Afterlife - Stephanie Hudson


"Why are we afraid of the darkness when the light shows us more of the land of nightmares?"

I listened overhead as the footsteps grew nearer. My body convulsed as a natural reflex took over. Every fibre in my being was screaming as every sense told me danger was near. The smell of the damp space was flooding my nostrils as though a rotting corpse was sat in the corner. The palms of my hands bled from the nails I was imbedding into them, knuckles bone white until every finger ached.

I heard him now, those boots he always wore, as if all of hell dragged him closer to me using those boots as a mental torture. They were thick-soled like biker boots only every time he came to me I never heard the heavy roar of a bike's engine. I knew I didn’t have long now until the foul breath of a true monster was breathing down my ear explaining to me how the things hell created could feel, could love.

I didn't believe his lies...who could?

My breath caught in my chest as I had counted my time in the seconds I had left, was this finally the end, my end? The dark space flooded with unnatural light and a figure emerged like death's silhouette. No matter how many times he had come to me I still couldn't prevent the gasp that escaped my bitten lips, trembling, swollen and bloody. Fear gripped at them making them quiver uncontrollably, the way they always did every time I saw something I couldn't explain. I wanted to be strong enough. I needed to be or I would never be freed from this curse.

The time was now.

This time was at an end.

The sharp sides I gripped dug into my hands making them slick with my body's liquid. I heard one footstep but I wouldn't turn my head again. Facing away from him I did what I had to do.

"Goodbye" I said with my last breath before my vision filled with blood.

I opened my eyes with a start, alert and ready. It took me a moment to understand my surroundings and take in all the other passengers who were staring at my sudden actions. I guess on a long haul flight everyone was a little twitchy and the sight of me bolting upright gifted me with a few startled looks. It was fine; I was so used to those looks that it was like second nature to me now. I was a master at feeling numb and I stared ahead as if no one was around.

I scratched my arms out of sheer habit as the details of my recurring dream came back to me with a nauseating churn in my stomach. I tasted the familiar flavour of bile in my mouth, like the dark after taste my dreams always provided. I looked down at my arms and I released a sigh when I saw the long sleeves of cotton that covered them. Of course, the dream wasn't how it happened but it was always the same way my mind played it, no matter how wrong the details were.

"Did you have a nightmare, dearie?" I almost jumped as the first person in hours spoke to me. A plump, grey haired lady with a flower print top that looked like it was once curtains, smiled at me as she waited for the only words I could say.

"Something like that."

Chapter 1- New World

New sights. New smells. New life.

This was New England.

Man, it sure was cold here, but hell I guess I’d better get used to that now that my understatement of a “Crazy” life had brought me here. This was after all, my chance at a “new start” as my parents had been putting it for the last few weeks. But who could blame them, certainly not me. It wasn’t as if they wanted me to go but more like needed me to go for my own good. Of course like any good girl, I nodded and agreed with every word, so I soon found myself packed and on a plane before I knew that the summer was over.

The whole journey from England had been a bit of a blur, the tears in my parents’ eyes however were still fresh in my mind. Saying goodbye to them was one of the hardest things I had ever done and knowing it was for the best didn't make it any easier on either part. My damp cheeks mirrored those of my loving parents