Happy Birthday Lovecraft!
Vaguely I thought of Jilly. I hoped she’d be ok.
The sight should have bothered me. But it didn’t. Because someone was standing just behind them. Someone with a gun.
He made it to the door. Looked at me for a second. And then he closed it.
He inched out of the shadows, raggedy and half-dead. A man. By the look on his face he might have been their father. But there was nothing human left in him now, nothing but space and echoes. I put my hands up and backed away slowly. He kept his gaze on me and his arms limp at his side. The gun pulled at him so that his whole body sagged forward. I could see his skull through his skin, the bulge of his eye sockets where there should have been flesh. His clothes were in rags, his hair tangled in clumps of dirt or blood. I should have said something, tried to run, but a chill crept over me, shot right up my spine and scared me stiff.
I had forgotten to breathe. Air came back like a punch in the gut. I staggered backwards and off the porch altogether, landing awkwardly in the weeds. Launching to my feet I ran back to the bush where Jilly was hiding, expecting to die at any second. She was already crying and pulled me close, shaking all over. “I thought you were gone. I thought you were dead.” I couldn’t find words. Fear had a hold of me, and if I let it, panic would be next. I grabbed her hand and pulled her away. It was almost dark. We ran as far as we dared till our sight gave out and we crept through the grass like insects, half-blind. There was no moon and no stars. When it finally started to rain we huddled against the first tree we found and tried to sleep.
Dedicated to the late, great H.P. Lovecraft