The shot was so sudden Monica hardly had a chance to flinch, throwing herself against the door and falling forward onto a dark stairwell landing. She felt the tug of the bullet as it ripped through the fabric of her dress, mercifully missing her leg. Scrabbling frantically, she rolled onto her back, kicking hurriedly at the door to shut it, catching a final glimpse of Peter's deranged expression before the door slammed into place.
Everything was happening so quickly now, Monica threw caution to the winds, survival instinct really kicking in. Clawing her way along what felt like cold concrete she managed to find a wall in the darkness, clinging to it and dragging herself to her feet. Without a moment's hesitation she darted forward, hands sliding along the wall, feeling the hand railing nearly too late as her feet slid down off the first step. There was a moment of dread as she felt her ankle twist, crashing down along the hard steps that bit into her shins painfully. Crying out in pain, she gripped the hand rail for dear life, hardly able to keep herself from falling down the whole flight. Her eyes strained against the tears and dense blackness, staring back towards the door hopelessly, fully expecting to see the door open or feel the agony of a bullet ripping through her flesh.
But nothing came.
Not waiting for him to get his act together, Monica tried to move, pulling herself up by the railing as her legs screamed and trembled with pain. She was absently aware of something hot trailing down her leg and tickling over her skin but didn't pay much attention, too busy biting her tongue and forcing herself to take a step. For a moment she was afraid her legs would give out and send her tumbling once more, but by some miracle they held and she crept down the stairs one agonized step at a time. She found herself grinding her teeth with each movement, nerves on edge with fear.
Where was he? Why hadn't he come for her, unless he was down here somewhere…waiting for her. The thought nearly sent her crawling back up the stairs but she knew better than, couldn't go back there to the site of the overly cheery Christmas tree, the thick scent of cinnamon, and tang of blood that stained the floor. She just couldn't, wouldn't for anything in the world. If he was down here, then she'd just have to find a way around him.
Finally she seemed to reach the end of the stairs, her unsteady feet slipping from the substance that could only be blood oozing down over he legs, her pulse throbbing through her shins and gashes she couldn't see. With great reluctance she let go of the handrail, trying to tick to the wall to keep from getting terribly lost. Having absolutely no idea where she was, she tried to move silently, breathing as calmly as she could through her nose, painfully aware of the fast, thundering patter of her heart in the silent room. She must be in the basement, she couldn't think of anyplace else that held the sort of chill that this particular room seemed to emit from the floor, sending shivers of cold through her system that threatened to send her teeth chattering. The cold, hard surface beneath her feet never changed, didn't give any sign as to where she was or what she might find in the murky depths of the darkness that surrounded her. In fact there was absolutely no warning to save her from tripping once more, this time on what seemed to be empty crates stacked up against the wall. Her uneven gate came to an abrupt end as she bumped into the cold metal boxes, giving a small yelp of surprise and jerking away as the plastic bins clattered to the ground noisily. The disturbance seemed to echo around her loudly as if the room were huge, hearing the sound travel out to the far wall and back in waves. Her hands reached out blindly, desperately, trying to find the wall she'd abandoned, stepping back the way she'd come only to find that it had seemingly disappeared.
"No! No, God please." She hissed under her breath, making the mistake of stepping forward once more, kicking one of the crates and finding herself reeling back once more, running into something hard and warm and-
A hot rush of breath stirred her hair, followed swiftly by a low chuckle that could have been taken for seductive if it weren't laden with dark intentions.
"Oh Alice…you always were a tease."
Monica's heart froze in her chest as she yanked away from Peter, not even realizing that he didn't reach for her, didn't try to drag her back until she hit the crates a third time, this time succeeding in falling to the ground, smacking her head against the hard floor.
The next few moments were hazy, everything seeming to blur with confusion, the darkness only adding to the nauseating sense of helplessness that crept through her consciousness, her mind swimming from the impact. She let out the softest groan of pain, slowly regaining a sense of control, taking deep breaths and smoothing her hands out along the floor hopelessly. Head spinning, she clenched her eyes shut tightly, only to open them once more and find that the darkness had receded, in its place a faint glow had appeared, seeming to hover at the top of a tall ceiling, giving off an eerie luminescence. What in the hell was going on?!
Monica nearly gagged as sudden smog drifted through the room, the thick scent of smoke burning her senses and making her eyes water all the more as she pressed her palms against the floor that felt oddly slick. Pushing as hard as she could she gradually pushed her slim body up off the floor, her whole form shaking with the effort. It was then that the inkling of doubt that had been there, the ever growing pool of dark despair, seemed to spill over. She was losing this battle. Nothing was making sense, and nothing had to, the fact was she was going to lose.
Fighting back dry heaves and choking coughs she reached for the crate she knew was beside her, hand missing the first two times before gripping something soft, foreign. She looked up, bleary eyes hardly registering the thick scarlet cloth that hung before her, the soft texture against her hand feeling of velvet. Like curtains?
Fearing her sanity had long since left her, she had a fleeting moment of hope, wondering once more if this could possibly be a dream, but even as the notion drifted through her mind, a sharp needle of pain speared through her leg from moving it even in the slightest. Oh no, this was no dream. Hadn't been from the beginning, and wouldn't be until she got out of here. Once she was outside, or better, at home in her own bed, then she could look back at this, see it as a nightmare. But only then, once she'd escaped.
A renewed surge of determination rushed through her, giving her strength to struggle and force her way back onto her feet. She clutched at the fabric, pulling on it to steady herself, certain that she'd rip the thing down, but oddly enough she couldn't even see the source of it. No rods or wires, no ropes or any kind of support system was to be seen, but then again, did it really matter?
Coughing raggedly she found it harder and harder to breathe, the smoke clogging her lungs and nearly sending her to her knees once more though she persevered. Managing to tug the neck of her gown up over her mouth with one hand, Monica looked around with streaming eyes, the haze of smoke only seeming to grow thicker as she did, though other drapes were visible in the room, yards upon yards of the stuff. she staggered forward, pushing past first one drape then another, the heavy cloth seeming to cling to her and close her in like some sort of maze, the smoke making her light headed and utterly frantic.