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The Surrounding Dark by Chris McCartney
SUMMARY: hey, I'm putting this up fro consumption and critique. Please leave a comment when you read it. It only takes a mo and then i know what didn't work and what did. Peace, peeps. P.S. ** = italics
Orlaith was tired. Not bored, drugged, lulled or fatigued. She was just plain tired. And it didn't make sense.
The room which held her was dark; the black covering the floor, ceiling and walls like a thick paint.The black had murdered her sight, and so she stood...stalk still, holding herself against the bitter chilling that came in small, gentle whisps from somewhere out in the blackness. There were other things there, she knew. A low, rasping, regular intake and exhale of air, sent her turning to a different point of the compass with every breath. There was someone else here.
Orlaith was set to worrying once more. *Where was Cale and was he going to find her? Did he even know where to start looking?* Then on to Daragh; *what would happen to him when she was gone?*
She forced herself not to think about that. Resigning herself to an outcome, that still had a chance of not happening was not only foolish - it was soul destroying. And with her soul, would go her will, and she would need every ounce of her will if Cale *did* manage to find her. An escape would be hard, and she would be even harder pressed than he, for as it was: Orlaith would be running for two.
Her hands slipped down and about her stomach, cradling the small round shape that was her child. Even though it was still snugly tucked away, and would stay as such for good long while to come. She tried to steady herself and stop her hands from shaking. Concentrating hard, she calmed her breathing first. After all, her stress meant the baby's stress. Orlaith pushed hard at the worries invading her mind. She was not a worrier by nature but times tended to shape a person - and Orlaith had seen more of the darkness hidden behind what people percieved to be reality, than anyone should ever have to see. Her life; she would never wish upon anyone, but at the same time, if she were given the choice she would do it all again. Her only wish would be that she could have been better prepared.
It was then that Orlaith felt the stirring, like butterflies in her stomach. It was a prelude to the baby eventually getting physical and taking up kick-boxing in her womb. For some reason it was this piece of motion that brought Orlaith back to her original disposition. She found herself again listening intently to the world around her. *Nothing!* Not a damn thing! The breathing had ceased. And like anyone else in that position, Orlaith was now much more frightened than before. Orlaith reached out with her hearing, closing her eyes to facilitate her concentration and began looking for a sound. *Any sound.* Something to tell her where the intruder was. *How could she have let her guard down like this? She should have been paying more attention! She should...*
It wasn't breathing that she found. Searching almost frantically, her senses had locked on to a regular click that issued out in the black. Like a figure that did not know quite how to snap its fingers; the noise came quitely, somewhat dulled.
Orlaith felt her hearbeat give a burst of speed, like a sprinter taking the last mile with everything she's got, as she heard the clicking get steadily closer.