Chapter 9: Kyra
I couldn't remember my vision ever being this bad in my life. The loss of blood must've really gotten to me. The last thing I do remember was being lifted into the bed of a truck. Now my eyes were angled toward a wall, my body lying on a scratchy old sofa. My eyes were swimming, not focusing on anything. There was an abstract painting on the wall, which didn't help.
Looking down I saw the source of my pain; my shoulder. It was caked in blood, completely torn open, the bone clearly visible. I couldn't move it or my arm and it was then that I realized that my arm was practically detached from my body. I groaned and placed my hand over the wound, trying not to look at it. I was drifting back into unconsciousness when the sound of footsteps and creaking stairs got my attention.
I looked up and saw a woman (Rosalyn?) coming toward my direction with what looked like a hot towel. She was the woman who had brought me here, only in fewer clothes than she was wearing now. Now, she had an oversized sweater and a pair of yoga pants that she must've gotten from upstairs. Hopefully, we were the only ones home. Rosalyn walked right past me and gave the towel to someone behind me. I tried to crane my neck around the side of the couch to see who, but my body prevented it.
Seeing that I was awake, Rosalyn came over to me and kneeled down, "Your name is Kyra, right?" I nodded. "Do you remember anything from last night?" I thought for a moment, and then shook my head. Rosalyn sighed. "Do you remember who you were with last night?" It suddenly hit me like a flash of lightening, Vincent, city hall, Vic, thosethings,. I nodded.
"Do you know where he is?" I asked. Rosalyn's kind eyes became sad and worried.
"He's over there," she pointed past me to a place I couldn't see.
"I can't see him," I tried again to move my head in a position that would allow me to see him, but I couldn't- not with my hand still covering my shoulder, which was starting to feel a little bit better now.
"I don't think you want to," Rosalyn knelt down beside me again, "He's in pretty bad shape. The rake scratched him up pretty bad,"
"The what?" I asked. Rosalyn went over to the bookshelf implanted in the wall. She took out a book with a dark blue cover and faded gold lettering, a small book mark poking out from the pages.
"While the two of you were unconscious," she explained, "I decided to look through the house to see if there was anything here that could help us. I found some food, two king sized beds upstairs, an old computer, and a TV," she gestured toward the flat screen I now noticed was a few feet away from my head. "Bad news is that the TV doesn't work- at least, I can't get a station. Same with the computer- it turns on alright, but no internet. Phones are down too." I saw her shudder at this sentence.
"I wasn't sure why," she continued, "Until I found this," Rosalyn held up the book and opened it to the bookmarked page, "It's a book explaining the town's history. As mayor, I thought I knew everything there was to know about where we lived," she sighed, "I guess I was wrong,"
I felt myself take in a sharp breath of pain as I felt something on my shoulder straining itself, as if something was stretching to cover something up. I heard a hard snap, like something settling into place. The hand that was on my shoulder started trembling. It sounded like the wound was somehow worsening. I decided not to look at it and concentrate on Rosalyn's voice.
"So I began to read through the parts I didn't know," she continued, "Most of these pages aren't actual pages that were originally from the book- a lot of them are folded of pieces of newspapers, clippings of pictures and articles, most of which involve disappearances, strange fires, reports of break-ins and robbers that could never be traced- stuff like that," she closed her eyes for a second, "And some these things happened fairly recently. I can't believe I didn't know,"
For all the time I had spent in Reyesent and for all the times I had ever seen the Mayor at her finest, this was the first time I had ever seen her as she was- a normal, tired woman, probably in her mid-40s, exhausted from a long day's work. Rosalyn opened her eyes and continued, "The thing is, no one knew who had been behind all of these attacks. Those who said they had ideas were called crazy. Some were even locked up. There was a young couple who had claimed to see a tall faceless man in a suit start a fire in the nearby woods. They wouldn't stop talking about it so they were sent off to Oklahoma. The woman was pregnant, poor thing. Who knows what happened to them?"
Listening to her, I thought that story seemed vaguely familiar, but I didn't say anything, "Anyway," Rosalyn flipped through the book some more, finally stopping on a page, "This is an editorial from a few years back on July 1st. It was written by some man, Mr. F Everett, who predicted some sort of apocalypse lead by whomever had been committing the crimes in the city. Mr. Everett had printed pictures of drawings he had made with little captions underneath each one. I found one that looked like what was attack us," she held up a picture that, if I had not known it was a drawing, I would not have believed was a drawing.
"They're called rakes," Rosalyn continued, "Not much was really written about them except that they usually attack people in some of the most brutal ways possible and, unlike some of these other creatures, there's really no way to tell when they're near," She shut the book and got up, "And apparently, Mr. Everett was right. Something's after us, but I don't know why. I'm going to get some rest," she put the book back on the shelf, "I suggest you do the same,"
As I closed my eyes and tried to fall asleep, thoughts kept on buzzing in my mind; Rosalyn, rakes, Vincent, Mr. F Everett, the apocalypse- could all of this really be happening? Were we all destined to die?
I couldn't have been asleep for more than a few hours when the faint smell of smoke reached my nose. Opening my eyes and sniffing cautiously, I realized that I could clearly smell smoke. Not to mention that it seemed to be getting hotter in the room. I stood up and pushed back the hair that was clinging to my face with both hands. With both hands.
I looked down at my shoulder and my eyes widened with shock. It was completely healed. The only things that could suggest that I had ever been wounded were the tiny rips on my sleeve and the dried blood on my hand. I turned around and saw a man asleep on a couch behind me, most of his face was covered in a bloody bandage and his body was covered by a blanket; Vincent.
I leaned down to get a better look at him when I felt a trickle of sweat fall down my face and remembered the heat and the smoke. Alarmed, I followed the smell of the smoke until I got to the dining room. There, a small fire had started near the back of the room and was quickly spreading. I divided into the kitchen to search for a hose, a bucket, a cup, something, but didn't find anything. I ran back to the dining room and saw that the fire had spread even farther and was now eating up the table cloth. The smoke was almost unbearable so covered my mouth and nose with the top of my shirt and ran to the bottom of the stairs.
"Rosalyn!" There was no answer. I started to panic. Looking all around, searching for something I could use, my eyes finally fell upon the mirror in the front hall. I hadn't noticed that I had been standing in front of it for a while and I finally saw myself since this whole ordeal started. I looked terrible; my dark hair was completely plastered to my face and neck, my clothes were all bloodstained and the minor scratched that ran up my arms and face hadn't healed quite as well as my shoulder.
I saw a car key on the table under the mirror and grabbed them, racing for the door. I burst outside and started pressing the "unlock" button as many times as possible. The truck's lights flashed on and off and I almost tripped on the pavement as I got to the door. I grabbed hold of the door's handle and yanked it open, leaping in and hitting my head on the steering wheel in the process. Not bothering to try to ease the dull pain on my head, I jammed the keys in the truck and pressed down on the gas, not bothering to acknowledge the speed limits or stops signs on the road. There was one there to stop me.
I looked in the mirror and saw smoke starting to billow up from the house. I could only hope that Rosalyn woke up in time to get the two of them out of there. Trying to distract myself from thoughts of death, I tried to remember my way around the city. Any other day I could've drawn a map of Reyesent blindfolded, but with my heart pounding in my chest and my breath coming out in gasps, tears forming in my eyes, I could barely think. Where could I go?
The fire station, of course. There might be something there I could use. As I tried to remember where that was, my subconscious commanded my hand to reach up and turn on the radio. I was just met with static, which did nothing to calm my nerves. I raced past red lights, yellow lights, green lights, wrecked buildings, fallen telephone poles, upside down cars. Finally, the fire station was in sight. I pulled into the parking lot and leapt out, not bothering to turn off the car.
I raced to the small door on the side of one of the huge garages, praying that it wasn't locked. I felt a small feeling of relief as I the door opened and I ran inside. Now that I was here, I didn't know what I would do. Even if I managed to find the keys to one of the fire trucks, I didn't know how to open the garage door. Taking my chances, I opened as many lockers as I could, looked inside as many windows to as many rooms. It finally hit me that maybe the trucks wouldn't be locked, in case of emergencies.
I ran over to the nearest one and was able to slide into the driver's seat. Before I knew it I heard the siren of my own truck and was speeding ahead, crashing through the garage door. I sped out of the parking lot, the siren going on full blast, even louder than my own heartbeat. It seemed ages before I got back to the house, but at the same time it felt like only a few milliseconds.
When I arrived the left side of the house was completely engulfed in flames. Vincent's resting place was still unburned, but if Rosalyn had remained where she was, she'd be gone by now. I leapt out of the truck and grabbed the giant hose, pulling it off the rack. The logical side of me reminded me that I wouldn't be strong enough to hold the hose all by myself, but that didn't stop me from turning it on and watching the water jet out, shooting through the air until it reached the flames.
I grappled with the hose, realizing that the powerful streams of water were too strong for one person to handle alone. The water went everywhere, no longer aiming for one particular place. I might've screamed, I might not have, as I watched with horror a part of the roof collapse into the house. The whole structure was burning now, any hopes of Rosalyn and Vincent safe inside gone.
I found myself dropping the hose, letting it spaz out all over the ground, hitting only the base of the house, as I ran to the still open front door. I was met with a huge billow of smoke and flames, the mirror in the front hall reflected my own horrified expression. "Vincent!" I tried calling out, but I choked halfway through. I could see the couch where I had been lying, only minutes ago, now charred beyond recognition. The floor above the stairs was mostly gone, the tiles of the bathroom above now falling, one by one, shattering the glass that had been covering the painting.
I ran back outside, the siren still deafening in my ears. I tried running around to the back of the house. The back didn't look too much better than the front, the glass of the back doors softening and heating up. I thought I could see a charred body lying on the couch, but I didn't care to look any closer to see if I was right.
Turning away from the house, I was met with a sight that was almost the opposite of the chaotic, burning house. There was a large back yard, ending at a long wire fence that was meaning to protect anyone from falling off the cliff. My eyes blurred with tears as I ran toward the fence and looked down. The ocean seemed to stretch on forever, the waves slamming against the rocky precipice. I turned back toward the house, now just a huge fire ball with black smoke reaching for the sky. I took one more step toward the edge.
But I didn't jump. Instead, I ran back to the house, past the burning flames of glory, out to the front where the fire truck remained screaming and the hose began running out of water. I picked up the hose, turned it off, and slung it back onto its perch. I leaped into the driver's seat and flipped of the siren. As the last standing pieces of the house fell, I pulled out onto the street and started driving back to the station, deciding to take the long way back.
I pulled around near city hall, seeing the fallen the lights, the shattered window, Jenny's bloody corpse, still rotting there. I drove through the city again, slowly this time, searching for a face in the windows of the buildings that remained, but found none.
My mind was completely numb. The only thing I could think was Get back to the station, get back to the station, which was exactly what I planned on doing. What I would do from there, I really didn't know. I wasn't sure I wanted to.
Although Kyra had not seen any faces on her drive back from the house, a few hopeful souls had stuck their tentative heads out the window as the siren came tearing by. They didn't know what it was for, but it gave them hope- someone was going to help them.