006

Read Parts 001- 005 HERE

The Experiment  – Part 006

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Last Time In The Experiment

She took a breath, trying to calm her nerves. Putting her hands out, she could feel the walls on either side of her and began to carefully feel the edge of the step with her foot.

I guess I’ve come this far, I should head to the bottom.

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Part 006

In the dark, Shona slowly stepped down the first step, making sure her foot was steady on the wet stone below. 

“Billy? Father Jerimiah?” She called out. Her voice echoed off the unseen walls around her, but there was no reply. They must have made their way to the bottom already, she couldn’t blame them for wanting to get out of the dark.

She continued to make her way down, straining her eyes to see but the darkness was complete. Step by step, she made slow progress deeper underground.

How far do these stairs go? She started to feel the darkness around her as an oppressive force, almost claustrophobic. Cold sweat formed on her skin, as she could feel panic beginning to overwhelm her. Pausing to try and calm her nerves, Shona took a deep breath in through her nose, and let it out slowly through her lips, pausing at the end of the exhale. 

Behind her left ear, she heard the whispered sound of someone breathing. A feeling of warm air trickled across her neck, causing the hairs to bristle with the sensation. Her body froze, as she realised someone or something was behind her.

The breathing continued to wheeze softly behind her, whatever was there was not moving. Shona realized she was biting her lower lip hard to stop herself from making a noise, the metallic taste of blood beginning to seep into her mouth. 

She needed to do something. Trying to run down the stairs would probably lead to her slipping, though perhaps falling down the stairs was the best option. 

No, she wasn’t going to run from whatever creep was stood behind her. It was probably just someone trying to scare her, just like at the school. She wasn’t about to let some idiots get the better of her. 

Moving carefully on the stone step, Shona reached down and placed a left hand into her shoulder bag, her fingers wrapped around the handle of the gun Billy had given her. With her right hand, she felt for her camera around her neck, raising it in front of her.

The breathing behind her seemed to speed up as Shona stepped carefully around so that she was facing towards the sound. The feeling of the breath moved across her neck until it was on her throat.

Pointing the camera up, she moved her thumb over the trigger, resting it for a moment. Her other hand pulling the gun from the bag. 

Her finger pressed the trigger of the camera, and the stairwell illuminated in a moment of blinding light. Centimetres from Shona’s eyes, a face was looking back at her with empty sockets and pale skin. It was so close that all she could see was the black hollows where the figure’s eyes should have been, and a smooth, white flesh surrounding them.

The flash from the camera faded as soon as it started. Then the screaming started. A muffled nasal scream that sounded like something was covering the creature’s mouth. The sound both chilled Shona to her bones and ignited a fire inside her.

Turning on the spot, she began to move down the stairs as fast as she could. Whatever the thing she’d just seen was, she had no desire to stay close to it. The steps skidded under her feet as she tried to stay balanced. Her vision was still filled with spots of light from the flash as she blinked repeatedly to clear her sight.

Shona felt the misstep as soon as her foot landed, her legs slipping forwards as she braced herself for the impact of the stone below. The shock of the stairs connecting with her skull caused more lights to flash across her eyes, and pain ran through her body. 

Putting a hand to the back of her scalp, Shona felt a damp area, though she wasn’t sure if it was from blood or the damp stones. The screaming behind her still echoed, bringing the urgency of her situation back. She began to scramble further down the stairs on her hands and knees, fighting through the pain that ran through her.

A moment later, her hand reached for the next step and came into contact with what felt like a wooden panel. Frantically, she pulled herself to her feet, her hands searching the wood for a handle or opening as the muffled scream came closer. 

Her hand caught a metal latch which she lifted and the wooden door creaked forwards as Shona tumbled in. 

Firelight lit up the space before her, seven flaming torches arranged in a large circle crackled with flames.  Stood within the circle she saw Billy, staring at her. His eyes were open so wide the whites around his pupils seemed to shine in the orange glow. Four other people that looked Shona’s age were beside him, their faces reflecting his fear.

“You made it, excellent,” Father Jerimiah spoke as he stepped behind her, closing the door just as the screaming creature reached it, the sound of it thudding against the wood. 

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What Happens Next? You Decide!

a) Shona reached for the gun in her bag.

b) Shona reached for her camera. 

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Voting closes on Sunday 6th September 2020 4 pm BST

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Vote in the comments or on my social media! Voting closes on Sunday 6th September 2020 4 pm BST

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