Part 1: Motor
Maya waited patiently at the Preston Convenience Store register, her arms crossed across her chest. It was only her third day on the job, and she was already finding it to be dreadfully boring. Of course, the fact that she was working the night shift didn’t help.
Still, with how expensive college was these days, it wasn’t like she had much of a choice. All that debt wasn’t going to pay itself. And besides, it was still better than the questionable things some of her classmates did for extra cash.
Bland pop music drifted down from the store speakers, cutting into the silence.
“Oh oh baby!” the singer crooned. “You really got my motor runnin’!” It was a song fit for only commercials and store speakers. Maya couldn’t imagine anyone voluntarily listening to such an abomination for fun.
If I’m going to be stuck here alone, at least give me something listenable, she thought with a deep sigh.
At this point, she just wanted to get the shift over with so she could go to bed. Her life wasn’t much fun at the moment, but she had faith that would change soon.
Just gotta survive one day at a time, she thought. Just one day at a time…
“CRASH!” Before she even realized what was happening, Maya was suddenly being showered with broken glass and powdered drywall. She instinctively took cover under the counter.
What the hell what the hell what the hell?!
Her mind was racing, and she found herself unable to think straight. What exactly was happening? An attack? A robbery? Did a bomb go off?
She cautiously lifted her head above the counter to get a look at what had happened.
The entire front of the store appeared to have been demolished by a minivan. For whatever reason, someone had driven straight through the storefront and only stopped when their busted up car had collided with the refrigerated shelf that held all of the microwaveable burgers and burritos.
She peered around, trying to get a good look at the driver, but the windows of the minivan were all too cracked to see through.
They didn’t… die, did they? she pondered.
After waiting several moments for something more to happen, she made the decision to go and check on whoever was inside. She stepped out from behind the counter and made her way over, broken glass and bits of rubble crunching beneath her sneakers as she walked.
She still couldn’t believe any of this was happening. It felt almost like a bad dream. One moment, she had been standing in an empty convenience store, and the next she was walking through debris to find out whether or not she would have to deal with a dead body.
I really can’t catch a break…
She approached the passenger’s side door and reached out to open it.
“GURGGHH!” A wet gurgle could be heard from inside the vehicle, making Maya jump back in surprise
What the hell was that?!
Although it freaked her out, she still had to check on them. The person inside could be seriously injured and perhaps even near death.
Alright, Maya, she thought. You can do this. Be brave.
She swallowed her fear and opened up the minivan’s door with a “creeeeaaaak!”
Inside, there was a single man in the driver’s seat, dressed in a white sleeveless shirt and old bluejeans. His hands were grasping desperately at his neck, as if he’d been injured there.
As Maya’s eyes moved up to see his face, she was filled with sudden and intense terror.
Oh god! she thought, trembling. Why is his head like that?!
Directly in front of the man was a cell phone set into a stand. It appeared that the device was being used as a GPS guide by the man. However, it currently displayed something very different: a photo of a woman with dark brown hair standing in front of a bright red window, a twisted and distorted smile fixed onto her withered face.
What the hell is going on here?! she thought, filling up with panic. I need to call 911 right away!
She turned to head back to the counter, but was stopped dead in her tracks. In front of her stood the same woman from the photo displayed on the man’s phone, clad in a torn and dirty white dress. Her eyes glowed eerily over the shiny wet smile. The creature reached out to her, growling with viscous sadism.
Maya’s scream of pure terror echoed through the night. It was the last thing anyone would ever hear from her.
Part 2: Night Owls
Amy Lin laid in her bed and scrolled absent-mindedly through her social media feeds, watching the lives of her friends and associates pass by. Maybe she was too desensitized to the stimulation she got from social media, but there wasn’t much that caught her attention anymore. Everyone just posted selfies or pictures of their pets, or bragged about life events, or made the same jokes over and over.
Perhaps the world is really just boring, she thought.
It was her final year of high school, and it felt like she was simply coasting by, unsure of her true place in the world. The only thing she really cared about was getting Seth’s attention.
She stopped her scrolling as she landed on one of his pictures. It was the photo he’d taken for the football team, posed in his football gear and smiling wide. His blue eyes shined under the bright photography studio lights.
Ah, I miss him, she thought dreamily.
Just a few days ago, she met up with him after practice and they kissed under the bleachers. She hadn’t gotten the chance to see him again since. But tomorrow was Monday, and she was certain she would run into him at school.
I just wanna run away with him…
“DING!” her notification sound suddenly went off. As quickly as she could, she opened up her messenger program.
It was him! Seth had sent her a message!
So he’s a night owl too? She grinned as she opened the message up.
“U up?” He had asked.
Amy typed a reply right away. “Yep!” she said, accompanied by a little smiley face. “Can’t sleep cuz I keep looking at my phone. Bad habit lol!”
Does that come off as too dorky? she wondered after hitting the “send” button. I don’t want to weird him out…
“Me too lol,” he replied. “Also I can’t stop thinking bout u.”
Amy felt her heart flutter as she read the message. All of the boredom that she had been feeling before vanished and was replaced with nervous excitement.
Oh, Seth, she thought, smiling wide. How are you so amazing?
“RAAAAAAGH! GAAAAAGH!” A blood curdling scream suddenly met Amy’s ears, causing her to jump in surprise.
What the heck?!
It sounded like it was coming from across the street. Was there some sort of fight? A domestic abuse situation, perhaps? Amy wasn’t exactly sure what she should do if that were the case.
Should I call the cops? she wondered as she peeked out of her window.
One of her neighbors had run into the street, screaming and tearing at her own face. Her husband ran after her and grabbed one of her arms tightly to restrain her.
“STOP!” he shouted. “WHATS THE MATTER WITH YOU!”
The lady let out another terrible screech, prompting Amy to duck and hide. She didn’t want to watch anymore.
Why do people have to go crazy so late at night? she pondered. It’s almost midnight for god’s sake.
“DING!” her phone’s messenger alert sounded again.
Huh? Is that Seth again?
“DING DING!” Before she could check, the phone went off two more times. Whoever was messaging her really wanted to tell her something.
“DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!” The phone kept going off, each noise indicating a new received message. There must have been a hundred of them pouring in.
Stop! she thought, beginning to panic. What’s happening?!
She opened one of the messages in the app, revealing a photo of a grinning red-haired woman standing in front of an old window. The sky behind her was an unnatural bright red color.
While the entire photo was disturbing, it was the woman’s face that disturbed Amy the most. Twisted up and covered in bloody bandages, yet still smiling wide with razor sharp teeth.
“GUH!” She locked her phone and tossed it away, growing more unsettled by the second. Her good mood had been ruined completely by all of this sudden madness.
Can I have even one good night?!
She tried to lay down and relax, only to be subjected to more noise from outside. This time, however, it was even worse than before.
“GRAAAAGH!” Amy could hear a wet popping noise as her neighbor screeched in agony.
“OH GOD!” her husband cried, his voice terrified and desperate. “WHAT’S HAPPENING?! OH GOD!”
Amy covered her ears and closed her eyes, trying to block everything out.
Shut up, she thought. Shut up shut up shut up shut up!
“WOOSH!” her blanket was suddenly torn off of her and went flying across the room.
Amy opened her eyes to see a hideous red-haired figure staring down at her, its eyes glowing with demonic ferocity behind filthy bandages.
“AAAAAAAAGH!” She let out one final scream before the thing closed in to attack.
Blood splattered across the screen of Amy’s phone as it let out one final “DING!”
Like many other students, neither Amy Lin nor Seth would be seen at school the next day... or ever again.
Part 3: System Crash
“Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!”
The drunken crowd surrounded James Sanders in an office room and sang clumsily in unison.
“Happy birthday, dear Jimmy! Happy birthday to you!”
“Woooh!” They all cheered and lifted their drinks. James was embarrassed, but he had expected all of this and was able to mentally prepare himself beforehand. A week before, he’d heard from one of his friends that his employees at Bookface were planning a party for him. He was by no means a party guy, but decided to embrace it. It was good to cut loose at least once in a while, right?
So James showed up late at the office to get a few things done, as he usually did, and found a small crew of half a dozen employees waiting for him, as he had expected.
The small group chattered away merrily as they passed around slices of birthday cake. James took it all in, nursing the mixed drink Maisie the receptionist had made him.
Earlier, the employees had turned on all of the computers while waiting for him to arrive, so the office was lit up by the glow of the custom “HAPPY B DAY” screensavers one of them had applied. Other than a few colorful party lights and the distant glow of the city lights outside, the computer monitors were the only source of light, bestowing the office with a strange night-club atmosphere.
He had always been awkward, but that awkwardness was always magnified when he was in a social setting like this. One would have thought that starting a huge multi-million-dollar tech company would have changed him, but that simply didn’t happen.
“Are you alright, Jim?” Susan asked.
She worked across the street at an accounting office and did some regular work on Bookface’s financial records and tax forms. James was more than a little attracted to her, and felt like a schoolboy with a crush every time he was around her.
“I-I’m fine,” James managed to stammer out.
“Really? You’ve barely drank anything.”
James glanced down at his plastic cup, then quickly gulped down what was left of the drink. It was sweet, so he didn’t taste the alcohol. However, he knew it wouldn’t sit well in his stomach and dreaded the effects he’d inevitably feel later that night.
Susan laughed. “You didn’t have to do that, you know.” She toyed with her red hair as she spoke, and James could see that her face was flushed from the alcohol.
“Y-yeah, I know.” James replied nervously.
Susan glanced out the window at the city lights. Bookface’s office was high up in a tower, so one could see a great deal of the city from there.
“Quite the view you’ve got here,” she said. “It’s gorgeous, especially at night.”
“Yeah, that’s kinda why I chose this place. I like working at night. I find it really relaxing.”
Susan smiled. “Yeah, that’s something we have in common. We’re both night owls.”
James felt butterflies of excitement in his stomach. He didn’t know if it was the alcohol or if his attraction to Susan was simply that intense.
Probably a mixture of both, he thought.
“Hey, what’s going on with the computers?” someone asked.
James turned around to look at them. The “HAPPY B DAY” screensavers had been apparently replaced with a photo of a woman standing in front of a window, back-lit by a bright red sky.
Each computer displayed the same photo, yet there was a different woman shown in each. Some with black hair, some blonde, and some grey. However, they all had the same distorted sinister smile on their face.
“W-what’s going on here?” Susan asked. “That’s creepy as hell.”
James was at a loss. He hadn’t seen anything like that before. “I… I dunno…”
Was someone playing a prank on them? If so, it was certainly a weird prank. What would even be the point of showing those pictures? Just to creep people out?
I don’t like this, he thought. I don’t like it at all…
“Hey!” someone screamed. It was Kyle from the programming team. “What is tha-”
“CRASH!” Without warning, Kyle was suddenly launched through one of the windows. He hadn’t thrown himself out, but instead seemed to have been propelled by some invisible, yet powerful force.
“KYLE!” James went running to see what had happened, hearing Kyle’s fading screams as he fell to the streets below.
“Oh god!” Susan cried. “What happened?!”
“GRAGH!” Maisie suddenly fell to the floor. She coughed and clutched at her throat as if it were closing shut.
Oh no, James thought, feeling a shot of adrenaline kick in. Something is definitely wrong here. We have to get out.
“Susan!” he shouted. He turned to the red-haired accountant, planning on grabbing her hand and leading her out of the office, but froze in place instead.
Standing just behind her was a tall ghoulish creature with long grey hair, standing well over six feet tall and dressed in a dirty blood-stained white dress. The thing’s long wrinkled face grinned wide, revealing its sharp crooked teeth, and its uneven eyes glowed with a strange, uncanny light.
It raised its long thin arms and grabbed Susan’s head with its wide bony hands. “THUNK!”
Oh go no, James thought. He was filled with absolute terror.
No no no no no! This can’t be happening!
Just then, all of the computers shut down, plunging the room into darkness. Outside, the city lights went out all at once. A veil of darkness had enshrouded everything, and James couldn’t even see an inch away from his nose.
The office was now completely silent, as if everyone had frozen in place. If James hadn’t felt the cold sweat running down his back, he would have suspected that he had died.
“CRRRRAAAACCK!” James heard the wet cracking noise of breaking bone as Susan suddenly let out a scream of fear and agony.
Trapped in the dark and powerless to fight back, James could do nothing but cover his ears and collapse.
“Make it stop! Someone please make it stop!” he muttered to no one in particular. If only someone were to come and save them at the last minute, just like in the superhero movies... That was James’ last remaining hope.
Of course, this wasn’t a superhero movie, so no one came running into the office that night to stop the carnage. Instead, James felt the cold, bony hands of that demonic creature grasp his head as well, and he said one final silent prayer to whatever god would listen.
Part 4: Square
Charles Toussaint was lost.
Under the blinding bright lights of Time Square, the man wandered through the New York streets glancing back and forth at the people who passed him by.
He and his best friend Francois had come to New York on vacation. The two had always wanted to experience the “big apple” themselves, and had each saved up enough paid time off from work to take the trip down from Canada.
It had been a wonderful trip thus far, albeit occasionally marred by Francois’ drinking problem. He would often misbehave after consuming even a modest amount of alcohol and sometimes wander off. In this particular case, Francois had run off with some woman without telling Charles where he was going. So now Charles could only wander aimlessly through the streets until he spotted his companion.
It’s no use, he thought. I might need to just call it quits for the night.
If he couldn’t find Francois that night, he would have no choice but to wait until Francois eventually contacted him, which might not happen until the morning.
Charles sighed. I just hope he’s safe, he thought. The last thing he wanted to deal with while on vacation was a death or something like that.
Huh? Charles glanced up at the electronic billboards around him, noticing that they had all flickered on and off for a moment. Other people around him did the same.
“What the hell?” a stout man near him exclaimed out loud. “Never seen that before.”
Suddenly all of the screens switched to show a weird photo of a woman, at least that’s how it appeared at first. Upon closer inspection, Charles realized that each screen showed a different woman, just posed in the same location with the same disturbing deformed smile. Behind them was a single window, through which one could see an unnatural bright red sky.
Is this some kind of viral marketing campaign or something? Charles wondered.
He had heard about different pranks and such happening in Times Square, like the “flash mobs” that had been popular around a decade ago. People would organize online to get together in a public location and perform a choreographed dance or some other kind of simple stunt.
Still, this felt... different. The pictures were too eerie and unnerving to be a marketing stunt. On top of that, who would buy all of that expensive advertising space in hopes of making something go viral? If it didn’t work as planned, all of that money would basically be thrown down the toilet.
It feels like they’re all looking at me, he thought, feeling a heavy chill run through his body.
He decided he would simply ignore the billboards and continue searching for Francois. However, that initiative was short-lived. He immediately heard a horrified shriek from a woman behind him and turned to see what was happening.
Above the traffic floated what appeared to be a ghostly apparition. It was a woman with long dark brown hair, clad in a filthy white dress. Bright red blood ran down her bandage-covered arms and dripped onto the cars below. On her face was a wide smile bearing crooked and razor-sharp teeth, above which were white glowing eyes that sparkled like sinister stars in a clear night sky.
What is that?! he thought, feeling more terrified with each passing moment. I can’t be the only one who sees that, right?
Glancing around at the crowd around him, he noticed that everyone else was staring straight at the floating thing too, which meant it wasn’t simply a hallucination.
Unless this whole thing is a weird nightmare…
“CRASH!” Several cars had collided on the other side of the block. Above them floated another entity with glowing eyes. This one had red hair and seemed to be vomiting out a stream of blood onto the damaged vehicles.
Soon a third apparition appeared, this one with blonde hair. It laughed loudly as the pedestrians below scurried away in total horror.
Then there was a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth, and a seventh…
Before Charles could properly react, the entire square was filled with at least two dozen of the hideous levitating ghouls. They all stood suspended in a massive circle around the area, as if part of some kind of occult ritual. Above them, the dark blue night sky shifted to a sinister crimson color, appearing as if the whole city had been transported to an alien world.
It’s red… Like in those pictures!
“CRACK!” Just ten feet away from where Charles was standing, the pavement broke open, pushed up from beneath by a powerful force. From it emerged a massive head, covered in long dirty white hair. Behind the frosty locks were bulging bloodshot eyes that darted around like a chameleon’s, examining all of the people around them.
A second smaller chasm opened up in the street, and from it arose a pale, bony hand, its fingers ending in sharp blackened claws. The hand quickly snatched up one of the onlookers and brought it up towards the white head’s gaping mouth. Charles could hear the desperate screams of the victim as he slid effortlessly into the huge creature’s gaping maw.
Charles turned and ran as fast as he could.
Is this the apocalypse? he thought. The end times?! Are they really here?!
“HURGH!” He was quickly stopped in his tracks by something that had collided with his stomach and knocked the wind out of him.
He looked down to see that his abdomen was wrapped with an enormous lock of disgusting white hair. It was the same hair on the giant monster’s head.
Does this mean?...
Trembling in terror, Charles glanced over his shoulder and followed the huge strand of hair to its origin. The hair did indeed belong to the creature, and had apparently shot out to grab him like the tentacle of an octopus.
This is it, he thought, feeling warm tears begin to flow from his eyes. I’m gone…
Charles and all of the other people in the square around him were lifted into the air by the white hair of the massive beast as it let out a loud vicious roar that reverberated through the entire city. The windows of the buildings around them all shattered, raining the broken glass down onto the monster’s helpless prey.
At that moment, all of the lights on the city turned off completely, enshrouding the entire chaotic scene in complete darkness under the blood red sky. No one could do a single thing to escape their grisly fate. They were only able to scream in helpless horror as they were devoured one by one.
Part 5: Cross
Jake laid back in his driver’s side car seat and sighed in exasperation. He should have been home over half an hour ago, but traffic was now at a dead stop. All he could do was turn off his engine and wait patiently for whatever issue was causing the disturbance to be solved.
On a night when I decided to work late as well…
He wanted to earn a few extra bucks giving people rides home down at the nearby college town, but that turned out to be a disaster. Not only was the traffic a nightmare, but he also had a drunk woman blow chunks in his back seat. Despite the chilly weather that night, he had to keep the windows down so the foul smell wouldn’t be too overwhelming.
Just my luck, he thought, turning up the music on his radio. It was playing an old Nu Metal track from over a decade ago. The singer for the band rapped over a distorted bass guitar, airing out his angst to the audience.
“I wanna just cave yo face in!” he shouted over the loud guitars.
Jake smiled. Man I haven’t heard this one in a while.
Without warning, the music cut out and was replaced by nothing but static. Jake leaned forward to adjust the tuner, but had no luck finding anything.
Did my radio break? he wondered before giving up entirely and switching the radio off.
Whatever. I don’t need it anyway…
As he leaned back again, he caught something disturbing out of the corner of his eye. In the distance, he should have been able to see the lights from New York city, but… They were gone.
Has there been some kind of blackout? he thought, opening up his car door. He got out and walked to the edge of the street to get a better view.
He wasn’t seeing things after all. It really was all dark.
Suddenly feeling a vague sense of anxiety, he reached into his pocket to produce his phone and dialed his wife’s number.
“We’re sorry,” the phone said in a robotic voice. “Your call could not be completed…”
He hung up, feeling more worried than before. Something was definitely wrong, and he wanted to find out what it was.
“RAAAAAAAAGGGH!” From the distance came a dreadful screech, loud enough to be from the throat of a massive dragon. It sounded almost like a human voice layered on top of a howler monkey and scraping metal. Jake couldn’t think of any kind of existing creature that could make a noise like that, especially one that loud.
What the hell is going on here?!
He tried his wife’s number again, typing at his phone more frantically this time, but got the same result.
He sighed and turned back to look at the city once more, only to find that the sky had seemingly changed color. It wasn’t the usual deep blue color, but instead a dark crimson that reminded Jake of the roses his grandmother used to grow in her backyard garden.
Is it here? The rapture?
Clutching the silver cross necklace that hung around his neck, he fell backwards and landed on the grass at the side of the road, eyes wide with shock. In that moment, all he wanted to do was go home and lay in bed next to his beautiful wife. He wanted it more than anything in the world.
“Please, lord,” he muttered to himself in prayer as he rubbed the tiny cross with his thumb. “Just let me see her one more time before you take us. I’m begging you..”
Part 6: Hummingbird
Gunshots could be heard ringing through the Half Moon Church’s Virginia compound. Enoch Winchester took cover in the bay area where the tank used to be housed and carefully reloaded his magnum revolver. He pushed the cylinder back into place with a heavy “click” and looked at the firearm lovingly.
If I’m going to go out, I’ll go out fighting, he thought. A crusader in both life and death.
“CRASH!” There was a loud noise from the forest nearby. At this point, Enoch couldn’t tell it the sounds were thunder or rounds from the tank. Everything blended together in the chaos of the raging storm they were currently fighting in.
In the complex above him, the church members he had recruited fired from the windows with their rifles, creating a never-ending cacophony of steel and gunpowder. The special forces teams sent in by the federal government fired back from the forests accordingly.
I wonder if he knew it would end like this when he gave me these powers, thought the Reverend. His mind traveled back to that fateful day at the Seekers’ compound.
Enoch remembered sprinting through that forest, barefoot and terrified, after being given a heavy dose of a strange psychoactive substance that the Seekers had been using in their rituals. The world looked so strange, and seemed to be bending and warping around him as he ran. Strange voices emanated from the trees, as if they were taunting him.
Eventually he became so exhausted, he collapsed in the middle of a small forest clearing. All he could do was breathe deeply and stare up at the grey sky above him. After spending what seemed like an eternity in that position, someone came to greet him.
“Hello, Mr. Winchester…”
Lifting himself up into a sitting position, Enoch saw who was approaching him. It was a man dressed in all black, the hood of his sweatshirt lifted up above his head. On his face was a mask that resembled a black hummingbird, its thin beak protruding far out in front of him.
The man approached Enoch, then lifted a black gloved hand and placed it onto one of Enoch’s eyes. Enoch was terrified, but made no move to stop the stranger. The man was certainly creepy, yet somehow also comforting. It almost felt as if Enoch had known him for a long time, even though he was sure they had never met.
“This will only hurt for a moment,” the bird man said.
Enoch felt an uncanny burning sensation on his eyeball, then a sudden shock as a lightning bolt descended from the sky above them. He would awaken in the hospital hours later, his eye having turned completely black.
Since that day, Enoch had the ability to summon storms whenever he pleased. Of course, this wasn’t something that he did too often. As a gift from God, it should only be used in the service of God.
And now is as good a time as any, he thought with a grin.
Bullets ricocheted off of the wall behind him, after which Enoch emerged to fire off the rounds in his magnum.
“BANG! BANG!” The gun’s bullets were large and had a heavy kickback, which Enoch gladly weathered. Just one hit from them could blow a hole in you the size of a baseball.
“BANG! BANG! BANG!”
Before he could get the sixth shot out, Enoch felt something strike him in his forehead.
Is this it?! he asked himself. They got me, didn’t they?
He fell backwards and landed hard onto the cement below. As he laid there, completely still, he could feel warm liquid trickling down his head. They finally shot him. There was no doubt about it.
He couldn’t help but find it humorous.
I’m laying here just like that day in the forest, he thought. If only God would come and save me again…
His final thoughts turned to Niles Ishida, that handsome young man who was sent to him by the lord. Together, they were able to accomplish so much, just as he had expected all along…
We did it, Niles, he thought, the smile returning to his bearded face. Don’t mourn me when I’m gone. This was how it was meant to be…
Slowly, the ceiling above him faded into darkness, and he felt all of the weight release itself from his body.
Then Enoch Winchester was gone, and quickly as they had arrived, the dark storm clouds retreated from the sky above.
Part 7: The Black Deer
A taxidermied black deer head watched over the living room from its spot above the fireplace, its glass eyes glossy and shining in the warm light of the fire. In front of it sat a young Niles Ishida, dressed in shorts with a suit vest and tie, his legs hugged close to his chest.
On the wooden floorboards was a small hamster, still and lifeless. Warm tears fell from Nile’s face and landed inches away from the rodent.
Rascal... he thought, mourning his fallen friend. Why doesn’t anyone ever stay with me?
Niles’ father had gone off on another business trip to Japan, leaving him and his mother alone again. As a consolation, his mother had gotten him a pet hamster to keep him company. He was old, however, and would die just a couple weeks later.
“C-come back rascal,” he whimpered, wiping the tears from his eyes. “I’m sorry…”
The black deer head, his father’s prized possession, watched on in complete apathy.
“Creeeeaaaaak!” At the other end of the room, the heavy wooden door to the foyer slowly opened, prompting niles to glance up at it.
“Hello?” he asked. He waited for a response, but nothing came. Someone had to have opened it, however. The door was simply too large to be blown open by the wind.
Niles picked Rascal up and cradled him in his hands as he walked towards the door. Peering through the crack in the door, he could see that the house’s front entrance was wide open. Outside it was snowing furiously, and the snow had begun to pile up inside the foyer.
Oh no! Niles thought, feeling a sudden panic set in. Mom is gonna kill me.
He opened the door to the foyer further and walked through it. Surveying the snow in the foyer, he began formulating a plan to get rid of it before his mother got home.
Maybe I can shovel it outside or something, he thought. Or what if I melt it?...
“Niles?” Hearing a familiar voice, Niles traced its origin through the front entrance. Standing outside was a large burly man with a big greying beard and eye-patch, dressed in all black. His grey hair was long, reaching all the way down to his shoulders. In the center of his forehead was a bright white bandage.
“Niles!” the man repeated with a warm smile. “You recognize me, don’t you?”
“Enoch?” the child answered, a surprised expression plastered onto his young face. “Enoch Winchester?”
Enoch laughed. “You do! That’s good!” He peered down at Niles’ hands. “Whatcha got there, Niles?”
“Rascal,” Niles muttered sadly. “He just died.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” Enoch approached the child and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. “But you have to let him go, don’t you? It was his time to go.”
Niles nodded and felt another tear roll down his cheek. “I know.”
“And you have to let me go too.”
“Huh?” Niles glanced up to see the bandage on Enoch’s forehead suddenly become wet with blood. “You don’t mean… You too?”
He felt as if he were going to burst out into tears again. Enoch, however, simply smiled and rubbed his tiny shoulder.
“I told ya, it’s okay,” the old man said. “It’s just my time to go. But you gotta live on and let go of the past, okay?”
Niles stood there in silence, staring at nothing in particular. Everybody always left him when he needed them the most. It was as if the world was trying to punish him for something by forcing him to always be alone.
“I don’t know if I can,” he finally said. “I don’t know…”
Enoch’s weathered face became sorrowful. “Then you’ll always face the future alone, I’m afraid.”
Behind Reverend Winchester appeared a wooden doorway painted black. It wasn’t connected to anything, but instead stood upright as if it had been cemented into place. Next to it was a man in a black hooded sweatshirt wearing a mask shaped like the face of a black hummingbird. They stood in stark contrast against the white snow-covered field behind them.
Enoch glanced back at the strange man and gave him a nod of understanding.
“That’s all the time I have,” Enoch told Niles, his voice grim. “I have to go through that doorway now.”
“N-no!” Niles cried. “Stop!”
Enoch shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry Niles, but you have to wake up now.”
Niles’ eyes shot open. As he inhaled sharply, the air burned against his dry aching throat. His hands flailed around, attempting to feel his surroundings.
“CLANK!” The metal cuffs secured around his right wrist slammed against the railing of the bed he was laying on, making it impossible for him to raise his arm.
What is this?! he thought, his mind still thick with the fog of confusion.
Where am I?!