Creature

RUN. Sonya sprinted down the hallway of the school in which she worked. She glanced back and saw the hulking, black shape gaining on her. Its footsteps pounding after her. It let out a deep, guttural scream as it reached an unnaturally long arm out to try and grab her. She jerked to a halt as she felt bony, cold fingers grab her throat easily, as if the fingers were ropes. They began twining their way around, squeezing her wind-pipe until she couldn’t breathe. As she struggled against the assailant’s iron grip, her vision faded and her strength quickly drained away.

***

Sonya woke up sweating profusely. That dream had felt so, so real, yet there she was lying in her bed. Her hands were shaking, and her legs felt like they were made of lead.

Why did it feel like She had actually been running? Her legs were on fire! She slid closer to the edge of her bed, dreading getting up for some reason.

Part of her was too scared to go to work. She knew that it was irrational, but something deep within her was terrified that something terrible was going to happen that day. But, she shoved those thoughts to the side and began her morning routine.

***

Ugh thought Sonya as she spent yet another late day in her classroom. She had just finished grading her last paper and inputting the data. She glanced at her watch. Crap, she thought, it’s already 7 o’clock. How had she spent the last four hours grading? The whole day, she couldn’t get her nightmare out of her mind. It had been so real, and she had woken up so winded, it was hard for her to believe that it had all been a figment of her imagination.

Quickly, she gathered all of her papers together, placing them in the bin she used for assignments that needed to be returned to the students. As she did this, she glanced out the window; it was already pitch-black outside. The school she worked at was very, very small, and there was only one light in the parking lot. The town where the school was located was also extremely small, with a population of only 1,000 people.

A sudden feeling of dread came over her as she began to pack her bags. She would often feel that sinking feeling when she stayed this late, but she had always brushed it aside as paranoia. She figured it was because she was the only one crazy enough to stay out here this late. This time, however, she was over-the-top scared because of her nightmare. She was afraid that someone or something would jump out at her right as she was about to leave. She didn’t know why she hadn’t just gone home to finish her grading.

Often, by the time she left the school, the janitors had already shut off all of the lights in the building and gone home. All her life she had been taught to be wary of her surroundings and to never linger in unpopulated areas, as someone could always be lurking in the dark or around the corner. Most of the time, she would have called her boyfriend as she walked to her  car, but she knew that today he was working the closing shift at store. He was the manager and often had to stay late too.

She looked around her room one more time to be sure that she wasn’t leaving anything behind. When she was sure she had everything, she walked slowly and quietly towards her door. Something in her, however, made her hesitate before she opened it. Her dream had taken place in the hallway right outside her door, so she really didn’t want to walk out there by herself, especially since she knew that it would be very dark. She gently set her bags down and listened. Sure enough, she heard the door at the far end of the hallway open loudly and slowly creak shut.

Her breathing quickened and her heart race picked up when she heard footsteps, heavy and quick, making their way towards her room. They sounded almost identical to the ones in her dream.

Without thinking, she quietly but deftly turned off her classroom light and locked her door. The footsteps slowed outside her room but continued until she heard the door closest to her open and close. She listened for a short while longer to see if whoever it was would return, but they didn’t.

Shakily, she reached down again to grab her bags. With her room light still off, she quietly opened her door and peeped out into the hallway. It was pitch black, with only small streams of light squeezing in from outside. Sonya didn’t see or hear anything worth being scared of, so she made her way towards the exit closest to her classroom. As soon as she reached it, she stopped dead in her tracks

Ohhh my GOD! Her breath caught in her throat as she saw something peering in at her through the window. Its eyes were solid black, with a dull, yellow point of light shining from where its pupils should have been. Her chest began to heave as she started to hyperventilate. Whatever this thing was, it was definitely not human. Its limbs, from what she could see, were elongated and thin, looking like only a few bits of muscle pressed against bone, with black, scaly skin drawn tightly across them. Its face was similar to that of a snake, with only nostrils where its nose should have been.

Suddenly, her fight-or-flight instincts kicked in. She dropped her bags and booked it towards the only other exit at the opposite end of the hall. Whatever this thing was, she was sure that it had been the black, hulking shape from her dream. She was half way down the hall by the time she heard the creature burst through the doors. It took everything in her not to look back at it, but she could hear the all-too-familiar pounding footsteps gaining on her.

With a sudden burst of adrenaline, she sped towards the door and practically spilled out of the building. Her short-lived victory was cut short when the creatures scaly fingers grazed the back of her neck. She burst back into action, running towards her car. As she neared the car, she began feeling for her keys so that she could unlock the doors.

All the blood drained from her face as she realized that her keys were still in her purse, which she had dropped.

Her body slammed against her car, and she gave in to her fate. She turned around and almost puked to see the creature less than 10 feet away. Its fingers were reaching towards her, and it had bright green drool dripping from its slightly opened mouth. The only white on its body was its gleaming fangs, all needle thin and extremely sharp.

Right as it opened its mouth wide, probably to tear out her throat, they both heard a sharp, guttural scream from off in the distance.

The creature skidded to a halt, mere inches from Sonya. It replied with its own deep bellow. Without warning, the creature jerked towards the sound and raced in the direction from which it had come.

Sonya watched, struggling to breathe, as it disappeared into the darkness surrounding the school building. She sprinted back towards the building, not wanting to see if the creature would come back for her. Without stopping, she scooped up her bags and in one quick motion, she scooped her keys from her purse, flew to her car, and revved it up. She paused only briefly to look in the direction the creature had gone.

In the distance, between the trees about 200 feet away, she nearly fainted when she saw close to 30 pairs of the same, yellow points of light that the creature had had in its eyes. Some were even higher (taller?) than the creature had been.

Sonya didn’t hesitate anymore. She peeled out of the parking lot, never once looking back.

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