WINNER: Hope C.
Shivering, I crept through the dark woods as quietly as I could. A biting wind blew through the forest, and I was very cold. Thunderclouds blocked out the moonlight, making it hard for me to see where I was going. The flashlight I held in my trembling hand was flickering on and off; it wouldn't last much longer. Lightning flashed across the sky, and thunder rumbled. The storm would arrive any moment.
Why exactly was I creeping through woods in the middle of the night? I wondered that myself. All I knew was that my destination was the abandoned mansion. With every step closer, I felt my heart beating faster. Just a few more seconds and I'll be there, I told myself.
There was another burst of lightning as I arrived at the mansion. It was in a large clearing in the middle of the woods. It was a big and creepy-looking place, and to make it worse, there were rusting statues of gargoyles perched on the roof and balcony that seemed to be watching my every move.
I slowly approached the house. It's not too late to turn back, I thought. But I willed myself forward. Just as I stepped onto the porch, the rain began to pour out of the sky. I was relieved I hadn't been rained on, but... that meant I would have to stay here until the storm stopped! I was shaking like a leaf as I stepped up to the front door and twisted the doorknob. Locked. What now? I wondered. I glanced at the torrents of rain falling from the sky. There was no way I'd make it even a few steps without being completely drenched from head to toe. If I tried to make it home in that weather, I would catch hypothermia for sure.
A rat skittered out through a crack in the porch boards, and I screamed. I leaped back in fear, slipping on a puddle of rainwater. I plummeted backward, hitting my head on the ground. Everything around me became hazy and blurred, and I couldn't move.
I suddenly felt cold, bony hands lift me off the ground. Darkness began to cloud my vision. Then... I blacked out.
I opened my eyes. I felt dizzy; my head hurt. Where am I...? I wondered. I was in a room. I slowly sat up. I was in an empty room. There was a fireplace against one wall, and some furniture covered in white blankets. There was a portrait of a stern, unhappy-looking woman on one wall. Other than that, the room was empty. I heard a grandfather clock somewhere else in the house chime twice. Two o' clock in the morning... I thought. Wait, I've been here five hours?! I got to my feet and leaned against the wall to support myself. I gingerly reached to the back of my head where the pain was throbbing. I had a good-sized lump on the back of my head.
There was a door at the opposite end of the room. I carefully made my way towards it. Suddenly, I heard a thump upstairs, then a blood-curdling scream, coming from somewhere above me. I stopped walking, fear paralysing me.
I heard footsteps that sounded like they were in this very room! They were coming toward me, but I couldn't see anyone approaching. Terrified, I dashed to the door, flinging it open and running in to a long hallway. I slammed the door shut behind me and ran quickly down the hall, ignoring the pain in my head. I heard another scream that echoed throughout the house. As I neared the door at the end of the hall, I saw a glowing figure. A ghost!! Panic-stricken, I turned and ran in the other direction. But there! Another ghost awaited me! I had nowhere to go – I was trapped!
There was a door in front of me. I opened it and quickly entered it.
“You can't get away! You will never get away!” An eerie voice laughed evilly.
I shut the door and leaned on it heavily, panting and sweating. I was in a dark room. The house was silent, except for the grandfather clock ticking in the corner. I was frightened, so frightened that I didn't know what to do. The clock sounded again... bong... bong... bong...
As the last sound faded away, a chilling silence fell over the entire house, then...
I heard a chorus of ghostly wails from all around me. Ghosts swooped down from the ceiling, groaning, screaming, crying. I frantically looked around for a means of escape. A door. It lead to the balcony.
I opened it quickly and stepped onto the balcony, wet with rain.
“Help me!” I shrieked to the world. “Help! Help!”
No one will hear you, my mind told me. It's no use. Just give up. I ran to the railing as raindrops splattered on me. There were two evil-looking gargoyles sitting motionless on the railing. All of the sudden, they came to life! Their dull black eyes became a glowing red, and they both let out terrifying screeches. They flapped their wings and lifted off the banister. Both of their bloodshot eyes were trained on me. Panicking, I peered over the edge and looked below. There was a small pond below. I was so high up, but...
I glanced at the gargoyles, who flew at me, their sharp claws outstretched. I didn't hesitate as I leaped over the rail, plummeting several hundred feet down. Then, I stopped falling. The gargoyles' cries faded away. The ghosts' wails ceased. It seemed that time stopped. I was in complete darkness. Far away, I saw a light shining. It grew brighter and brighter until I was engulfed in light. Then, I heard a voice say,
“You can never escape! You will never get away!”
This was accompanied by malicious laughter.
I crashed toward the pond at break-neck speed, then... I splashed into the water. It felt like I had slammed into a brick wall. I sank underwater, stunned by the blow... I sank deeper and deeper with each moment. I suddenly felt tired, exhausted, like I hadn't slept in years. I just wanted to close my eyes and sleep... Somewhere deep inside me, a voice cried out, NO!!! I then realized I was going to drown if I didn't surface for air... but I was so, so tired... Don't give up! the voice shouted. Don't give up!!! The realization that I was drowning made me gather up as much energy as I could and move my arms and legs, propelling myself upward. My lungs were burning; every movement was excruciating. I knew that if I didn't get oxygen soon, I would be dead in a matter of seconds.
As I got closer to the surface, I felt strong arms reaching around me and pulling me upward. Suddenly, I was lying on a stretcher in an ambulance, shivering. Where am I...? I was so confused.
“The ghosts... the... but... the house...” I said weakly.
“Shh, you need to rest. You almost drowned.” It was my mother. Oh, I was so glad to hear her sweet voice!
“Drowned?” I croaked, coughing again.
“What happened to me, Mother?” I whispered hoarsely.
“You fell through the ice in the pond. Don't you remember? You were under for a long time.”
“But I was being chased by... but...” I shut my eyes in confusion.
“You almost drowned,” she said, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.
I almost drowned? There were no ghosts, no gargoyles? It was all just a nightmare?
Maybe it was real.