Darkness... this was everything that filled her vision. The world around the young woman was coated in a layer of dense shadows, the only source of faint light came from the full moon and the crimson red hue that filled the night's sky.
The young woman looked around frantically as she sprinted at full speed through the barren landscape, pushing past dead trees that got in her way like her life depended on it. Her chest burned with each hoarse breath she took, knowing full well that she had clearly gone past her limit. However, she knew that stopping would mean the end.
A terrifying series of screeches and roars echoed not far behind her, but every time she looked back to see what the source was, she was met with a menacing black fog that was catching up to her.
When she turned back to look where she was going, her eyes teared up with joy after spotting a bright, shining light just over the next hill. Her survival instincts kicked in and forced her legs to kick into the dirt and push herself even further past her limit than she already was. The ever-looming danger that was giving chase seemed to be closing ground no matter what.
Through the dead forest she went, struggling to keep moving up the tall hill that was between her and safety. She lost her footing a few times while climbing up, the mud that coated the ground made it more slick and dangerous to traverse.
Just as she was about to reach the top, the young woman felt herself yanked down into the mud, accompanied by a painful thud. She winced as the pain shot through her body and grabbed onto a nearby rotting tree branch to keep herself from sliding back down. When she looked back to see why she had fallen, her gaze locked onto a long tentacle wrapping itself around her ankle.
The young woman followed the tentacle with her eye to see it disappear inside a menacing black fog that moved in dangerously close to her. Her mind was plagued with fear as she tried to pull away, but she lacked the strength to do so, and luck was no longer on her side.
It didn't take much force from the slimy tentacle before it yanked her hard enough to break the rotting tree branch and send her sliding down towards the fog. She screamed in fear and tried to grip onto the muddy hill but it was all for naught.
As she slid into the fog, a large muscle-bound arm with deep red skin reached for her and grabbed the woman by her neck, holding her up as the fog fully enveloped her. She gripped onto the arm tightly and gasped for air as the arm's fingers dug hard into her windpipe.
“Elizabeth, don't try to run away from us. Think of how much happier you'll be... Now be a good girl and come along quietly,” a monstrous voice spoke to her from within the darkness.
She dug her nails into the muscular arm in a vain attempt to free herself. “Like... hell I will...” the young woman muttered through her struggling gasps. She heard a scoff echo from the darkness before the sound of fingers snapping at her.
“Then I have no use for a tool that won't cooperate,” as the voice finished speaking, the grip on her neck tightened unbearably to the point where her body fell limp from the lack of oxygen. With a mighty clamp, the monstrous arm proceeded to crush her neck...
Elizabeth screamed in terror as her eyes flew open, sitting up straight in her bed. She breathed heavily as a cold sweat ran down her the back of her neck, holding a hand gently against her chest while trying to calm herself down. She transitioned her quick, desperate breaths into slower ones once her mind was able to collect itself better.
“Stupid nightmares...” she muttered to herself while brushing some of her long, messy orange hair out of her face. While she could never remember her nightmares after she woke up, Elizabeth had been prone to them her whole life. The frequency of them never made waking up from it any easier on her.
Her trembling hands eased up a little, and once the adrenaline rush from her nightmare started to fade away, Elizabeth was struck with a sharp pain in her left eye. While her right eye was a deep shade of violet, her left iris had completely lost its colour, and there were several scars on the skin around the eye. Even though her one eye couldn't see anything, it still felt sensitive to bright light. The shining rays of the morning sun through her window had become her mortal enemy over the years.
Still in a sleep-based stupor, Elizabeth closed her eye and clumsily reached over to a small table next to her bed. She grabbed her black eyepatch that was resting on top of it and put it on securely around her head. She let out a sigh of relief as the pain subsided, and could freely sit there with the sun hitting her fair skin as she woke up properly.
Elizabeth let out a soft yawn as she glanced at the empty second bed on the other side of the room. It was moments like these where she was glad she didn't have a roommate in her dorm room, or her constant nightmares would have caused a lot more problems. She wasn't the type of person to have an abundance of possessions, so she didn't take advantage of having the double room to herself. She kept most things stored in her closet and a couple posters of rock bands she enjoyed on the wall, which is mostly what she had.
She grabbed her phone from her night table and tossed the blankets off herself. After scooching to the side of her bed and swinging her legs over the side, she turned on her phone and glanced lazily at the screen. Her phone jingled at her as the messages that were sent while she was asleep started to pop up in quick succession.
Ruby: Good morning you two! ^w^ You better not sleep in again and miss your classes, it's still only the second week!
Jett: I don't think it’s me that you need to worry about.
Ruby: Liz you better make sure you get your butt up! I'm not there to wake you up anymore! =w=
Jett: ...she isn't seeing any of these messages. I'm fairly certain she slept in.
Ruby: Liiiiiiiiiiiz!!! You gotta goooooo!!!
Elizabeth tilted her head sleepily and checked when the last message was sent. “Five minutes ago? Why is she freaking out, I set my alarm...” she closed the messages and yawned again while looking for the time. “It's only... 9:50?!?!” she unintentionally screamed out, “Class starts in ten minutes?! My alarm didn't go off!”
She tossed her shirt off frantically onto the floor and hurried over to her dresser. She pulled out a drawer and grabbed the first bra she saw, getting it fixed onto herself within seconds like a champion. She searched through the other drawers, pulling out a random assortment of clothes that seemed passable in the moment.
While scrambling around her dorm room, Elizabeth managed to find time to run into her tiny bathroom and start brushing her teeth. As she put on her clothes and brushed her teeth, it was evident that she was well adapted to performing this sort of 'dance' in the morning.
After a couple minutes of awkwardly getting herself ready, she slipped on her running shoes and grabbed her backpack. “I can still make it if I go straight there!” Elizabeth thought to herself and tossed her headphones around her neck. She grabbed her last few essentials then tied her sweater around her waist while running out the door.
As she passed through the dorm wing, Elizabeth avoided eye contact with the small group of girls that watched her sprint past them.
“Does she ever have her crap together?” one of them muttered coldly to another.
Ignoring their rude gossip, Elizabeth ran out of the dorm and hurried down the stairs. She had been late a couple of times already since she started university, so she was very familiar with the quickest way to get to her history lecture from the dorms.
For the next few minutes, Elizabeth cut across the courtyards and took shortcuts through buildings all along campus. Even though she wasn’t the athletic sort, a life of near-lateness allowed her to traverse the areas without running into anyone. She drew some attention doing this, but it wasn't quite uncommon to see students who cared running like their lives depended on it because they might be late for classes.
Elizabeth almost collapsed with relief when she entered her lecture hall and checked the time. “One minute to spare...” she whispered. She quickly grabbed a seat near the back that wasn't particularly near any other people.
Shortly after setting her bag down and taking her seat, she pulled out her phone and used the dark screen as a mirror. While angling the screen, she brushed her hair a little with her fingertips and pulled out an elastic from her bag. Elizabeth carefully took a long piece of her hair on the left side of her head and braided it. She had done it so much that she didn't really need a mirror, but without being able to see on the left side she wanted to make sure it looked somewhat decent. Content with the job she had done, the elastic wrapped around near the bottom to hold it all in place.
Just after she finished and put her phone away, she felt a slight headache coming on, accompanied by an annoying level of dizziness as well. “I think I woke up too quickly...” she groaned internally before resting her head down on the table.
“Good morning everyone!” The professor called out from his desk at the front of the lecture hall.
A couple hours later when the lecture was finished, Elizabeth let out a sigh of relief and waited for most of the students to leave. She didn't have to deal with the crowds as much this way. “At least my headache went away,” she thought to herself. Despite the relief with her head, she felt like her body was still in a funk after the craziness of the morning.
“Elizabeth, can you come see me please?” Professor Addison called out from his desk at the other end of the lecture hall.
“Y-yes!” she stuttered in response as she stood up. Grabbing her bag from beside her seat, she hurried down the stairs to his desk. Elizabeth was still struggling to not get flustered around her history professor.
Professor Addison smiled at her with a twinkle in his dark eyes, seemingly oblivious to her flustered demeanour around him. His black hair was a bit wild and unkempt, but to Elizabeth it added to his visual charm. He brushed his hair slightly with his hand once his student approached. “Are you feeling alright today? You seemed rather... different compared to the last few classes. Was the material not very interesting?”
Elizabeth glanced down for a moment, feeling extremely embarrassed that he had noticed her demeanour during class. “No it was! I just haven't been feeling very well today,” she tried to reassure the man.
Professor Addison was still very new to the teaching field, likely not long out of schooling as he couldn't have been over 30 years old. Due to this, she didn't want him to feel like he was doing a bad job of making the class engaging. He seemed to care a lot about his students, since he checked in on Elizabeth and a few other standouts in the class.
“While I'm relieved that the lesson was fine, I'm sorry that you aren't feeling well. Do you have another class to go to?” he asked while scratching his goatee.
Elizabeth shook her head and tried to smile back at him. “I don't, so I will just head back to my dorm and rest. I appreciate your concern though!”
“Of course, just take it easy then. If you ever need help with anything, send me an email and I will do what I can.” Professor Addison nodded to her and looked back down at the papers on his desk. “Have a good day Elizabeth,” he said with a smile.
Elizabeth nodded back and hurried up the stairs again, trying to conceal the blush on her face while passing by the few other students who hadn't left the lecture hall yet. She liked Professor Addison a lot as a teacher, which is why she hated how embarrassed she felt around him. During her first week, she had a few incidents with lost items and needing extra help. As a result, she became acquainted with him quickly, but never outside of the classroom.
“I heard from Michael that Professor Addison gets spotted on late night dates with women like... every few days since last year. Elizabeth goes to him after class a lot, you think she's sleeping around with him for better grades?” Those were the sorts of things she would hear people talk about outside of class. Nothing but terrible gossip that the other students took great pleasure in spreading around.
Elizabeth despised their idiotic lies, but she was far too lacking in the self-esteem department to try and stand up for herself. It didn't matter how quietly they whispered, she would always hear everything they said about her. It was a sad skill she had developed while growing up. In reality, her hearing was probably just a bit more sensitive since she lacked vision in her one eye.