My feet fly over cool brick. The sweep of cloth caresses my bare legs. Harsh growls echo from behind. I do not look back. To my right, raspy whispers tell of sanctuary in the calm pool. Adrenaline surges at the sight of water, warring with the anxiety in my stomach, and sends a chill over my flesh.
An unknown beast slowly stalks. Large talons menacingly click. I will not give in. I cannot give in.
I am almost to the alcove. Ornate black wrought iron barricades the inviting water. My adrenaline-fueled mind does not question the gleam of sunlight over its surface. There is no time for such musing.
Quickly, I climb over. My contact with the cold metal is somehow comforting. A howl rents the air, collapsing my comfort equally fast. I have no choice but to step over, to trust the whispers, and to dive into these unknown waters.
I pray that the strength of wrought iron slows the chasing beast. My toes search for a ledge. There is none. A growling snort nearby sends chills down my spine. I know that my time is up.
I fall forward. The liquid sanctity, assumed to be water, is not. My fight with the unknown has only begun…
“Liz, wake up!”
I jerk awake to find my brother frowning down at me. Gasping for air, I stare back at him when he says, “Gee-zus, that must have been some nightmare.”
I dumbly nod. Right away, my mind tries to drag the dream forth for analysis. It flies apart, leaving me with such foreboding that tears pool in my eyes. Over the next few days, I try to shake a feeling of doom.
Random moments of déjà vu strike whenever I near our hotel pool. Still, I cannot remember the elusive dream. Ominous thoughts and moodiness follow me. What am I to do? What is this…?
Two days later, I stare in shock at the TV. A woman, her resemblance to mine is scary, floats facedown in a hotel pool. A black thigh-high ornate metal barrier, bricked floor in the background, haunts me. At my shudder, my brother asks, “What’s wrong, Liz?”
I open my mouth. Only a despairing whimper escapes when the man, sitting behind his desk looking dapper and trying to be neutral, says, “Police have identified the woman as Elizabeth Mary Morrison. She had just filed for divorce and visited the hotel under an assumed name. Her husband is being held for questioning.”
My brother’s eyes were as big as silver dollars. “Did he just say Elizabeth Mar…?”
A huff of astonished air explodes from him. Speechless, I dumbly nod. That small movement sent him into action, “Liz, we have to go. They’re holding…who are they holding!?”
I stare at the TV, finally remember the lying comfort of sparkling water, and plainly hear the whispers urging me forth. A mournful sound floods the air. My brother grabs my arms and shakes me, “Liz, stop! We have to leave…now!”
I blurted out, “The dream. That woman…she’s me!”
He was already on the phone, explaining, “My sister, her name is Elizabeth Marrison. The woman that drowned looks just like her.” A pause before he said, “No, you don’t understand. Her husband threatened her with death. She’s divorcing him.”
My legs no longer function, spilling me to the floor. Hanging up, he shakes his head. It was not in answer to any question. He was in shock too. I could tell. The address of the hotel was ours. Shaking my head, I breathe, “But the pool…there’s no gate.”
My brother’s voice sounds too far away, “Liz, get it togeth…”
A knock at the door interrupts him. We freeze. In the dead silence, a click sounds.
“The beast found us.” I finally remember.
On the other side of the door, my husband’s hoarse voice whispers, “Nice try. I know Ryan’s with you. I have three bullets left…you, me, and your brother. Time’s up!”
Written By: Natalie Pen