The terrifying shell barrels towards us with horrifying speed. Rows and rows of metal magnetic bands, held back only by the sheer strength of their restraints, beg to meet each other.
The three people rushing for the van don’t even have time to scream before the medusa hits them. But the arms’ restraints don’t fall away; the impact isn’t big enough. It continues its course, towards us, having charged through them.
The medusa hits the side of our van with a horrifying sound, like a boulder slamming into a wall of steel. The entire vehicle rocks, metal doors screeching at the impact, glass splintering. The restraints fall away, and rows of magnetic arms clamp around the van to begin pulling towards one another. They’ll grow closer and closer, not stopping until they touch, until there’s nothing left to crush. The sound of groaning metal echoes around us.
“Get out!” Darren yells. He reaches for a door, but it’s already sealed, held shut by the strength of the metal arms.
We can’t escape - the medusa’s grip is already too strong, wrapping its metal arms around the vehicle and starting to crush it under its weight. It’s lifelike, like a boa squeezing its prey.
The walls of the car begin to give way. Sounds of bending metal fills my ears as the van starts to fold in on itself. We’re going to be crushed alive.
Gray tries to open the front doors, but they’re sealed like the others, already held down by the growing grasp of the medusa. He swears loudly. “Try the windows!”
“They’re all blocked!” Elle cries. The medusa’s arms are crossed over the glass, thick and gray, blocking out any kind of light.
It’s dark. Crowded. The walls are closing in.
My worst fears are coming true.
“Break the windshield!” Xander shouts from the back. As if on cue, it splinters into a cobweb of fractures glass. Pieces scatter, some flying towards me. I move away to avoid them, stumbling into the back of the van, past Xander.
The walls are so close now, pressing against each other.
I’m doing to die here, trapped in this metal coffin.
Spots appear over my eyes. Up front, Gray fires at the windshield. A resounding crack comes from the glass, but I can barely hear it over my own panicked thoughts.
Gray fires another shot that finally shatters the windshield. He kicks open a hole wide enough for us to slip through, then reaches back to Elle’s arm, pushing her towards the opening. “Move!”
Eyes wild with fear, she climbs through the opening then disappears from view. Gray follows, then Darren. It’s only me and Xander now.
The other windows begin to shatter, one by one.
His face looks pained, but he goes, leaving me alone. I follow quickly behind. Pieces of broken glass cut into my already-injured hands as I crawl out, then collapse onto the pavement outside.
Xander helps me to my feet. “Gray’s reached another van,” he said hurriedly. “Quick, we need to-“
The deafening sound of the van collapsing in on itself makes him startle. The medusa has finally killed its prey; its arms are pressed together through the van’s remains.
Gray’s voice comes from further up the lot, calling to us from the new van. We sprint to him as he throws open the doors for us. Darren slows when we reach it, glancing back at the Enforcers, watching for more attacks – always on guard.
We all clamber inside. Around us, more medusas slam into vans, beginning to crush the soldiers inside. The screeching of tires fills the lot as survivors flee.
Gray takes the driver’s seat, starts the engine, and speeds out of the lot. We follow the other vans into the forest.
I look over my shoulder, through the back windshield. Fire and smoke come from the outpost. Flames and sparks catch the stars above us, painting them orange. Even the moon looks red, the rising smoke glimmering against its white face.
The darkness of the forest deepens as we leave the burning remains of the outpost behind.