Fiction Fragment Friday
This weeks Story is chapter one of a novel I started writing but never finished. I have quite a few of those. The idea was to tell the story from two different character’s perspectives each chapter. If the characters interacted I would give the scene in both characters perspective. That got a little too much in dialog heavy scenes and I never worked out a way to make that work without too much repetition.
“Hank, come back Hank,” William yelled into the otherwise silent night. The ground was rough and he was starting to get tired from pushing his way through the heavy overgrowth. A sharp pain hit him as a branch he had just let go of came crashing back against his neck. “Ow, damn it Hank this isn’t like you at all.” Blood dripped from where the branch had just struck.
It had been five minutes since Hank had shot off into the woods pulling his leash loose from William’s grip. William had followed him into the forest but had not seen or heard him for at least two minutes now. Fear started to set in at the realization that he might never see his beloved pet again. How would a house dog get by on his own without someone to feed and water him? These thoughts were brought to an abrupt stop though as barking could be heard ahead.
“There you are,” William mumbled as he rushed forward with renewed determination. He was far from graceful as he tried to run in the direction of the barking. Many new bruises and small cuts were earned as the forest seemed to do it’s best to slow William down. Finally, the thick bushes gave way to a large open clearing. On the verge of collapsing from exhaustion William stumbled to the ground caught off guard by the sudden lack of resistance. Hank was in the middle digging at the ground.
“Hank come on boy. Come here.” William struggled to his feat and walked slowly towards Hank afraid of spooking him.
Hank looked at William with his head tilted to the left. He took a few steps forward, but then quickly turned away and ran back into the woods.
“No, wait. Why are you doing this?” William shot forward after his dog. As he reached the area Hank had been digging in something caught him by the ankle in mid stride. His shoulder screamed with pain as it hit the ground. For the first time William noticed that the dirt around him in the clearing was loose. It was obvious that someone had done digging here recently. He glanced back to see what his leg got caught on and was suddenly filled with terror. A hand was reaching out of the ground and fingers were wrapped around his ankle. Scenes from every horror movie he had ever seen flew through his mind. Finally, though his mind went through all the logical options and decided that someone was buried alive there in front of him.
“Hold on, I’ll help you.” William started to dig in the dirt with his hands and found that the hand coming out of the ground had let go of his ankle. He grabbed the hand and pulled with all his strength. Suddenly another hand came out of the dirt. It pushed against the ground and with William’s help a woman soon rose out of the loose dirt. She was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but they were ripped and dirty. “Are you ok? Who did this to you?”
She didn’t speak a word. She just lay on the ground breathing heavily. “Can you understand me?” She stared back still looking very scared and confused. “Look, it’s going to be ok. I don’t know what happened here, but whatever it was it’s over now. I’m going to get you out of here and we can figure out what to do from there. Do you think you can walk?” William reached out to her and helped her to her feat. She stumbled a little bit but was soon standing on her own. “I’m sorry Hank, but she needs me more right now.” William turned away from her towards the direction he had come into the clearing. “Let’s head this way.”
Hank lunged out of the woods and barked wildly at the woman. He stood his ground and growled a sound that William had never heard from his dog. “Hank what’s wrong with you? Look he has never done this before. I’m so sorry.” William took a step towards the woman but stopped quickly and stumbled backwards to the ground. She was snarling back at his dog with long fangs. She seemed truly afraid of Hank. After a few seconds she turned and ran into the woods.
Hank turned to William and climbed onto his lap. He licked his face and whined a little bit. William started to pet Hank gently. “What the hell just happened here boy? Were you trying to protect me?” He grabbed the leash still dangling from his collar. “Come on let’s get out of here.” William and Hank went off into the woods together in the opposite direction of the woman that William was just now realizing might not be entirely human. He had a lot to think about on the search for a way out of the woods.
She opened her eyes but couldn’t see anything. It felt like something was pressing against them. Movement was very difficult, but not entirely impossible. When she opened her mouth, dirt poured into it. The realization that she was buried underground hit her like a ton of bricks. Panic overwhelmed her but screaming was impossible because her mouth and throat were now filled with dirt.
She franticly thrust her hands forward and found that the dirt was loose enough for her to push aside if she really struggled. With no idea how far down she was or even what direction was up the only thought was getting out of the ground. She clawed at the dirt for what seemed like hours, but in reality, was probably only a few minutes. Finally, her hand broke through the ground and into the air.
Her hand wrapped around something. She couldn’t tell what it was, but it was solid enough to grip and maybe be used to get out. Suddenly she felt fingers rub against her hand and realized that someone was digging from the other direction. Help was coming. Letting go of whatever she was holding; digging was once again the number one priority. The hand on the other end grabbed hers and started to pull. She managed to get her other hand out of the ground to help push herself up. The combination of someone pulling her and her other hand pushing against the ground was enough to finally allow her to pull her way out of the ground.
She just lay on the ground breathing heavily. She looked up at the man who had helped her scared and not quite realizing what had happened. The shock of waking up in a grave overwhelmed her still, but she was beginning to think again. She also found that the longer she lay on the ground the more she started to feel hungry.
The stranger helped her up to her feet and she found that even though she stumbled she could walk. Memories continued to flood back to her. She couldn’t remember who she was or anything about her life, but she was getting flashes of things she had done. She wondered how she could have gotten buried, and as she did she began to get flashes of someone attacking her. She saw herself thrown to the ground in the very clearing she lay in now. She remembered pain as someone on top of her biting into her neck. She reached for it and found two tiny holes.
The hunger continued to grow in her. She found that with each passing second it was harder and harder to think straight. The man who had helped her turned away from her and seeing him with his back turned suddenly filled her with the desire to attack him. Her eyes were drawn to his neck were a small line of blood was dripping. She couldn’t understand where these feeling or this hunger was coming from. It became too much for her and she moved to strike.
Suddenly a dog jumped out of the woods and positioned itself between her and the man. It barked loudly and growled at her. She found that the sounds pierced her ears and hurt. She heard a terrible snarling sound and realized it was her. She didn’t seem to have any control over herself and found that she was behaving like a wild animal. She was filled with fear of what she was doing and of the dog. The barking and howling was still hurting her and the pain brought back a small bit of control. She felt the need to run from the animal so she turned away and ran full speed into the woods.
She found that she could run much faster than she thought she should be able to. She seemed to flow into the woods being able to dodge every branch and brush before she even consciously knew they were there. She saw a drainage pipe ahead and ran for it. Quickly crawling inside she curled up into the fetal position. She mumbled to herself. “That poor man was trying to help me and I was going to attack him. Who am I?” She remembered the snarling sounds that she had made and the loss of control. “No, what am I?” The tears began to flow. She cried herself to sleep lying in the drain.