Smoke. Darkness. Blood. Opening her drowsy eyes, these were the first things that came into Elizabeth's view. Her head felt as though it was being drilled into two; the continous thump like a never-ending snare beat. Where was she? Desperately, she strained her memory back to discover what had happened, yet to no avail. Slowly, she turned her aching head to the left- absorbing her surroundings on the way. The sky was a menacing black, surrounding her view like a field of emptiness. Finally, she realised that she was in the driver's seat of her car; she recognised the sweet cinnamon aroma of her new car fresherner, dangling unevenly from the rear-view mirror, and the comforting feel of the old, worn seat behind her, supporting her frail body like a strong stem to a delicate flower.
Suddenly, a dim dot of light appeared through the centre of her cracked wind-shield, bobbing around like bait luring a fish. What could it be? A chilling shiver ran down her spine as ideas of possible answers popped into her head; a wild animal, attracted to the smell of her blood; an escaped convict, searching for his next victim. Why these possibilites came into her mind she couldn't say, apart from they were the worst possibile scenarios, and she was prone to imagining the worst. Glancing away from the disturbing light, she raised her struggling blue eyes to the crooked rear-view mirror, twisting it round to face her. Inspecting her pale face, she noticed a large, uneven cut in the middle of her fore-head, just below her messy, golden-brown hairline, from which blood trickled down like a stream of strawberry sauce running down her face. Her breath caught in her throat as she lifted her shaking hand to wipe the blood away- she unfortunately hadn't forgotten her hatred of blood.
As she averted her eyes from the trail of blood, she noticed a notebook lying open on the floor. It became clear- as she picked it up- that it was well-used as the corners were scuffed and the pages were beginning to rip. As she curiously wondered if it was her notebook- and if so, why was it so used? - a memory burst into her mind. She was in a dark, mysterious room, holding a tape recorder and the notebook with a perfectly sharpened pencil poised over it. In front of her, a deathly pale corpse lay on a metal slab, it's eyes staring blankly into eternal nothingness. Out of nowhere, an official looking man came into view. He was wearing a thin surgical mask, a violet head cap and a long plastic apron over a pristine, white uniform. It appeared he had been talking to her as she had scribbled untidily over her notebook, and he was just lifting his mask over his mouth. This gave her the impression that she was a journalist, yet who for she couldn't yet recall. Her palms seemed to grow sweaty as she watched him pick up a knife from a beautifully arranged tray of tools. Knowing what was coming, she tried and tried to turn her head away or close her eyes so she couldn't see what was about to happen, yet she was powerless: it was as if her body was not her own. Expertly, the medical examiner inserted the knife into the corpse's chest, cutting a thin, straight line down to his stomach. Nausea took over Elizabeth's body as blood began pouring out of the incision, then blackness. She had fainted.
Abruptly, she found herself back in her car again, clutching the notebook to her as though it was food to a homeless man. She noticed the notebook had a stamp on the bottom right corner of each page, and inspecting it closer she realised it was from the daily mail newspaper. That took care of who she was a journalist for, yet what was it she was reporting that had taken her to that horrific place? Skimming desperately through the notebook, she read that a young woman had been brutally murdered, and that she believed that the authorities had covered up the details and had knowingly arrested an innocent man. Lifting her eyes away from the notebook, she noticed that the sky had subtle hints of lights peeking through the dreadful darkness- the begginnigs of sunrise. As she admired the brightening sky, little pieces of her past started piecing themselves together; she had gone to interview the forensic pathologist that had examined the murdered woman, though she then had collapsed at the sight of blood. However, this was the limit to her memory for the moment, and noticing she was sweating as though she had just run a marathon, she forced her tired eyes to return to the curious light, only to discover that it had in fact grown to the size of a pinball and had changed from dim to medium light. Curiosity overwhelmed her, and she searched what she could make out of its surroundings, peering out the cracked wind-shield. All she managed to discover was the outline of tall, spiky branches sprouting from a city of forest trees, blowing wildly in the ominous wind while heavy stones of rain battered the destroyed frame of the car. It looked like a scene from a horror movie- why hadn't she noticed the weather before?
Listening to the continous drill of the ominous rain, faint memories started to appear in Elizabeth's mind. The steady thump of the rain transported her to a long, narrow pathway, where her footsteps perfectly resembled the beat of the raindrops. The ceiling was so low that the woman in front of her had to lean forward in order to walk without banging her head. She was walking single file in a long line, and she could hear a strange clanging sound- as though metal was being repeatedly struck. Eventually, they emerged into a large white room, with policemen guarding the walls and what must have been prisoners sitting on the opposite side of a daunting glass wall, with old-fashioned phones hanging beside empty seats. It didn't take her long to realise she was in a prison, and that the unusual sound she had heard was probably the prisoners banging against the solid metal bars of their jail cell. She glanced at the leering white clock hanging on the back wall and noticed the time and date: 6pm, 9th November. As though she was being controlled, her legs walked to the furthest seat on the right and she sat down. Opposite to her sat a stout, scowling man with a crooked scar down one cheek and what seemed like a permanent frown. Once again she had her notebook and pencil, and she began furiously scribbling down what must have been vital information, with the cold, hard plastic of the phone wedged between her ear and shoulder. Desperately, she tried to read what ever breakthrough information she must have discovered, yet the harder she tried the blurrier her view became, until she suddenly realised she was staring at the rain-covered wind shield of her car again.
As she raised her eyes to the now sun-lit sky, the description of the memory formed itself in her mind. She had been visiting the prison where the innocent man was being held, interviewing him to help discover the truth behind the set-up. She slowly began to recall- with a little help from her notes- him telling her that from the moment the trial started the jury had been against him, though with a face like his no wonder he looked guilty, and that the trial had kept going further and further downhill as false witnesses were called upon that claimed to have seen him fleeing the scene and the court-appointed lawyer given to him by the judge to defend him- as the man had no money to afford his own- had been completely useless and couldn't care less. However, the worst was still to come. A detective the man claimed he believed was corrupt had used overwhelming evidence against him, which the defendant claimed to have been planted. Obviously noone had believed him, and he had been declared guilty by every member of the jury. Elizabeth didn't know why she believed this man when noone else did, yet staring into his pleading eyes she knew through gut feeling that he truly was innocent.
Shocked by what she had remembered, Elizabeth glanced once more at the mysterious light, only to be shocked again as it had grown even larger- to about the size of a cricket ball. However, it looked slightly different this time. It was much brighter, and had odd ridges around the edges of the light. All of a sudden, something moved out the bottom corner of her eye. Petrified, she whipped her head down, only to discover it had only been the clock on her radio. Relief flooded through her... until she saw the date- 11pm, 9th November. Her heart stood still, body paralysed with fear. Surely it was too coincidental that the same night she discovered crucial information she had crashed her car? Well, she was right.
As she closed her aching eyes, she remembered that she had been driving down an old country lane on her way back from the prison. She had been heading straight for her office, desperate to type up her new findings and show them to her boss. Out of nowhere, a car had appeared directly behind her- its headlights switched off until it was too late. Annoyed, she had thought it was just an impatient driver trying to overtake her, yet she soon discovered she was wrong. The car had been bumping the back of her car and had gradually hit it harder and harder until, when they reached a sharp right turn, had blasted into the back of her car, violently forcing her off the road and down a steep hill, rolling and rolling until she had hit a tree and blacked out. Terrified, she realised now that someone must have been following her- knowing what she would discover- waiting for their chance to dispose of her. Panicking, she frantically tried to open her door, but it was jammed tight against a tree. She desperately banged against the windshield, staring out for some sign of help, yet all she could see was that blinding light gradually growing, coming closer and closer...