Sleep eluded her that entire night as images of the hideous creature gorging itself on the minister filled her mind. Tess lifted her head from the tub's edge, and glanced at the bathroom's door. The heavy oak chest that she had dragged from her bedroom still stood in its place.
She hugged the bat, and waited for the sun to rise.
Sun rays filtered throughout the house as Tess cautiously stepped down the stairs, and into the kitchen. The backpack sat on the counter where she had placed it the night before. She feared that standing in front of any window would reveal her presence to the predators so she crouched low, and shimmied towards the counter.
Tess placed her hands on top of the bag, and pulled it down to the floor. She paused. The man at the church said that she should leave and head for the mountains.
She stood half-way up, and peered out of the triple-paneled windows over the sink where she could see the outlines of the Adirondacks in the background. She could do that, but where in the mountains would she go? It was still winter so where would she find shelter so not to freeze to death? Plus, what guarantee would she have of not encountering any of those things up there? Would she be any safer up there than she was here in her own home?
Tess let out a huff, spun around and sat down on the cold flooring.
She hated this! Which decision was the right one?
"Mom, Dad, I could really use you both right now." Her voice wavered as she leaned her head back against the counter door.
Here she had some form of protection behind the walls. Out there, she wouldn't. However, at some point, she'd run out of food again and would have to go back out to find more. Back into that store where all those things were.
No, that was no longer an option.
What about the military? Would they come back to the town?
Her stomach burned at that thought. The military had killed her parents. They probably wouldn't hesitate to kill her as well.
She froze. A shadowy figure lingered just outside the back door of the kitchen.
Tess held her breath, and waited.
The shadow stood up and into the sunlight. Its black eyes glittered in the light. The face partially lopsided with one side which still held the woman's pallid skin, peeling lips, and contorted nose. The other side though was too morbid to stare at; the skin was gone revealing the mucous tissues and tendons which rippled with its every movement.
It was that same creature from the church! It must have followed her back here. Her head roared as her breathing quickened. Her vision darkened.
Oh no ... great time to pass out!
Her eyes widened as she realized that the creature attempted to turn the handle of the back door.
She's so dead.