12: I'm Not Gonna Die Here

“Fuck! Fuck!”

Rocks, briars, and fallen branches poked and scratched through my flannel shirt.

The silhouettes of trees and bushes rushed by as quickly as if I was driving passed them in a car. With my free hand, I grabbed at saplings and vines, but they either ripped out of the ground or snapped in two. I dug my bare heels into the leaves and dirt in vain.

Well this sucks, I thought.

The Slasher’s tight grip numbed my wrist. As it dragged me through the woods, a sharp burning sensation pulled my bicep apart.

Why doesn’t it just kill me and get it over with?

When Leslie had devised her brilliant plan to trap the monster, there’d been one huge flaw. In order for it to work, it needed to rely on someone other than the unluckiest person in the world. Clearly, since my arrival at the horror-filled St. Lawrence, that’s exactly what I was.

My arm continued to stretch. I figured it was gonna snap off pretty soon, but then, the Slasher released its grip. I dropped. My face smacked against the ground, which felt just as hard as the cement floor at the pool. As if I needed anymore bruising after all the trauma my body had sustained over the past day.

I hopped to my feet, my head bobbing about as I searched for the Slasher.

I couldn’t find it.

When the fuck did it get this fast?

It’d dropped me in a small clearing. Bare trees, back-lit by the soft blue of the moon, looked like shadows. It was nearly impossible to distinguish a 7-foot-tall black mass from anything else. As I turned every way, dry leaves rustled under my feet. The ribbets of the frogs I’d heard loud and clear by the church were much softer now.

Come on…where’d ya go?

The Slasher’d had me in its misshapen clutches and could have torn my throat off right then. Why’d it gone to all the trouble to drag me this far into the woods and then disappear?

Leslie had said the Slasher fed off people’s fears. Shit! It was trying to freak me out. It was probably getting some sick pleasure outta making me squirm—making me wonder when or where it was gonna pop out.

“Come on you dumb fuck!” I called out. “I’m not afraid of you! If you’re gonna kill me, just do it!” My words were far more confident than I felt. I was really wigging out as much as I’m sure it wanted me to. And if it could feel my energy or whatever, as Leslie had said it could, then my antagonizing it wasn’t going to make any difference.

RATTLE! RATTLE!

“Fuck!” I spun around, stumbled backwards. Nothing was there, but I could’ve sworn the sound had come from right behind me.

RATTLE! RATTLE!

It was behind me again. I twisted my body back around, fists ready—as if swinging at it a few times was going to help.

Either my vision was getting worse or the shadows of the trees and bushes were starting to blur together.

RATTLE RATTLE...RATTLE RATTLE...RATTLE RATTLE…

Now I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. My head shot to one side, then the other, then whipped around to check behind me.

Nothing.

I had two choices. I could stay where I was and let the Slasher scare me till it was ready to attack. Or I could run like hell, going God-knows-where and let it hunt me down and freak me out that way. Standing there wasn’t really an option for me, so I dashed through the woods, heading towards where I thought I heard the frogs coming from.

The rattling continued behind me. A rush of adrenaline shot from my stomach to my chest, and my speed double in half a second. I hopped over stumps and fallen trees. Occasionally, I wouldn’t see one and stumbled forward till I caught my balance and continued speeding along. I ducked under large branches. The little ones I ran right through, letting them slap me in the face, chest, and legs. I was starting to get used to this new fast-breathing, heart-pounding, muscles-throbbing routine.

I didn’t know how far I’d run, but eventually the rattling stopped. I didn’t like it. At least when it was there, I knew that the Slasher was still toying with me. Now, I figured it was ready for the kill.

I kept on running for what felt like an hour, but honestly was probably five minutes, before I saw headstones and miniature statues through the trees.

The cemetery. I must’ve been close to the church! I was starting to feel hopeful again. If Carrie’d finished her circles of protection, then our trap would be ready, and I still had a chance of stopping the Slasher.

As I hurried into the cemetery, excited about possibly getting to live a little longer, my heart sank.

It was a huge ass cemetery!

Where the hell’d all this come from?

It stretched about a forth of a mile up a hill. And there was no sign of the church. This must have been an extension of the other cemetery, or a separate one altogether. Either way, it made perfect sense, because surely it would have been too convenient for me to have been back at the church already. It would have meant my life was getting easier. But no! It was still going to be a pain in the ass.

This was a much nicer cemetery than the one by the church. It had human-sized statues of Mary, saints, and weeping angels. There were mausoleums decorated with stain-glass windows, mini-statues, and stone crosses. But like the cemetery by the church, grass and ivy crawled up everything, and succeeded in hiding many of the regular sized headstones.

It was kinda sad seeing an abandoned cemetery in the middle of the woods. Did no one care about any of these people?

RATTLE RATTLE!

The sound reminded me that I didn’t have time to mourn over forgotten souls. I had my own to think about.

I jet through the cemetery, didn’t even bother looking back.

Not even knowing where the church was, I ran to the closest mausoleum, just hoping for a place to hide. It had two stone lion statues on either side of an iron door with those round door knockers. Over the door, a stain-glass window that looked dark blue in the moonlight had a jagged hole in it where someone had obviously broken in.

A rusty chain was wrapped around the door handles, so the window was my only option. I put my foot in one of the knockers, my other in a lion’s mouth, and grabbed onto the stone frame above the door.

A rustling sound came from behind me. I forced myself to turn around.

The cloaked creature ran out of the woods, hauling ass toward me.

My foot slipped out of the lion’s mouth. I fell on my back.

Goddammit!

I leapt back up, shoved my foot back in the lion’s mouth, put the other in the knocker, and pulled myself up to the window. I glanced back quickly. The Slasher was already halfway to the mausoleum.

I scurried through the window, cutting myself on bits of glass that were poking up from the bottom of the frame. I hopped onto the floor.

Shit!

I’d been able to get by in the church basement and the storage room, but the mausoleum was just a little bigger than a closet, and a massive coffin that was set in the middle made it appear even smaller.

My muscles stiffened. My hands shook like I was pushing a walk-behind mower. I dropped to my knees, my stomach churning and a crawling sensation rushing up my esophagus. I was having a panic attack.

You stupid pussy! I fussed at myself. I don’t have time for this!

This was a mistake, but crawling back out wasn’t an option. I could hardly force air into my lungs, let alone stand.

Whatever I thought. I am not going to die here.

I tried to make myself to stand, but only managed to crawl about a foot in front of me so that my head hit the stone-hard coffin.

I heard a sound behind me. I was able to turn my head just enough to see the doors cracked open, and shaking wildly about. It was trying to get in. And fortunately for me, that rusty chain around the handles still had some strength left in it.

I shaped my hands into claws and scratched at the coffin, trying to use it to pull myself back on my feet.

My head twitched side to side, and my hyperventilating sped up. The room was spinning so much that I had to close my eyes.

The image of Dad standing over me, yelling, “Get the hell up! Get the hell up!” raced through my mind.

I’m not gonna die here. I’m not gonna die here, I repeated to myself, knowing I totally was.