Excerpt One:

“Off in the distance, I swore I could hear bells chiming. I was surrounded by the absence of all color: muted darkness. It smelled damp in this dark space and I knew if I were to try and touch my face, I’d probably poke out an eye. I just did my best to keep my hands outstretched in front of me, to feel for something. Anything. But all I kept getting was air. The air, however, felt so warm, almost tangible, like I could hold the warmth in my hands. I knew that couldn’t be right. I still crept forward in all this bleakness with still the sound of the bell going off. I could hear myself breathing and it was normal. I could hear my heartbeat in the back of my throat. I wasn’t afraid, or so I was trying to convince myself. The sound of the bells didn’t seem to get any closer or farther. It stayed the same. I tried to turn to my right. Nothing. I turned to my left. Nothing still. Everything was as is. For some reason I was unable to speak. I hadn’t tried because I knew it wouldn’t really do anything. It wouldn’t mean anything for me to hear my own voice anyway. I was aware that I needed to pay attention to my surroundings. Even in my dreams (if that’s what this was) I knew better than to give myself away or to immediately panic, but this was almost like a welcomed ease. It was strange. So strange.
Then there, a faint creak. Like a rickety door opening in this…room? I wasn’t sure where I was but all I knew was there was an exit and an entrance and I had to keep my wits about me to find it. And just as soon as I heard the noise, I heard a breathing that wasn’t my own. I tried to keep myself still and to hone in on that breathing. It was calm, like my own. I had to try and keep my ears open for this second person, or at least what I hoped was a second person. I couldn’t tell at that moment but I was praying hard that it was a human. The breathing got louder and louder until it was the only noise to fill my ears. It was so deafeningly loud. I almost wanted to just cover my ears and crouch into a fetal position but I knew it wouldn’t help me. Then a soft touch on my shoulder and I wanted to jump out of my skin, it was so unexpected. A heart attack would have been a welcomed death at that moment. Then I heard a faint buzzing, and it grew to a low growl. I felt the hairs on my arms begin to rise as the sound became louder, like it was right in front of my face.
Almost as soon as the sound became more, I woke up in my plush bed.”

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