Lethean Shroud

Fierce throbs coursed through Rayana’s forehead as she pried her cheek from the dashboard. Thin, warm trickles wove through her brows and oozed along her nose. She patted the vinyl dash to find a glass-free spot and pushed herself away from the smashed windshield. Back and limb muscles burned in protest. Her bruised hips bumped over the steering wheel as she tumbled clumsily back onto the leather front seat of the SUV. A deep breath invited an assault on her senses–sour brine tinged with moldy animal musk, and the sweet, irony odor of gore.

How did I get here?

Squeezing her eyes shut and biting her lip failed to draw forth a memory. Not even whether the car belonged to her.

She reached toward the glove compartment, but recoiled at finger-width ruddy marks on its surface. Pain shot through her neck as she scanned the vacant cabin. Crimson smears coated and surrounded the passenger seat. The blood streaked in errant directions on the ceiling, window, and door. Reddish fingerprints coated the latch, gripped the handle.

Was someone else with me?

Rayana’s eyes stung. She pulled the tattered cuff of her flannel shirt to her fingertips. Dabbing and wiping, she struggled to clear the blood from her eyes.

A chilling, damp breeze whistled through the windshield. Whipping from the jagged hole, fine hairs clung to the glass. Rayana patted her head. Tiny glass particles littered her hair. A couple of sore, damp spots indicated small cuts, but no severe gashes. She pricked the flapping tuft from the windshield and rubbed it between her fingertips. Its texture didn’t match her hair, and resembled something more like fur.


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