It’s over. Time’s up.
The raspy whisper insisted, each word bouncing off the walls of Gretchen’s unseen prison. She pushed the palms of her hands against her bleeding eardrums, but couldn’t drown out the noise. It echoed through her skull, vibrating through her core until she couldn’t focus on the grungy, stone walls around her.
Fear pulsed through her. She didn’t know where she was or how long she’d been there. The endless darkness encompassing the space stretched minutes into eons.
Gretchen screamed, the sound swallowed by the inky blackness. The vacuum of space enfolding her tingled along her already sensitive nerve endings. Her skin crawled as she tried to escape the panic.
Gentle hands caressed her skin. She scrambled across the dirt floor, desperately feeling along the ragged surface. Gretchen silently collided with the icy stone wall. The sound of her skull breaking against the hard stone existed only in her head. She felt warm, sticky blood race down her face and she closed her eyes against the pain.
Gretchen fought for breath, the icy air freezing her lungs. As her heart slowed, a figure behind her smiled, knowing she had won.