She still couldn’t shake the previous night’s dream.
Chilled stone corridors dripped menace as she stumbled alone some predetermined route that allowed no deviation. She was hurrying away from something, but it remained unseen, as things often do in dreams. Broken fragments of the granite floor sliced through the tender flesh of her feet as she raced along blindly.
No soft moss lingered to soften the footfalls of her battered feet. Light had remained absent far too long in this place.
Minutes or hours passed without progression. Her unseen stalker never drawing closer, and her blood-smeared steps never taking her out of harm’s way. The atmosphere was nearly electric with her terror, but not even a cool breeze from abysmal depths dared cause the slightest ripple in the stale air.
She wanted to catch her breath; wanted to turn and face whatever nightmarish entity hunted her through the catacombs. Every time she slowed though, the intense terror of the unseen reigned in her need to breathe and she could do nothing else besides force her was forward and deeper into the infinite sepulcher.
Just as she thought that her aching legs could take her no further, a thin band of light penetrated the darkness at the edge of her vision. She struggled toward it, praying that it was a shaft of some sort or some other means of escape. As she edged closer, the light grew brighter, but no more discernible. The shape neglected to manifest itself, and instead only became a brighter slit from some still-concealed source.
The brightness grew, enveloping and demolishing the cyclopean mausoleum. She was consumed and she opened her eyes in time to see that she has awakened from the nightmare. For a moment she felt cold water and sharp stone.
The deep shaft she had been descending spiraled up into oblivion. Her frayed and severed rope floated on the water’s surface around her, reminding her of the snap and the fall. She had been knocked unconscious and lay battered at the bottom of this tear in the earth near the sea. Blood slowly oozed from a deep gash near her temple.
High tide was submerging the shaft and even if she could stand on her broken femur, it would only buy her a modicum of time. Water gently lapped at her chin, urging her to react, but she was too weak. As stars burst at the edges of her vision, she felt the concussion sucking her back into the dream labyrinth. Soon enough she would be pursued by that unseen terror once more.
Of course her assailant would never be seen.
The gentle water that threatened to end her had no face to speak of, only the unforgiving grip of death.