Shadow Crawlers. Part 18

My week has been fairly bland, I was pretty tired the last couple of days so I couldn’t really get up to much. I’m looking forward to the weekend though. My sister got an Irish Wolfhound puppy and she’s bringing him across to say hello. Obviously I can’t wait because everyone loves puppies (simple fact of life, pro-tip, if someone says they don’t like puppies, they’re probably a robot or without a soul.)

Well, that’s all my news, from my oh so exciting life. (Yay! Sarcasm.)

On with the show!

_____________________________________________________________

Part 1, Part 17

The air shimmered in the intense heat as Grady struggled to breathe, the locket lay forgotten on her bed. Grady was hunched as she walked, trying to get to the window, hoping she’d be able to break it open and leap to safety. The door was a wall of flame behind her and she knew a broken bone would be better than dying. It didn’t occur to her that she should have already died from smoke inhalation, or lack of oxygen. She stumbled against her desk and fell to the ground, it was almost too hot to touch, she struggled to her knees, then collapsed again. As she passed out, she noticed the air had a faint smell of cinnamon and baking bread.

 

The fire circled her body, growing higher and higher, the window to her room shattered and the fire grew brighter with the infusion of oxygen. Brett and Amy ducked as Grady’s window shattered neither could see anyone in the window, but they both hoped it meant Grady would soon be jumping to safety. A bag landed on the ground to Brett’s right, and a moment later, Grady came flying through the window. She landed directly on Brett. He lay on the grounded, winded, as Amy pulled Grady off. While he caught his breath, Amy checked on Grady, relieved to find her still breathing and, remarkably, with very little burns. In the distance they could hear sirens, smoke billowed from the house, thick and black, Brett stood and together he and Amy dragged Grady away from the intense heat, each were sweating profusely. They dragged her to the front gate, Jack was sitting in an idling car, he had already shoved the bags that had been brought outside into the boot. Amy and Brett manoeuvred Grady inside, Brett dumped her bag onto her lap then got into the front seat, the entire time Jack was urging them to “hurry the fuck up.” As the passenger door slammed closed, Jack took off, the car turning to corner a few seconds before a fire engine turned onto the road. “Did you see if anyone else got out?” “No, I think it was just us.” “Shit. We need to go somewhere. Lie low for a few days.” They sat in silence for a few minutes. “We could try a hotel?” “No, we all stink of smoke, we’d stand out.” The windows had been rolled down, which helped alleviate the worst of the stench, but it was still noticeable. “I think I might know a place. But you’re not going to like it.” “Where?” Brett started to give Jack directions. Grady was still unconscious in the back seat, Amy quietly cried while hoping Grady would wake soon. They couldn’t bring her to the hospital and Amy didn’t want to lose anyone else.

 

As Jack drove, Brett explained to them where they were going. “What the hell? Tom was killed there, it isn’t safe.” “We’ll be fine. Trust me ok.” “How do you know this isn’t a trap?” “I met Rose in a coffee shop. I knocked over my drink and it spilled onto her. She couldn’t have planned that.” “What about Tom?” “I tried to ask about it. Her grandfather is some collector, he regularly leaves the country to collect rare objects, he enjoys the travel, he’s often gone for months at a time. He came back, found the body and the police investigated. Dom must have missed it. Apparently the old dude kept it all quiet.” “And what about her? Why is she living there?” “She moved to the city, her grandfathers letting her stay while he’s gone.” Jack glowered, “We’ll stay for tonight, then tomorrow we’re gone. I’m not getting caught because you’re thinking with your dick.” “She won’t tell anyone ok.” Jack didn’t say anything. Amy looked up from Grady “She’ll ask why we smell like smoke.” “I’ll explain it to her, ok? I’ll think of something.”

 

Jack pulled up outside the house, they waited in the car while Brett went to the door. He knocked and waited. “There you are, I was getting worried.” “It took longer than I thought. Look sympathetic.” “What’s the story?” “I’ll tell them I told you we had a house party, Grady was passed out, house caught fire. We ran because the guy who’s name is on the lease was into shady shit and we didn’t want to get into trouble.” Rose nodded, then hugged Brett “Fine. Make them all bathe though. I don’t want this place reeking if I’m going to be living here for a while.” They parted, Brett went back to the car, Rose followed. “You poor things! Brett told me what happened to you, come inside, you’re welcome to stay as long as you need. I’m going to put on some tea, then I’ll show you where you can all get cleaned up, ok?” Jack nodded, Rose went back into the house and Brett told them to cover story.


Grady woke up ten minutes later, screaming. Amy was beside her and after a few minutes, Grady calmed down. Amy explained to her where they were and why. Grady remembered the fire, but little else. After a few minutes Amy left to shower. Grady felt a hard lump in her pocket, she reached in and found the locket, it was closed. She opened the door and closed it again, the damn thing was empty. She shook her head, then put the necklace on the bedside locker. She’d wear it once she had showered. It didn’t feel real, Dom and Sam were gone. Even if they had gotten out, they’d probably be arrested. She knew she was in shock and for the moment, she welcomed it. She didn’t want to feel anything. She rubbed the back of her neck and winced, pain flared suddenly, then calmed a little before becoming a steady throb. She must have been burned there. She had gotten off pretty lightly.

 

Half an hour later, Amy came back into the room and told her the shower was free. Grady stripped out of her clothes and stood under the cool water, relishing it. She washed carefully, shampooing her hair three times, but still, she could smell a faint whiff of smoke. When she was done she dressed and joined the others in the kitchen. She didn’t like being in this house, it felt unsafe, wrong, but she had no choice for the moment. She agreed with Jack completely, once the morning came they should go. Find a hotel or something but just get away from this place.

 

The black shadow moved through the burning house, easily hiding in the thick clouds of smoke. There were two bodies inside, already burning, but just barely alive. It stopped by each one and enjoyed its meal. It left the flames behind and went into the streets, moving between the shadows. It was already night, that would make travel so much easier. It passed a group of people, one of them suddenly got a nose bleed, the other yelped in pain, their finger was dripping blood. It moved through the darkness, not knowing where it was going, only knowing that it was finally free after so many years and it had a lot to catch up on.

 

 

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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One Response to Shadow Crawlers. Part 18

  1. Pingback: Shadow Crawlers. Part 19. | Alan James Keogh

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