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Story: Cold Town (Prologue)

She was running. The vast lane sprawling on the serene bed of that frozen winter night was all alone stretching way for her with its yellow shades of lights. The dense blow of cold breeze howling across her face made it seem like punctuating the ominous silence that engulfed the lane being deprived of any being of her species. Her own pants hauntingly pierced her ears as if her lungs were tearing like a threadbare fabric. When she swallowed, the parchedness cut a slit at the back of her throat and she immediately felt a strong urge to puke. But she knew she shouldn’t bring a halt to her aching legs now. They were near and the sounds of motors made her heart inflate more with each leap she took ahead. She didn’t know what she was running from but she was aware enough she would be crushed the next moment she stopped. Crushed or beaten off, she wasn’t sure of, but she was sure she would be destroyed for life. All she knew was, like she was running in the pretext of getting to safety, the two cars of red which exactly were dogging her footprints were in the absolute pretext of chasing her. With the natural instinct to save her grounding, she kept fastening her legs. Her eyes got fixed their gaze sideways as she started counting the fast moving turns the lane take on. It was just three, she told herself. If she managed to sprint past three turns, she could enter the next turn. All she was in the need of now was take shelter from any narrow and dark lane and she believed it was the fourth turn that curved itself into such needed arrangement. She hoped her hunch wouldn’t do wrong when on high alert. She wouldn’t pick a wrong turn. It was when she thought fiercely ‘less was the light, less was the chance to get exposed,’ that she found herself paced up with her speed massively.

“One…” she gave herself a cue in a raspy hushed voice as she crossed the first turn.

Her eyes widened with fright when the thick volume of wind abruptly claimed her right ear with the motor sound so closely, or that she didn’t know if it was her imagination. “Two…” She almost squeaked it out through her vibrating chest sensing the peril was at an arm distance.

With a massive strength that evoked quite suddenly, she put her legs in even longer stretches. Only a loud, dry gush of air escaped her throat when she tried to give a count on third. She felt her own vocal alien. It was so raggedly audible and not under her control. Her heart was at her mouth as she maddeningly angled her body in accordance with the fourth turn’ construction.

It was the right turn, she realized with a tinge of chilling triumph swirling in her stomach.

Quickly she made herself concealed behind a big neem’ trunk that slipped down from the road to stand tall spreading the vast canopy of its branches for its own regality.

Due to the sudden stop, every beat inside her legs screamed piercingly as if trying to rent out of her flesh. Her exploding pulses blocked her ears from receiving in the harsh noises of her own quick huffs and she didn’t take a look behind. Instead, bending down, she clutched both her knees. When hot streams of salt ran down her tightly shut eyes, she sensed the cars zoom past the fourth turn. But in no time, the backward screech of the tires hit her ears and then a nerve-racking silence loitered except for the shudder of a motor. She didn’t dare twitch her head, she just couldn’t. She was sure it was her stalkers, for god’s sake she’d zero clue who and why, looking out for her. She sealed her mouth tightly with her hands and with bated breath, she strained her ears for listening to them take leave. Though she was ferociously confident that one couldn’t direct a four-wheeler into this narrow road if to reach her, she couldn’t help the rising sensation of throw up. Their hungry pursuit for her could be conjured up clearly even if there was no reason to give for. She felt intense needles of fear jabbing her as she shrank her body more into the space behind the tree that hid her from anyone’ eyes. She slid down scraping her cloth against the rough surface of the tree’ trunk to reduce into a squatting position and then buried her face over her thighs. From the view the corner of her left eye automatically allowed she could see the dark space by her side was suddenly filled with a spill of light from the car’ source. Her hands against her mouth spontaneously got tighter. The growing tension in the coppery air around her constricted her whole body. Though she wanted to shut her eyes tight as well, she couldn’t. Her mind automatically started doing desperate chants.

God, god, god…

After a few seconds of pin drop silence wait, the light was sucked backward bringing the darkness back, turned for the other direction and the cars went off in a zap. She knew they would definitely come around for her and she must disappear into some new twisted route before it happened. She lifted her head up from her lap, quite slowly, to minimize the effect of the painful throbbing thuds drumming against her skull. It was only when she freed her mouth, did she realize hot sweat kept drenching her skin and she was now completely soaked inside her dress. The leather coat owing to the winter season acted opposite as it developed scorching heat about her flesh and she felt like being subjected to the tips of sharp, straight flames but not the fire itself. The biting cold wind that silently grazed on her forehead, gloveless hands and bare shins seeped inside her skin to drape a freezing cover around her burning blood stream. Before she knew it, she started shivering. Hadn’t she been a nurse herself, she wouldn’t have been aware what she was in danger of. Hypothermia would attack her anytime now for her rapid-rated poor thermoregulation. Pulling the lapels of her coat together tightly, she abandoned the security of the tree and climbed onto the road as fast as she could. Standing on the middle of the road she stared at the way the car had left. when she took a look back at the wide entrance the fourth turn had on its other side, she sensed a helpless panic run up her spine. Newly born sweats made way down her brows. Her sickness went on deteriorating but she’d no time to give for it. Without sparing a second, she drastically put her head everywhere around. There were numerous look-alike lanes branched away from the one where she stood and she realized this was the first time she was perusing the geographical feature of the streets that led her to her own house after all. Without giving it a second thought, she turned toward the first diversion, and right then she heard a car approaching her quite rashly from her back. She jerked like a scalded cat and froze to the ground. Her own legs turned insensitive to her command as she couldn’t move even an inch. But then, like a lining of silver amid the clouds of dark, a ray of hope hit her. With a drop of sanity that still stayed back, she could manage to come up with the estimation of the time it would take for the cars to come around. Now it wasn’t time yet that even though it was a machine, it couldn’t get around such soon. And moreover it was only one car, not two, she could say it from the sound. So, it was most importantly not the time she should be terrified of but act wise.

“Come on. You’re safe, you’re safe,” she stated in a whisper, giving herself a reassurance.

With all her ten fingers, she wiped her forehead. Swallowing down the bubble, she genuinely turned so that she could make way for the in-urgent vehicle. Immediately her muscles locked as the car seemed to be red. Its speed was such outrageous that it had the telltale intention of hitting her straight. An impulsive scream reverberated everywhere around the otherwise dead-silent night. She put her hands forward between her body and the vehicle storming toward her, tilting her head sideways with eyes tightly closed and teeth clenched hard. She went blank, benumbed, as the blood curdling fear of impending doom conquered her at every inch her frozen skin could feel. She was gone. That was all. This was it. Her end finally. But instead of hitting her as she supposed, the car took a U turn about her, screeched to a jerking halt by her side. Before she could react, the door opened and the next thing she knew was she was laid on her back, not so gently. Her body was almost thrown in by a vigor force to be caged beneath a harsh weight that had all the savage instincts to control her immovably in no time.

Before she could take a breath, the car set off to where she couldn’t guess even the heck of a word as after all she was just a one-sixty-eight-hour old to this town…

Credit to: Thena

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