A Bed of Broken Glass

The only thing to keep me company is the knowledge that I am alone. The mattress creaks as I sit up. To my left there is an empty bed. A room for two. Between adjacent curtains a slit of moonlight penetrates the air through the window, revealing and illuminating the dust. In the corner there are two chairs, each facing me. I get up and cross the room to the window. As I peel back the heavy curtains I see a mountainous expanse, densely covered by tall, dark-green pines. I feel the cold window pane with my hand and put my weight against it. The frame moans sharply as I push, each nudge loosening the window from its cheap, aged frame. Only now do I realize that my face is quite cold. I move towards the door quickly, each step faster than the last, and close my hand around the knob which is wet to the touch. I turn the knob and pull. It clicks but will not open. I try the reverse direction, the knob clicks. This time I pull with more effort. The door swings open and I walk across the wooden floor and onto the carpet in a hallway lined with candle lights. There is a black window on my right. I pause to observe it. I see no mountains; no pine trees. Still puzzled, I turn to the left and begin walking. As my head rotates to the left, slightly lagging behind my legs, I see a woman in a white dress at the end of the hallway. As the corridor continues it fades into black until the end where the woman is standing. Her face is hidden from me, eclipsed by long black hair on either side of her face. Her skin looks pale, wet, and swollen and her dress is dripping with muddy water. The lighting does not permit me to see much else at the end of the corridor. As I stare, the hallway seems to compress, and a black fog that veils the lady begins to move forward, consuming the walls, floor, and ceiling. I start stepping backwards. She begins to move toward me. The light of each candle is extinguished as the lady approaches. While each door and candle is enveloped by the growing darkness, the hallway shortens. She raises her arm parallel with the wall as she and the black cloud come closer to me, but her fingers remain limp. The doors in the hallway start to shake violently. Panicked, I run back into my room and slam the door. Grabbing them with slippery, shaking hands, I drag the chairs across the floor to the entrance, wood scraping against wood like fingernails, each chair becoming heavier as I move closer to the door. After barricading the entrance, I stop for a moment. I hear a breeze move over the tops of the pines outside my window and then it is silent. I wait staring at the door. Though it is cold, beads of sweat roll down the side of my face. My gaze shifts down to the faint candle light beneath the door. Frozen in place, I stare at the small yellow strip. With no break in the silence, it is extinguished. Then, the doorknob begins to jiggle. I am yanked from the door by fear, backing up to the middle of my room. I look around frantically. On the desk, half illuminated by the moonlight, is a phone book and a telephone. I stride over to the desk and open the phone book, flipping through the pages. The pages are wet. Blank space after blank space, I speed through the book until I glimpse ink on one page. I open to it. The ink is still wet to the touch, laden with moisture, and has dripped down the paper, elongating each letter, as if wept into writing by the book. On the page, faded and alone, is my name and a number. I enter the digits, one at a time, door knob jiggling in the background. Each second striking greater fear into my seizuring heart. Without ringing it clicks and I hear the phone connect to another line. Through it I hear things being smashed; tables, chairs, mirrors and windows. I hear a chair thrown across a room, tumbling against a hard wooden floor until it collides into the wall with a final crack. The phone goes silent, then the call ends. I glance over at the door and it stops shaking. I watch it. Outside wind carries a cloud in front of the moon, blanketing the room in darkness. The door knob turns. I look to the window, with its weak frame, my only escape. I run at it and lower my shoulder. The glass shatters as my body meets it.

*************

Laying in a bed of broken glass and wet cold dirt, I wake up to a stiffness in my ankle. I attempt to stand but my ankle buckles under the weight and a sharp pain courses up my leg. I fall to my hands and knees. As I struggle back onto my feet, the moon moves out from behind the cloud, and gliding over the tops of the trees, its light falls upon me. The panic returns to me as I regain my senses and I limp towards the woods, away from the building. As I reach the edge of the forest, I look back at the broken window from which I fell. There in the window, a black silhouette in a white dress looks down at me. Fear overcomes the pain in my ankle and I race into the darkness among the pines.

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