I strained my eyes to see into the dimly lit passage. I was almost sure I saw someone… or something dart through the semi-darkness and into a door on the right. Every nerve tingled as if an electric current was being passed through me. I wanted to run, but the need to know was too great. I cautiously made my way toward the arched doorway.
Inching my way toward the open door, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck standing at attention. Every cell of my body was on high alert. The slightest sound or movement at that point would probably have sent me into coronary failure.
By now, I was no more than a foot from the door. I strained my ears, hoping for some sound to identify what I was sure I’d seen moving through the door.
After listening for what seemed an eternity, I pushed myself away from the wall preparing to peek into the room. It occurred to me that it might be safer to have my first look from the other side of the passageway. It would give me a largish view of the room, not to mention giving me the opportunity to run if I needed to.
What I saw was just as surprising as the first room I saw; ornately carved half columns, more niches, grand rugs in rich colorful fabrics. The main rug was astonishing in its intricate design of trees, birds and fruits. The center of the room was dominated by a low, round table carved from the purest white marble I’d ever seen. A tall granite vase stood in the center and was surrounded by six small rose-colored bowls. A beautifully wrought chandelier of heavy gold wire hung over the table, casting its dim light over the vase and bowls.
There was no sign of another person though, until I moved perhaps two steps closer to the door. A shadow lay across the rug. I stopped stock-still to see if the person casting that very large shadow would confront me, demanding the reason for my trespass. The shadow was as unmoving as I.
I could hear the adrenalin-laced blood rushing to my brain. The sound of my thudding heartbeat must surely be audible, it was deafening in my own ears. My hands trembled and my feet refused to budge from the spot where they seemed to have taken root.
“You can’t stand here until the second coming, move your ass!”
I was good at ordering myself about, but less good at obeying. I finally managed to pry one foot up from the floor and that got me moving… slowly. My eyes never moved from that shadow, waiting for even the slightest movement.
Stepping into the doorway, my peripheral vision spotted it first. A very tall, muscular man with one arm upraised, waiting to deliver a killing blow!
I instantly dropped to the floor and rolled toward the center of the room, regaining my feet as I came to a stop. He didn’t expect that I would notice his shadow and be ready for him! Rising upright, I presented my best fighting stance. I stared directly into his alabaster pale face.
*More to come…*