Escaped (but not) Unscathed. (Literary Lion: Bleeding)

“Go!” I whispered, pressing Bea forward and glancing back to see Tommy haul John back into the tunnel. A black flashlight was lying in a puddle. Tommy nodded to me as we ducked under the decaying wood, just before a spray of gunshots rang out.

“Hold your fire!” From between the boards I could see the crew captain directing men our way. “Next to the ghost station, move out!”

Another crew appeared from the foliage and I drew in a sharp breath. Twenty-four. That’s too many to be out searching for a ghost station.

“Did you see her?” The second crew captain shouted. I spun, grabbed Bea and pushed her to the far end of the platform. Their shouts and directions became more distant as we continued, enveloped by the musty smell of damp wood and mildew. One hand on her shoulder, I pressed her forward and followed, facing backwards, using a branch from the white pine to cover our tracks. At the far end several planks were rotted and crumbled to the touch. I carefully widened the crack between them, then paused, studying the tree line that beckoned from fifty yards away. Glancing back, I saw the men swarming around the tunnel entrance, splashing through puddles that sprayed mud-brown and a crimson red. Blood. 

I turned back to Bea, shoved her through the opening and then sidled through. We dashed into the trees, turned north and ran until we were a hundred yards from the station. There we scaled a tree, reached a perch from which we could see the station, tunnel entrance and old house ruins, and watched. Most of the men milled about the entrance, some were searching the station and a few remained by the tree line. The second crew captain, on his radio, stood by the entrance and stared into the blackness.

I scanned the ruins of the house and field we had crawled through that lead back to the woods.

“Look!” Bea pointed to the tree line, near where we had entered the field to avoid the first crew.

A slight breeze bent the top of grass just enough that a blonde head was barely visible. My heart thundered as another flaxen head appeared, this one half-stained burgundy. Tommy half-carried, half-dragged a blood-covered John from the field to the trees before they disappeared into the greenery.

Prompt courtesy of The Literary Lion.

Featured image: Tall grass next to Argham’s Trees
© Copyright Christine Johnstone and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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