Marston paused for a moment to grab his breath, his heart beating hard as he strained to listen for any sound of movement, but only silence met his ears.

He had barely moved a few yards further into the tunnels when the whispers began, always saying the same thing over and over again…voices that sounded strangely hollow and echoing…

His name.

Now beginning to feel a little spooked, he continued on, and began to notice that the ground now seemed to be sloping downward.

He had reached a cavern of some kind which had a huge pit not far from the entrance to it when he once again got the feeling that he was not alone.

He moved a little ways into the cavern, then turned to face the entrance and bent over, placing his hands on his knees as he tried to catch his breath and to listen for sounds of the searchers and dogs.

But only silence met his ears once more…

And then a slight movement in the shadows by the entrance caught his attention.

Pulling the handgun from the shoulder holster, he made sure it was loaded then turned the flashlight on the area he thought he had seen the movement in…

And then gave a gasp of sheer horror, for the apparitions that he saw were now beginning to advance slowly towards him he knew could not possibly be real…for they were none other than all of the people he had tortured and murdered.

With eyes wide and heart beginning to beat like it was trying to come out of his chest, Marston watched as the figures drew closer and closer, reciting his name in whispering voices that turned his blood to ice.

By now totally spooked, he began firing wildly at them…only to watch the bullets connect…

And yet the figures simply kept coming, closer and closer.

As those grisly figures approached, Marston began to back up slowly, trying his best to reload the gun while still keeping an eye on them.

All at once he felt his heel totter on the edge of the pit and knew that he could go no further. He placed the final bullet in the gun and began firing into the group of ghostly figures that were advancing on him.

Marston kept pulling the trigger for several moments after the last bullet was fired as his stalkers shuffled closer and closer.

His wild eyes searched frantically for a path of escape, and found none.

He did not see the skeletal hands that reached up from the edge of the pit to grab his ankles and pull…

Causing him to lose his balance and fall backwards, right down to the bottom, where he landed with a thud that knocked the breath out of him.

Shakily getting to his feet, he immediately glanced around, seeking a way out of the pit, but there didn’t appear to be any, for the sides were sheer rock and the top was too far to reach and pull himself out.

Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulled out one of the multitude of cheap lighters he had stolen from various stores he had robbed over the years, and which he always kept on him, igniting the flame with hands that trembled visibly.

He realized that he could no longer hear that eerie recitation of his name and he looked up at the rim of the pit, expecting to see those ghastly figures peering down at him, mocking him, but they appeared to have disappeared.

Drawing a shaky breath of relief, he walked up the wall, looking upwards to see if there were any possible handholds he might be able to use to get out.

All around the perimeter he searched, seeking a way out, but he seemed to be well and truly stuck, for the walls were nearly completely smooth.

Frustrated, cursing under his breath, he began to pace, and that was when the whispers began again, whispering in eerie echoing tones, whispering of atrocities he had committed.

And then something moved in the shadows outside the fast dimming glow of the lighter he had once more held up and ignited when the first whispers came.

And as he watched, his heart nearly stopping with horror as those shadows began to form and move all around him, drawing closer even as they multiplied in number.

Backing away, holding the lighter up and once again searching for a way of escape, Marston’s heels connected with something on the floor behind him, sending him reeling backwards, arms flailing for balance.

Once more getting shakily to his feet, Marston looked down to see what had tripped him…

And his eyes went wide in horror as he stared at his body, lying, twisted in unnatural order, at his feet.

And he looked up and around as those ghostly, skeletal figures that surrounded him began to approach, their bony hands outstretched, their fingers clawed, their sightless eyes set in decaying faces locked on him and glowing red, lips drawn back over sharp edged, jagged teeth in parodies of grins as their voices began to fill the cavern, repeating one word over and over again…

Vengeance.

And as the figures closed in and began to tear him apart, he began to scream as he learned for himself the meaning of terror…

A lesson he would be learning for eternity.

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About MARANTHA DREAMWEAVER JENELLE

WRITER'S USE WORDS TO PAINT PICTURES ON THE CANVASES OF THEIR READER'S MINDS. marantha d. jenelle/aka 'maradjen'

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