Chapter 9

Written by: Ray Stone

Dawn came around five the next morning. It was the usual time to rise at home. Pop would be in the kitchen beating eggs and frying bacon. My brother would be drinking black coffee and watching the news. I guess we got so used to an early rise when the farm was running well and no matter what, we carried on as usual even though there weren't that much to do. 

I lit our small primus stove and poured water in a small saucepan. We had plenty of coffee. Pop always said that even if there were no darn eggs to chew on, it was important to drink coffee. It woke you up and got your pipes working. He had some funny sayings but they all made sense.

“You makin’ coffee?”

Ben climbed out of his sleeping bag and slid on his ass down the wet bank to where I was at. “I’ve got some granola bars,” he said. He held a couple up in triumph. “I got enough for all of us.”

“Tell me,” I asked. “What happened to you in the truck that night? The door and window were still closed after you left.”

Ben scowled. “That thing pulled the door open, grabbed me, and then closed it again while the light was blindin’ you. I shouted and managed to wriggle free. I ran and met up with Drew and Vincent. Last thing I saw was the monster looking down the road and disappearin’ into the trees.” His face dropped. “I was scared, Ray. I’ve been lookin’ for you ever since though – honest.”

The water began to boil. “I know, Ben. I was lookin’ for you too.” I nudged him and pointed up the slope of grass. “Why not go get them up, Lieutenant? Let’s have coffee and a bite. Nothing like startin’ out early.”

Ben grinned broadly and gave me a mock salute. “Okay Cap.”

We drank our fill and loaded up. I decided that as long as possible we should keep to the central meridian of highways so we had a clear view for quite a way on all sides. We had two Disintegrators and a Decib meter along with a real shotgun that Vincent had got from a gun store. I felt safe and made us walk in single file. “We should imagine we’re huntin’ deer,” I said. “Keep quiet and move with eyes lookin’ everywhere.”

It was a few hours later that Drew screamed. “It’s them – over there!” He screamed again and pointed behind us. 

We all screamed. From the trees on one side came dozens of the tall creatures. They were clucking and bent over, looking at us with yellow eyes. Some had their long brown tongues flopping about as they ran toward us. I shivered, dropped my gun and back pack.

“Run!” I shouted.

I tripped as the first creature reached out to grab me.