DescriptionJake and the group he's with are in a desperate struggle to get home after they had just escaped a city which was plunged into a nightmare. Nothing is for certain, but Jake does have a confession to make that will answer many questions.
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I have a confession to make as I sit here, alone. Truly alone... They all left me alone... I think back to a few days after it all began. I was with a group. We had been hiding for days. We managed to get a minivan and fuel. We escaped this city and were now on the road, heading for home back in St George. I sat in the back. The driver, my brother, and his best friend sat upfront arguing about where to go next. For days now, the sky had been pitch black. The Sun and stars seemed to have been blinked out of existence and I could see no clouds anywhere. When the sun had not risen the after the night this all began, many people around us began to panic. We drove down a four lane highway coming from Las Vegas, Nevada heading northeast. We had not seen a single vehicle on the road since we left Vegas. There was five of us in the minivan. My brother, Mark, drove while his best friend, Steven, stared at a map. He had relied so heavily on technology his whole life, that when the phones lost service, he didn't know what to do. The other two people in the car were strangers. A couple that we had happened upon while looking for transport out of the city. They had the van and let us in when we needed it most. Melissa and Nick sat next to each next to me as I stared out of the window. They mumbled things to each other and they kept trying their phones over and over as Melissa cried. And then there's me, the one and only, Jake. We drove on to the next town in hopes of finding other people who knew what was going on. We passed by a sign that read, “Hidden Valley next exit”. “I think that doesn't have anything, just farm lands. Keep going, we'll stop in Glendale.” Steven said. Eventually, we found ourselves at the exit to “Glendale Moapa”. “We gotta stop and get gas. Find out where the police station is.” Mark said as he sighed. “They had better have working phones.” “At the bottom of the off ramp, take a right.” Steven responded as they left the highway. “Where are we going?” Nick asked. Steven turned back to say, “If I'm reading this right, there's a gas station this way. We can ask them if they know anything and use their phones.” Nick nodded in response and we drove towards the gas station. The ground as well as structures and roads were somehow luminescent enough to see without much trouble, but the sky put a sort of despair in the mind when I looked into it's seemingly endless void. We pulled up to the gas station from the map. The power appeared to be out as there was no lights coming from the building. It was a large gas station with a diner attached and a small motel in back. “Well, we have to stop and look. I'm running on fumes.” Mark said as we pulled into the lot and parked at the nearest pump. We all exited the vehicle and walked toward the front doors. I noticed many vehicles that appeared to of been abandoned in the lot. Mark pulled his sidearm out from it's holster and held it at his side. The inside of the store and diner was too dark to see much at all inside. Mark looked back at Steven. Without any words, Steven turned around and quickly went back to the van and came back with a flashlight. He switched it on and looked through the pane glass windows in front of the building. Inside was something of a nightmare that made me wish he hadn't owned a flashlight. Blood lined the shelves and floor. Something awful had happened here. Much like some of the nightmares we had witness back in Vegas. Me, my brother, and his best friend, had gone there for a vacation to celebrate my birthday. During the chaos we watched things in the darkness ravage the city and claim the lives of so many people. “God damnit.” Mark said and he turned away and looked back at the van. Steven turned the beam away from the store and Mark said, “We have to get gas. I'm going to go in and see if I can turn on the pump. “Right behind ya.” Steven said. I turned toward the couple who now just seemed confused. “We will find working phones. Don't worry.” I told the two, who were now staring straight at the sky. I didn't know what else to say so I watched as Mark and Steven entered the store. When the door opened, a draft of foul smelling air poured out of the building. The smell of rot was easily enough to make everyone gag. Mark and Steven pulled their shirts up over their mouths and nose and went in quietly. I stood there, feeling helpless and wondered what we would do from now on. How far this had all spread and what our government was doing about it. I wondered if my parents were safe back in St George. And how long it would take to get there. I felt paranoid and turned back to the store. The flashlight beam moved throughout the store inside. After a few minutes they came back out. Steven was holding a bunch of water and bags of snacks he took from the shelves and bagged up. Mark also had bags of stuff from the store. “The power is completely gone and I couldn't get the pump started. We'll have to figure something else out.” Mark said as he and Steven walked to the van. “We could try those houses there.” Melissa said as she pointed across the street from the gas station at what looked like a fenced in property with a ton of overgrowth covering most the fence. “It's about the only option right now.” Steven said. They loaded the bags into the van and started for the street. “I'll come with.” I said as I hurried to follow them. “Okay.” Mark said to me then turned back to tell Nick and Melissa to wait in the van and they complied. Perhaps it wasn't that Mark seemed like a leader so much as they just simply were too afraid and confused to argue. Mark and Steven most likely were not afraid only because of their military training and experience. This trip for my birthday was only possible because of their Leave. We walked across the street. The gate for vehicles had signs not to trespass but was wide open anyway. We rounded an especially large amount of overgrowth to see a large house and a garage beside it. “We'll try the house first. In case people are still here.” Mark said. We walked to the house. In the glow of this seemingly endless night, it appeared to be a white, one story house with wood paneling around the exterior. When we arrived within yelling distance, we stopped and Mark shouted in a calm but loud enough manner with which anyone inside the house could hear but not be alarmed. “Anyone here? We don't mean to trespass. We just need help.” A few moments passed without response. Mark walked up onto the porch and knocked on the front door. “We just need to borrow a phone.” After a few moments of silence without anyone coming to the door, Mark said, “I'll only try one more time, then we need to get inside and see if they have phones.” Implying we'd be breaking in if no one answered. Which made me nervous as many people would shoot trespassers here. “Wait, we don't know who could be in there. What if they are just afraid, hoping we will go away. What if they have guns, do you really want a shootout?” I said trying to sound as strong as I could. “We don't have another choice, do you see any other places we might be able to find help?” Mark retorted. He was about to say something else when he was interrupted by a groan that came from inside the house. We all snapped our attention forward. Mark quickly called out, “Do you need help in there?” No response. We definitely heard the groan however, it was not imagined. Marked called again, “We're coming in to help. We are not going to rob or hurt you so if you have a weapon, don't shoot.” Still no response. Mark looked back to us then took a deep breath and tried the door. It opened with an easy clicking noise and squeaked on it's hinges as the wooden door opened. “We don't mean any harm, we will help you if you need it.” He called into the darkness of the house. Steve shined his flashlight into the house, revealing a main hallway with several rooms on either side lining the length of the hallway. The floor was hardwood with a long rug leading to the end of the hallway where a large mirror stood returning the beam of light back to us. Pictures of family members dotted the walls in patterns which would please the worst OCD impulses. The first room on the right from the front door was doorless, appearing to lead into a living room where a couch with a colorful afghan was draped over the back could be seen from the front doorway. Marked entered first. His side arm was holstered but he had his hand on it at the ready. Steve followed close by but when I tried to follow, Mark turned toward me and looked at me and silently mouthed the word “stay”. I wanted to object but his decision to tell me silently made me rethink going inside. Before I had time to think about any of it, Mark and Steve were investigating the first couple of rooms. “We're inside, where are you? We will help you if you need it.” He repeated as they went room to room. After a few rooms they entered a large one and disappeared deeper into the house. I stood outside, not sure what to do with myself and I felt uneasy as I was by myself. The void continued to loom over me and I felt as if it watched me and judged me. I could see the entire horizon in every direction and and felt like I was the last person on Earth. The tint of grey and blue in every direction gave everything a surreal melancholy feel. A few moments passed when a scream came from the house. I went to step in and yell inside when Mark came running out a room at the far end of the hallway. He had blood smeared across his face and I couldn't see his gun. I stared wide eyed in that brief second as he was just about to reach the front door when the shadows themselves seemed to come to life from a room near the front and tackled him into the adjacent room. “Mark!” I yelled as I ran inside after my brother and into the room which he had been plunged. The room was barely lit by the glow coming in through windows inside the room. I saw the outline of my brother as he flailed and yelled ferociously as his attacker. I could not see what attacked him but my instincts to help my brother tossed caution to the side and I ran to him and grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the room with all my strength. In that moment, I felt something else tug on him from the opposite side but only briefly, as if it gave up immediately. I managed to pulled him free of that horrible place and ran for the door. I turned back to call, “Steve!” as we made it outside. Mark followed close behind, wincing as he said, “It took him.” We were on the gravel driveway staring at the house. I looked over at Mark and saw he was gripping his left leg. Blood appeared to be pooling around his pants in that area. “Is he truly gone?” I asked, ready to run back inside after him. Mark only gave me a brief look that confirmed it. “Is that your blood?” I asked looking at his blood covered face. Mark nodded “no” then said, “We have to go.” I went around and put his arm over my shoulder to help as a crutch as we walked back to the street. “How bad is it?” I asked him as each step made him wince and hiss with pain. “It took a chunk out of my leg. It was toying with me.” He said through gritted teeth. We rounded the corner and saw a large garage behind the house. It had a large door and a small orange glow dispelled many shadows inside giving visibility to most of the interior. I stopped and looked and saw a gas can in a corner of the garage. “Why'd you stop?” Mark said and then looked in the same direction as I. “Oh, there we go.” He said with some slight increase in his surprise. We walked to the garage. As more of the yard became visible, a bench was found near the garage. “I'm going to set you down there.” We moved towards the bench without any objection from Mark. He sat down and groaned a bit as he kept his left leg from bending. “I'll be right back.” Mark nodded and I quickly jogged to the garage's open doorway. Looking in, I saw the source of the glow was a small oil lantern placed on a wooden table against a wall. In the far corner lay the gas can. I hoped it wasn't empty. It appeared to be a very large 5 gallon orange can. As I made it close enough to grab it, the lantern suddenly went out. The first thing that came to mind was, 'Trap'. I felt terror rise up in me like nothing ever before. With the light's disappearance, my composure and bravery followed. I stood like a statue in the darkness. My breath came shallow and difficult, as if the darkness itself tried to strangle me. A call from outside broke my terror induced petrification. “Jake! Jake! Where are you!” With that I turned to face the door and saw something large, it seemed to be made entirely of shadow and it was blocking the way to the open door. Despite it's strange shape and darkness, I somehow knew it was not facing me, but my brother. “I'm coming inside to get you!” Mark called out. “No! Stay back! There's something here!” I yelled in response. I had expected the shadow thing to turn toward me, attack me and kill me with ease, instead it continued to look at my brother, how I knew this despite no telling features, still alluded me. Mark stopped before he neared the door. I could just see him beyond the doorway. He looked afraid as his eyes searched the doorway frantically for any sign of either me or the thing of which I claimed was inside with me. “It's not moving.” I call out as I grabbed the gas can. The shape of the shadow seemed to change like smoke around it's borders. It was at least 9 feet tall and 2 or 3 feet at it's largest width. “I'm coming out.” “Be careful!” Mark called. With that, the shadow being turned toward me. Again, I had no idea how I knew this as none of it's features had changed during it's turn. I was frozen in place by this event, unable to think about what I should do knowing it's attention now focused on me. I stared in dumbfounded horror and a strange sense of awe as a thin but visible line formed across the shadow's center, starting from the middle and stretching horizontally in both directions. The line then widened until it was clear it was opening to reveal inside the dark creature. The shape was that of an open mouthed smile. Inside were teeth, human like teeth. Where the canines were replaced with more flat teeth stretching the entire length of the mouth. I barely registered anything except the creature and it's huge mouth. Fear had taken hold and my mind had become a blank slate as I stared, unable to do anything. Somehow, under the veil of my stupefied trance, I felt that I was about to die. The mouth then opened wider and the teeth spread apart as it opened it's mouth further. Instead of a tongue, what was revealed behind the teeth, was an eye ball. The size of a basketball and as black as it's body with one circle of a line indicating it's pupil. My reflection stood in it's pupil and I saw my face, wrought with terror and tears streaming down my face. I began to shake uncontrollably and I dropped the gas can. I stared at my reflection in it's great eye and I began to see my own face melt away. The sight of this induced a panic breaking me free from the bonds of fear but also crushing my balance along with them. I fell backwards onto hard earth. Suddenly the garage echoed with the sound of maniacal and taunting laughter. I grabbed at my face, feeling for what I say in the eye. My face was not melting, no difference at all. I looked forward just long enough to see the mouth of the creature close and then the creature moved further into the shadows and disappeared. “Jake!” Mark called and he came limping into the garage with a flashlight. He spotted me immediately and made his way to me, wincing with each step. “Jake, you okay?” He said as he took my hand to help me up. “Yeah. I think so. Let's get the fuck out of here.” And I started to help Mark toward the door. “Hang on. The gas.” He said pointing the light towards it. “Yeah.” I said, still in somewhat of a confused state. I rushed over and grabbed the large can in both hands. Mark used my shoulder as a crutch and we made our way back out of that horrible place. We watched over our shoulders for the thing's return, but it never came back. We walked slowly down the long driveway back to the street. “Why didn't that thing attack you?” Mark asked. “I don't know. I think it was toying with me.” I said, instantly replaying the events in my mind, especially the sight of the eye and the melting of my face. The eerie glow covering everything around us was not much, but I felt extremely thankful for it under the possibility that it could have been pitch black, with no way to know what was around us. “I couldn't see anything inside that garage after the light went out. I wanted to help but when you told me to stop, I did.” Mark said and then paused for a few seconds. “Steven is dead. The thing tore off his arm that had the flashlight in the blink of an eye. It was so hard to see anything when the flashlight went flying around the room. I couldn't get sight on anything and couldn't get a single round off.” We stopped for a second, the street was maybe fifty feet away. “Something knocked my gun out of my hand and when the flashlight finally stopped rolling and bouncing around the room, I could see Steven being held up in the air by what seemed to be the shadows he had cast.” Mark began to sob now and covered his face with his free hand. “He was so afraid. It cut him to ribbons. It cut he as easily as cutting the air, as if he was made of air.” “Mark, it's okay. We're going to get out of this. We just need to get away from all this shit.” I said. Though I don't know whether I was trying to console him or myself. “I don't think we can fight these things, man. It's like fighting darkness itself. We have to run, maybe get underground or something. Maybe the Military has some way, but I've never seen anything like this.” Mark said and then we pressed on. I was at a loss as to what to say. Before all of this, I was always the one to have ideas where others faltered. Now, I was useless and found myself in a daze of shock and worry. We made it to the street line and saw the van still parked under the canopy of the large gas station. The couple that stayed behind however, were outside talking to each other, and loudly. After what we had experienced, subtlety was definitely paramount. “God damnit.” Mark uttered under his breathe. We walked quickly across the street to the van. Mark went to talk to the couple while I quickly started to fill the gas tank. “Keep your voices down, you idiots!” Mark said with an aggressive but quiet tone. “What's the god damn malfunction? You're supposed to be in the van.” Mark asked while looking all around us. “I want to go home!” Melissa said first before her husband Nick could respond. Then tears began to stream down her face. “She wants to go back. I'm trying to convince her to stay in the van but she won't listen to a word I say.” Nick said. “We've had this conversation. We can't go back, there's nothing left to go back to! We have to get the hell out of here and now!” Mark said then turned back to me. “Half way.” I said referring to the gas can. Mark nodded and turned back to the couple. “Get in the van. Otherwise, if you want to take your chances here, out in the open, be my guest. We leave as soon as that can is empty.” Mark said then limped his way around to the back and grabbed the first aid kit then took it with him to the passenger side and gave the couple a look. Reluctantly, they got in, with Melissa still crying and her husband holding her mumbling that it's going to be okay. A few seconds later, the sound of the last few drops emptied into the gas tank and I quickly put the cap back on the can, threw it in the back and went around to get into the driver's side. The whole time, scanning in every direction around me for any movement or sign of danger. We drove back onto the highway continuing northeast. “Wasn't there one more of you?” Melissa asked just noticing the state we came back in. “Don't worry about it.” Mark said without looking back. “What do you mean don't worr-” Melissa was interrupted by Mark looking back to her and giving her a brief glare that told her not to ask about it. “We're an hour away from home. You can use our phone to call anyone you need. Hand me a water.” Mark said as he used the first aid kit to address his wound. “How bad?” I asked. Mark's second profession in the military is a Medic. He and his best friend have been in for about 3 years. I went to Law School in hopes of being a lawyer. Our family was back in St George most likely extremely worried. “Nothing major. I won't be moving at full speed for at least a week, though.” Mark said as he treated to his wound. “Just get us home.” We drove on through the eerie blue world where no stars seem to exist. Still no vehicles or any signs of life was found on this highway. It took us just over an hour to reach St George. As we drove into the city, the first thing we noticed was the blood that smeared the walls of many buildings, the streets, cars, and anything else it could. There was no bodies or body parts, just blood everywhere. The city was as silent as death, and appeared to be just as full of life as death. No lights glowed anywhere. Inside the windows of every building we passed by was nothing but a void of pure darkness. I suspected that many of them held the shadow creatures. “No.” Mark said under his breath as he looked around in disbelief. “We don't have much gas left.” Nick said from the back looking at the gauge. “We have to get home and see.” I said. Mark didn't said a word. He just stared out of the window as we drove passed each building with nothing but a void inside. A blood covered ghost town was what had become of our home. I fought back the thoughts of despair, hoping against all that they were safe. If not here then somewhere else and that they left behind a clue of where they went. “And if not? What then?” Nick asked. I could hear the nervous cracking in his voice. I didn't know what to say for a few moments and then an idea hit me. I was always surprisingly able to think more clearly in desperate situations. “I have a portable generator. We can take it to a gas station I know of and hook it up to the pump to get gas and then head further north.” I said, while hoping it wouldn't come down to that. “You know how to do that?” Nick asked . “Yeah, used to do it when we were teenagers.” I said as we rounded a corner with just a few streets left before we found home. “If not then we can syphon gas from some of these cars.” “Stop!” Mark suddenly yelled, I hit the brakes in response and Mark pointed forward down the road. I looked but saw nothing. “I just saw one of them. We gotta go a different way. Turn right here, we'll take the back way home.” I did so and kept an eye on my mirrors to see if it was following us. After driving for some time, I saw nothing behind us and decided it didn't follow us. Going this way, I could see this city's rather large Catholic Church down the road from us. I couldn't place it at first but there was something different about it. It took me a few moments but I then realized – the church was not covered in smears of blood. Not a single drop could be seen when we passed by it. I didn't know what this meant but we were not far from home now, so I pressed on, noting the difference in the back of my mind. No one else seemed to notice the church, perhaps they were too nervous about everything. Without further incident we made it to the residential area where our little house was. It, like every other structure, was barren of life. My mom's car was parked in the driveway as usual. Being the only vehicle my parents owned, this worried me as it likely meant they didn't make it out. I pulled into the driveway beside her car and me and Mark got out. “We're staying here. I have to keep her company and she doesn't want to go in there.” Nick said. “Okay, keep your heads low and if you see anything, honk the horn and we'll come back out in a flash.” I said then shut the door. Mark grabbed his spare handgun from the glove box, made sure it was loaded, then carried it at his side. Mark, as if by some strange humorous irony, orchestrated by fate, was always the marksman of the family and kept a large assortment of weaponry. He brought two guns with him for the trip, saying that you never know what might happen in Vegas. We approached the house, Mark handed me the flashlight while he kept both hands for his weapon. Mark limped but didn't wince with each step like he had an hour ago. We stepped up to the door. It was solid wood and didn't have a doorbell. Mark tried the doorknob first but found it locked. He gave me a quick glance to let me know he was going to knock. I turned and scanned the area around us, seeing and hearing nothing move in the dark blue lit streets and houses around us. Mark motioned for us to go around back. We quietly moved around to the back keeping our heads low. In the backyard was a small pool with a concrete patio stretching from the house to the far end of the pool. The back door to the house was a glass sliding door with a curtain covering it from the inside of the house. We reached the sliding door and Mark stood next to it, ready to enter first after I opened the door from the other side. We never kept it locked so I opened it slowly and as quietly as I could. As I pulled the handle, the door silently slid on it's track and when the door was opened just an inch, an intense smell came rushing out. It was that of rot and actually burned to inhale. I covered my face with my shirt and continued to pull open the door. When it was finally opened enough for us to step through the threshold, I turned on the flashlight while keeping my hand over the beam in order to block it until needed. Mark slowly entered the house, pushing the curtains to the side while I let a small fraction of light through my hand to give some luminescence into the kitchen in which we were about to enter. The kitchen was a decent size with an island counter in the middle. It opened into a small hallway and the living room. At either end of the living room were two small hallways leading into rooms and bathrooms. At the far end of the living room was the front door. The flashlight revealed no intruders or anyone we might have expected to find. While the smell was very intense, we saw no signs of it's source. No blood, guts or bodies were anywhere we could see from inside that kitchen. We hoped to not find any either, but the smell almost assuredly depressed our hopes. We moved silently into the living room, cautious as to avoid making ourselves easy targets. I gave us only brief glimpses of what was around us with the uncovering of the flashlight. Still, we found no blood like that of which we found all over the entire city, as if this one house was spared that disturbing paint job. The blue glow from outside poured in through the windows in the living room, giving the smallest amount of vision, barely giving us outlines of the furniture and walls. Mark pointed his weapon in the direction of the hallway leading to his old room. The room was never packed up or changed since he had departed for his training. I knew immediately that he had intended to get to his gun safe inside. So we crept towards the hallway, thankful that the floors did not creak or moan as we moved along them. I continued to give us brief glimpses of our path while watching our backs for any signs of movement. Mark's room was in the first door on the left. 2 more doors lay further down the hall, one leading to a restroom and the other, leading to my room. As always, our parents insisted on having the doors closed when no one is in them. We made it to Mark's room and slowly tried the knob. It was not locked and opened easily, without any noise. The door opened without a creak or protest of any sort. So far, we were ghosts. The room was mildly illuminated by the window on the far side of the room. A large closet with a mirror was on the wall behind the door. We entered the room, finding nothing out of place and nothing living. As silently as we entered, I shut the door until a very quiet click was made. Then I stepped back and Mark proceeded to open his closet wherein his six foot tall gun safe stood. He turned to me and handed me his hand gun. I silently took the piece and watched him carefully turn the dial on the combination lock. While he opened the safe, I listened for any noise from within other parts of the house that might indicate another presence. So far, since we had been here, even the normal sounds of the house settling, such as pops and creaks, did not happen. As strange as that was, it made it somewhat easier to be as silent as the house itself. I quietly walked over to the window in his room to look out at the van. I peeled back the blinds just barely enough to see out. I saw everything outside and it was as it had been when we entered. Everything was still, even the trees and vegetation did not move in response to a breeze of any sort. To my left I could see the van. Inside I saw no movement. I suspected Nick and Melissa were laying down so as not to be seen by whatever might happen upon us. Mark opened the safe. As the door to the safe had just barely opened we both heard a loud moan come from somewhere else in the house. We both immediately gave each other looks then looked toward the door. I had very little training with guns, but I still managed to hold the weapon and steadily aim it at the door. Mark quickly grabbed a shotgun, shells, and a few other things from the safe before quickly meeting my side. He handed me two more clips for the hand gun I had then loaded his shotgun. As he got the last shell into place, we heard what sounded like our mother sobbing from the kitchen where we had entered. Mark and I both became wide-eyed and we went for the door. At last, we had found someone who had survived and best of all, it was mom. Mark quickly opened the door with his free hand and we both came out, rounding the corner and into the hallway. Mark made it to the entryway to the kitchen first. His expression went from a sort of joy to instantaneous terror. I made it in view of what he saw and felt every bit of my being collapse in on itself with absolute fear. A strong sense of panic welled inside me as I stared upon my mom, lifted two feet off the ground. Her face was a contorted mess of terror, tears falling down her cheeks while she shook, almost violently. Mark raised his shotgun and screamed, “Put her the fuck down!” and with that, the very shadows themselves seemed to take form and took the shape of massive claws behind her. The many claws pierced her in many places along the sides of her body. A sickening concoction of bones cracking, flesh ripping, and blood spilling onto the floor erupted from her body. She made no sound but looked at us both with longing, sad eyes as the last time I would ever see my mom was watching the claws tear her body in half and then throwing her into a huge mouth behind her. Mark and I both screamed as we begun firing at the shadow. Round after round did nothing but destroy the windows and walls behind the thing that had killed our mom in front of us and now seemed to savor the meal as it ground her body in it's massive mouth under what appeared to be thousands of flat white teeth. I then heard a scream behind me followed by rapid honking. A cackling sort of laughter similar to the one I had heard in the garage began to emanate from the direction of the shadow monster. In that instant, I realized that our weapons were completely futile. Mark had emptied every round he had, succeeding in destroying nothing but the house behind the monster. The monster then closed it's mouth, becoming once again, nothing but shadow. It then began moving toward us with a sound similar to that of smearing something large, covered in paint, across the walls. “We have to get out!” I pleaded with my brother as I grabbed his arm and pulled. He followed and we ran for the front door as fast as we could. I unlocked and pulled open the door and held it for my brother as I looked back one last time to see that the monster had crossed the threshold into the living room. I saw in that brief glimpse that where the shadow moved, it seemed to be smearing the blood of my mom across the walls. My brother darted for the van. It's back doors were flung open. I slammed the front door behind me and ran to my brother's side only to witness what seemed to be a series of black spikes shoot out from the van and into my brother, piercing him many times through his body and two spikes through his head, spraying his blood over my face. He let out one last sigh and a small moaned before becoming completely limp. I stared in horror as the spike retracted violently pulling his body with them into the van's windshield causing a series of crunches, both bones and glass, until his body caved into the van where a void of pure darkness was the only thing that existed. My stare was broken by a realization that someone was screaming. It took me a moment to realize the pain in my throat, chest and knees, before I realized that it was I who was screaming after I had fallen to my knees at the sight of my brother's death. My vision blurred as the tears rolled down my face. The sound of blood being smeared across the walls behind me, alerted me to the monster that consumed my mother was drawing near. In some sort of blind panicking rush, born out of instinct rather than any coherent though, I got up and ran for the street. As I ran, I looked back to not only see the shadow creatures following me, but others seemed to be passing through the walls of houses and vehicles on both sides of the street. I ran down the street in chaos. Heaving with each step as I was consumed by my fear. I looked further ahead to see hundreds of the shadow creatures coming from every structure around me. They came close, but stopped at the sidewalk. I had to slow down as my legs were beginning to give out. I kept moving as fast as I could however. Why they never came closer than a few meters, I didn't know. The monsters had lined themselves along the street sides as far up and down the street that I could see. I moved down the street wanting nothing more than to get away from them. When all of them stopped, in one simultaneously coordinated action, all of their massive eyes opened and stared directly at me. I felt probed as they watched me. They seemed to judge me. All I could do was stare. Moving forward was now entirely an automatic movement. I moved toward the next intersection, I watched all of the monsters as they watched me. Not a single one ever moving except to adjust their gaze unto me. At the caddy-corner of the intersection, was the St George Church, and for some reason, the only place not infested with the army of shadows. When I saw that the church had not a drop of blood upon it, and that no shadows blocked my path to it, I sprinted for it. As soon as I started running, a thunderous roar of laughter came from all around me. It's source was clearly the shadows. Despite their laughter, they did not advance on me, however the sound was deafening and brought me to my knees before I could make it to the church. I covered my ears and closed my eyes in the attempt to stifle the intense noise. The laughter ended abruptly, leaving my ears ringing. I opened my eyes and looked up to find all the shadows had disappeared. In every direction, there was suddenly nothing, as if it were all an illusion. I got to my feet and for whatever reason, I looked up. This time, I did not stare into an empty starless void, but a great eye stretching from horizon to horizon. I only saw it for a brief moment before I passed out. I awoke to a pain of burning on my face and arms. Opening my eyes, I was blinded by sunlight. I blinked it out a few times until my eyes adjusted. I laid on the street that was now like a cooking grill due to the sun's intense rays. I got to my feet and after a couple of seconds to steady myself, I looked up to find the sky a clear blue. For a second, I had wondered if it had all been a terrible nightmare, until I saw the dried blood covering buildings everywhere around me. Though the breeze had returned, no sounds of any life were heard. I was now in a barren world, where the invaders seemed to have taken what they came for and then left. I searched my hometown for any survivors without any success. I did however find that every building in the entire city, was covered, both inside and out with blood. Every building except one, the church. There was multiple churches in the city, but the St George church was the only one that was untouched. By nightfall, I decided to get indoors and the only place I trusted, was the church. Inside was all pretty normal. Fortunately the priest that had been there had his own live in area in the back. This gave me a bed, food, water, and the desk for which I write this. Three days had passed since the monsters had came and gone. I never found anyone, however I did raid the local shops for food and water, I have plenty now for the foreseeable future. The past few nights have gotten considerably more cold. So I decided to see if the church had some sort of way to heat the building. I searched the building without success until by accident, I stepped on something hollow that bended to my weight. I uncovered it from a large rug to find a trap door. The door was well used and opened easily. I took my flashlight out and headed into it. It had stairs leading to a basement. At the bottom was a generator with a battery start and an alternator. I pressed the button on top t start it and lights almost immediately illuminated the basement. The lights revealed what I was looking for, a small coal fueled furnace that appeared to connect to the vents circulating throughout the church. But what almost immediately caught my eye, was the podium in the far corner. In front of the podium, on the floor, was a large pentagram with the remains of what appeared to be and infant's skeleton in the center. I was taken aback and disgusted at what I saw. On the podium, there laid a book with a strange insignia on it's cover. It looked like a single black closed eye. Do you remember at the beginning of my story, I had said I had a confession? Well, the night of my birthday, back in Vegas, me, my brother, and his best friend, all got really really drunk. We decided at some point that it would be a good idea to walk down the streets of Vegas in search of prostitutes. At one point, I had to throw up and so I stepped off the sidewalk to puke into bushes. I had lost my footing at one point and fell down a short hill, effectively covering myself in my own vomit. After I got up, I wanted to clean myself off and without thinking, I started walking towards the nearest building. As I approached the structure in front of me, there was a basement door. I was about to go around to the front to see if they would let me use their bathroom to clean myself up. Before I did, I heard a baby wailing and what sounded like chanting. In my drunken stupor, I immediately jumped to conclusions, and started knocking on the door asking what was going on. After I got no response, I kicked in the door. In a room not far from the outside door, I found exactly what my assumptions thought. There stood several people with books in their hands around a pentagram, in the center there laid a baby, crying at the top of it's lungs. Sitting by the baby was a woman holding a knife. She was about to do exactly the obvious. Without thinking, I lunged passed the people forming the circle and into the woman. I slammed into her hard, knocking both of us down. In the fall, the blade had impaled her and the people around the pentagram began to scream in terror. I got up off the woman and looked back to see the people start running. The lights in that basement went out, plunging me into pitch black darkness. People were screaming all around me but somehow I managed to fumble around in the darkness until I found my way back out. Once out, I heard my brother screaming for me. I called back and they came running to me. Chaos erupted in the streets as power began going out everywhere and the screams of people echoed throughout the city. During the chaos, we managed to flag down a van. Nick and Melissa were driving when it all started and let us in. We drove back to the hotel we were staying at and we watched hell unfold around us as the darkness itself seemed to consume people. Somehow, we had made it back to the hotel. We went up to our room and barricaded the door. The power was out but we still had out phones. Quickly however, we realized there was no service whatsoever. Fortunately, we had rented a well stocked suite, but not so well stocked that 5 people could survive for very long. When morning came, all that came with it was the blue haze over the city. We didn't know what to make of it but we had hoped help would come. After a couple of days it was clear that no help would be coming and we had to get back home and out of the city. We made a plan to get to the lobby of the hotel, grab a road map, then get to the van and get the hell out of the city. We had flown from our home to Vegas and as a result, we didn't know even the right direction out of the city and back home. Fortunately we did make it out of the city but immediately noticed we were driving on next to no gas and would not make it all the way home. The rest, is as you have read. After lighting the furnace. I decided to take the book from the pedestal and I began reading through it. Fortunately it seemed to have been translated and written in English with full illustrations. I studied it and found that it was about beings who lived in the darkness and sought to consume anything that thrives in the light. They would sleep indefinitely as long as certain rituals were carried out each month. Rituals that involved the sacrifice of an infant. While they slept however, they were not without dreams. In these dreams they could speak with others who also dreamed. They did so with a priest, offering the priest to be given the entire world if he would just let them wake up. When I stumbled upon the ritual and interrupted it, I had inadvertently accepted the offer. The world was given to me. This empty world. I am responsible for everything. I am the reason for the extinction of all life. Now, I'm cursed to walk this Earth alone and know that the planet will die, because of me.