Gravel sprayed up from the back of his shoes as he ran. His feet made that familiar crunch, crunch, crunch sound every time they connected with the loose rocks. He noticed, almost as if observing from outside his body, a ragged gasping sound coming from somewhere, which was his breath, and a strange burning sensation coming from his chest. That burning sensation felt fierce almost like standing across from a bonfire. Sweat ran down his face and into his eyes, it was incredibly hot out here, wherever, here was.
He snapped his head around, looking for what he didn't want to see. What he couldn't see, what was logically impossible to see. He saw nothing behind him, the thing was gone. He had no sense of time, and no sense of location. It was like one of those dreams you have where the places kept changing. Each place felt familiar, but you couldn’t actually remember the place. He had been running for as long as he could remember, here now and before. He felt like he remembered bits of the place he was before, something about a house, maybe a stream of water outside that house. He didn’t know, and his brain was muddy. Just shapes and thoughts nothing solid.
Of course there was nothing behind him. There never was anything chasing him to begin with. Just a moment of hallucination, a momentary lapse in his grasp on reality. What he saw or thought he saw was from before. The place he was just before he jumped here. And really That was the best way to describe it, he was there one minute and now here the next. It had something to do with that house, that terrible house. Was that the house he grew up in, it might have been, it did feel familiar. The thoughts of that place were fleeing from him as he ran.
He didn't slow his running, he kept pumping his arms and legs trying to ignore all the signals his body was giving him. Although his eyes saw nothing his body, not quite yet caught up with his thinking, still ran full bore towards the building at the end of the gravel lot. Whatever that thing was he thought he saw, but now didn't see, scared the shit out of him. Hallucination or not, it was better to be safe and get away.
The looming building at the end of the lot was huge. It looked to him to be made of sheet metal, one of those warehouse industrial plants of some sort. He noticed a huge silo at one end and what looked like conveyor belts running all long the sides and up to the top of the silo. The sun was overhead and everything looked just too bright for a normal sunny day. The sun reflected off of the building at weird angles and it created an almost prismatic effect.
He slowed then, the crunch, crunch, crunch of his footfalls getting slower. He looked around behind him again and saw nothing but an empty gravel lot. It was huge, and the gravel carried on to the tree line in the distance. He saw no cars, no people, hell he didn't see anything. Just the vast gravel lot and the tree line, the trees so thick they were like a wall.
He took three deep breaths, more like gasps, because, jesus he was tired, and tried to calm himself down. He could feel the patter of his heart beating against his shirt, and took stock in how extremely hot it was. The sun overhead was beaming down, the heat almost pressing him physically into the ground. That faint burning sensation came to the forefront of his mind then and he realized finally what it was. It was his lungs. How long had he ran for? Each breath he took was labored, wheezing in and out. He felt like he wanted to collapse but the thought of that thing, kept him walking.
He was getting closer to the building now making some progress. He didn’t really register how long it took him to cover ground here because his mind was reeling off in every direction. He blinked and sweat dropped from his brow directly into his eye. He knuckled it away, not avoiding the slight sting from the salt. He had ran enough to reach the building three times over, yet he still saw it looming in the distance.
"What the fuck was that thing", he said, to himself. He shook his head and tried to think about what he had seen. The memories were faded, it was like trying to grasp a dandelion seed floating in the air. Was it a shadow, a moving shadow, in 3D? Maybe, more like a vapor, wispy and not fully there.
"Christ!" he said, wanting to hear something other than the silence all around him. He didn't really know what it was, but he had a strong feeling of fear about it. Fear that was slimy and dripping. He felt it slowly ooze over him, like sludge from that old show on Nickelodeon where they dumped it right on your head. Ha Ha, you got slimed! But this wasn't funny, this felt wrong. This slime stopped your heart and made your mouth dry up. This slime made you forget that you were an adult and not supposed to believe in stuff like ghosts, shadows that chase you, or things that go bump in the night.
He looked around again, the sun making him squint at the brightness all around him. He was alone. No monster, no anything. Just the gravel lot, and the looming building in the distance. His breathing became slower, and the burning sensation was subsiding. His mind was confused but he kept walking toward the building. What else could he do? Crunch, crunch, crunch, his steps, slow now, crackling through the gravel lot to the only thing he could see.
He had the feeling that he might be safe in that building. Maybe that building was where he was supposed to go. He had no reason to think this other than the thought randomly popped into his head. This all felt like a dream to him, none of it making much sense. He bit the inside of his lip. Yup it hurt, hurt like hell actually. Normally when he had dreams that was what he would do to wake up from those especially nasty nightmares. This time however, nothing much happened but the dull pain of his jaw where he had bitten it.
He approached the building now, walking up into the shadow of the giant metal structure. The shade was a relief to his sweating brow and the physical feeling of being pushed by the heat let up. Now that he was close to the building he could see the door to the place. The door was rich oak, stained and aged. It looked the height of two normal doors it was huge and contrasted harshly with the metal of the walls. It looked completely and utterly out of place attached to the building.
He walked up to the door and stopped. On it was etched the words, To Home. To home? What could that possibly mean, he didn’t know the answer to that either. In this dream, if thats what it was, nothing made any sense. He had the sudden urge to open that door though. An urge so strong that it almost moved his arm without him thinking. He looked back across the expansive lot it was like a desert. He saw the small tree line so far in the distance the trees looked small. And then… and then he thought he saw something moving in that tree line. It was small and it was far off but yes he was sure of it. That fear dumped on him then, covering him and making him shiver despite the heat. It was that thing! That thing from before.
Without thinking, acting on sheer terror he turned back to the door and jerked the handle. At first it didn’t come, like it was locked in place forever. He jerked again and still the door didn't budge. Panic was racing up his spine how causing his hands to shake. He looked down at the handle and realized that the knob would turn. He turned his wrist and the door clicked open. He pulled back the large oak door surprisingly easy for its size.
Before him he saw darkness in the opening. He could see a faint light a small as a pen point, other than that tiny light the opening was devoid of everything other than black. A black so thick it was almost solid. He didn’t have time to think if he was going to go through that door. At that moment he felt the air start whipping past him. His hair blew out in that direction, it was like the door was sucking in everything around him.
Then he was gone, ripped into the blackness toward the tiny light of the door.