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4 - The girl in the dungeon

The first thing Eira discovered when she gained consciousness was the pitch blackness surrounding her. Her eyes had only opened but her heart raced when she was greeted with the smell of rancid blood and rusted iron and she shut them close immediately.

For as long as she could remember, she had feared darkness. It crawled over her skin like hairy bugs and roiled her stomach. Even when her eyes were closed, she still sensed her surrounding and shadowy, dark figures appeared in front of her inner eyes which she knew really didn't exist.

She began sweating coldly even though her surrounding temperature was really low. Her skin shivered with fear while her hands reached around to find the switch and turn on the lamp but she couldn't find it. She usually kept it glowing throughout the night; it helped her sleep the night away. Even though Bella, her room-mate and best pal preferred to sleep in a pitch-black room, she would make an excuse every night only for Eira.

With rising anxiety, Eira blinked her eyes open. As some seconds passed, her eyes adjusted to the scanty light entering the room from a source that wasn't anywhere inside the four walls surrounding her.

Her pupils dilated, letting more light in. What she saw, only elevated the fear built up inside of her.

She wasn't in her own room. Instead, her eyes took in what looked like a dungeon. Dark and creepy.

There were three walls around her made from chunks of black bricks arranged one after the other and from the little moss growing over them, she perceived that the place was old. Really, really old. The fourth side of the room had long metal bars that extended from the ceiling and ended inside the floor.

She lifted herself up a little too quickly and felt pain shot through her skull immediately. She fell back to what she was sitting on all the while.

It was a bed, not made out of wood but entirely of some metal; placed close to one of the walls and on either side of it, she found nails, the biggest she had ever come across. Around them were shackles. She didn't need to hold them to know they weighed heavy.

There was nothing else inside the room. The floor was covered with dust and probably dried mud that irritated her nostrils with every step she took.

How had she ended up in this freaky place? She tried recalling her latest memories.

Eira remembered finishing her evening shift at Malcolm's Shack where she worked thrice a week as a part-time job. Then she remembered sitting in the nearby bar shop and drowning herself in a sea of bourbon. A while later she was tipsy and then ended up in front of her mother's grave, but then?

She pressed the sides of her temple, trying to recollect anything. And then suddenly, it popped inside her brain like an acid flashback.

A vampire. It couldn't be anything else!

Her fingers reached up to her neck automatically and she felt the holes buried there. She felt no pain but they were deep. So deep. A gasp escaped her lips.

Her feet carried her quickly even though she felt weak. Now that the fear of darkness was put behind, she felt the pain reverberate throughout her body, starting from her head to the tip of her toes. Her back ached constantly, it was just another signal for her to keep her posture firm.

She held the metal bars in her hand and rattled them in an attempt to escape from the room. Only a while later her efforts ceased as she heard the sound of several footsteps, growing louder with each breath she inhaled.

She tried to calm herself but gave away to the muscle pain in her feet and dropped herself on the hard surface of the metal bed.

Eira could see clearly now. Her pupils had dilated to their full extent. She heard the footsteps echo through what she perceived was a narrow hallway outside the space she was locked in. Through the metal bars, she could see another identical brick wall pressing close to the gate.

Was this a nightmare? Eira wondered for a second.

But then her fingers brushed against the marks engraved deeply in her neck and any possibility of this being a figment of her imagination left her mind entirely.

Eira knew a lot could happen during a lifetime. The death of a parent? Possible. Impending breakup with the guy you thought you'd marry? Possible. Getting attacked by a vampire and being locked in a dungeon? Fuck!

Did vampires even exist?

If she had to ask that question to Bella, short for Arabella, she would start reciting the whole summary for Twilight. Edward Cullen and the Cullen family. Even though, Eira would rather prefer to jump into a deep well than listen to that bullshit.

But that was just a fictional book. How could something fictional actually attack her? Had the trauma of her break up made her insane?

Orilon was a normal town. As normal as it got. Some people told tales of evil witches and dark creatures hiding in the night but that were just another way the town attracted tourist—other than from the thick grooves of mystical trees and stony structures. But those were just stories. Orilon was one of the towns she actually liked, the very reason why she hadn't left it even after the death of her mother. She had found true friendship and what she formerly believed was love. Pathetic. But the town also gave her a sense of security. It felt like home.

Was she even in Orilon anymore?

The air that still stank of rancid blood and iron had several questions floating about in it. Every single one of them sent one individual migraine to her brain and increased the pace of her heart by a unit. She wasn't sure if she preferred an answer to any of them. Logical or not.

She only wanted a way out of this shit-hole that feared her to an extent no horror movie could.

Unlike other hostages, Eira was smart. She knew silence meant a great deal. At that point, it could even mean a way out and thus she didn't scream the moment she spotted the three figures that had halted outside the metal door.

Instead, she took a deep breath while sending a silent prayer to a God she only believed in in moments of danger and despair and waited for what was written in her fate. 

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