Chapter 12: Into the Fire
Completely alone for the first time since her abduction, Deidra let down her guard and surrendered to grief. Great heaving sobs racked her body, until the well of tears ran dry. Gradually, the crying jag subsided. She quieted down enough to hear footsteps enter the sitting room, on the other side of the wall.
Were they looking for her already? Surrounded by soundproof stone walls, Deidra moved closer to the door she had just slipped through. It sounded like two men. Curious, she pressed her ear to the door, listening in to their conversation.
“I can’t believe Caitlyn is dead.”
“Dude, I never seen anything like that before. She landed right on that spiked iron gate! The way she used her feet to push off from the wall, it was like she was aiming for it…like she wanted to die. Why the hell would she do it?”
“I have no idea. I’m just as shocked as you. Vincent said that Deidra is behind all of this.”
“Who is Deidra?”
“That girl we saw at the top of the stairs, when we ran up to help Vincent. Have they found her yet?”
“No, but she better hope we find her before Vincent gets his hands on her. That dude is crazy. Whatever they do to him for allowing Caitlyn to kill herself, he’ll do to Deidra ten times worse!”
“She better hope they kill Vincent.”
A startled gasp escaped Deidra, before she could clap a hand over her mouth. She shook her head in disbelief; unable to wrap her head around the horrible way Caitlyn had died or the fact that Vincent was telling everyone that it was her fault. Deidra supposed that in a way, he was right. Caitlyn had seemed to make her mind up, after talking to her. If that was the case, then Vincent also played a part in it since he was the one who locked Deidra in that room overnight.
So, in a way, they were both responsible. Deidra felt like crying all over again. Life was so unfair! How was she supposed to know what Caitlyn would do? She had tried to talk her into leaving. They could have helped one another escape. Instead, things had gone from bad to worse.
Feeling powerless, Deidra wanted to flee. She could not stand there and listen to anything else those men had to say. Deidra impulsively backed away from the door, anxious to distance herself from the sound of their voices. As she retreated from the door and the sliver of light seeping through the crack around it, the darkness of the passageway enveloped her.
With no other illumination, Deidra found it increasingly difficult to see anything. Unsure what to do or where to go, she hesitated. Deidra strained her eyes trying to make out her surroundings. The ancient stone walls around the door were dimly visible. Deidra had moved so far away that where she stood, the darkness around her was absolute.
What had Caitlyn said about the passageways? Which way was she supposed to go? Deidra couldn’t remember. Every time she tried to concentrate, her mind was plagued with images of Caitlyn falling through that window. Another friend was gone forever. Why did everyone keep leaving her? Mounting anxiety was causing a knot to form in the pit of her stomach. Alone in the darkness, with only walls full of doors between her and her captors, Deidra no longer felt safe.
She began to second guess herself. It might have been wiser to go back to her cell and wait for a more opportune time to escape. Her resolve began to slip. Sure, Heather was a pain in the ass and more than a little scary, but at least Deidra would be in the company of the other prisoners instead of all alone in a creepy dark passageway.
She gave serious consideration to going back for a few moments longer, before dismissing the idea with a firm shake of her head. No, she could not allow fear to cloud her judgement. Caitlyn had tried the waiting game and lost her nerve. If Deidra had to die in the castle, then she would die trying to get home. Besides, it wouldn’t be safe to surrender with Vincent gunning for her.
A low sound distracted Deidra from her musings. Was something moving around in the darkness or was she just imagining things? Deidra stood still and listened. The silence was just as eerie. She had almost convinced herself that the noise was a figment of her imagination, when the low furtive sound came again. Deidra’s grew wide with alarm. Was someone trying to sneak up on her? Had they already figured out where she was?
Deidra slowly backed up against the wall and slid down into a crouch, instinctively attempting to make herself a smaller target. It was still quiet. Deidra stayed in that position so long that her legs began to cramp up. She was too afraid to move. The stealthy sound came again, this time there was audible clicking. It sounded like claws. Deidra’s mind immediately conjured up flashbacks of the pallid reptilian creatures stalking her and the other captives down in the bowels of the castle. She shuddered and flattened herself against the wall, frantically looking around but seeing only darkness.
Caitlyn had warned her to move through the passageway quickly. Why had she wasted so much time standing around eavesdropping? Deira found the darkness too disorienting to pinpoint the direction from which the sound was coming. A slight echo was making sound seem to simultaneously come from all sides. The thought that there could be more than one of them spurred her heart into a terrified gallop.
Deidra’s head whipped from side to side. If something was coming, she wanted to see it before it saw her. Until then, Deidra didn’t know which way to run. After what felt like an eternity, silver glowing eyes appeared to materialize out of thin air seemingly at a distance. She couldn’t tell how far away the thing was as it gradually emerged from the blackness. Its milky skin was luminescent with a wet looking sheen. Like a deer caught in headlights, she watched with horrified fascination as the misshapen creature blindly crept towards her in the darkness seemingly drawn by her scent.