Running. There's plastic grabbing at her – there's too much pulling her back. Her breath burns – she can't feel anything but the dull ache of her hip where she shuddered into the corner of the wall at speed, scraping and scouring her skin as she ran past, the stinging burn mirroring the gulps in her throat. She’d looked at those roughly plastered walls, mimicking bricks, and made a joke that they looked so delicate she’d fall through them. She hadn’t.
She’d hit one at speed, when she felt a whisper of air on her neck. This was her third solo run through, and she knew that the others were watching. She thought they were. She’d come out of her room reluctantly this time, the klaxon startling her awake. Five minutes from klaxon to leaving, or she forfeited any of the profits she’d been promised this would create.
Just one crazy night. She’d been told it would be only one night of jovial fear – the type that isn’t real, that you can fake. But this was getting too real, too scary. She was sure the intervals were shortening too.
So, she’d left her room reluctantly, and as she did, the pass wall behind her formed red. As soon as she’d run, it had switched to the other side of the rudimentary maze, creating no option but to push on. She’d shot through band one – down the stairs, end of the corridor, the first room easy to key open and easier still to cross. There were some pieces of furniture in there, misshapen and hidden under the plastic coverings. And then…the lights went out.
She heard him laughing, and she looked back over her shoulder. Something slapped against her face, the edge making a slurping, licking sound and she screamed again, her raw throat letting out a squeaking hiss. She swallowed, turning to see what was caressing her face before her feet slid out from under her. She fell under the ribbons of plastic, landing in a pool of coppery, viscous material. Small lumps squished and squeaked under her hands, splattering away from her in a corona of filth. It was dark down here, a slight dip in the floor. And in that dip was a puddle of sticky, stinking fluid.
A rustle behind her made her yelp and scoot back into a lumpy, damp pile of rags and other detritus. And then she felt a bulge, like a nose. She screamed, and the room echoed. There was a laugh from somewhere off to the other side of her, from the opposite direction she’d come from. She froze, listening for any more noises, gulping breaths while wiping her hands. Her breathing sounded like a chainsaw in the echo chamber room. Carefully she backed away from the tendrils of plastic, crawling cautiously backwards, expecting something to drop any minute.
Slowly, she regained her feet, backing away from the room that she’d nearly entered, back into the bigger open plan area between the rooms. She felt exposed; her skin crawled as she slowly moved away, looking for another open room. The doors were on a timer, and the two either side were lined in red. She couldn’t see any green at all. Slowing her breathing, she looked around slowly, unable to see much in the gloom
She screamed, her breath whistling out of her throat almost as fast as she sucked it in. Eyes adjusting to the dark, she could see a shape moving towards her, accompanied by a rhythmic snapping...
Above her, in the dark, a camera whirred...