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Halloween Writting Contest Entry

The following story was submitted as an entry in The Wanderer's fourth annual Halloween Writing Contest.

"It" by Pearl Carter

I had thought I knew what I was doing, that I could successfully get away and return victorious. I had thought of it as a game, and that was my downfall. I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was so many years ago...

Someone cut the lights and I ran up the stairs as fast as I could, my heart already pounding in my throat, my thoughts racing through my head. It was a house I had never been in before and I had frozen in thought, trying to think of where to conceal myself. Fear rushed through me when I heard It coming for me. Fear: it produced the fight or flight sensation in me, and I was fleeing with all my might. Blood rushed down to my legs as I tripped up another flight of stairs. I had no idea when they stopped so I stumbled on.

I wasn't thinking of the noise I was making as I panicked up the stairway. Soon after, I heard It stumbling up behind me only one flight down. Again I froze. My mouth dropped open and my whole body shook. I leaped up the steps two at a time, this time light as dust. But I could still hear it behind me, gaining speed. I couldn't bear to think of the fate that awaited me if I was snatched, if I was trapped, if I was caught.

So I pulled a superhero move and swung over the banister, gripping on for dear life and hoping It didn't see me. My frail nails dug into the carpet on the stairs as it rushed by, not even looking in my direction. I couldn't feel relief because I still wasn't safe. My arms buckled and strained as I tried to hoist myself back up and onto the stairs. The adrenaline was good while it lasted but I'd burned it out too fast. Now I was a sitting duck just waiting to be caught.

I didn't know how far down a drop it was. When I looked over my shoulder all I could see was the darkness waiting to consume me. As I calculated my options I heard a blood-curtailing scream from one of the upstairs bedrooms. In shock, I let go and fell down...down...down...

The drop was shorted then I'd expected but was not without wounds, from what I could feel I had carved a gash into my leg and I could smell the blood in the air. It was a not-so-gracious landing but It was on high alert and I heard it jumping down the stairs, one flight at a time. A second round of adrenaline pumped through my veins and I scampered up off the linoleum floor. I stayed close to the walls of a hallway and looked for a way out. "Where to go, where to go?" I thought. "The kitchen!" I jumped with a start and set out on to find it.

The moonlight seeped though the cracks of the kitchen entrance. I slinked though the swinging door and hid in an empty bottom cupboard. I exhaled relief too soon and It had just walked through the door. My eyes adjusted to the beams of moonlight streaming into the room as I looked through the bold crack in the cupboard door. My eyes screamed insanity as my heart sounded the alarm of my whereabouts. I was sure It would hear me, that it would hear me and--

Another scream silenced my heart. It echoed through my hollow cabinet and reverberated through the entire house. The scream came from the cupboard across from me and I realized It was standing in front of my door. I couldn't see what had happened to the shrieker. All I saw was the kitchen door swinging shut.

I had no idea how many more were inside this cage of a house but I would not join them as It's trophies. I was determined then, I was filled with confidence, almost rage, as I planned and waited to hear It's whereabouts.

A loud thump came from the other side of the house and I knew I was safe. It took me what felt like hours to open the steel sliding door that had protected me. After I was free I glided through the kitchen and returned to my original route up the stairs. "If It has already been there," I reasoned, "it won't go there again." This time I flew up the stairs without making a sound. Again I heard another screech, this one from the far end of the house. I was in the clear; I was undetected.

With reassurance came loss of immunity. My leg started to sting as I reached the last flight of stairs. Still I pushed on; I had a job to do. I opened my eyes wider, hoping to be able to actually see through layer after layer of darkness. When it didn't work, my smell became elevated and strips of perfume floated past my nose. "A bedroom," I predicted. Staying loyal to the walls that surrounded me, I felt and inhaled my way to a bedroom with wood flooring, curtained windows, and a walk-in closet.

Lunar streams poured through the closet door, so I suspected a window. The darkness had been my shield, my upper hand, and my savior the entire time. But that closet was my last hope, because by then, the all-or-nothing mentality had taken over my brain. So I stepped through the closet screen and waded through the fur, leather, and polyester coats. I brushed by silk dresses and sequined pants, and I stumbled, no, I flat out tripped on a 70's go-go boot and laded with a defeating thump.

The jig was up this game was over. I was done. Tears stung my eyes as I heard It bounded up the stairs. I tucked myself into the farthest corner, hoping it would work but knowing it wouldn't. The door almost ripped off its hinges when It waltzed in. Its breathing was calm, steady, yet loud and dramatic. It knew exactly where I was and it stepped down right in front of me, building anticipation, making me wait. Then it bent down to my level, merely two inches from my face. I felt Its hot breath collide against mine. It overpowered the perfume in the air and choking it with horror and shock. I heard a click as a laser of white light squeezed pain through my eyes. "You're the last one," It laughed. "now you're It and you have to find us. Don't forget, you have to count to two hundred! Oo, make sure you get a band-aid for that boo-boo on your knee."

It tossed the flashlight to me and ran off to hide. The gut-wrenching fate had fallen upon me and there was nothing I could do. That was that. I was It.