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All the air left her lungs and for a fraction of a second, whatever light managed to follow her down the rabbit hole she'd fallen into seemed to vanish. It was silent down there before her body, face first, hit the ground and then it was a cracking of bones and a whimpered yelp of pain but again, only for a second. The ground under her was cold and wet and it smelled like the grass after hours of rain— worms and dirt. There were pieces of tree from the world above and leaves, rocks, and stones that had tumbled through the hole before her and with her but mostly there was just darkness. She didn't move, both because she didn't want to and at the moment she really couldn't. Her lungs needed air but every deep breath was a knife to the ribs that shook her to her very core. You need to get up. The tiniest of voices in her head broke through the silence that had been swallowing her up. You need to get up. You need to get up...you need to. All so much easier said than done, wasn't it? Minutes felt like hours, laying there just trying to get the air back inside of her before she dared to try and move but eventually she could breath. Just a little bit. Slowly, almost so slowly you might not have known she was moving at all, she twisted herself around and lay flat on her back with her eyes on the hole above. The fall must have been a good ten feet but she couldn't really tell, everything just seemed to get lost between the hole's mouth and the darkness that engulfed everything up once the light fell through. However many feet was, she could feel the ache of all of them in every inch of her body, every stab of pain when she took in a careful breath. Fuck.
From where she lay whatever glow from the night sky that was barely breaking through the shadows, looked like the moon above her, it was oddly comforting to see, like a night-light maybe. Again, there was silence, so much of it that she could hear her heart in ears and the crackle of her lungs as she breathed in and out. There really was such a thing as too quiet, unsettling quiet, a space void of everything. No life, no faint distant trickles of water nor the rustle of a tiny rodent. There was nothing but her. She looked around, peering through the inky dark as best as she could but the light from above did little to nothing to aide her in trying to figure if there was a way back up. A look to the left and then a look to the right but whether there were walls or tunnels deeper into the earth, she didn't know. It was all fine though, she felt safe down there...hidden from the hungry world above her, she was okay if she never moved again. The thought was comforting, for a moment, but the serenity of her make-shift grave did not last long.
Something rustled above, at the mouth of the hole that ate her up. Soft footfalls and in the not so distance she head someone call her name. Claire! Claire! A familiar voice. One that used to bring her more comfort than the hole in the earth but right now only filled her with dread. She wanted to call out but she knew better, keeping her eyes on the open sky above until, as she expected, a familiar face peeked through.
"Claire! God, I thought you were dead! Watch out." He dropped something down and she raised her hands to block it from cracking her right in the face. A flashlight. "Can you move?!" All shouting, so loud and ear-piercing. He was an idiot.
She wanted to respond but again, she couldn't and this time it wasn't because her body wouldn't let her. It was because she knew what would happen if she did. Just a shake of her head that he probably couldn't see while she tried to fight back tears. You need to be quiet...shhh...god, shhh. He wanted to say more but there were new noises from the world above. Noises that made her skin crawl and her blood go icy-cold. With the flashlight on his face she could see the look of terror crawl its way across his dirty features. Snarls and wet growls, chattering teeth, and hungry snorts...sounds that traveled in packs. There was never just one. They were getting closer and he needed to run but they both knew once you heard them you just weren't getting away.
"I'm sorry..I'm so...Claire..I Lo— " He didn't even have time to scream. Where his face once was there was nothing but open sky again, but this time it wasn't quiet. She turned off the flashlight while she laid there and listened to the squishy pop of limbs being torn from flesh, the crunch of bones under powerful jaws. She could hear them rip away pieces of meat from bone and gobble them down frantically, filling their hungry bellies bite by bite. All she could do was listen, try not to imagine what it looked like and do everything she could to keep herself from making a peep...
to be continued...