So I asked on Facebook if readers would like a creepy, cute or sexy teaser and it seems like creepy one won this round! Glad to see everyone is ready to be scared because, I gotta tell ya, it’s creeping the shit out of me having to write this.
BUT the other choices were a close second…so before I hit publish in about 8 days, I’ll also release a sexy one and a cute one. Sound good? Good!
UNEDITED AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE
ASHES TO ASHES — EIT #8
I’M A TEASE
“Well, let’s go,” I said. “We don’t have all night.”
He nodded and aimed the camera in front of him. “I’m assuming the tunnel runs diagonally along the length of the building. The very top probably lets out above the far corner of the west wing.”
I felt the darkness sitting on either side of us, the chill of the tunnel seeping into my clothes. I quickly jabbed Dex in the back. “Hey, we’ll worry about that later. Let’s just get to the second floor.” It never left my mind for one second that the ball had rolled somewhere behind us, toward the end of the chute, and there was no telling if the thing that kicked it there had gone after it or not.
In other words, I didn’t know what was worse – the void in front of us or the black emptiness behind us.
Thank god I was sandwiched between the two of them as we carefully made our way up the passageway. I felt all my senses on fire as we went, my eyes happy to be watching my feet instead of the unknown that lay in front of Dex and his camera. The only sounds were our footsteps, echoing faintly from the closed-in walls, and the raggedness of our breath.
“Everyone holding up back there?” Dex whispered. As if he couldn’t feel me hanging onto the back of his jacket like a little kid.
“Uh, huh,” I managed to say, my mouth dry.
We waited to hear Rebecca’s response but she didn’t say anything, though I could feel her breath and presence at my back.
“Feeling claustrophobic yet?” I prodded her for an answer. When she still didn’t say anything, I dared to look behind me.
Despite feeling her breath a second ago, I could barely see her. She’d stopped in the middle of the tunnel, about ten feet away, her figure backlit faintly from the residual light of the hallway.
“R-Rebecca?” I asked, my voice shaking. I stopped and pulled Dex back. He immediately shone his light on her.
“Are you all right?” Dex asked. “Why are you being creepy?”
“Shhh,” she said softly. “I’m listening.”
“To what?” I whispered as goosebumps prickled my arms.
She didn’t say anything but remained absolutely still. I could hear my own heart thudding in my chest, Dex’s breathing, the whir of the camera as it tried to focus.
I was about to ask again what on earth we were listening for when I finally heard it.
It was a few notes of music. But more specific than that; it was a xylophone, like the kind I used to play around with as a child. I held in a gasp as my brain tried to recognize the faint melody in it. The notes would come and go, as if being swept away by an imaginary breeze, so the song never felt fully formed.
“Ring around the rosy,” Dex said in a low voice. I turned to look at him, wincing at the light he was holding in his other hand. “Listen.”
He was right. I could pick out the tune and once I did, I got pummeled with that get the fuck out of here feeling. We’d made it about fifteen feet into the tunnel and I’d already had enough.
Of course, I didn’t tell them that. I could feel Dex watching me closely, waiting for me to freak out.
“Let’s keep going,” I said quickly. I looked over to Rebecca who slowly nodded. I could see the music was intriguing her and that her rational mind was trying to attribute it to something logical. I wished she could have passed some of that logic onto me because her mind seemed like a safer place to be.
We resumed walking and as we did the tune began to fade until we were left again with the sound of our own breath and blood pumping within us.
“Okay,” Dex said slowly, coming to a stop. He shone the light forward, illuminating nothing but the never-ending tunnel as its graying walls disappeared into the black. I was terrified of the darkness that lay ahead, getting that same peculiar feeling I’d gotten earlier in the day when I had stared up at the house. Seeing nothing but feeling – knowing- that something was hidden in front of your eyes and watching you.
He looked over my head at Rebecca. “Do we want to try communicating in here or on the second floor?”
“Communicating?” I repeated, my skin dancing with raw nerves. “In here? No way. Not tonight. We should do that after the tour tomorrow so we know what the hell we’re dealing with.”
“There’s obviously something in this tunnel with us,” he said, his voice an octave lower. “Don’t you feel it?”
At that, a loud, gritty scraping sound rushed up from behind us. Dex immediately shone the light down the chute, illuminating the door to the first floor.
It was closing on us. Slowly.
As if someone on the other side was pushing it shut.
“Oh god,” I gasped as the door closed with a groan, sealing us inside the tunnel.