Zack closed on Roy, swinging. Roy easily dodged his blows and came up with a blow to Zack’s stomach. Unfazed by the blow, Zack patted his stomach with one hand.
“Hundred crunches a day, baby.” He reached for Roy, who was too slow avoiding him, and wrapped his hand around his throat. With three quick steps he slammed Roy into the bookcase lining one wall. Ancient books fell to the floor, sending up clouds of dust as their fragile pages crumbled. Roy squirmed in his hand, slapping at his arm as Zack pinned him to the bookcase.
Zack felt the shadows come to life around him, awakened by his anger, feeding his rage, filling him with the desire to snap Roy’s neck like he should have done years ago.
From outside came the howl of several beasts, their voices raised in an eerie chorus that shattered the silence.
“They’re coming,” Connor shouted from his seat, “can’t you hear them?”
Roy, Zack, Melissa, and Deanna stopped fighting to listen. At first it was a distant rumble, faint, growing in intensity with every passing second. Like remote thunder heard on an otherwise clear day.
“They’re coming,” Connor said.
The rumbling grew louder, no longer a sound like thunder; it had become the roar of an approaching army of mounted soldiers.
“Who’s coming?” Melissa asked.
The howling intensified.
Deanna clasped her hands to her ears. “Make them stop.”
Connor looked at Melissa with an expression that sent a chill tumbling down her spine.
“It wants us to fight,” Connor said.
“Who wants us to fight?” Roy asked.
Deanna hugged herself, looking around the room with the hopeless expression of a trapped animal.
“Yeah, who wants us to fight? Who’s coming? What do they want?” Zack said.
“How do you know this, Connor?” Deanna asked.
Connor’s gaze tracked aimlessly about the room then came to rest on Deanna, who backed away involuntarily.
“They showed me,” Connor said barely above a whisper.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Roy said. “Are you another candidate for the short bus?”
Melissa spun around and shouted at Roy, “Just shut up. Do you hear me, just shut the fuck up.”
Roy held up his hands and backed away from Melissa, who turned and knelt down next to Connor.
“What did they show you, Connor?”
Connor turned his vacant stare on her and she shuddered.
“The house,” Connor whispered.
“Yes, the house, what about it?” Melissa said.
Connor smiled and Melissa backed away from him.
“Don’t you see, it’s what they want, what it wants, what they’ve always wanted,” Connor said.
“Who? What?” Melissa asked.
Roy threw up his hands and turned away.
Connor smiled again, terror slipping into his eyes as he gazed at Melissa. “Them,” he said.
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