This is an emergency alert. Barricade all entries to your house. Do not go outside after sundown. Restrict contact with others. Do not enter tunnels during the daytime. Do not make any light or noise between 6 pm and 8 am. Stay inside your homes until dawn. Military aid is unavailable. Good luck. 

I smiled as I drove home Friday night. It was a good day. We finished working on that massive presentation at work yesterday and presented today. The collective effort put forth by the five of us paid off. We were a smashing success at the board meeting. We were green-lit to move forward with the project. My boss even pulled me aside to tell me he was so impressed with our work, and my leadership on the team that he was considering me for a promotion. After work, our little group went out for drinks and we had a blast. I even connected with Maurice finally. We’ve been flirting lightly for months and tonight we finally set a day to go out. I couldn’t be happier. I felt like my life was finally on track and heading in the right direction. I couldn’t stop smiling even after I came home and was getting ready for bed. I usually had a hard time sleeping so I took an extra dose of Melatonin to make sure I got a good night’s sleep. By the time my head hit the pillow, I was confident that things were going the way I always planned. 

I was startled awake the next morning. I shook off my grogginess and looked at my watch and the digital numbers glowed 5:45. I had a moment of panic when I thought I would be running late but quickly realized it was Saturday and I didn’t have work that day. I was confused, if my alarm didn’t wake me, what did? I sat up in my bed and looked around. Nothing seemed out of place. Everything was where I left it. I picked up my phone and checked my messages. A message that came in at exactly 5:45 am. The text seemed strange claiming it was an emergency alert. It said to barricade all entries to my house and not to go outside after sundown. I was to restrict contact with others and stay away from tunnels during the day. It warned against making light or noise between 6 pm and 8 am. Stay inside your homes until dawn. What the hell? Was this a joke of some kind? I got up and walked out into the living room. The tv was on, I must’ve forgotten to turn it off last night. The screen was orange with the message in black letters, it was the same message I just read on my phone. I picked up the remote and tried to change the channel, but it was the same message on every channel. My heart started pounding as I wondered, what the hell did I miss? The last thing I remembered was falling asleep with a smile on my face reflecting on my awesome day. 

I pulled out my laptop, determined to figure out what was going on. All the news sites had the same stupid message up and nothing else. It wasn’t till I ventured over to YouTube that I got an idea of what was happening. What I watched chilled me to my very core. It couldn’t be real. This had to be some elaborate joke, right? I watched video after video of people dying at the hands of monsters. Since it was dark outside no one could get a good video of the monsters. No one knew where they came from or what they were. All they knew was that these things were attacking people and eating them. The scary thing was that they were cunning and fast. They weren’t mindless zombies. There was an intelligence in their eyes. They were working out the best way to get people. It was scaring the shit out of me. I slammed the laptop shut. Still convinced this was a hoax. Surely, I would venture out to discover for myself that all was still normal in the world. 

I threw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt with a pair of sneakers and brushed my hair into a ponytail and ran out of the house. As I jumped into my truck, I did take note of the eerie stillness of the neighborhood. I reasoned it away with the fact that it was still early. It was now only 7:30 on Saturday which would normally be quiet anyway. As I drove around the city, I quickly realized I was wrong, and there was something very bad going on. There were no people outside, and no other cars driving around, but the most alarming thing would be the blood. It was splattered on buildings and there were streaks of it on the sidewalks and roadways. I couldn’t be a hundred percent sure, but it looked like there were half-eaten human carcasses left behind in the bushes and in the grassy areas. I drove on, desperate to find someone alive. When I finally found activity, it made me wish I would’ve just kept my stupid ass at home. 

I pulled up to the parking garage at my local mall. It always creeped me out because it was a closed-in structure for the first two floors but above that it was out in the open air. I never parked in those first two floors because they were too dark and always gave off this ominous feeling. Looking at the entrance of the building I knew I would never enter that building again. The creatures were there waiting in the opening of the parking garage. I could see a few of them in the morning light sticking to the shadows. Their grey bodies were gangly with arms and legs that were freakishly long. Twice the length of a normal human. They had random bits of long greasy hair hanging off a mostly bald skull. They had large black eyes that took up half of their faces with a tiny nose squished between their eyes. Their mouths took up the rest of their face with long pointed teeth jutting out of the mouth. At first, they looked hunched over the body, but I quickly realized that wasn’t the case. What sent me into hysterics was realizing three of those creatures were tearing into a man that was still alive and screaming. My body started shaking as I gripped the wheel tighter. His screams seared into my memory as I tried to get out of there. 

When they realized I was there, all the creatures stopped what they were doing and watched me as I turned my truck around to leave. I could see them in my rear-view mirror watching me leave with their black soulless eyes. They made no move to follow as they would not step out of the shadows. At that moment I was terrified that they were memorizing my car and would find me later. 

I hightailed it out of there and headed back home. I quickly realized on my way back that I had nothing to barricade my house with. I’d have to go looking for supplies. That thought terrified me. What if I ran into more of those creatures? How could I protect myself? Would they be killed as easily as a human would? They seemed to have frail bodies, but I dared not to make that assumption. Given the warnings that were all over the news, I knew that they couldn’t go out during daylight hours. Was it the sunlight that bothered them? Was it the UV light from the sun? I needed to find out, but first things first. I needed to head home and pick up my shotgun. There was no way I was walking into a dark store without protecting myself. I was kicking myself now for not taking my dad’s gun last week when he offered. I felt bad taking it because I knew it was his favorite and the last thing gramps gave him before he passed away. As I thought of my dad my anxiety kicked up. I hadn’t heard from him. I teased him about it, but suddenly I was glad he went on vacation. Hopefully, this hadn’t spread down to where he was fishing in Key Largo. 

When I pulled into my driveway everything seemed the same as it did last night. It was a surreal feeling that so much had changed in such a little time. I wondered briefly if my neighbors were still here hiding in their homes. I hadn’t noticed much blood around my neighborhood on the way back. Now that I was really looking, I noticed most of my neighbors’ cars were gone. Maybe they found someplace safe to go. It didn’t matter. I needed to protect myself because I had nowhere else to go. I ran into the house and pulled my shotgun out of my closet. To my surprise, I saw my dad’s revolver sitting there in its box right there next to the shotgun. Sneaky dad! I opened the box and saw not only did he put the gun there but there was extra ammunition. Thank God for Dad! I loaded the gun and stuck it in the waistband of my pants and ran back out to my car. 

I drove over to my local hardwood store and sat in the parking lot observing. It was mid-morning now and the sun was making everything nice and bright. I hadn’t seen any more of those strange creatures in a few hours, but I also hadn’t ventured anywhere that was closed off from the sun. The store had its doors open, but I couldn’t see in from my spot. I knew from experience that there were big tinted windows upfront and the store had large skylights in the roof to let in natural light to cut back on electricity. That’s why I picked this place. If the monsters were hiding from sunlight than this place wouldn’t be ideal. After fifteen minutes of watching, I decided I couldn’t waste any more time. I needed to get the supplies and get it set up before the sun went down. There was no time to waste. I got out of my car and could feel my nerves wreaking havoc on my body. I patted my side and made sure my gun was tucked in nicely against my side. I carried my shotgun in my hands but had the sling with me for when I needed my hands to gather supplies. I racked the shells into the gun and started my walk to the store. 

It was so quiet that my footfalls echoed around me as I entered the store making my paranoia soar to new heights. I did a quick look around and saw nothing. No people or monsters to be found. I frequented this store often and knew where everything that I needed would be. I wanted to be as quick as possible. I grabbed a plywood dolly and headed into the lumber area. This is the area that made me nervous. It was darker back here than most of the rest of the store. I had six windows, so I needed six large pieces of plywood to barricade them and several 2×4’s. I already had my 2×4’s loaded and was on my sixth piece of lumber when I heard movement. My head snapped up as my heart started beating wildly. I looked around and didn’t see anything, but I knew better than to trust my eyes. There was something in there with me, I could feel it. I loaded the last piece of plywood and ran out of that section. Just as I reached the bright area of the store again, I turned around and caught sight of it. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. I squinted my eyes for a better look because what I was seeing couldn’t be right. Back in the shadows, there was a man. Half of his body was bathed in the darkness of the shadows and the other half in a stream of sunlight. I could swear that the half that was in the shadow was the grey monster thing. I shook my head and ran. I needed to get out of here. Now my mind was playing tricks on me. I gathered the rest of my necessities, nails, tape, and extra flashlights at a running pace and got out of there. I was so thankful I had a truck at that moment. I was able to throw all the plywood in the back and jump into the cab in record time. 

When I pulled back into my neighborhood, I noticed a couple of neighbors outside putting the plywood on their windows. I guess I wouldn’t be alone in this neighborhood after all. I waved to them, but they just stared at me. It was like they suddenly didn’t recognize me. I’d been living here for five years, and I knew most of the people here. It was a little strange that they didn’t acknowledge me, but I really didn’t have time to worry about it. I needed to get to work. Without my dad to help me, I’d have a long afternoon ahead of me. 

By 5:30 I had just about everything done. I was putting the finishing touches on the windows and had taped up the glass window in my front door to keep from being able to look in or out. I contemplated putting a piece of plywood over it but decided against it. The window was small, and I didn’t imagine even these skinny monsters being able to squeeze through an opening of that size. I had everything locked and ready to go as I sat down to eat dinner my first meal of the day. I wanted a glass of wine so badly as my nerves were shot to shit, but I wanted to be sharp this evening just in case anything happened. By 6:30 the sun had set, and the darkness was settling in. I opened my laptop and logged into my online feed for my cameras to keep an eye on the house. Everything looked good so far, so I decided to open another window and do some more research on YouTube. There were so many videos out there about what was happening to people. The part that started to scare me was that it seemed widespread. There were videos from all over the country. Again, my thoughts went to my dad. I picked up my phone again to check for messages. Cell service had been shit since this morning. I tried a few times to call earlier but couldn’t make any calls. Text messages were only coming in sporadically. I prayed he was okay. 

Something started scratching at my front door. It was a metal door, so the sound sent chills down my spine. The creatures had these long nails attached to those long bony fingers. I knew before I got back to the cameras that it was one of them at the door. I quickly switched over to the camera feed and sure enough, it was there scratching at my door. It tapped again as if taunting me before it looked up to the camera and pointed at it, then smiled a gruesome smile. Before I had time to react, it reached up and knocked out my camera. I watched as every single one of my cameras suffered a similar fate. The creatures were all over my house, scratching and taunting me, and now I was truly blind to what was going on outside. I started panicking not knowing what to do. I was now trapped in my house and I hoped that they didn’t try to get inside. That hope died a quick death as they started banging on the windows and breaking the glass. I barricaded from the inside and now they were trying to break through the wood. 

The next thing I heard was the glass break on my door. I saw a skinny hand travel through the glass and venture down. It was looking to unlock the door from the inside. I was thankful that I took a few 2×4’s and barricaded the door as well. I ran into my kitchen and grabbed the sharpest knife I could find and ran back to the front door. Now was my chance to see how fragile their bodies were. Question was, could I do it? Could I really hack his arm off? I was reminded of the horrible screams of that man being eaten alive and forged on. Yes, yes, I could. The creature was still trying to get at the door lock and without a second thought, I ran up to the arm and cut it right at the elbow joint. The hand and arm plopped to the floor spraying black blood along the way, while an inhuman sound screamed from the other side of the door. I screamed at the same time when I realized I now had a monster arm here to deal with. I took a step closer to inspect it and right before my eyes the long grey arm transformed into a normal human looking arm and hand. I kicked it back against the door and it fell into the shade of the corner and changed back into the grey arm and hand. What the ever-loving fuck was going on? 

I backed away from the arm and picked up my shotgun. I needed a safe place to huddle up for the night. The only rooms in the house that didn’t have windows were the bathroom and the garage. I wouldn’t be sitting in the garage. I grabbed a pillow and a blanket and threw them into the bathtub. I went back and grabbed my revolver as well as the shotgun and barricaded myself inside my bathroom.  I settled in the tub with the pillow at my back and the shotgun aimed for the door. I listened to them for hours taunting me. They’d bang on the walls and on the roof. I could hear them trying to get into the windows. Around 3:30 the sounds died down. By 4:30 it was quiet. Maybe they retreated into their hidey holes for the night? By 5:00 I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore, and I passed out. When I finally woke up it was 10:00 in the morning. I got out of the tub and shook out my sore limbs. 

I opened the bathroom door slowly, and listened. Nothing. I walked out into my living room area and realized they never made it in last night. Everything was where I left it, even the severed arm. I avoided the arm as I inspected the door. It looked the same as last night. When I looked through the broken window, I could see activity outside, and I could hear banging. I went and got my drill so that I could open the door again. I grabbed my shotgun for good measure and walked out into the sunshine. When I looked towards the sound of banging, I noticed my neighbors were barricading their house. As if they realized they had an audience they all stopped and turned around in unison and stared at me. Only one person waved. He had a crazed smile on his face, and he was missing half of his arm from the elbow down.

Published by jlsanchezauthor

J.L. Sanchez is a big lover of romance, paranormal romance and sci-fi genres. She has been a voracious reader since she was a child when she first fell in love with books. She’s a wife to her high school sweetheart and a supermom of four who spends her days trying to make her minions into decent little humans. She worked for over fifteen years in the office world until she had her first child. She lives in sunny South Florida and has a love/hate relationship with the unpredictable weather there, though it never fails to inspire her.