“Board up that last window” Mike asked Stacy.

With a rusty hammer and blood dripping down her arm, Stacy slammed the last nail with a hard strike. They knew they didn’t have much time. And they knew it might not matter.

“That should hold it.” She took off her blood stained flannel shirt and wrapped it around her wound before tying it into a knot. “It started bleeding again.”  She told Mike.

“Shit. Let me see.” Mike walked across the main room of the cabin over to her. It was quant. Oil paintings of flower vases, drapes on the windows nailed down by the “X” formation of the boards and a rug in the center. Anything with any weight to it had been placed in front of the front door, which they had broken open. A few floorboards were torn up in the center. A bloody crow bar lied next to the now decent sized whole.

“It’s tied tight.” She said as she looked down at Mike examining her arm. “Do you think it’s-“

“I don’t know” Mike said.  “Are you sure it-“

“Yeah I’m sure.” Stacy said.

Mike shook his head. He did his best to keep his knee from buckling. He knew what a scratch might do. “I’ll check the bathroom. Maybe there’s something there.”

Mike walked over and opened the door to the bathroom. He opened the cabinet and began to rummage through the contents, throwing everything to the floor. “There.” Mike said as he grabbed the bottle of peroxide from very back corner.

As Mike walked to the door until he caught his face in the mirror. His five o’clock shadow covered up the worried and anxious look that had become a permanent fixture the past five days. His eyes had bags under them.  He had been afraid to sleep.

Mike walked out of the bathroom and back over to Stacy. “Unwrap it.” Mike said. She did, revealing three scratch marks going down her bicep. “She got you good.”

Stacy didn’t smile. She looked away towards the window.

“Now this is going to hurt.” Mike said as he dumped a quarter of the bottle over the wound. Stacy’s face cringed without a noise. “That’s all we can do for now” Mike admitted.

Stacy wrapped her arm back up. “Do you think it’ll make a difference?”

“I can pray.” Mike caught Stacy staring out the boarded up window. There was no sign of them, but he knew that wasn’t why she was looking.

“We didn’t have to run.” Stacy said.

“We didn’t have a choice. We couldn’t hold it.” Mike said.

“We shouldn’t have left him.”

“It’s what he wanted.” Mike said. “There wasn’t anything we could have done.”

“We shouldn’t have left him.” Stacy said as she touched her make shift bandage.

Mike went over and pulled Stacy close to him. Her forehead felt warm as she buried it in his shoulder. “There wasn’t anything we could do. There wasn’t.” he said as he gazed at the ring on her finger.

“What do you think happens to them?” She asked.

Mike looked over at the crowbar. “I hope they don’t feel anything. That any memories they had are forgotten. I hope that they died before it gets to that.”

“I don’t want t go like that.” Stacy said.

“I know.”

Mike was interrupted by a sound of rustling outside. He rushed over to the window. A figure moved at the top of the hill. It staggered slowly, gaining speed as it moved down the hill. The figure was less of a man, and more of a rag doll. Its limbs seemed unhinged, yet it never the creature lost balance.

“They’re here? Aren’t they?” Stacy asked.

Mike turned to face Stacy. She was bent over in exhaustion. Sweat on her face, her bandaged arm was now a lighter shade of green.

“No…it’s fine.” Mike said.

The Creature was now closer followed by a smell of rot and decay. Mike could make out all of the details. The face was male, most of the hair ripped out. Its skin peeled like wallpaper coming off an old a house.  Its clothing was ripped, claw marks running up and down its right arm. It was missing the left. The figure let out a roar.

“They’re here.” Stacy said. “Oh God, they’re here.”

Mike ran from the window and grabbed the crowbar. “We’ll be fine.” He caught another glace of Stacy. She stumbled. No longer strong enough to stand she had placed herself against the cabin wall. Mike gripped the crowbar tightly.

Back at the window the creature was no longer alone. There were five of them now. All staggering at a rapid pace. They would be at the cabin in a matter of seconds.

“Mike, I know what’s happening.” She said.

“We can hold this. There aren’t too many of them.” He said.

“We can’t. I can’t.” She said.

“Yes we can. We-”

“No.” Stacy interrupted. “I can’t.” Stacy looked down at her ring. “Please, while there’s still time.”

Mike looked at the window. Hungry and bleeding arms reached through, scratching and pulling away the boards. They would not hold.

“Mike, please.” Stacy laid down on the floor.

Mike kneed down next to her. He looked at her face. Her eyes were closed.

The collection of arms knocked off one the boards. They were howling and snarling. A sinking feel had over come Mike’s stomach. He knew it could not be stopped.

Mike stoop up. With crowbar in hand, he raised the object above his head and brought it down.

He was alone.

By Joe Ciano