“They’re all dead.”
“You can’t know that.”
“They have to be, nothing could survive that.”
Silence fell, “Maybe someone made it out.”
“Yeah. Maybe. We might find them later.”
Brad didn’t know what else to say, it was easier to just agree with Carrie. He didn’t know anyone in the house that well, not like Carrie had, but they had been kind to him. Carrie would spend hours over there, singing songs, eating. She’d have been with them today if he hadn’t demanded that she do her own damn chores for once. Getting that bucket of water had probably saved her life. He didn’t hear them approach, no one ever did. Before anyone could realise what was happening the house was raided, screams echoing into the sky. After the screaming started the only thing anyone could do was run. Once they had finished with everyone inside they’d start looking for others. Sometimes, with all the stories and seeing the aftermath of their visits it was hard to remember that they were just human. He had seen first-hand the carnage of one of their raids. Blood and gore had been everywhere, if he hadn’t know that it had belonged to people it would have been impossible to tell. No one really knew what they did to the bodies, the bits that disappeared. There were plenty of rumours though, whispers in the night around the fire.
“Do you think we can go back?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think we should risk it.”
They had been hiding in these woods for hours, and Brad wasn’t sure how long they’d have to wait for it to be safe again. Sometimes it was only an hour or two, others it was days.
Brad looked out at the smouldering remains of the house, they were long gone. None of the other houses had been attacked and he could see people moving cautiously through the village. He breathed a sigh of relief and quickly made his way back to Carrie. Together they went home. The house was the same as it had been only a few hours before, but it felt different. Colder. The house next door was always full of people and laughter, sometimes he couldn’t sleep for the noise, but there was something comforting about it too. Knowledge that there were people only a short distance away. Still, with the attack came some relief, they wouldn’t attack again for another year at least.