Fading #writephoto

The storm was fading and the sky looked peaceful once more. Casey had her doubts though. This suddenly burst of autumn weather wasn’t to be trusted. She pressed her head against the wall and looked through the collection of rain drops on the window. She could see a hazy outline of the sea and the docks. Working boats rocked on the still violent waves.

Casey’s fingers curled the corners of the book resting against her drawn up knees. It had been a day like this, five years ago, that she had lost her family on. They had taken their boats out to drag in their nets before a storm had hit. Casey had been ill and had to stay home which had saved her life. Though some days, she wished things had been different.

Turning away from the window, she looked up above the fireplace in which a fire was burning brightly and wrapping warmth around her. A painted portrait of her family hung there, dating back eight years or so ago. There was her mother and father, dressed in their Sunday best clothes and not their working clothes which Casey always remembered them in.

Mother was smiling, happy to be doing something exciting. Her curling blonde hair was down and she looked years younger. She was also holding a blanket wrapped baby in her arms which if Casey recalled was her sister Rose who had died at a few months old. Father looked the opposite of mother, he looked stern, proud and a lot older then he actually was because of the hard life he led.

Four children stood in front of them; three boys and a girl, all dressed in their Sunday clothes too. Casey avoided looking at her eight year old self and focused on her brothers. She whispered their names under their breath, ‘Will, Luke and Tom.’ They looked excited and trying to stay still, though it was hard. They had pretty much grown up into young men the last day she had seen them.

Casey turned back to the window as she heard a low rumble of thunder. A new storm was starting up and the sky was becoming dark once more. Rain splattered the window then began falling down in sweeping pattern. The lighting flashed and Casey’s fingers tightened on the book so that the corners and edge left an imprint in her palms.

There was a knock at her door. She let the book fall from her hands then closed it and slide it under a cushion of the window box. The door opened before she had time to invite the person in. Her uncle’s large framed filled the doorway, his stomach almost bursting out of his white shirt and green waist coat. He smiled at her but then began frowning as he walked across the room.

Casey stood, smoothing out any folds or wrinkles in her long blue and white dress. She clasped her hands and tried to look calm but nervous were over welling her. She give her uncle a bob of respected then avoided looking at him. Not because she feared him or was embarrassed, it was because over the last year her attitude towards him had changed.

‘I hope this dreadful weather clears for your wedding tomorrow,’ he spoke in a gruff voice.

‘I hope so to, uncle,’ Casey uttered.

‘The final preparations will be done this afternoon.’

Casey stole a few glances at him, he seemed to want to say more but was holding back.

He would still rather have wed me off to someone else instead of his son, Casey realised.

‘You will join us for dinner,’ her uncle spoke, ‘some of the guests have already started arriving. Your lack of presence will be noticed if you don’t.’

He shot her a disappointed look then with a sweep of his long black jacket, he turned and left the room. The door clicking shut behind him.

Casey folded into the window box. Holding herself and trying not to cry. Outside the wind howled and threw rain at the window whilst sea waves bashed into boats and the shore. She looked out trying to distract herself but her eyes were drawn somewhere else.

‘This is all your fault,’ Casey whispered looking up at her family portrait, ‘if you had not all died then I would not have to marry my cousin.’

Casey pressed her head into her knees and took some deep breaths. Even though her life was about to change dramatically from fisherman’s daughter to middle class man’s wife, she refused to let her true self fade away.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/09/07/thursday-photo-prompt-fading-writephoto/ with thanks.)

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One Moment

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It had been a last minute decision that changed our lives forever. Getting into my car, I watched from the rear view mirror as my wife checked our ten year old twins were strapped into the back of her car. Then she walked around and got behind the wheel.

Starting my car’s engine, I glanced at my fourteen year old son, sat now in the passenger seat on his phone. He had been the trouble of all this and the reason why we now had to take two cars on holiday instead of one.

Sighing and partly blaming myself, I drove off. For years, my wife had been trying to get us to buy a bigger car but we couldn’t offered it, unless we got rid of both smaller cars and that would have meant one of us taking the train to work. Getting those thoughts out of my head as I reached the motorway, I tried to think of everything we had to look forward to.

The six hour journey to Cornwall always felt like forever. I found my driving quieter though as the twins weren’t bugging me and my son was too busy on his phone or playing games. I put the radio on and let the rhythm of the music mix with the steady engine.

After stopping at a services and having a quick meet up, we carried on the last leg of the drive. It was a few miles before the turn off,  that I checked my mirrors and saw a lorry swerve lanes and plough side on into the car behind me. My heart stopped and I couldn’t breath but then I had to focus. I slowed and pulled over, praying that car hadn’t been my wife’s.

Yelling at my son to stay, I dashed out and ran to the scene of the wreckage. The car had spun off the hard shoulder and was laying in a tangle remains of trees and undergrowth. I didn’t even look at the lorry as I pulled open the driver’s door. And even though I knew, I was still fighting for it not to be true.

Gone

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One moment she was there, the next she wasn’t.

Storm

It had been threatening for days but now a summer storm was here. We’d picked the worse day for a funeral as the rain was lashing down, the wind whipping and lightening cracking across the doom grey sky. Sitting in the back seat of the car watching this all go by, I thought that actually uncle Arnold would have loved this. It was just the type of thing that would happen to an adventurous man like him.

(Inspired from; https://katmyrman.com/2017/07/18/twittering-tale-41-18-july-2017/ with thanks)

Closed #3linetales

three line tales week 74: an empty school

The old school closed due to black mould spores but really the ancient caretaker had been found murdered in the attic. His blood and other stuff leaking through the ceiling and walls, causing a rotting meat stink. He had been a pervert, taking boys to the attic under the pretence of showing them wonderful things then having his way with them, so it was good he was finally gone.

(Inspired from; https://only100words.xyz/2017/06/29/three-line-tales-week-74/ with thanks.)

 

Freak School

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The first time I found out my girls’ boarding school was haunted, I was crying in the library. The bullies had singled me out from day one as the ugly geek girl which wasn’t true. I was hiding in the corner of the reference section which no one but the teachers visited when something caught my eyes.

At first I thought it was because my vision was blurred by tears but then the fuzzy white mist before me began taking shape. I dried my face and stopped sniffing as the ghostly form of a young teenage girl appeared. She was shorter then me, with pig tailed hair and long dress.

‘What’s wrong?’ she asked, her voice whispery and as light as a feather.

Anybody else might have freaked out, but I was use to ghosts. I just hadn’t expected to see one at school!

‘The other girls are being mean to me,’ I muttered.

‘Girls were mean to me once too,’ the ghost responded.

‘What’s your name?’ I asked.

‘Annabelle. What’s your’s?’

‘Becky. How did you die?’

The ghost floated and turned about as if to take the library in. I wondered if she knew she was dead. Sometimes, ghosts didn’t know that.

‘It was an accident, I think, I fell down the grand staircase,’ Annabelle answered as thoughtfully as a ghost could.

‘Oh, how terrible!’ I replied.

‘It was a long, long time ago. It doesn’t matter. It’s been ages since I last found someone who could see me. Are you a witch or a medium?’

I shrugged, ‘I’m not sure.’

Annabelle sank down and came into a sitting position just above the floor. The library was silent. School was well over for the day and everyone had gone to eat or play.

‘Tell me about these girls. I’ll scare them good for you if you like,’ Annabelle added.

‘You’d do that?’ I asked, wiping my face with a hankie.

‘Sure. We’re going to be best friends, right?’

The ghost smiled and her face lit up.

I had a bad feeling in my belly, something wasn’t right here…..but Annabelle was just a little ghost. What harm could she really do?

‘Okay,’ I said slowly then I told her about the five girls who had been bullying me.

The next day, Darcy was missing from class. She had been the girl who had called me names and put chewing gum in my hair. The teacher said she was unwell, she had fallen out of bed hit her head badly.  A few days later, we were told she had been taken to hospital in a comma, she might never recover.

I tried to tell myself that my new ghost friend couldn’t have had anything to do with that that. Lots of people fall out of bed in the middle of the night, don’t they? The bad feeling I had before came back and I tried to find Annabelle to ask her, but I couldn’t make contact.

On the second day, Mabel tripped and broke both her legs. She had stolen my things, including my shoes and hide them. Mabel claimed someone pushed her but there’d been no one there. She was taken to hospital but her legs didn’t mend and she had to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. She never came back to school either.

That night, I crept from my bed and went to the library. Sitting in the reference section, I called Annabelle to me using a candle and a charm my great-grandmother had given me. I watched a white mist began to take a girl like shape.

‘Hello, Becky,’ Annabelle said cheerfully.

‘Two girls have been hurt now, did you have anything to do with that?’ I asked.

Annabelle’s face seemed to frown then she nodded, ‘They were mean to you, so I was mean to them.’

‘No!’ I cried, ‘that’s not what I meant for you to do!’

‘Do you want me to stop?’ Annabelle asked.

I held back a breath and tears. The other girls were still picking on me, but things had started getting worse. They were upset their friends were gone and taking it out on me. A part of me wanted them all gone but what Annabelle was doing was wrong.

‘Say it. Tell me to stop and I will,’ Annabelle pressed.

‘You have to find a different way. Just scare them a little. That’s all. Promise?’

‘Yes,’ Annabelle answered and vanished.

Leaning back against a bookcase, I listened to the silence for a few moments then made my way back to bed.

The next evening, Sallie was found almost drowned in the bath. Sallie had held me down whilst the other girls had hit and kicked me. She was a big girl, so it was hard to imagine anything like that happening to her. They took her hospital and she went home afterwards, but was so traumatised she didn’t come back to school that year.

Pacing my room, I tried to reach out to any ghosts but there didn’t seem to be any around. I went bed, tried and sad. This was all my fault and I couldn’t figure out how to stop it. Perhaps it would be best just to end things with Annabelle. If we weren’t friends any more she’d have no reason to hurt the other two girls.

The next day was dull and rainy. The lessons were boring and I couldn’t think clearly. Everyone seemed emotional too and confused. What was going on around here that could cause three girls to have freak accidents in a row? The guilt hung over me like a storm and I couldn’t wait till the evening to speak to Annabelle.

I rushed to the library after my last class and even though it was busy, I wiggled my way into the reference section and called the ghost to me. It took awhile. I guess because ghosts are weaker during the day but also because she knew I was mad with her. When the mist appeared, I asked her why even before her form had time to settle.

‘It was a accident. I didn’t mean to hold her down for so long,’ Annabelle replied sadly.

‘She almost died!’ I hissed back.

‘I was only trying to help you. Didn’t you want that? Aren’t we best friends?’ Annabelle asked.

I shook my head, ‘not any more we aren’t. I never want to see you again and you stay away from the other two girls got it?’

Annabelle’s ghostly face flashed with anger and in a puff she was gone.

I felt better but the next night I was awoken by screams. Scrambling from my bed, I saw that the last two girls, Nadia and Paula had fallen down the grand staircase. They were badly hurt and both claimed a ghost girl had attacked them in the night and chased them till they had bumped together at the top of the stairs and fallen down.

No one believed them of course, expect for me and after that I never saw Annabelle again.

The Tunnel #writephoto

Man caught in the light at the end of the tunnel

The caves people knew where the tunnel lead too and they left it well alone apart from when they came to bury their dead.

(Inspired by: https://scvincent.com/2017/06/22/thursday-photo-prompt-the-tunnel-writephoto/ with thanks)

Desert

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In the desert no one can remember your name because once you enter the red sand you are lost to all time in an accidentally wormhole. Your life is wiped out and those that knew you forget instantly as if you had never been born. The wormhole is eternal and as you drift through you see flashes of things. Sometimes you know these things – a rainbow, an expensive take away coffee cup but most of the times there’s just flashes of colour. You will die here in days, weeks maybe a month because no one gets out for that is the nature of a red sand wormhole.

The Basement (Part 7)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

All I could breath in was soil and decay. My ears were ringing, partly deafening me. I went over to my wife and pressed my back against the door too. A part of me didn’t think this flimsy wood would keep the skeletons back.

‘Are you hurt?’ Raven asked me.

‘I don’t think so…’ I trailed.

I was in too much shock to be thinking clearly. I tried to listen through the door, but the sounds were muffled. I reached for Raven’s hand and held it tightly. We listened and waited for the skeletons. A minute later, we heard banging and groaning. The door vibrated along our backs.

‘Let’s make a run for it. We can lose them in the cellars,’ Raven spoke.

Arming herself once again with the bits of coffin lid she had tossed aside, my wife walked a few steps then broke in a jog. I followed, not sure what else to do but thinking that Raven might be right. The cellars were a twisted maze and we should easily reached the house again before the skeletons got anywhere near us.

We headed back through the dirt tunnel, not talking just concentrating. Images flashed by me; the cloth rags around the bones, the shuffling footsteps, the grinning jaws, the missing teeth. The crumbled skeletons piling at my feet and Raven, my amazing woman, fighting then and taking so many down.

Why had they attacked us? How had they come to life? I had thought the house might be haunted…by ghosts and normal creepiness, but this? Animated skeletons in the basement? My brain was getting tried trying to answer those questions and more. My body was aching all over and the torch felt so heavy in my hand.

From behind us, the door broke down, sending a cloud of dirty towards us. I stole looks back and saw the skeletons pulling themselves out of the debris. At the back of my mind, I had been hoping that the door would stop them. Maybe, there’d been some magic seal or something that would stop them and trap the skeletons like before when we hadn’t entered.

Raven raced ahead of me and her torch light become just a dot. I tried to pick up speed, but I was too tried. Slowly and without wanting to, I came to a stop. Doubling over, I tried to breath but my throat was burning. Everything seemed to spin around me, waving in and out of focus like fast changing storm clouds. I couldn’t do anything to stop myself from going down.

Claws in my leg, right between the top of my boot of the cuffs of my black jeans. The clattering of loose teeth and clicking of bones, brought the last few minutes back into my head. I snapped awake, twisting around, thinking it had all been a dream, but then I realised I was laying face down in musty soil, my fingers hitting against a torch.

‘Crow? Crow? Where are you?’ Raven’s voice was screaming in the distance.

I took a deep breath and grabbing the torch, swung back at it. I heard the connection of plastic and bone. The tightness on my leg released and I scrambled upwards. Not looking back as I had enough fuel for nightmares to last the rest of my life, I bolted down the rest of the soil passage way and into Raven.

She had been coming back for me and I sent us both sprawling to the floor.

‘Are you okay? Where did you go?’ Raven gushed.

‘I tripped. I’m fine,’ I said.

We hugged tightly and helped each other up. We walked the rest of the way, holding each other as if we had been for a simple stroll around the rose gardens. Gratefully, I hobbled through the doorway and into the cellar.

I slummed down, slipping out of Raven’s arms. Pain was spiking through my ankle. I heard her closing the door and scrambling around.

‘What you doing?’ I mumbled.

‘Slowing them down,’ Raven replied.

I eased myself up  and watched my wife, shoving wood planks up against the door to block it. I should help, I wanted to help, but I couldn’t move. Laying down seemed the best thing to do right now.  Sleep was also good. I shut my eyes and felt myself drift.

‘Crow!’

A hand slapped my face and I awoke quickly.

‘You are hurt,’ Raven said.

In the torch light I could see her face was a worried and dirt streaked. The warrior seemed to be wearing out of her.

‘Not really. I’m okay, just my ankle….I twisted it,’ I told her.

Raven helped me up and I hobbled along side her. We went back through the cellar rooms till I thought we must be lost because it had been so long and everything looked the same.

‘We need to stop. I can’t go on,’ I said and aimed myself towards the floor.

Raven let me go and I sank down heavily like a anchor. I pressed my back against the cold, damp wall and looked up at Raven. She was tried. Her shoulders were slumped, her arms dragging downwards and she was breathing more deeply then I had seen her do so before.

She sat down next to me. Her boots scrapping the ground. She brought her knees up and pressed her face into them with some difficulty given her curvy frame.

We were silent. The darkness filled the void between us. I shut my eyes and let sleep claim me. I dreamed of nothing, just pools of darkness.

Raven shuffling brought me back too. We hadn’t turned the torches out, at least I don’t recall if we did and now Raven was bashing her’s in her palm and flicking the switch on and off.

I felt for mine and checked it. The beam seemed a bit dimmer but it was still working.

‘How much further?’ I asked.

‘Not far,’ Raven replied giving up with her torch, ‘I’m sure we must nearly be there.’

‘How sure?’

Raven looked at me her face serious then crumbling, ‘I don’t know…’

‘Are we lost?’

‘I…think so,’ Raven chocked, ‘I was too worried about you and I wasn’t thinking…’

‘It’s okay,’ I said softly, rubbing her back, ‘we’ll figure it out.’

Raven nodded.

We steeled ourselves and started walking again. This time I paid attention to the rooms, noticing the few bits and pieces as we passed. Twice we walked back into the final room and we heard from the hidden doorway banging and groaning. The door was strangely holding the skeletons back.

Finally, Raven found some sharp stones and we began marking the rooms as we went through them. That helped and at last we found the staircase. Heading upwards, I wondered what condition things would be in, but my mind was really far from that. I wanted to eat, sleep and hold my wife tightly.

Raven opened the door and went though to collapse at the kitchen table. I joined her, noticing how bright it was and how dirty we both were. My glass of half drunk water from hours ago was still on the table. I picked it up and drained it. Getting up, I went to the sank and drink straight from the table. I scrubbed my hands and face.

I got Raven a glass of water and watched her drink it slowly.

‘Are you okay?’ I asked.

‘I think so…’

‘Listen, Raven…’

‘I love you, Crow.’

‘I love you too,’ I replied.

‘And this house is just perfect,’ she add, getting up and hugging me, ‘I can’t believe it, skeletons in the cellar! What more could I have asked for!’

‘So, you’re not upset,’ I mumbled into her shoulder.

She kissed me and answered, ‘far from it.’

The Basement (Part 6)

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(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.) 

I felt Raven squeezing against me, breathing hard in my ear. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; a skeleton was really raising out of the ground. I tried to be rational, there was an earthquake and that was why all the graves were being disturbed. I was sure I’d heard something about that when there were other disasters; cemeteries got broken up and bodies moved about. That’s all it was.

‘Let’s go,’ I said and started to get up.

Raven muttered something that I didn’t hear, it sounded like, ‘keep low.’

We helped each other up then began moving towards the dirt covered stairs. Another skeleton hand burst upwards, showering us with soil. I swallowed a scream. There was nothing to be scared of, I was just over reacting. Grabbing Raven’s hand tightly, I walked steadily forward, keeping my eyes fixed on the door.

‘Oh, Crow look!’ Raven called.

I stole a glance at her and in the direction she was pointing. My wife was a mess which was so not like her. She was covered in dirt and her cheeks were flushed red. Her finger was pointing at the first stone sarcophagus. A large crack had spilt the stone side in half and the lid had moved off.

‘It’s just the earthquake,’ I shouted, ‘Oh no! The house!’

I broke into a run, suddenly blinded by worry. Tugging my wife after me, my thoughts spiralled and I pictured the house breaking apart and falling down. Everything would be lost! All my money, stuff, my life….My marriage….. Panic shot through me and I darted like a rabbit being chased by a fox.

‘Crow!’ Raven yelled at me.

I had no time to respond. The ground give a huge violent shake, tumbling us back down. I hit the moving soil hard and felt pain spiking through my hands, arms and knees. My torch flew away from me; light scattering around like a disco ball. I caught my breath then looked at my wife.

Raven was on her knees, searching for her torch which had tumbled down a hole. Her cheek and hands were scratched and bleeding. Her hair was totally dishevelled and clumped with dirt. In the dim light, her face looked pale, puzzled and worried.

‘Raven. Are you okay?’ I asked.

From behind us came loud groaning sounds which reminded me of zombie movies. Raven was a fan of those movies and whilst I found them okay, the idea that one day zombies could walk the earth chilled me. Trying to pertained it was just gas escaping. I helped Raven find her torch then went over to mine.

Something ensnared my leg, biting into my ankle. I cried out and looked down. Fingers were wrapped around me. I tried to kick free, but the grip was too strong. I bent down, ready to prise the boney fingers off me. Instead, another hand came upwards and grabbed mine.

‘Oh my god! It’s got me! Raven! Ahhhh!’ I screamed.

I heard rather then saw, Raven rush over and began stomping on the hands. The bones broke and snapped away but some how the skeleton still held on to me. I felt myself being dragged downwards. I couldn’t do anything my brain had gone into total panic. I felt the iron grip loosen and my wife tugging me away.

Raven must have been saying something but I couldn’t hear her. All around the groaning had reached a high followed by the sounds of the place shaking and things breaking a part. I couldn’t keep my balance and was constantly stumbling over. I was struggling to breath too, the air was clogged with dust, dirt and decay.

My hand slipped from Raven’s. I bent over trying to calm myself and focus. I looked at the ground just next to my feet and took in deep breaths. This was so not happening! Whatever the hell was going on here wasn’t real. This was a nightmare and I was going to convince myself of it.

Despite all the background noise, I heard the snapping of wood close by and looked up. Raven was standing by a dark wooden coffin and was ripping off chunks of the lid. Her torch was between her legs and she was grunting with the effort but looked determined to achieve her goal. Frowning, I watched her break the long planks in half. She handed me two and I slipped my torch under my arm. Then I switched the plank and torch around. It took my brain a moment to realise what she wanted me to do.

We were surround. The skeletons were all upright and ambling towards us with shuffling steps. Some had scraps of fabric hanging off them, others had shoes still on, a few even had jewellery around their necks and arms. There was no flesh or anything else left on them, they were all just creamy or yellow bones. It looked like a scene out of a fantasy horror movie.

It was a strange sight and one that would stay with me forever. I clutched the piece of coffin lid my wife had given me as if it alone would save me. Though I wasn’t religious I began praying because that was always the think to do in situations like this, wasn’t it?

‘Oh God, or whatever, please save us. Please get us out of this….’ I spoke.

‘I’ll get us out of this,’ Raven cut in.

I looked at her and she was battle ready. In a flash, I remembered the time I had seen her fight in a competition and how she had quickly won. Now, she was holding her pieces of wood like swords in both hands and was fixed on the closest skeleton, ready to swing it’s skull off. Her torch was safe tugged under her arm.

I had been avoiding looking into the hollow eye sockets before, but now I was drawn too. There was nothing there, not like a black spark of evil magic or anything that would allow sight. What was drawing these things to us?

Raven struck out at the skeleton and just as I predicated it’s skull went sailing off, over the tops of the other skeletons. Then that one just crumpled to the ground, all the bones clattering together and forming a scattered pile at Raven’s feet.

‘Easier then I thought! Come on Crow! Get whacking!’ my wife screamed.

She swing both pieces of wood this time and took out two skeletons. Nervously, I looked at the skeleton coming towards me. It was short and it’s jaw was hanging off to the side. I shut my eyes, took a deep breath, opened my eyes then swung back with the plank in my right hand. As if I was hitting an oncoming ball, I swung back with force, aiming of the skull and actually sending it clean off.

‘Yeah! You did it!’ Raven cheered, ‘Now do it again!’

I was shaking and wasn’t sure I could. I watched her take out three more then there was another skeleton real close to me. I swung out again and this time caught the rib cage. There was a snapping and cracking of bones. The skeleton paused then stepped towards me again. This time I aimed for the skull and took it straight off.

‘We need to move!’ Raven yelled with a toss of her head, ‘let’s get to the door and out of here!’

‘But how?’ I shouted back.

The ground was still quaking and the skeletons were swarming us. I had another flash picture, only this time we were covered in skeletons and they were biting at us till we died. If this was a nightmare then it would end, right? I didn’t have time to reflect on that because another skeleton was upon me.

I hit into it, taking down in two strokes. The bones crumpled to the floor to join the others. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Raven make a break for it and dart over to the steps. We had been super close before, but we had allowed the skeletons to cut us off. Trying to keep down my panic, I fled after her, feeling boney finger tips scratching me.

Seeing Raven reach and climb the stairs, spurred me on. My foot hit the first step and I raced up them, moving faster then I’ve ever done in my whole life. I heard the skeletons moaning and groaning behind us as if they realised we were getting away. I strange thought entered my head; how could they make noise when they had no vocal cords?

That was another thought for later! Raven was through the door and spinning back to call me on.

‘Almost there, Crow! Come on! You can do it!’ she called.

I charged through the door like a bull and went sprawling on the floor of the passage way. I heard the door slamming shut and Raven scrambling around. I climbed to my feet and saw my wife pressed again the door.

We were far from safe.

To Be Continued….