“It was right here.” I state. “Where the fuck did it go, and how?”
My heart beats frantically, I place my hands on my head, pacing back and forth across the road.
“Chill man, it’s gotta be around here somewhere.” Zac said, putting his hand on my shoulder.
The girls are huddled together behind us as we walk. We go on up the road, searching for wherever the car has gone. The fog is so dense we could have walked right by it and never knew. A small figure begins to show itself in the distance up ahead.
“What is that?” Brandy asks, pointing ahead.
“Maybe it’s the car.” Brittany said shakily.
As we approach the shadowed figure becomes visible, only it’s not the car. It’s the barricade.
“This doesn’t make sense, we passed the barricade way back there, didn’t we?” I say, turning around to look at everyone.
Zac stands there, dumb struck, rubbing his head.
“Should we just keep going?” Brandy asks.
I open my mouth, not knowing what else to say, I can’t explain what is happening, I have no answers. “I don’t know, it’s either that or go back the other way.”
“I am not going back there.” Brittany declares.
“Then forward it is.” Zac says finally.
We step over the barricade, heading up the road yet again. The fog feels like it becomes thicker as we go. The air is heating up, scorching my body in the mist, feels like I’m in a boiling pot of water.
My heart drops, up ahead the same figure appears in the fog, the barricade. How can this be? I don’t understand, it can’t be the barricade. I stop, staring at the barricade ahead.
“This is no use, we have to go the other way.” I say, letting out a breath of exhaustion.
“He’s right.” Zac says. “We aren’t getting anywhere, I don’t know what’s going on, but clearly we can’t go this way.”
The girls nod hesitantly, trailing to the rear as we head back towards the town. We go down the stretch of road, no sign of the barricade this time. The fog slowly lifts into the circle around the town as we reach the edge. The town is hazy, almost like watching a black and white television.
“So, what now?” I ask.
Zac shrugs. “I don’t know, but I say we avoid the building where we heard that growl.”
“Agreed.” The girls say.
We walk slowly through the streets, passing broken down cars with flat tires. Glass is sprayed along the ground nearby from all the broken windows. Makes me wonder, was someone wanting out or in. A slight shiver convulses through me at the thought.
I look around down each of the side streets, all have weathered signs stating dead end on them. As I look around, this feeling overwhelms me, like claustrophobia, trapped forever. The feeling grabs hold of me like a hand around my throat, preventing air from entering.
“Maybe one of these cars still work.” Zac says.
“Maybe, but what good will they do if the road keeps repeating itself?” I say.
“Hey, you got any better ideas?” Zac retorts. I stand there speechless. “That’s what I thought.”
“Let’s search a few cars, maybe the keys are still in them.” He says.
We split up, searching the cars along the road, staying within sight of each other. The girls team up searching each car together. I walk over to one, the tires are blown, but maybe we can ride on the rims till we’re out of here.
I pull the door handle, it’s stuck, practically welded shut with rust. I place my foot on the car, yanking as hard as I can, trying to break the door free. The rust gives out sending the door flying open. I fall back crashing into the ground. A noise like a bumble bee flying echoes through the car.
I let out a loud shriek as a giant beetle like bug crawls from the backseat towards the now opened door. I scream, back crawling across the ground. The bug falls out of the car quickly crawling towards me, like it’s claimed me as a meal. The bug screeches, pincers wide open as it crawls quickly at me.
I kick at it, trying to push it back.
“Help!” I scream, kicking at the mutated bug.
It’s still coming, it locks its pincers on my leg, penetrating the skin. Blood spurts out, soaking my pant leg. Zac sprints up, sending a foot quickly into the insect. It flies off me, rolling down the street. Its pincers scraping large chunks out of my leg as it went.
The bug quickly rolls onto its legs, ready for another wave of attack. I push myself off the ground, struggling to get to my feet. The bug rushes at us, only a few feet away. I hop back, trying to create some space. It’s running pincers wide right at me. Zac jumps into the air at in, crashing down hard on the insects back sending guts flying everywhere.
The bug twitches, legs still fighting for life. The green ooze of its insides pool around the creature.
“What the fuck was that!” I shout.
Zac wipes his shoes off on the road, scraping chunks of bug guts from them.
“Your guess is as good as mine, looked like some kind of bug.” He said.
“I don’t know about you, but where I’m from bugs around like two feet tall.” I rant.
I sit down on the ground, pulling up my pant leg to see the damage. Two large holes, one on both sides of my leg, are oozing blood. I rip the sleeve off my shirt, wrapping the wound to stop the bleeding.
“Did you see this shit? That thing was fucking me up man.” I say, pointing at my leg.
“Did you find anything in the car?” Zac asks.
I give him a stare of death. “No, sorry, didn’t have time to check. You know, while I was being attacked by some giant hell spawn!” I shout.
“Chill dude, whatever that thing was it’s dead.”
“Yeah, well who’s to say there aren’t more of them.” I say.
The girls run over, looking at the giant dead bug.
“What happened, are you okay?” Brandy asked.
“Oh, I’m just peachy.” I say.
“What was that thing?” Brittany questions, pointing to the dead thing.
Zac shakes his head. “We don’t know.”
“Did you guys find anything?” He asks.
Brandy reaches in her pocket. “Yeah, there were some keys in that old junker over there. Here.” She says, handing the keys to Zac.
“Awesome, let’s get the fuck out of here.”
We walk down the road to the car they found, I hopped more than walked. Zac pops the driver side door of the rusted tin can open. We all pile in, I take shotgun, the girls in back.
Zac twists the key, the car shrieks and grinds, trying to turn over. He tries pressing on the gas a bit, to give it some juice, no use.
“Hey, maybe if we give it a little push it will start.” He says.
“Don’t look at me, I can barely walk.” I say.
“I got this.” Brittany states, hopping out of the car.
She goes to the rear, placing her hands on the back. The car creeps forward slowly.
“Try it now.” She shouts, still pushing.
Zac twists the key, pumping the gas pedal. The car grinds, black smoke sputters behind us. Then that miraculous sound, the engine roars to life. A glimmer of hope burns in me.
That feeling is cut short, the piercing sound echoes from behind the car. Brittany is screaming, letting out cries for help. I turn in my seat, the sight makes my skin cold as ice, turning pale.
Brittany is suspended in the air, blood gushing down like a waterfall, splattering the trunk of the car. A large muscular arm clenched on her throat, the other holding a jagged knife thrusted deep into her stomach.
The large figure has no shirt on revealing deep scars and burns across the entirety of its torso. Long cloak-like black pants cover its legs, flowing in its movements. A black cloth, like that of an executioner, covers its face. Only two small holes visible where its dark black eyes are in the cloth.
The large man yanks the blade out of her, then jams it back in her chest. Blood is pouring out of her mouth in choked screams. Her eyes are wide in panic, she shakes in the air as her body fight to live.
The man slams her down on the ground, dragging the knife in a line down her body, ripping her in half.
All we can do is watch.