Fear; it was a mysterious emotion. Cunning. Fast. Powerful. One could never tie it down, nor truly explain it; it was an emotion of great elusive value. No one could ever predict its coming. But one could not deny the magnitude of its influential capabilities.

And it was the one true emotion that was fuelling Allan's frantic sprint through the old wooden corridor. The slash along the right side of his chest was hardly hindering his pace. Hardly; the seemingly oversaturated twists of rusty brown and flecks of yellow occasionally dulled and blurred, the blood loss hampering his brain's capacity.

But one thing seemed to perplex the young boy; what he was running from. It felt like a disturbingly vivid dream. His bare-footed dash sounded like the bass of a drum, while his pounding heart beats were like thunderclaps. Even the air, despite its clarity, seemed to pulse and undulate, like a great lumbering beast, twitching with excitement, before leaping upon its helpless victim. But the reality of the situation was far too apparent to deny; his wound's inconsistent excruciating throbs were there to remind him.

Allan quickly spotted an open door among the wooden vaults, and he darted in without a moment's hesitation. His entrance brewed a storm of dust and dirt as he tripped on a filthy draping over an ancient armchair. Letting out a small yelp, the youth twisted his body to avoid landing on a shattered chair leg, although the crash on the stained wooden floor did not care to cushion his weight. A small crack signified the snapping of his forearm. Spewing loose a string of curses, the boy carefully sat up, before gently caressing his injury. A small creak echoed through the room and the boy was swiftly reminded of his pursuer.

Lifting himself from the ground with a pained grunt, Allan hurriedly closed the door, before turning and evaluating his surroundings for a suitable form of cover. The air of the room felt near well suffocating, but a beam of light that had spilled through a grimy window exposed that Allan's storm had now become a hurricane of the small particles, their presence now flooding the odd chamber. It appeared to be a bedroom of some sort, as a massive bed was fixed in the corner, its sheets having long been abandoned by their owner. However, the rest of the room was in utter and complete disarray, crowded by broken furniture, damaged antiques and ruined decorations. Each item was coated by a slim film of dust. Rust had all but ravaged every last unprotected metallic object.

However, one oddity stood out among the wrecks; a single mahogany closet, that stood in the farthest end of the room. Not so much as a scratch had graced its hand-carved surface. The only indicator of its age was its powdery yellow coat. Allan considered its usefulness as a hiding spot, realising that it was the most likely area for a predator to search. However, it seemed the safest; there were no splintered limbs attempting to slice him, nor were there any holes to compromise his position, like many of the other potential antiquities. A final creak from the distant hall launched another wave of dread through the boy, and his decision finalised in the blink of an eye.

Allan darted to the closet before desperately pulling on the door with his uninjured appendage. The slab of finely crafted wood came loose with a satisfying creak. The petrified youth leapt into the dark abyss within -where only a single crack of light crammed its way into the empty item of furniture- and violently slamming its noisy hinged door. The action reverberated through the mahogany, as well as the room beyond, smashing through the previously deafening silence. Sitting hard, the boy didn't care to even acknowledge the damp, almond-like taste that the brewed in the relic or the sticky, viscous fluid that he had landed upon with his torn jeans and oversized hooded jacket. A spear of sharp pain struck Allan, reminding him of the wound that had plagued him earlier. He touched the damaged flesh through the torn fabric of his clothing, finding that it had dried, the crimson fluid now serving as an improvised armour.

Finally having calmed down enough to think clearly, Allan let his stare scan around his opaque environment, before fixing his gaze on the single light ray that had managed to enter the closet. The youth turned away and released a silent sigh through his heavy breaths. The mahogany walls gave him a peculiar sense of safety. Allan turned his head to watch the beam of sunlight once more, finding that his mundane surroundings were beginning to ware upon his patience.

However, something bizarre seemed to occur; the light ray twisted itself. In fact, Allan's whole world seemed to twist in synchronisation with it, causing the young boy to suddenly feel faint and distorted; like he had stumbled upon a sedated reality.

Desperately clutching his temples and shutting his eyes, the distraught youth began to hyperventilate. Yet another tremor of terror wrapped around his mind, slowly consuming what remained of his rationality. But soon terror gave way to vertigo, as Allan's sense of direction was warped beyond his own understanding. He began to feel a chilling sensation in his assumed toes. Before the youth could express his immense frustration, his contorted bearings returned and screamed to him that he was rising; and at an alarmingly quick rate.

Realising that the closet that sheltered him had no open ceiling, his eyes snapped open while the boy awaited the inevitable crash to occur. However, he was greeted with a bombardment of shrieking colours, each trying to gain the disoriented boy's attention as he attempted to focus on the blurs before him. They slowly cleared to reveal that his ascension had ceased and he was suspended well above the mahogany relic, much to his astonishment.

Then the boy felt the presence above him. He could also feel the curved, frigid blade that was pressed against the back of his neck, hooking the cotton hood of his dirty jacket. Panic. It was the only thing that dashed through Allan's thoughts, and all that consumed his concentration, as his goose bump riddled skin was caressed by the razor-like weapon.

Allan wriggled. Struggled. Thrashed. Anything that could help him escape his nightmare and the impending sense of doom that followed close by. But despite his best efforts, the blade did not so much as move during the struggle, keeping its vice-like grip on the boy's hood.

"Why do you struggle, Allan?" The voice reverberated within Allan's frantic mind. Its words were cold, but held familiar warmth; they were emotional, but were still somewhat rational. And their presence was accompanied by an icy hand gripping Allan's shoulder. Both sentiments originated from the being above the petrified boy. "Drop dead, freak!" Allan screamed, before he swung his head upwards to glare furiously at his captor. But the boy's frozen scowl quickly melted into a visage of open mouthed disbelief.

Initially, he believed it was simply age. But although his mind was frenzied, he could immediately see that this was not the case. Deeply set features. A stone-like, empty stare. But a shred of comforting tranquillity emanated through its perpetual, depressed grin. "But I already am." And removing its bony hand from his shoulder, it laid it upon Allan's head, before gently beckoning him to look down toward the recently opened mahogany closet.

Crimson. A thud. A paralyzing sense of horror. "And so are you."

Signed

The U-Known