Only in the Dark

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Two months later life began to go back to normal. Billy felt strange without Aris around everyday, but over time the emptiness lessened. He and Simon began to hang out more. They felt like trying to be friends with anyone else would not work at the moment. Anytime one got a distant, far off look, the other understood, because he knew what was going through the other’s mind.

Simon told his parents he had ran away, and just opted not to talk about his time on the streets. Every time he had a nightmare of that place and what happened to him, he just said it got scary out on his own, and his parents did not push any further. After everyone fussed over Simon, and did their yelling about him leaving, things went back to normal for him. Most of his family seemed to ignore him before, and that did not change once he returned.

Both boys continued to sleep with a light on. Neither could face being in complete darkness after all that had happened. Billy still kept the flashlight by his bed, though he knew he would not need it. Simon was more scared of the dark than Billy, but that was for good reason. Anytime Simon was in the dark he remembered how he felt when his body rejected the serum, he could almost feel the pain again. The constant terror consumed him that one day the cure would wear off, and he would get turned back into one of those creatures again.

A family moved into Aris’ house a month after the incident. There were two parents with a five year old son. The father was a doctor or something and Billy never found out what the mom did. He tried staying away from them, especially knowing what happened in that house. He hoped this new family would never have to go through anything like that.

People still talked about the incident with Mrs. Franklin’s dog, and how Roseland Village should keep a better watch out for wild animals, but no other attacks ever happened, at least not in their neighborhood. When Billy and Simon hung out together they would always turn on the news for a bit to keep track.

Each report went along the lines of: “The string of wild animal attacks seems to continue in the tri-county area. Officials are still not sure where the supposed wolf or wolves are hiding, but they are suggesting that everyone in the area try to stay indoors at night when possible.”

Those reports had been happening since that day, and Billy and Simon knew what the supposed wolf really was. The attacks seemed to be getting further and further away from Glenbrook. Part of Billy wanted to try and find Aris, but he knew even if he did, there would be no stopping the animal she had become. Everything was over now, and it was time for him to move on.

The night the lab exploded, Aris ran. She ran until she could not any longer. The monster was a part of her now, even though in the daytime she still seemed like herself, she could sense it wanting to come out. When night fell she hunted, killed, and moved on. She wanted to get far away, farther and farther until she could not go anymore. Once she found woods, she stuck to them. The longer she stayed out there, the less she thought about her past. Billy and her parents were becoming a distant memory, one that she wanted to forget altogether. Thinking about what her life had become made each day difficult. But every night she would give into her primal instincts a little more, making her time away easier. In the daytime she was a crazy girl living in the woods, but only in the dark could Aris truly be herself.

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