The Fading by Anonymous
Chapter 3: Searching
Tall Shadows crawled across the floor, inching closer to the other wall, which they would scale. In the dark room, nothing stirred, not even could a sound be heard, save for the creaking sounds that echoed from underneath the floorboards. It will be here any minute now, though Lanna. And it was. The footsteps echoed up the stairs,
It was getting late. She should be back by now! Thought Lanna, the lone occupant of the upstairs attic, the house, and for that manner, perhaps the whole street. It was already more than five hours since her friend had departed. Why hasn’t she returned? Lanna thought to herself. Her refuge of a room, was all boarded up. However through the nailed up boards, in the dim light of the street lamps, she saw a figure approaching. Oh shoot, it’s over. Thought Lanna. But then another followed, then another. Lanna’s relief quickly turned to confusion. Why would three figures be coming here? They must be just passing by. But no, they walked right up to her doorstep. And knocked. Lanna’s curiosity soon took the better of her. Grabbing the old Nashville slugger she held with her life, she approached the door…
“You can’t be serious.” Answered Chris. “We don’t even know what dragged her up there!”
“Well, we can’t just walk away from this.” Martha said.
“You’re right. Let’s just follow a bloody trail made by who knows what, leading to who knows where is rather sketchy if you ask me.” Chris voiced.
“He has a point.” Marthus Added abruptly.” But we can’t just let this go.”
“I’ve made up my mind.” Said Martha, and tugged her backpack further up her shoulder, and headed for the blood-trail.
“You can’t go alone!” Cried Jason.
“Well, you’re welcome to come along.” Martha said.
Jason rolled his eyes, then ran after her. Marthus picked up a stick from the ground, as a weapon of sorts, then followed Jason. Chris stood there for a second, as if thinking what to do, then realizing that he would be alone, should he stand there, he followed the rest of them. Martha first, Jason second, with Marthus and Chris in close behind. Unknowing of whatever they might find ahead.
Martha led the way, eyes darting side to side occasionally, as if something were to ambush them at any moment. Everyone else did much the same, with Marthus gripping his log as if his life depended on it. All the while, they followed the trail of blood, deeper and deeper into the forest.
It was already quite late. The sun was shining its last rays upon the ground, and tall shadows stretched along the forest floor. The blood was already drying up, and none of the four had any reason to believe that the girl was still alive. The trails of blood ended. They led straight into a small swampland.
It was clear that this was where Lanna’s friend was hidden. What was also apparent, was that this was no longer fun, it was dangerous.
“She’s, she’s…gone.” Chris said.
“We don’t know for sure if she’s in there.” Jason said, optimistically, but it was clear the group thought otherwise.
“We did all we could.” Said Mark. “We weren’t fast enough.”
Mark’s words hit the group hard. The sun had all but disappeared from the sky, leaving the ground under the trees dark and mysterious.
Martha spoke up. “What are you talking about? Someone was killed! Killed!”
“Whoever did this should still be around here-” Her voice was cut off.
“W-what’s that?” Chris whispered in a suddenly shaken voice.
Everyone turned in the direction of where Martha was pointing. Jason, clearly confused, asked “What? What do you see?”
“I..It!” Chris cried. “It’s here!”
“What’s here? Martha asked”
“It’s getting closer!” Chris yelled, more scared than she had ever been before. “Run! Run!”
Jason, Mark, and Martha clearly confused, stayed put.
“Oh geez!” It’s getting closer! “It’ll take us all!” Chris screamed. “Run! Get out of here!” He dashed through them, pushing over Mark, and into the forest.
Mark got up, and followed Chris. The rest of the group came in close behind.
“What’s going on?” Jason yelled, overpowering his cries of terror. “What are you talking about, there’s nothing there!”
Mark pushed forward, and yelled at Chris to come back. He didn’t stop, only, he looked straight into his eyes. He quickly turned away. Something was different about them, something…Terrifying.
Covering a great bit of ground, they finally caught up with him.
“Chris! Chris Listen to me.” Jason yelled.
“What’s going on Chris?” Martha asked gently. “What did you see?”
Marthus noticed that Chris’ eyes were turning back to normal, but didn’t tell him, or anyone for that matter. Everyone was out of breath, and their heart rate was soaring. Chris was snapping out of his panic, and looked around at everyone. Immediately, questions followed.
“What exactly happened?” Asked Jason, ending the bout of questions which Christopher had been bombarded with. That question put all the others to silence, and trained all eyes on him.
Christopher took a deep breath, then started. “Lately,” He said “I’ve been seeing this figure in the night. Always in this cabin or wooden structure of some sort. I always used to think these were just nightmares, but it’s been happening for almost a week now and…” He paused, perhaps trying to recall the rest before continuing. “And now, I just saw that figure. Right over by the swamp. He…it was coming straight for us.”
He was silent now. Chris, Martha, and Mark didn’t know whether to believe Chris, or to think him crazy.
“Well,” Said Mark finally, “I don’t really know if this relates to these recent events, but they sure are crazy.”
“Crazy is an understatement.” Said Jason. “Things have been downright ridiculous.”
Mark looked down at the ground, then gazed back into the dark forest behind them. It was much too dark to see far. Martha had already taken out her flashlight, and was flashing it around the sky. Mark shoved his hands into his pockets, and his hands came upon a crumpled piece of paper.
“Wait, I found something!” Mark shouted excitedly.
He realized it was the note, then his excitement failed.
“Never mind.” He said, and tossed it onto the ground.
It landed face down, but that way, Mark caught a glance of something. He picked up the note. It said ‘Round Street’.
“Round Street!” he said. Round Street!”
“Round what?” Jason said.
“Huh?” Chris said, confused.
“Mark,” Martha said, “I think you’ve just found Lanna.”
Lanna was tense, her grip on the baseball bat made her knuckles turn white. Approaching the door, she looked through the mail slot, and saw a dark-haired boy waiting around outside. The other two were not in sight.
“Who are you?” She yelled.
“I’m Jason” One of them said, walking towards the door.
“Stop Jason!” She commanded, Slugger tensed. “Where are the other two?”
“They’re right here.” He replied, stepping back with his hands raised in innocence.
Another boy, with dark brown hair, and a reddish-brown haired girl with an extremely large backpack stepped into view.
“We have a message from you’re friend.” The girl said.
“What?” Lanna asked, dropping her guard a little. “How do you know about Brenna? How did you even find me?”
“Well…” The girl’s voice trailed off.
“Not important.” Jason said. “We just came with a message from her.
Lanna had mixed feelings about these people, but they seemed friendly enough.
“What is it?” Her baseball bat was now waist level.
“Oh for crying out loud, just let us in first.” Said the girl. “We’re not armed.”
“That backpack of yours looks like it could hold a cannon.” Lanna said, her slugger was now limply hanging by her side, and she was almost ready to let them in.
The girl scowled at the Jason and the other boy.
“What is this message?” Asked Lanna.
“You have three days.” Jason said slowly.
Lanna’s expression suddenly turned grave. Very grave. She opened the door, and hauled them in, before shutting the door, and locking it with a massive lock.
“One of you is going to be taken.” She said with a seriousness that silenced everyone. “Very, very soon.”