(Link to – Part 1)
Night had begun its mournful descent on the devastated city. With the child hugged tight in my arms I quickly made my way to some ruined buildings on the left hand side of the street. Howling. Like I’m gonna wait and find out. I scrambled over the rubble and dashed into the remnants of a merchants shop. The front wall of the shop appeared to be blasted in but the second floor was still intact and aside from the rubble and devastation inside, the shop itself seemed to be structurally sound. And there’re no bodies in here, thank Linkon. The stairs behind the remnants of the counter were still there. As I made my way up the creaking wooden steps the howling began again; an eerily haunting melody to greet to coming darkness.
At the top of the stairs there was a hallway which led to a series of rooms at the far end. I quickly made my way to the furthest doorway with the child still hanging limply in my arms. Pushing the door open into the room I was greeted with a gloomy view of a sparsely decorated bedroom. Must’ve been the merchants room. I closed the door behind me and turned to survey the interior. A double-sized mattress nestled on a wooden frame in the centre and I moved to lay the child on it. He still did not stir, eyes like marbles unblinking. There was a desk set to the right hand side of the door and I moved over to push it in front of the door , trying to make as little noise as he could.
There was glass paned window at the far right hand wall of the room and I slowly made my way over and crouched down before peering onto the street below. Nothing was moving. The smoke had fully cleared now leaving the carpet of blood and destruction fully visible. Darkness has its gifts after all. I dread the view that will greet me at the dawn.. If I make it to then. The rest of the city around me was obscured by the buildings opposite, and only by pressing against the pane and looking down the street could I make out the gradual descent to the city centre and the fires that still consumed it.
As my gaze slid back from the gigantic shadow of the downed airship – only the height of its fires betraying its position in the night – I noticed shadowy , indistinguishable figures moving almost gracefully up the street towards the row of buildings where I hid. There appeared to be tall and human but the noises that began to creep upwards towards me told me they were something other. I quickly gazed back to the child but still he did not stir, his breathing shallow , the only indication I had he still lived. Snarling and low, guttural rumbles escaped from the figures – four of them now slightly visible – as they suddenly halted in the middle of the street. Shit. Exactly the spot where I picked up the child. Shit. Shit. Shit.
The one closest to the shop front suddenly twisted onto all fours and put its head towards the ground , towards the meat that lay there. It was sniffing. The others had moved off to the other side of the street as if searching for something. Just then a whoosh filled the air and a bright red glow filled the night sky – a bloody flare. It only lasted for a few seconds before fading out or descending behind some buildings but it was all I needed to get a glimpse of those creatures. Creatures they were. For all I thought they were human and clothed I was wrong. They were nearly seven foot in height, caked in a thick brown fur. Their limbs were lithe and lean but I had no illusions as to their power. I managed to glance at the face of the one sniffing the ground and turned away in horror. Covered in fur with a large snout and massive canines. As long as my fucking hand. It had been licking the ground with a massive, snake-like tongue. What in the Pit are these things?
The red light from the flare had faded. The creatures were now cloaked in shadow once again as I brought my gaze back upon them. Stay quiet and we will be safe. We will be safe. As I was about to draw away from the window and check the door the one who was sniffing suddenly looked up. Oh fuck its looking right at me. It held my gaze for a moment that stretched out for what seemed like minutes. Then the other creatures joined the one on all-fours. The moment was shattered. The creatures roared and snarled and charged for hold of the shop-front. I ran to the door and put my weight against it. I waited, weapon-less. The child’s shallow breathing had stopped.
I couldn’t even move to check on him as the clawing , scraping, snarling sounds of the creatures reached the top of the staircase.