The darkness surrounded her; it was never ending as if nothing else existed in the world except blackness. The dripping had long ago ceased and it had been replaced with an eerie silence. She had no idea how long she had been trapped in this hell; time appeared to move so slowly and the endless darkness meant she couldn’t tell if it was night or day. She sighed, the feeling of helplessness swirling close to the surface. She tapped her heel anxiously on the damp concrete, trying to keep the flood gates closed, but it wasn’t easy. The darkness felt like it was closing in and there was nothing to focus on, no distractions to occupy her frightened mind. Trembling, she felt Panic rising in her throat, slowly suffocating her in the silent shadows. She had felt her way across every part of the room, felt every brick, every crack, hoping, wishing that there was another door, another way out. But she had found nothing. A tear escaped and made a run for it down her cheek, enjoying the few seconds of freedom. She wiped it away on the sleeve of her cardigan, the soft fabric felt damp against her skin. She ran a hand over her clothes, under the cardigan she was wearing a dress. Her thoughts turned to how she ended up in such a mess, she wondered why she couldn’t remember. She closed her eyes, desperately trying to think about what had happened. What day had it been? Friday? Saturday? Everything was hazy. Images flashed before her eyes, snapshots of a night out with friends, dancing, drinking, laughter; but before she could make sense of the images they faded to nothing, leaving her scared and alone in darkness.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Sam watched the sun begin to set against the city skyline. From Jubilee Park the view was spectacular. The pale blue sky faded to orange and red as the sun sank behind the tall buildings in the distance. The sky glowed warmly in the early evening, covering the whole park in an eerie red light, casting dancing shadows across the greenspace. Sam only had a couple of hours left until the end of his shift; and due to the events of the evening before he, and other officers, had been tasked with patrolling the park through the night. It was thought a heavy police presence might ease the sense of panic that had fallen over the city. Sam watched the dancing shadows with caution, watching for anything out of the ordinary. The footpath through the park wound itself between tall oak trees before reaching a pond in the centre where it looped around the water and disappeared in several directions. Sam suddenly became aware of a shadow lurking behind a tree a little to his left. With night falling, shadows were forming all around him, but something about this shadow in particular caught his eye. He took a step forward, leaving the path for a moment and tried to get a better look. He couldn’t work out if he was really seeing something, or if his eyes were playing tricks on him in the darkness. He studied the shadow, it was motionless as if it was a part of the tree itself but still it made him uneasy. He watched it for a few moments longer, before looking away to return to the path and continue onwards. Sam shook his head, jumping at shadows wasn’t going to make the evening go any quicker. He turned on his torch and began whistling softly to himself as he continued along the winding path.
As Sam disappeared into the distance, the shadow watched him, curious but also angered that it had been seen; by a police officer no less. It waited a few moments longer, standing as still as a tree trunk, listening to the rustling of the leaves in the gentle evening breeze. Somewhere in the dark an owl hooted as it began its evening hunt; mice scurried in the undergrowth and a fox barked at the rising moon. The ritual of the night was beginning. The mysterious shadow turned, the light of the full moon catching against its hood, casting into darkness whatever features lay hidden beneath. As the shadow moved through the trees and deeper into the park; a pair of blue eyes caught in the celestial glow. If anyone had looked into those eyes they would have described them as ice cold, as harsh as a snowstorm, cruel like the deepest, darkest winter. If anyone was unfortunate enough to look into those eyes, they would have felt icy fingers clutch at their heart, a freezing shiver run down their spine and an uneasy feeling stir in the pit of their stomach. Anyone unlucky enough to look into those eyes, would be very unlikely to live long into the night.