Time to Run by Erika Lance

For Santa Sorrentino, thank you for always being amazing.

And then there it was, darkness staring back at me. I then knew exactly what I needed to do…

I needed to run.

As I turned, it struck me as ironic how many times as a child my mother would tell me that I didn’t need to worry. That monsters were not real and it was terribly silly of me to be afraid of the dark.

She was either in denial or she was simply ignorant. I wish I had been better trained from the start and then I would have spotted it sooner. They hide, but not as well as you might think.

If you know what you are looking for.

First, the temperature changes when you are close. You shouldn’t use this rule because if you can’t flee then you are already dead. Second, they wrap the darkness around them, so there are subtle differences in the light. If the darkness seems torn or mixed, you should again flee or stay in the light, natural light. Lastly and the easiest way to spot them from the farthest point before the “encounter” is sound. No other living creatures will be around them. The sounds of nature effectively stop.

This is the part I wish I had more training on growing up. I feel that most of us are trained by life to simply ignore the sounds around you. The chirping of a cricket, the sound of a squirrel wrestling in a tree. Heck, we even go out of our way to remove most nature from around us. This is what they rely on, that we will not notice we are 100% alone.

I started feeling the breath in my chest. It was going to hurt soon, but I couldn’t stop. I had to keep going or I would be taken. That is what happened.

I didn’t know if it hurt. I didn’t want to find out either. I had seen it happen too many times. When I wasn’t fast enough.

They still looked same after it happened. Well, the same physically. They moved and some could even do the actions they had done in their life before. For a time. Then slowly, they will turn. They will become feral. They become the most animalistic versions of themselves. They become something to hunt, trap, and kill. Some just run; their most basic instinct being to flee. Some consider they are the lucky ones.

I heard the sound of claws hitting the ground. It was closer behind me than I thought. I wasn’t going to make it back out before I was forced to stop or it gained on me and could pounce.

I slid my hand in my pocket and pulled out the lighter and the small can. I hoped it would be enough as I slid to a stop, turned, and the flame jutted from the hairspray onto the creature. For a brief moment, I saw terror in its eyes before it ran. Satisfying as it was, I knew it would return.

Time to run again.

 

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