Claw Marks and Corridors

Felicity saw something she shouldn't have. A dead girl in the bathroom at school. Not just any girl, Robin Cross, the head girl. Since that night all she's had in her head is images of a creature ravaging her body. But Robin was just stabbed excessively, right?

Felicity's life is shattering as she struggles to find the truth and anyone who will believe her. Even the corridors start to not feel safe anymore.

*First Draft*

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Author's note

This is a first draft, meaning that a couple of the chapters are going to be changed/need serious editing at some point! Please bare this in mind.
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27. Twenty-Six

 

I could hardly register the rustle of movement as something moved towards me, before my knees were buckling and I fell backwards. All I could hear was my heart beating loudly as I scrambled backwards as fast as possible. I couldn't see. I couldn't breathe. Something scratched at my legs, sharp points digging in. I whimpered, desperately trying to push myself up but I couldn't.

Then came the pain as something ripped through my jeans, scratching burning lines through the skin on my calf. A gasping scream came out of me as hot tears broke from my eyes. I tried to move again as the creature struck at me, ripping through the back of my jeans this time as I was now trying to crawl away on my front. Pain shot through me and I screamed again, the mud crumbling below my hands as I tried to get away.

I couldn't think. All that was in my brain was fear, fear, FEAR. Blackness all around me.

A sharp pain scored through my back, shredding through my t-shirt and I shrieked again. Tears filled my eyes and the metallic smell of blood filled my nose, drowning me. Pain, pain, PAIN.

Everything was burning and searing and it just kept on clawing at my legs, my back. Again and again. Sharp punctures into my body, through my clothes, my skin. The fear and the pain held me down till I couldn't move anymore but I had to. I kept gripping at the ground, screaming out in pain. I wanted it to stop.

Then there was noise; footsteps, a thud, loud voices, another thud. I whimpered again, trying to crawl away but someone grabbed at me, turned me over. Ric's face swarmed into view as light shone down on me. I winched and blinked, trying to focus my eyes but they were still full of tears. My chest heaved and my hands clenched.

Abi-Rose came into focus behind him. She was holding the lamp in one hand, the cricket bat in the other. On the floor lay a mess of black feathers and claws and a beak, all at the wrong angles. I blinked some more before I realised what it was. There was a bird, a rook, laying still on the ground.

"I-I..." I tried to speak. "I-Is it...dead?"

Abi-Rose bent down slightly and poked it with the cricket bat. The blood, my blood, on its beak and claws glistened in the orangey glow of the lamp. She stood upright again. "I think so... Or maybe just knocked out."

I winced again and took in some gasping breathes as I looked down at my bloody, scratched legs. They seared and throbbed, blood seeping from them, staining the shreds of my jeans.

"You need a hospital," Ric said beside me but I wasn't listening. I stared from the rook back to my legs and then back at the rook again.

"It's a rook," Abi-Rose commented as she was still inspecting it from her position, eyes wide. "One tried to swoop at us before you, and I whacked that too, then we heard you screaming."

I realised that must have been why she screamed. But rooks? That was only a rook that had ripped at me? That bird dead on the floor was my attacker...

"B-B-But..." I couldn't get words out, jamming my eyes shut as pain throbbed through me. Ric was trying to pull me upright to walk.

"Come on," he urged and there was a note of panic in his voice.

"I-I-I..." Nothing would come out. My legs wouldn't take my weight. Ric tried to put his arms around my back and lift me but I gasped out in pain.

"Sorry," he mumbled, concentrating as he scooped up my legs and under my shoulders, avoiding the scratch on my back this time. I bit my lip against the pain and let him carry me, Abi-Rose ahead of us, breaking through the bush with her bat again. She made a bigger gap through it so that Ric could carry me through. We stumbled out onto the roadside.

"How are we going to get to a hospital?" Ric questioned aloud, worried. The bikes we had used earlier and left on the side of the road certainly weren't going to be useful.

Abi-Rose dragged her hand through her hair for a few minutes, before she pulled out her phone from her bag. "I'll call mum."

"And say what?" Ric snapped and he sounded frustrated. "How do we explain this?"

Abi-Rose didn't seem phased as she was tapping on her phone. "We were star gazing, a bird attacked her." She paused, putting the phone to her ear. "Because it did."

Pain seared through my body and I wanted to call out, ask her to hurry but I didn't. I could feel Ric's chest heaving as he breathed heavily, his hands shaking as he held me. Abi-Rose had stepped away from us, talking hurriedly into the phone. 

"I-I'm fine," I tried to say calmly but he looked down at me in disbelief. It was definitely a lie.

"You're not fine," he muttered. "This is my fault."

I shook my head but pain shot through my body again and I had to ram my eyes shut.

"I just... I don't understand," he stammered out and I peeled my eyes open again. I looked at his scared but confused face. "Why did it attack you?"

"I...I don't know," I replied weakly.

He looked almost enraged but I couldn't speak anymore as tears filled my eyes again. Everything was stinging.

It felt like forever before a small white car emerged through the dark and pulled up to the side of the road. Abi-Rose's mum wasn't smiling today, looking worriedly at me as Ric helped me into the back of the car and slammed the door behind him. She started to drive, asking Abi-Rose questions and exclaiming about how she didn't understand.

I didn't understand either.

It had been a relatively small rook but it had cut my skin deeply. Yet they were only cuts into my skin, Robin was killed. She couldn't have just been killed by one bird? The injuries were far worse than that. This couldn't be the monster we were looking for. It couldn't be the answer to all the attacks, could it? Ferocious birds who were for some reason after human blood...

I lent against the window and shut my eyes again, tears seeping out from below my eyelids. As we drove on, the pain had subsided to a dull ache in my legs and back, but the fear was still throbbing through my body. I was shaking all over.

It hadn't made a sound. As it was attacked me, all that I heard was my own screams and the rip of fabric and the scratch of it's claws. No sound, no squawking. No nothing. Why was that?

"Fe, we're here," Ric's voice broke through and I realised he'd opened the car door and we were in the hospital car-park in Bartwell. He scrambled to help me get out, lifting me up again as Abi-Rose's mum lead the way towards the A&E entrance, still utterly worried out of her mind.

It was a blur of white and doctors and people asking me what happened. I tried to answer quickly but my voice was shaking about and I was still so confused. 'A bird attacked you?' people kept saying and I kept nodding and then they were dabbing at my wounds, talking about stitches and tetanus shots. I felt barely conscious as it all happened around me.

I didn't feel like I could breathe properly until, the doctors around me cleared and I was laying down in a hospital bed with curtains around me. I tried to push myself up, wincing as I pulled back the covers to see my bandaged up legs. I felt at my back where a massive patch had been stuck down before slowly laying down again. They'd given me an injection shot of something and pain killers so I was somehow numb all over. The pain was seeping away.

I heard quick footsteps and the curtains were pulled back, Abi-Rose emerging through it.

"They said I couldn't come in yet but I don't care," she said quickly and she flipped open her bag, pulling the bloody knife out.

"Abi-" I tried to tell her to put it away.

She slammed it down onto the bedside table. "You should have this back." She moved her eyes to me and she looked annoyed. "Why do you have a knife?"

"Protection," I replied slowly and tried to sit up some more.

She ran a hand through her hair, breathing fast. It was a few moments before she spoke again. "At first I thought nothing of it, but in the waiting room I was thinking. Thinking so much," she continued, and she sounded almost hysterical again. She glared at me. "The police said that Robin was mutilated with a knife." Her voice broke slightly. "And then I find that you've been running around with a knife all this time!"

"I didn't hurt her," I quickly snapped out. I didn't, I didn't, I didn't. She didn't suspect me, did she?

Abi-Rose frowned at me some more. "You got attacked by a bird, there were only ferocious birds in those fields... But you made me believe there was some monster, but what if... what if that is just actually bullshit?"

"There is a monster." I was breathing quickly now, gripping at the bed sheets. I willed her to stop talking so loudly.

Abi-Rose ran her hand through her hair again, her tone distressed. "I don't know..." She turned away. "What if all those animals attacks? They were just by rooks..." She took in a shaky breath, looking back at me. "They didn't kill Robin... Someone murdered her." I saw tears in her eyes. "And I just don't know anymore. Monster, murderer? I don't know what to believe." She stepped back through the curtains, tears in her eyes. "I don't know."

"Abi-Rose," I tried to call her back but she had already gone. I was too stiff to rush after her, struggling to try and push myself out of bed. Shit. I fell back against the pillows.

But maybe she's right? Robin's voice echoed in my head. I rolled onto my side and squeezed my eyes shut. She was right. The cat attacked in that field, maybe it was by a rook. It had swooped down, attacked it and flown off with it, all before I saw anything. I'd never thought to look up into the sky. Maybe I would have seen a retreating bird or birds, and a bleeding cat hanging from their claws.

"Fe," Ric's voice called worriedly and I turned my head. I breathed out more calmly as he emerged through the curtain.

"Thank god you're here," I said and sat up again. My thoughts wanted to burst out. "The rooks... they could have been behind the animal attacks?"

Ric sat in the seat beside the bed and looked at me with a shrug. "Yes, I guess so."

"That makes sense, doesn't it?" I replied biting at my lip. "But not Robin's death, not Amanda's... and the things you saw. They weren't just birds."

Ric nodded. "I know."

I laid back again, my breathes still quick. "I don't... I don't understand. I..."

Ric lent forwards slightly. "Don't worry about it now. You're hurt, you need to rest."

I sat back up again and looked at him. "I can't just lay here." I ripped back the cover. "Where's my clothes?"

Ric stood and tried to get me back into the bed. I was weakened so he managed it. "Fe, just breathe okay."

I realised that my breathes were coming out too fast, my heart thumping loudly so much so that my chest almost hurt. Ric gripped my shoulders and was whispering to me, trying to help me steady my breathing. But I couldn't. My mind was racing but only with the feeling of panic. Panic. Panic. Panic.

Ric's hands gripped harder at my shoulders and I in took breathe sharply, trying to focus on the room again. I was safe now. I was in a hospital bed. I was with a friend.

Slowly, the pressing in my chest eased and my breathing slowed. The room came back into focus and I could hear the slow rumble of other voices in other beds. Ric was worriedly beside me, still holding on to me.

"I'm fine," I managed to force out and lent back into the pillows again. He let go slowly but still stood there.

"It will all be okay," he said quietly and tried to give me a reassuring smile.

I tried a smile back, but it didn't work. I rubbed at my sore eyes and looked back at him as he sat down.

"I just... It didn't make any noise," I whispered and he focused his eyes on me. "The rook, it just came out of nowhere and I couldn't see anything... I couldn't hear anything." I took in a deep breath. "Why didn't it make any noise?"

Ric looked back at me curiously. "I don't know."

"It doesn't make sense," I muttered and I closed my eyes again, trying to understand the situation. It just wasn't really a situation that could be easily understood.

"Do you want me to get hold of your parents?" Ric asked suddenly but I shook my head.

My eyes flew open. "Oh hey mum and dad, I was in field looking for monsters and got attacked by a rook? Yes, a silent, violent rook... Yes I know I'm crazy," I reeled off pretending to talk on a phone.

"You're not crazy," Ric told me firmly.

I rolled to face him better and sighed. "I'm just saying... How would I even explain it to them?"

"Okay, we won't call them," he replied and sat back in the chair. "But Abi-Rose has gone, I don't know how we'll get home."

I frowned. "I guess we'll work that out when they say I can leave."

Ric nodded and looked to the floor, silence coming between us for a few minutes.

"What are you thinking about?" I asked quietly, sensing something was wrong.

Ric raised his eyes again. "Why would it attack you? I don't get it," he mused. "One tried to attack me and Abi-Rose... It flew down at us. But why?" He was frowning so deeply in confusion. "They don't usually do that to humans, do they?"

I didn't reply, letting it sink in. He was right. It didn't make sense. We'd spent so long looking for answers to the attacks, to Robin's death but now we had a probable answer, I was even more confused. Were the rooks really the answer we had been looking for all along? Were they the monster?

"They usually stay in groups, together," Ric commented and I realised he was scrolling through things on his phone. "In a group they could definitely do more damage."

I frowned. "Kill and take all those sheep?" I questioned. "But the fence was ripped through."

Ric rubbed at his eyes and ran his fingers through his messy hair. "I don't know... It doesn't all add up, does it?"

I shook my head. It didn't. Rooks could probably attack small things: cats, sheep, other animals... but humans? One had attacked me but one couldn't have completed killed Robin? Her leg was ripped clean off, her guts were spilling out, there was blood everywhere. There was so much violence behind her attack. I swallowed hard as the image grew before my eyes. There was no way one or even a group of birds did that, was there?

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