“When she looked down she knew she was too late.”
The sky was dark as coal. In the air hung a thick smoke-like fog that settled at the base of the woods—ever closing in on an old farmhouse. The crackles and pops of flames dancing between dead branches drifted through the gnarled trees. Then whispers within the fringes of the treeline started.
“When can we go home?”
“When it leaves us.”
“But we’ve been out here for—”
The night grew silent while the dancing shadows of the fire dwindled, eventually merging with the blackness of the dense woods. Then everything went to sleep. Everything but… it.
The next day was dreary and cold. Gray clouds blanketed the sun and draped the woods in an endless shadow. The old farmhouse stood eerily still in its small clearing. No signs of life or movement emerged from its suffocating hold on the land. From within the treeline, though, escaped the rustling of people. They moved deliberately and with purpose.
“What if it sees us?”
“I told you before, it can’t see beyond the clearing.”
“But how do you know for sure?”
“Your father tested it before—”
A sudden hush fell upon a young woman and little girl. With their clothes ripped and tattered by the elements, they held an air of fierce wildness.
“I miss daddy.”
The woman knelt down and brushed her rough hand down the little girl’s cheek. “I know sweetheart. Me too.”
A gust of wind rushed through the trees and lifted the branches up into the air, exposing the two at the treeline. The dead brown grass in the clearing began to vibrate as the farmhouse shook violently. Then all the windows shattered with an ear-splitting screech.
“Mommy, look. It’s him!” the little girl shouted, pointing to one of the windows.
The woman looked up in horror to see her husband standing in the attic window. His eyes were solid black and his skin was yellow and scaly. She averted her eyes immediately, but the little girl wasn’t so lucky.
She grabbed her daughter to run but the little girl was as heavy as stone.
“Come on sweety, we have to go now.”
When she looked down she knew she was too late. Her daughter’s eyes were turning black and her skin was hardening.
“Please, God no,” she pleaded.
The little girl looked up at her mother. Her eyes still held a shade of blue, but the transformation was almost complete.
“Come on mommy. You know you want to join us,” she said in a demonic voice with an unnaturally wide smile. “Danny’s in there, too. Don’t you wanna see him again?”
“No… no no no!”
The woman closed her eyes and ran the other way. By the time she got back to camp she could still feel where the evil had tried to enter her heart—could still smell the scent of death and decay. It had taken her son, husband, and now her daughter. It wouldn’t stop until it had her, too.
The only thing she can do is wait the thing out. While it—in control of her family—remained held up in the farmhouse, she would have to hold off until she had the chance to save them. The thing came out into the clearing only once a month during the full moon. Her husband had tested this when one night he grabbed the thing—in possession of their son—and pulled it across the treeline. Once across the treeline, the boy had returned to normal. But her husband made the mistake of looking up at the house, into one of the windows. There was something there, and it took control of him. He was still holding the boy when the transformation took place, and so the boy was transformed once more as well.
She has to save them. She can’t leave her family there like that. There’s only one more night until the full moon arrives. That’s one more chance to save them all—or get taken by… it.
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