A Call to Arms

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Movie Night

Theo really should have paid more attention to the news.

That's what he kept telling himself as he ran down the sidewalk, listening for the creatures that had been stalking him for the last hour.

He'd gone out that evening to meet some friends. They'd had plans to go see a new movie. He'd been hoping to talk his friend into giving him a girl's phone number.

Should have asked sooner, chicken shit. He thought as he laughed hysterically. She's dead now!

He heard distant howls somewhere behind him. All the hair on his body stood up and his heart skipped a beat. They sounded much closer than before.

All day things had seemed off. The entire town seemed tense. Like everyone was waiting for something bad to happen. Theo had ignored it all. Something bad was always happening, that was just life. It didn't concern him. He was mildly alarmed when his phone and computer stopped working, but assumed that he forgot to pay his internet bill or something.

Should have listened to mom. He thought. Should have watched the news. Should have stayed home. Definitely should have stayed home.

Other towns had been similarly overrun in the last few weeks. Strange animal attacks. Savage people with pointed ears slaughtering anything in sight. There were even reports of dragons! No one really knew what was going on and it all just seemed like a big hoax to him until this evening. Now everything was all too real.

His legs felt like rubber. He was wheezing. He hadn't ran this far in his entire life. If he didn't stop soon he was going to collapse. He looked around for a good hiding spot as he ran through the devastated town.

He heard howls again, seemingly from all around him. Still far away, but definitely closer. More

creatures this time. Way more.

He hadn't paid attention to how wrong things felt til he was almost to the movie theater earlier that evening. The town seemed nearly deserted. It was too quiet. He'd turned the corner to walk downtown and nearly stumbled over someone laying on the sidewalk. When he'd looked down at them he nearly threw up. The body was so mutilated he hadn't been able to tell who it was, but the remains of their coat looked an awful lot like his best friend's.

Theo turned into an alley behind a restaurant, hoping the smell from the dumpsters and the dead would keep him hidden long enough to catch his breath. He started gagging when he thought of how he'd found the rest of his friends, slaughtered near the doors of the abandoned, ransacked theater.

He remembered stepping over the body he had almost fallen on and actually looking around him for the first time that night. Down town had been destroyed. Store fronts had been smashed in. Glass was everywhere. A smashed up car sat in the middle of the road, smoke drifting up from the hood. It looked as though something heavy had been dropped on top of it. There was blood on the cracked windshield and the remains of another body hung out the open driver side door. He'd seen more bodies this evening than he ever wanted to.

More howling. Much closer. It almost sounded right next to him. He dived behind a dumpster and cursed himself. The creature probably heard him gagging. A shadow blocked out the street light at the front of the alley. He held his breathe and watched the shadow from where he crouched. After what seemed like forever he heard a quiet huff and the creature left.

He crawled out from behind the dumpster and sat down. As soon as I catch my breath, I'll move again, he told himself.

"Oh! Hello!"

Theo jumped to his feet and spun toward the street. A little girl, no older than 8 or 9 stood just inside the alley. She giggled at him. Her eyes seemed to glow in the dim light.

"Did I scare you, mister?" She asked, tilting her head to one side.

"Shhhh, we need to be really quiet." He whispered. "Come over here, out of the street light. Its safer."

She stared at him. "No, thank you. Papa doesn't like me talking to people. I'm gonna wait right here for him."

Theo groaned. This child was insane. He didn't understand how she was alive. She obviously had no survival instincts.

"Look, kid, I don't know if you've noticed, but there are monsters out there killing everything in sight. You're not safe out where they can see you or smell you. Your papa isn'tgonna want to find your dead body on the sidewalk."

The little girl glared at him and took a big step backwards. She looked over her shoulder at something.

"Papa, he called us monsters!" She called as a big shadow fell over her.

Theo's blood ran cold. He looked up from the girl just as one of the creatures came into sight.

The creatures were huge. Eight feet tall and broader than any human he'd ever seen. Dark matted fur covered their bodies. Their heads were vaguely canine. They had long arms that made Theo think of gorillas, except they had long claws at the end of each finger. Their hind legs also reminded him of dogs, or wolves.

The creature stared him down and howled as it started to walk down the alley towards him. The little girl giggled as more creatures surrounded the alley.

Theo really wished he'd paid attention to the news.

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