October 11, 2004
The cold stone structure beneath her was the first thing Elaina noticed when she woke up. It was icy to the touch, the biting chill it created numbed the side of her face that was pressed against the cold surface. The ground she laid on was rough and grainy beneath her, not a smooth clean surface she expected after a long night of drinking at her friend's house. This wouldn't have been the first time she woke up on her friend's kitchen floor.
The next thing she became aware of was that the air she breathed in had a stale reek to it, like an old musty room that had been closed off for years. It wasn't a very pleasant smell, but one that had her wrinkling her nose in disgust.
When Elaina tried to move, she moaned as the aches and pains in her body came back to her in a rush, reminding her that she had been recently injured. It felt like a freight train had slammed into her, and then had proceeded to back up over her, before deciding to run her over one more time for good measure. There wasn't a spot on her that didn't hurt in some way. Even her hair ached tenderly near her scalp.
What the hell hit me, she groaned. Very little noise escaped her lips, as she struggled to just breathe while using very little movement.
The pain reminded her of that time her mother had backed into her with the jeep last summer. Elaina had been walking behind the car, when her mother had decided to back it out of the driveway. It had been an accident, but that didn't mean it hadn't hurt, or that her father hadn't been furious, when he found out. Luckily her mother had stopped as soon as she hit Elaina and hadn't actually run her over completely. The impact had fractured her pelvis and bruised a few of her ribs, from where she had connected with the tailgate. This pain felt a lot like that.
Elaina lay there, barely breathing as her ears strained to hear anything. It was eerily quiet, minus the drip, drip sound coming from somewhere behind her. Forcing her eyes to open so that she could see where she was, she was first greeted with darkness.
Oh god I'm blind- she was on the verge of panicking, but a few shuddering pain filled breaths kept her from completely freaking out. Don't panic, don't panic, breathe, just breathe-
Elaina blinked a few times and forced her body to sit up from where she had been curled up on the floor. Rubbing her eyes, she looked around her again, but still found it hard to see. Squinting, she searched the shadows for something familiar. It took her eyes a few minutes to adjust to the darkness around her and she was able to make out some vague shapes in the distance. There didn't seem to be any lights or lamps anywhere. Nothing on the walls, or the ceiling above her to help discern shapes in the darkness, to give her a better idea as to where she was.
It looked like she was in a basement, maybe? The floor and walls were made of some kind of stone, that she could feel its rough surface beneath her. Next to her there was a pillar that went all the way up to the ceiling, and there appeared to be some kind of writing or drawings decorating the sides. Other than that, she couldn't see much of anything else.
Elaina swallowed the building hysteria as she looked around her. Where was everyone? And just where the hell was she?
Elaina used the pillar that was near her, to help her to her feet. The chill in the air had settled all the way into her bones, making them creak when she tried to move. By the time she managed to get herself into a standing position, she was out of breath and using the pillar for support.
The fingers of her left hand ached right down to the bone and she looked down at it, curiously. The surface of the pillar was cold to the touch and she now realized why. Her glove was missing. The bitter air seemed to cool several degrees with this new realization. With shaking hands, she searched for her pocket and found the second pair of gloves the guide had instructed her to pack back on the ship.
Elaina laughed a little bitterly, recalling the smart–assed comment she had given the older woman about being ordered around. Tears filled her eyes and Elaina wiped them away angrily. She would not allow herself to cry over something so pathetic, as being mean to someone who had probably just saved her from losing a hand because of frostbite. Quickly Elaina replaced the glove on her left hand and rubbed the numb limb up and down her leg to bring back some feeling into her frozen fingers.
Feeling a little bit better now, Elaina looked up from her hands to inspect the room she had woken up in. Her eyes searched her surroundings, wondering just how long she might have been unconscious for. She hadn't thought to pack a watch and there didn't appear to be any windows to tell her if it was night of day outside.
There was no answer for her silent questions among the walls. Turning her inspection onto herself, she checked herself for any more injuries. Most of the pain seemed superficial, her ribs felt a little bruised and her chin was a little tender to the touch. The worst was the bruise she found around her left wrist. It was a deep bluish purple, indicating that it was pretty fresh. It wrapped all the way around her wrist and was tender to the touch, possibly a sprain. She couldn't remember how she had received the bruise, but it was there nonetheless.
A slithering sound had Elaina jerking her head up, focusing all of her senses to her surroundings. Weariness weighed heavily on her shoulders, causing nausea to rise up in her throat. That sound alone was enough to turn her stomach. In the darkness, she couldn't see much farther than a few feet from herself.
Without moving, Elaina vainly searched her surroundings, wondering why her heart felt like it wanted to tear its way out of her chest. Fear had her body trembling and frozen in place. What was out there in the darkness, watching her?
A hissing sound had Elaina whirling around to face the noise. Her eyes darted around, trying to find its source. She hated snakes; they slithered around and were scaly and just plain gross. The hiss seemed to echo off the walls surrounding her. It was almost like it was coming from all around her. Despite the deceiving echoes, her eyes were frozen to the spot in front of her. Fear held her prisoner.
In the darkness something moved, but her eyes couldn't make out exactly what it was. The poor lighting kept her from really seeing it as its body stretched from where it had been crouched. With her heart leaping to her throat, Elaina took a terrified step back.
Oh god what is that?
AN: Welcome to the Hunt Begins. For all you new folk, or ones returning, hope you enjoy the edited version of this story while waiting for part three to be released. Huge thanks goes out to my beta-reader, Luna Silvereyes. Without her help, this story would still be terribly choppy and full of grammer mistakes.