Amanda stirred as daylight crept through the mini fortress from the large windows of the service station. She was half awake and half asleep and experiencing the wonderful feeling of being semi-conscious in a dream. She had some control of what was happening, it was like a re-run of when she was captured by the three men only this time she was doing a good job at fighting them off. Swinging her arms wildly at them, she even managed to kick one of them in the lower regions, causing him a great deal of pain. He stared at her with evil in his eyes, and then… she could smell coffee. The man’s eyes continued to stare but she found herself overwhelmed by the smell of coffee. It had taken over her dream. Was she craving coffee that much that now it was entering her dreams? She became aware of her physical surroundings and slowly opened her eyes. She smiled as she saw Jason in front of her waving a cup of coffee under her nose.
‘Wakey, wakey.’ He said with a grin on his face. ‘I made coffee.’
‘You ruined my dream.’ She said. ‘I was about to beat the living crap out of those men who kidnapped us.’
‘Sorry. Didn’t mean to interrupt.’ Jason said as he handed her a coffee. ‘I would have loved to have seen that.’
Amanda smiled. ‘Thanks for the coffee. How’d you make it?’
‘Don’t thank me yet, you’ve not tried it.’ He said with a smile.
She took a sip and spat it straight back out.
‘It’s what they call “Cold-brewed”. You’ll get used to it, once the caffeine kicks in.’
‘I’m sure I will.’ She said.
‘I’m afraid the best I could do for breakfast is a few packets of shortbread biscuits.’ Jason said. ‘We need to find some supplies if we’re going to survive the winter. That’s todays plan, go out and find supplies and then come back here.’
‘Here?’ Amanda said.
‘Yeah, why not? It seems like a secure place. It’s not been disturbed. I think we could survive here.’
‘It smells.’ Amanda said. ‘But I guess you’re right. It’s secure.’
While Amanda finished her coffee, Jason went to the entrance doors and surveyed the world outside. It was frosty, the cars were covered in a fine layer of ice and the grass verges were almost white. Surprisingly, the temperature in the mini fortress wasn’t too bad, but now he was stood by the door, Jason could feel the cold creeping into his body. It was going to be a cold winter, he thought, as he continued to watch the car park. Everything was still. He moved the barricade that was holding the entrance doors shut, pulled the door open and stepped out into the fresh air. The cold air immediately hit the back of his throat but it felt good to breathe clean air after being locked up inside the service station all night. Walking over to the truck, he pulled the keys from his pocket and pressed the remote to unlock it. The lights flashed and he opened the door. Starting the engine, he revved it a couple of times and then turned the heater up full, and then searched for something to scrap the ice off the windscreen. He found a piece of curved plastic, a couple of inches bigger than a credit card. Almost new. It still had the label on it that said “3 in 1 scraper, bug eraser and interior demister, in one handy tool”.
‘Well, I just want the scraper, but I’ll keep that in mind.’ Jason said as he raised his eyebrows.
He started scraping the ice off the windscreen and was impressed by how well the little plastic blade removed it. Once he had got the angle right, he cleared the ice within a few minutes while the heater worked on demisting the interior. He sat in the truck for a moment and checked the fuel gauge. Just over half a tank left, enough for now but they would have to fill up somewhere soon. He played with the radio for a while, searching for any sort of transmission but he found nothing but static. He sat and stared out of the windscreen as the heater cleared away the last few patches of mist. Beyond the grass verge lay a small woodland, the branches were white with frost and a low mist clung to the trunks. Jason looked at the beautiful scene in front of him as his mind wondered and he made a mental list of the supplies they would need to survive the winter. Something caught his eye. At first he thought it was a bit of frost falling off a branch, but as he watched he was sure he saw more movement. There was nothing there but trees. All the animals died off months before. The only other thing it could be was a Screamer, but he couldn’t see it. A trick of the eye he thought as he turned the heater down to a more bearable temperature. He climbed out the truck and walked towards the door of the service station but stopped before he reached it. He became aware of the feeling of being watched, and he didn’t like it one bit. Turning his gaze back to the woods, he carefully studied every tree and every shrub. And then he saw it. A pair of eyes locked onto his, watching his every move. Jason didn’t move, he just watched and studied the perfectly camouflaged Screamer. He could barely see its body, just the eyes. It didn’t attack, it didn’t even move, it just watched. Jason slowly turned away and continued to the door. He glanced around one last time before entering and saw a smile appear on the Screamers disfigured face that made his skin crawl. He shook it off and slammed the door shut, and then locked it and pushed the barricade back in front.
‘Amanda? You okay?’ he shouted.
‘Yeah, just getting ready.’ She said, as she left the fortress. ‘Why? What’s going on?’
‘Errr, I just saw a Screamer.’ Jason said. ‘It smiled at me.’
‘What?’ She said. ‘What do you mean it smiled at you?’
‘Well, it stood there in the trees and watched me as I watched it. Then when I came inside, it smiled. But it was a horrible smile, like it knew something.’
‘It didn’t attack you?’ Amanda asked.
‘No. It just watched me.’ Jason said.
‘Is it still out there?’
‘Probably.’ Jason said. ‘I think we should go and get the things we need before it decides to have a look inside.’
They slowly opened the doors and edged out into the car park. They both immediately stared over at the woods, searching the trees, but there was nothing there. The Screamer had vanished.