There was nothing but fog as far as the eye could see.
Donn put his hands in front of his body in an attempt to avoid the scattered trees that he had seen before the mist had made an appearance, but it was to no avail.
It didn’t take long for various scratches and bruises to begin to build up on his skin, and he cringed every time he brushed up against one of them, the prevalence of nature’s assault increasing the longer he pushed on.
Regardless, Donn kept on moving, not stopping for so much as a second - with the people he was trying to escape, he couldn’t afford to.
That didn’t make the situation any less confusing, though Donn tried not to focus on how strange it had been when the fog had come up out of nowhere, and night had fallen not a few seconds afterwards. Any semblance of direction had quickly gone directly down the drain, and it was taking every bit of Donn’s self control not to panic.
It seemed as if the world was against him, and Donn didn’t blame it.
Then, something in the distance caught Donn’s eye.
There was no doubt in Donn’s mind that it was a light, though nothing about it was very clearly defined. Rather than any sharp edges or beams of light, it was more of a faint glow, with no sense of distance or depth whatsoever.
It wasn’t much, and despite knowing that he was probably headed directly into danger, the promise of clear vision was far too much for Donn to resist.
By the time he reached the source of the light, Donn was convinced he had traveled several miles.
His general state was a disaster, despite the fact that Donn was far from out of shape. His legs were aching, his breathing was heavy, and he felt ready to collapse at any given moment. It’s impossible, he thought, blinking several times as he scanned the small cabin in front of him. There’s no way it was that far. If I can’t see a tree two inches in front of me, even light can’t cut through fog that thick.
The building wasn’t large, not by a long shot.
It wasn’t a complex shape either, and it didn’t appear that it could be composed of more than a single room. Despite his hesitance to approach the place, light seemed to imply that someone was home and he needed a place to hide - at least until he could see clearly enough to keep moving. Staying in one spot for too long didn’t seem like the smartest of plans.
Without noticing he was doing it, Donn began to pace and he circled the house several times before he finally attracted his own attention. It didn’t seem that there were any other entrances to the house, with the exception of windows, and that only served to put Donn even more on edge.
However, the sound of what could have been a wolf pushed him to act. Standing in front of the door and taking a deep breath, Donn raised his fist and knocked. He crossed his arms over his chest as he waited, a protective gesture on his part. For several minutes he stood there, but there was no answer.
“Hello, is anyone home?” Donn called as he knocked once more. “I got lost in the woods a while back, the fog came up out of nowhere.”
Again, there was no answer.
The longer Donn waited, the more unsettled he became. It was dark and the fog was eerie, and the noises of the forest were really starting to get to him. This time when he reached forward, it wasn’t to knock, and Donn grabbed the doorknob and made an attempt to turn it.
To his dismay, it was locked, and he closed his eyes in frustration.
He didn’t have time for this, he needed to get inside. The police had to have caught wind of him by now, and they likely had flashlights, which already gave them the upper hand.
For several moments, Donn weighed his options. A few flashed through his mind before he finally decided upon one - picking up a large stone and smashing it through the nearest window.
The glass shattered easily, and several small cuts made themselves known on Donn’s hands. He squinted slightly as the light became brighter still, and then he dropped the stone. Glass crunched as a result of the action, and it made Donn cringe.
Donn glanced back over his shoulder as he rubbed his hands on the back of his pants. If anyone had seen him do that, it would have meant he was in even deeper trouble than before. However, it seemed as if the coast was still clear, and he nodded to himself before turning back to the window.
It would be even better if no one was home.
He easily pulled his shirt over his head, wrapping it around his hands in order to protect them as he vaulted through the window and into the house. Once he had maneuvered away from the scattered shards of glass, the silence grew thick in the air.
The only thing breaking said silence was the faint noise of a ticking clock. That being said, Donn couldn’t see one. Honestly, Donn wasn’t completely sure what he was seeing.
There were were paintings and drawings of all shapes and sizes scattered throughout the room and none of them looked as if they were done by someone in the right state of mind. They were dark, composed of sharp edges and scratchy marks - the only color used was a bright red, which provided a startling contrast.
That same red seemed to have been splashed onto the walls, like entire buckets of paint had been tipped and thrown - there was no rhyme or reason to the madness. There were no carpets, no furnishings at all except for the easels some of the paintings sat upon.
“What happened here?” Donn asked aloud and his voice cut through the silence like the stone he had used to break the window. There was something about the place that was slightly unsettling, and Donn found himself shifting nervously from foot to foot.
After he had managed to take in the strangeness of surroundings, Donn noticed something that took him by surprise.
In the very corner of the room, there stood a second door.
“Maybe there’s a closet or something,” he muttered, strolling forward and ignoring the uneasy feeling starting to settle in his stomach. Then he opened the door and stepped inside.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, not at first.
The room was tiny, and surprisingly bare in comparison to the main room he had just entered from.
A bed was centered on the back wall - a small table stood beside it, though there was nothing on it. Donn took a step closer, and he jumped when the door slammed behind him. His face paled despite his attempts to will it not to.
“Stupid wind,” he said in an attempt to ease himself, though he hadn’t felt a single draft from the moment he had stepped inside. Then he was moving forward yet again.
That was when he noticed the tally marks.
They were so blatantly obvious, Donn wasn’t sure how he hadn’t seen them before. Sets of five completely covered the walls, not a single inch of space was wasted. Someone had obviously been here a long time, but the more chilling question was why they hadn’t been able to leave.
As his eyes scanned the room, they eventually settled on the bedside table - a clean circle was among the dust where a lamp had once been, revealing that someone had been there recently enough to remove it. Chills ran up Donn’s spine at the realization, and then he was turning on his heel.
Every rational thought in his mind was yelling at him to leave as soon as he could, and Donn intended to listen to the voices. He found himself letting out an involuntary breath when the door actually opened.
The feeling of relief didn’t last for very long.
In the corner of the room he had just left, there was a man curled into a ball, breathing heavily and rocking back and forth. He didn’t acknowledge Donn’s existence, didn’t even seem to notice he was there at all.
Donn felt the color drain from his face and his breath catch in his throat. He felt frozen, like moving any part of his body would be impossible, even if his brain was running at a million miles a minute.
Among the chaos of his thoughts, one stood out.
The lamp had been removed from the bedroom - and there were no lights in this room either. Even so, he was seeing everything as clearly as if it were the middle of the day. How was that possible? Or perhaps a better question, what light had he seen in the distance?
That was more than enough for Donn. In a matter of seconds, his initial freeze reaction had turned to flight, and he darted towards the door. Not a few seconds later, he was coming to a screeching halt.
There was a figure guarding the door.
The woman was seemingly translucent, which gave her the feeling of being inhuman. Donn swallowed heavily, unable to help himself from glancing back at the man behind him before turning back to her. He didn’t want to leave himself vulnerable for too long.
“What are you?” He demanded, attempting to make his tone sound intimidating, but a smile played at the corners of the woman’s lips.
“That isn’t any of your concern.” Her tone was sweet, but it came across as eerie.
“What’s happening here? Where am I? Is this a dream?”
“So many questions,” she replied patiently, her eyebrows raising slightly as the corners of her lips followed. “But I can assure you that this is not a dream.”
Every muscle in Donn’s body tensed at the words, and then he was shaking his head. However, despite his best efforts, he was unable to force his mouth to form words.
“It would be easier for everyone if you accept your fate, your actions are what brought you here. Perhaps you have some intelligence behind the veil.”
“A-are you calling me stupid?”
The woman shrugged, but the twinkle in her eyes assured Donn that she had.
Donn waited for the woman to move the conversation forward, all the while letting his eyes scan the room for any chance of escape. After a long minute the woman was giving him an encouraging look - the type that you would give to a child.
“Come on then,” she said, “Prove to me that you’re not. What brought you here, really?”
“If you want me to spew some crap about fate-”
“I would watch how you speak to me,” the woman snapped, and the fierceness in her eyes caused Donn to swallow roughly, immediately clamping his mouth shut. It took a solid chunk of time before he had worked up the nerve to speak again.
“Why I’m here? What, you mean running from from the cops?” He asked the question roughly, as if he was trying to intimidate her.
However, the being in front of him - who was starting to feel less and less human as time went on - didn’t seem to be phased. It was as if she already knew.
“Robbed a place, used this path to make a getaway.”
“But that’s not the whole story, is it?” The woman’s voice was sharp. “People got hurt, didn’t they Donn?”
“They weren’t supposed to.”
“But they did. You broke, and you hurt people.” She was nearly yelling now, and Donn thought she was going to attack him. Then she was taking several deep breaths, in what seemed to be an attempt to calm herself. After some time had passed, she had done so. “What about the fog?”
“What about it?” Donn asked, shifting nervously from foot to foot. Her outburst had scared him, not that he’d ever admit it. “It just showed up.”
“Coincidentally? Just as you were far enough into the woods to not be able to find your way back?”
“Yeah, I guess you could look at it like that. Just coincidence.”
The woman raised her eyebrows, and then she was laughing once more. The tone was dark, and it made Donn shudder. “I take back what I said before,” she said, taking a step forward. “Your head might as well be hollow, you’re not getting much use out of your brain.”
The statement caused Donn to snap, and then he was sprinting forward, as fast as his legs would allow. In a matter of seconds, he was standing in front of the door, and the woman was nowhere to be seen.
Donn knew she was probably behind him, but he didn’t dare look. Instead he was reaching for the lock, turning it quickly and throwing it open. He started to run forward, but then he was stopping dead in his tracks.
He wasn’t outside, not as he had expected.
Instead, he was back in the same room he had started in; the woman was once again standing in front of him.
Donn jumped in surprise, and something hit the floor next to him.
Exactly where his hand had been, there was a fresh tally mark on the wall - dozens that hadn’t been there before - and a pencil on the floor. “W-what-” Donn’s head snapped back to look at the woman, who laughed the same laugh as before.
“Oh darling, don’t you see?”
“This is your prison,” she replied. “And you can never leave.”