13: Lucky Me

I'm not gonna die here. I'm not gonna die here, I continued to think amidst my panic attack.

Cracks in the stone walls, cobwebs, dust, the coffin, and the doors blurred together and swirled around in a nauseous-making kaleidoscope effect. I wanted to throw up, but I could tell it wasn't gonna happen.

CLANG! CLANG!

The Slasher struggled with the mausoleum door. That old chain around the handles may have just been my saving grace.

CLANG! CRUSH!

But of course, I wasn’t that fortunate.

The doors flew open, and a black shadow that I knew was the Slasher rushed in. It went for the coffin—or at least that’s what it looked like. My swirling vision wasn’t very reliable, and I didn’t stick around to find out. I crawled to the door, feeling my fingers along the floor so that I had an extra-sensor to verify where I was going. I dragged my body across a stone platform just outside and fell onto the grass and dirt just beyond it.

Still in hyperventilation mode, I struggled for air that my lungs refused to let in. It would have been helpful if my reflexes and mobility had returned faster, but most of my body was still paralyzed. Fortunately, my limbs permitted a little movement. I pushed my palms against the ground, but I was shaking so much that as I got about halfway up, my wrist gave and I fell on my side.

It was an odd thing. Here I was with all this adrenaline rushing through me, sweat pouring down my face, a desire to run, and a perfectly good body to run in, but my body wasn’t gonna do it.

Gimme a break!

But as much as I wanted to spring to my feet and get the hell outta there, my body didn’t let me do more than slightly flip onto my back.

The Slasher came out of the mausoleum, its black cloak blowing in a breeze that I was numb to. It grabbed my ankles and dragged me back into the mausoleum.

Well, that was fucking useless.

Jumbled images cluttered before me, and I dropped. It wasn’t a big drop, but I could tell by the hard stone on either side of me that the Slasher had put me in something. I wiggled around a bit before my vision settled enough for me to realize where I was. I was inside the coffin!

My eyes shuffled back in forth, to one side of the coffin, then the other. The interior was stone as well, which I thought was very unusual. Most coffins I’d seen had soft bedding inside them. Inside this one, the walls were slick like marble, and glowed in the moonlight. I figured it had to just be someone's perverse idea of a decoration.

My neck jerked back and forth like my chin was trying to write a message in the air. My claustrophobia had completely immobilized me. Even my seizure-like shaking had settled. I wasn’t hyperventilating anymore-just making soft wheezing sounds. I felt like I had when I was drowning in the pool.

Who the fuck needed a giant coffin in the middle of a mausoleum anyway? This is bullshit!

I wished that I could have said that this was the worst my claustrophobia had ever been, but unfortunately, that wasn’t true.

The moonlight that entered through the stain-glass windows gave me just enough light to see the Slasher hovering over me. Out of the contorted images that raced before me, I saw the shadow of what I knew was the Slasher’s morbidly blistered, skeleton-thin hand. It reached into the cloak, pulled out a dark object, which I couldn't identify till a gleam of moonlight reflected off its side. It was a blade—probably the same one it’d used to kill Ms. Ryder back at the clinic.

The Slasher knelt down so that its hood was just above me. Warm air that I figured was the creature’s breath rushed against my face. The monster pressed the end of the blade against my throat, massaging it around. It was trying to freak me out. I didn’t see why. It had me right where it needed, and I didn’t think that I could be any more helpless than I was in that moment. I was going to die, and I was ready for it. Well, as ready as I could have been.

The Slasher pulled back, raised the knife high over its hood. I gulped as my chest kicked forward a few times—either a result of my panic attack, or my subconscious’ last attempt at keeping me alive.

It drove the knife down with a force that I knew was going to rip right through my chest.

“Enough!” a soft voice echoed off the mausoleum walls.

Dust or specks of something sparkled in the moonlight as they rushed in front of the Slasher, filling the inside of its hood. The creature flew back, like something had pulled it away. Its silhouette slammed against the wall and dropped to the floor.

I figured this was my cue to hop out of the coffin and run, but lying there, continuing to shake, was the best I could do.

A pasty face floated into view. The mousy features were moving back and forth so that I couldn’t distinguish the details of the face, but I knew it was Carrie. As appreciative as I was that she’d come to my rescue, the embarrassment of her seeing me like this was so intense, I wished the thing woulda just killed me.

“Come on!” she exclaimed, looking down at me with wide-eyes that seemed to be bobbing around her mini-nose.

She obviously didn’t understand the extent of my condition. I didn’t attempt to explain cause by the time I was able to get words out of my mouth, she would’ve already figured it out.

“Oh my God,” she said. “Are you going into shock?”

My head jerked a nod. It wasn’t a reply.

After quickly realizing I wasn’t moving anytime soon, she pulled me out of the coffin and dragged me out into the cemetery. She dropped me in the grass and dirt in the same spot I’d managed to get to on my own earlier. I imagined it was as far as her strength could get me.

She knelt by chest, checked for injuries, and took my pulse.

I still couldn’t breathe, and I was starting to see those same spots I’d seen when Brad and Seth had me pinned to the dorm wall, suffocating me with their powers. I figured I had a few moments of consciousness left. Carrie needed to just get outta there while she could and leave me to die.

Her face tensed. She shook my shoulders. “Come on, Jason! We don’t have time for this!” she insisted.

Oh, I’m sorry, I thought. Is this inconveniencing you? Hold up. I’ll just stop. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.

“Jason!” she cried.

She took a frustrated breath, then closed her eyes. She clenched one hand around her necklace and rested the other on my chest. She muttered to herself, just as she had done in the old church basement.

The spots grew larger and larger before my eyes sealed shut.

Here I go…