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Arthur looked around to see if anyone else heard the ear piercing scream that came from the blackened building two doors away from him. There was no one near this building.
"Hey Anselm, did you hear that?" Arthur was feeling a familiar shiver run down his spine. His muscles were starting to freeze, his nerves were running wild, and his adrenaline was pumping.
"Calm yourself," Anselm said as he put a hand on Arthur's shoulder. "Go inside."
Arthur looks at Anselm wearily. Anselm pats his shoulder and pushes him toward the door.
His legs feel like lead, his arms barely hold up their own weight, his thoughts jump back and forth between what's behind the door and what Anselm is trying to prove. Focusing on getting every muscle to do its function. his hand reaches up and rests on the remnants of the door. The door is cool to the touch. He remembers there are corpses here. There is a large crack in the center of the door. He meticulously stares at the splinters, they are charred.
He cautiously puts his eye close to the crack to peek inside. A sudden gust of air blows through the crack and he jumps back, back in full focus of his limbs. He pushes the door open and the door falls off its hinges, clamoring to the floor. As the ash settles, Arthur peers through the doorway into the dark building. Arthur steps inside and notices this was someone's home, he sees two doorways to his right, and a large living area to his left. Towards the end of the house there is a staircase that leads to the second floor of the building. As he notices this he sees a trail of blood leading from the living space into the first of the doorways to his right. He makes his way toward the doorway, and cautiously peers into the room, he follows the trail of blood and his eyes stop on the bodies of what he assumes were the family that lived here, the dad, mom, and the little son. He recognized their faces but could not remember their names. He stepped away from the room and kept walking into the house.
As he approaches the second doorway, he slows down. Trying to angle his view to see as much as he can into the room without standing directly in the doorway. As he got closer he noticed this room was empty, except for the small pile of toys in the corner of the room. Grace, He thought to himself. Arthur's attention was torn away by a loud thud and strange sounds coming from the second floor. He made his way toward the staircase, heart pounding, but determined. Determined for what? Determined to live? To prove Anselm wrong? He couldn't save his family. As the thoughts ran through his head, he found himself already up the first few steps of the staircase climbing into complete darkness. He took a deep breath and continued making his way up.
As Arthur was reaching the top, he slowly started examining the room sweeping his vision from left to right. The first thing he noticed was the enormous hole in the roof that allowed a beam of dim sunlight to pierce into what was otherwise complete darkness.
He made his way into the light, relieved that the darkness was not completely flooding this part of the house. He was looking through the room trying to find the source of the shriek. "Hello?" he cried out, and out of the corner of his eye he saw a flash of movement; he turned and stared at a dark corner of the room the light could not reach. He looked into the darkness, trying to make out any detail he could.
Slowly, two glowing yellow orbs appeared in the darkness, just floating in place, after a moment, the two glowing orbs started to move toward Arthur. He took a step back, the orbs moved closer, and moved into the light, at that moment Arthur notices these were not two glowing orbs, but eyes. As the creature started stepping into the light, Arthur could now make out the rest of this creature. Grey sickly skin, long thin arms with long yellow nails, bald head, with long pointed ears, and long thin legs. The creature moved closer, walking on all four of his limbs, and a row of gnarling sharpened teeth, stain with red, and a thick dark red liquid dripping form the corners of its mouth.
The creature and Arthur stand there, and for a moment the rest of the world faded, and it is just Arthur and this creature here, in this space, neither one moving, just the sound of Arthur breathing. Faster than Arthur could react, the creature lunges at him, gray arms reaching out at Arthur's neck. Arthur stumbles backwards and falls onto his back as the creature lands on top of him, and starts trying to tear into him. Arthur quickly throws his hands up to stop the creature from completely tearing his insides out. Arthur manages to land a solid punch across the creatures face, which shoots pain up and down Arthur's right arm, the creature falls to one side, but with supernatural speed climbs back on Arthur. Arthur is able to catch one of the creature's arms, accepting the pain that came with it, Arthur lands another punch across the creature's face. The creature stumbles, but instantly recuperates and climbs back on Arthur.
Arthur's arms start to weaken. He starts to notice the creature getting through and feels the nails tear his skin, blood starts to spatter all over Arthur and the creature, the creature's movements become faster, excited even. I can't die here. Suddenly blood falls all over Arthur's face, he looks up to see four claws protruding from the creatures mouth, the creature gets pulled from him, and he sees Anselm standing there, eyes glowing bight like molten gold. Anselm grabs the bottom half of the creature and with one swift movement tears the creature in half. Anselm tosses the two halves of the creature across the room. Arthur just lays there staring at Anselm, stunned.
"Now, you will listen, and learn," Anselm says, he turns and makes his way down the stairs.
Arthur slowly gets up, inspects the scars across his chest, and with hesitation, makes his way down the stairs after Anselm.