rushed in my ears and clanged like a train whistle as my pulse raced, and I couldn’t stabilize my trembling hands no matter how hard I pressed them to the cool, rocky wall behind me. “Sh-shut up…”

There was a lengthy silence. There were no sounds other than my thumping heart, my ragged breath, and the eerie scream of absolute quiet, gnawing at me. I blinked hard and then squinted in an attempt to see something, anything, but the darkness was overpowering.

“Who’s there?” the gentle voice repeated monotonously, its inflection identical to the first time it spoke those same words.

“Go away,” I squeaked, my back aching as I slid down the wall, but I was too frozen to care that jagged rocks pressed sharply against my bare skin. “Please, leave me alone…”

Silence, deafening silence. I shivered despite the humid warmth hanging in the shadowed tunnel. The walls seemed to be whispering to me, coaxing me, telling me to stay forever, gripping me and forcing me down…

“Who’s there?”

I could not answer. My lungs rapidly expanded and contracted as my pulse thudded in my ears painfully, and I reached up with quivering fingers that I could not see to wipe a sheen of sweat from my forehead.

And then, a figure materialized from the darkness, a shadow looming from nothingness.