In the summer of 2014 I wrote a novella revolving around two characters Grayson and Ace. I hated the entire thing and so I scrapped it. This short excerpt is the only thing I have left from the original novella. Enjoy.
All I can hear is the sound of my breathe. The echoing whoosh of my exhales like I’m yawning. My movements are lethargic and unorganized like time is moving slowly and I’m watching from afar. A dryness burns my eyes as I strain to keep them open. The soft murmurs of the word focus bounces around in my head like a faint idea that I can’t remember. I turn my head to look behind me. It’s too dark to see anything. I turn back around and the previous whooshing noise replaces itself with heavy rubbing that pounds against the floor.
We are running, but from what? Ace’s hand is laced in between mine. Sweat slides down my forehead and drips into my mouth as I try to remember why we're here. Fizzling out, my brain refuses to accept what is happening as he continues to pull me along, whipping us around every corner. Thump. Thump. Thump. My heart pounds in my ears as I try to remain calm and alert. I look up at him and see only the back of his head. Messy black hair lies flat and slicked like it’s been overly gelled. His right ear is crusty and a trail of blood leads down below his shirt.
“Don’t look back.” Ace grits through ragged breaths turning briefly to look down at me.
Like another part of my brain is working that I’m unaware of, my right forearm sweeps up and wipes away sweat from my forehead. I watch in awe as it lowers itself back down to swing in motion with my legs, pumping me faster along. The dark hallway seems to go on forever like a never ending maze. His relentless pace shows me that he believes we’re going to make it out of here. But, our luck has run out and it’s no longer on our side.
My body whips to the right and a rush of cool, metallic air fills my lungs as I realize Ace pulled us into a room. I put my hand on my knees trying to catch my breath as he slams the door shut. The room is small with only a rusty desk and chair to occupy it. My mind wanders, thinking of when I used to play school with Andrew.
I snap to reality after being away for who knows how long..
“Help me move this desk.” Ace huffs.
I don’t move.
“Grayson! Let’s go. We don’t have time.”
Together we move the desk in front of the door as it screeches against the floor.
Finally focused, I grab the rusty chair and stick it under the handle for extra strength. The sound of heavy rubber boots approach the door. Their steps synchronized as one.
Ace pulls me toward him. My hands fall on his chest. Heat warms my cheeks as I rest my head against his shirt. My fingertips caress where his heart should be as it pounds against his shirt trying to break free. His arms wrap around me tighter, cocooning me before he lifts my chin up with one hand. He looks at me, green eyes to blue as his thumb caresses my face from my eyebrows to my cheeks then from my nose to my lips. I close my eyes and sigh. He lets go and places his hands on either side of my face and pulls me toward him. The space between us disintegrates as our lips meet. The kiss is gentle and direct as if no one is watching. He lingers there before kissing me again, even softer this time. Everything disappears. There's no people chasing us, no world ending, just him and me in this moment.
But he pulls away too soon and the moment is gone as the pounding makes its final approach to the door. Little by little the door starts to budge as the forces on the other side gain strength.
Ace grabs my hand and yanks me back to him so that I can feel his breath against my ear as he whispers to me.
“It took me awhile to realize it, but you are my strength when I am. Stay strong for me Grayson.”
My eyes fill with tears as he kisses the side of my face and shoves me away from him. At the same moment, the doors burst open and smoke fills the room. I’m crawling on my hands and knees as everything starts to burn from the haze. I squint trying to find focus and see Ace. He looks at me as his mouth drops and his eyes roll to the back of his head. I reach out for him, gurgling his name as I scream. Then everything goes black.