Long distance hiking is super fun until it starts raining and you can't find anywhere to stay. Sheltering in an abandoned hospital is a logical solution, that is until you realise you're not alone.


Crime / Suspense / Mystery / Thriller


Bella Osborn (United Kingdom)

Jogging along the edge of the windy road, rain and sweat started to blend into one. Ahead I could see a large building that seemed to loom over me, even at this distance. I needed somewhere to stay the night, somewhere out of the stormy weather. I had planned to hitchhike my way to a hotel or inn in a nearby town but the only vehicle to pass me was a singular lorry that didn’t even slow down, this meant that I was stuck here in the cold, alone.
I continued my trip towards the building, only slowing to avoid the muddy puddle that covered most of the road. The road looked old and unused, it had patches of grass and mud across it and potholes littered it like leopard print. This was the only building for miles but as I approached it I soon realised how old and badly kept it was – the windows were either boarded up or broken, brambles covered all the walls reminding me of a dark and twisted version of the fairy-tale of sleeping beauty, no light emitted from the unsettling building - it was obviously abandoned but there didn’t seem to be any fence that would stop me from sheltering there from the icy rain, besides it was only one night, I’d be gone by the morning.
I crept along the edges of the building, heedful of the imminent threat of guard dogs, that would come to rip me to pieces. Between the thorns, a rotting door could be seen, I gently pushed it which surprisingly resulted in it groaning before dropping to the floor with a loud thud. I cringed waiting for the sound of dogs and police coming to give justice to any who trespass on their property, but I was only greeted with silence. Breathing a sigh of relief, I carefully stepped over the threshold into the building.
The thundering rain pounded on the roof, some of it coming through the broken window above me and started soaking into my matted hair. Moving further into the building, it became obvious that this was once a hospital. The room I was in looked to be a reception area, but all items of any value were gone. Papers strewed the room, some blown further into the enclosed area by the wind that’s travelling through the open door behind me. Fallen containers and loose tablets were cast around the room and sheets stained with a murky red were abandoned near the walls. The area stunk of rotten meat so strongly I nearly gagged.
Quickly I moved past the catastrophe that was the reception area and travelled down the corridor on my left, labelled Corridor A. The long corridor was also covered in abandoned medical supplies – even a broken stretcher. Upon the wall was a tattered poster for a blood drive labelled 1962, I shuddered before continuing down the corridor.
I turned left down a separate corridor hoping that further in wouldn’t be as cold, but as soon as I turned down the corridor, I heard a loud bang behind me followed by a sinister laugh. Instinctively I started running away from the noise, my feet thundered beneath me and I heard a blood-curdling scream. I started sprinting faster and faster, trying to avoid whatever was behind me. I saw a sign that stated the nearest exit was five corridors away, I turned down it so quickly I nearly fell, but miraculously, managed to continue.
Four corridors left. I turned once again and realised I was in the children’s ward, sweets were scattered across the floor and a small doll sat in a corner, it only had one arm and its eyes seemed to follow me as I sprinted past. Behind me I heard footsteps and an ear-bleeding scraping noise, I willed my feet to move quicker.
Three left. Behind me the same maniacal laugh could be heard, and I was starting to lose speed. I passed an abandoned canteen that only had one other door that may lead outside, but I didn’t want to risk it.
Two left. I was so close it hurt, I could now hear footsteps close by and the scraping noise intensified making me want to drop to the floor and block my ears, but I resisted and carried on.
One left. I could see the exit now, at the end of the long hallway. The footsteps were louder almost as though they were just behind me and the laughter continued. My legs burnt and I was struggling to breath, but I pushed harder. Only a couple more meters. I reached the doors and pushed them, hard, but this time they didn’t give way, this time they stayed rock still. The footsteps were closer and the scraping louder. I struggled with the door, but it resisted, until suddenly it jerked open and I breathed a sigh of relief, but the attacker was close. I started running through the door – finally free. I could no longer hear any noise – I was safe.
I stopped running, trying to catch my breath. It was quiet out, almost peaceful. That was until I felt an icy breath on the back of my neck and a hoarse voice whispered a single word into my ear. A single word that terrified me more than I could possibly describe. The word? Run.

Competition: Friendly feedback, Round 1



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