This story was written for Pensitivity 101’s Three Things challenge #343
Today’s threes Prompt’s are: Foot, Sore, Tough
This story also includes the Ragtag Daily Prompt Word : Posture
Fourteen-year-old Annabel was walking with a limp and tears in her eyes. Her right foot was so sore it could barely support her.
“You’ve got to be tough,” she told herself straightening her posture and hobbling onward. Shafts of light cut into the creepy corridor from left and right. Each from a decayed room. The paint was peeling from the walls, the furnishings all rotten and broken.
“This place is perfect for a horror movie,” she breathed having set eyes on an old wheelchair and a wheeled rack she knew was for holding intravenous fluid bags. “Where the hell am I?”
Feeling as though eyes were watching her from every room she passed, she hurried along as fast as her injured foot would allow. That never stopped the eyes boring into her spine from the darkness at the end of the corridor.
Annabel was only wearing her nightdress. Of course, she was. The last thing she remembered was going to sleep in her nice safe hotel room.
Her bare toes told her of broken glass, sharp metal and debris on the broken tiled floor. Somehow, she hadn’t cut herself yet but she knew she would before long.
The corridor widened into the top of a staircase.
Annabel stifled a shriek and looked back the way she’d come. Was that a white-clad figure shooting into a room down there?
“I hate this place!” Annabel wiped her tears away and hobbled to the staircase. She lowered her good foot down first and then the sore one. It was slow going but she ambled down the first half of the steps okay.
With a few treads to go, she felt her foot give way. It buckled beneath her, she screamed and tumbled to the landing below.
Annabel curled into a ball clutching her foot, feeling pain radiating from all over her body now. She was beyond sore, it was all she could do not to scream as her fingers massaged the toes and sole of her pounding foot.
“Come on … Annabel … you have … to keep … going!” she told herself. Looking about, she took in a disused reception area. A rat was watching her from one of the rotten chairs. Everything was dark brown and decayed. The reception screen was smashed, the old telephone hanging out of it.
Two further long, ominously dark corridors left the reception and another flight of stairs continued down.
“Oh, no!” Annabel reached for the railing and hauled herself to the stairs amid decaying papers that littered the floor. “Not more stairs.” she knew to get out she had to go down.
Her foot could barely support her now. She sat on the top step and dropped one tread at a time on her bum. It wasn’t dignified but at least she couldn’t fall again.
Reaching the bottom, she half-smiled, a crutch lay across her path. Clasping the cold metal, she used it to stand.
A groan echoed through the building.
Annabel flinched and looked up the stairs. The white figure darted away into the corridors.
“Who are you?” she breathed with cold shivers and gooseflesh prickled through her body. Cold and wracked with pain, she forced herself to hobble along this ground floor corridor.
Something moved within a room to the left.
Annabel dared to look and grimaced. A full-length mirror. Annabel looked at her reflection and felt sick at what she saw. Her nightdress, bare legs and feet were coated in grime. Her usually preened auburn hair was a mess. “You’re a dancer, girl. Your posture is awful,” she chided herself as she straightened her back. “You have to be tough, girl. Get out of here!”
Refocusing on the corridor, she tucked her hair behind her ears. An old exit sign hung by the door at the end. Cold shivers flashed across her body, she turned and shrieked. The white figure was there watching her. It laughed and ran away.
“What the hell is this place.” Annabel sucked up all her remaining strength and hurried down the corridor as fast as her sore foot would allow. She reached and stumbled through the exit door and froze.
“Well, this isn’t outside!” Annabel took in a perfectly clean and tidy lounge area. It was familiar, “I had tea here before going to bed last night.” Limping forward, she caught the crutch on the leg of the coffee table and fell to her knees. The vase smashed and somebody came running.
“Annabel, there you are?”
“Mum, help me. My foot hurt so much.” Annabel burst into tears as her mum Alice dropped to her knees and hugged her.
“What on earth happened to you?”
“I woke up in an old hospital. Through the door there.” Annabel pointed over her shoulder.
“Really?” Alice stood up with a perplexed look on her face. She approached the door and opened it cautiously. It was dark and so she turned on the light revealing a regular hotel room. A bed, wardrobe, sideboard with a kettle and individual wrapped biscuits beside a couple of mugs.
Annabel couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “I’m not lying, mum. Look this crutch proves it.”
Alice returned to her daughter and examined her red and swollen foot. “I don’t disbelieve you but your room is perfectly normal.” She pressed above Annabel’s toes causing her to shriek in pain. “Your foot looks broken.”
“She’s not lying,” said an old, bald man in a black suit, appearing at the door to the lobby of the hotel. “I’ve ordered an ambulance for her.”
“Thank you,” said Alice filled with concern.
Annabel stared at him. She knew he was the hotelier. “What’s going on here?”
“This building used to be part of the King Edward hospital which closed sixty years ago. Consider yourself lucky. Charlie doesn’t allow everybody to visit her in the hospital these days.”
Have a great day!