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A WAY OUT...
Kevin was still screaming as he knocked the creature off of his arm. Its body skidded a few feet away and stopped, only part of it visible. The part that was visible was only because of Kevin's blood, which covered the entire front of the creature. Leather-looking skin, a thick neck and a roughly triangular mouth filled with hundreds of needle teeth.
The creature was dead, four unseen bullet holes in its body. Kevin scrambled up to his feet and held his arm against his chest, fresh tears streaming down his face. Alexandra immediately ran over to Kevin, hoping that he didn't have any bullet holes in him.
"Are you okay?" she asked, her voice near frantic.
"J-just f-f-fine, how a-are you?" Kevin said, sniffing.
"Are you shot?" Alexandra asked, trying her best to look Kevin over.
"No, y-you got great aim." Kevin said, "Oh G-God it hur-urts!" he half-screamed and squeezed his eyes shut, trying to stop the flow of tears.
"Let's go inside and take care of your arm, okay?" Alexandra said, relieved that she hadn't shot him. Though she wasn't about to tell him that her eyes had been half shut and she hadn't actually aimed the gun when she fired.
A metal-grating-on-metal sound made them both freeze and stare out into the fog, the sound was repeated twice more, each time coming from slightly different directions. Alexandra caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of her eye but when she turned her head to look it was already gone. The metal grating sound came again and for a brief second Alexandra saw a small shimmering outline right in front of her.
“Oh God it’s those things!” Alexandra screamed and fired blindly.
She cried out in pain as one of the things suddenly tore into her leg, shredding the muscle with its needle-teeth. Alexandra kicked her leg frantically and managed to shake the invisible demon loose, but not before its teeth could shred a little deeper into her leg. Alexandra screamed and fell to the ground, tears pouring down her face. She raised her gun and shakily fired at the moving bloodstain, though she didn’t appear to be hitting it.
Then there was a deafening roar as Kevin fired the shotgun almost right next to her head, drowning out her own screams. The near invisible demon was knocked far into the fog and didn’t return. The harsh metal-grating sound came again from right at Kevin’s feet and without thinking he pointed the shotgun down and fired.
The recoil wrenched his shoulder horribly and he was knocked off balance and fell to the ground, landing on his good side, next to Alexandra. He immediately sat up and placed his back against her’s, jerking his head back and forth wildly trying to see into the fog. Pain faded away as adrenaline pumped through Kevin’s veins once again, almost numbing him.
Kevin quickly climbed to his feet, leaning the shotgun up against the brick wall, and turned around.
“Is it over?” Alexandra asked without moving, her voice straining against the tears.
Alexandra stared blankly out into the fog, her gun pointed straight in front of her. She was sitting with her legs straight out in front of her, a muscle spasm developing in her right thigh, and she was in pain.
“I think it is,” came Kevin’s voice, “but we had better get inside before something else happens.”
She nodded and tried to stand up but only succeeded in sending another bolt of pain through her leg. Alexandra looked down and saw that her jeans were shredded along with her calf, blood everywhere. She cried out in pain and fell back to a sitting position.
“I can’t stand up.” She said.
Kevin walked around in front of her and winced when he saw her leg, it looked like shredded hamburger meat. He reached down to her and grabbed her forearms and pulled her to her feet. She immediately threw her arm around his shoulders and he wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled up slightly, trying to take as much of her weight as possible. With his free hand Kevin reached over and grabbed the shotgun, not wanting to leave it outside.
“Just put all of your weight on me.” Kevin said, and he felt Alexandra lean against him more.
The two made their way to the front of the gas station as quick as possible though it wasn’t very fast, Alexandra half limping and Kevin trying to be her right leg. At this rate they would probably be attacked again before making it halfway to the door. Kevin suddenly stopped and turned a little bit meeting the confused look on Alexandra’s face.
“Grab the shotgun.” Kevin said and Alexandra reached over and took it, though the confused look remained on her face.
Kevin then placed his newly freed arm behind her knees and lifted her up, fortunately she was very light. Alexandra winced a bit as her right leg was jostled and Kevin quickly apologized. Kevin made for the door as quickly as possible, trying his best not to bump Alexandra’s right leg around, and was halfway there when something caught his eye. He looked over to the gas pumps and saw a damp looking corpse with a gas nozzle jammed into either eye, its mouth frozen open in a permanent scream.
Kevin quickly looked away and almost ran the rest of the way to the door. He stopped in front of it and Alexandra pulled it open as best she could from her awkward angle. Kevin caught the edge of the door with his foot and pushed it the rest of the way open. He stepped inside and saw no immediate danger or grotesque displays of violence, thankful for that, he walked to in front of the checkout counter and sat Alexandra down as gently as possible.
“I’m gonna check the place out and try ta find something for your leg, don’t move.” Kevin said.
Alexandra nodded and Kevin ran off up and down the isles of the store trying to find something that could be used to bandage Alexandra’s leg, he was pretty sure that there weren’t any demons in there with them. He finally found the small first-aid section and grabbed as much as he possibly could before running back to Alexandra at the front of the store.
She was sitting up with her legs straight out in front of her, looking at her right calf. Her right pants leg was rolled up exposing pale white flesh, gleaming wet muscle and dark red blood. Alexandra didn’t how lucky she was, the damage was more “cosmetic” than anything else. No veins had been sliced, no nerves had been severed, it was just very painful.
Kevin sat down beside Alexandra’s leg and dumped the supplies beside him.
“So where ya from?” Kevin asked, removing an alcohol-soaked cloth from its packet.
“Um, originally?” Alexandra asked and Kevin nodded, “Poland but—Ahhh! That hurts!”
“Yeah, it’s goin’ to. Jus’ keep talkin’ and maybe it won’t hurt so much. Keep your mind off the pain, ya know?” Kevin said opening another alcohol pad and swabbing Alexandra’s leg.
“Ow! Okay, um, I moved from Poland when I was fourteen—
“Where did’ja move to?” Kevin cut in, now searching through his pile for gauze and medical tape.
“Illinois, around Chicago.” Alexandra said staring off into space trying not to look at her leg.
“I’ve always wanted to go there,” Kevin said, opening a packet of gauze, “go to the top of the Sears Tower.”
Kevin looked back down at Alexandra’s leg and saw that her calf was covered in blood again. He stopped for a moment and watched her blood flow freely from the ragged wound on her calf and pool on the floor.
“I don’t mean to worry ya, but I think this is more serious than I originally thought.” Kevin said, he didn’t realize that he had been talking slower and more clearly since he had met Alexandra, it happened almost automatically.
Alexandra looked at Kevin, “What do you mean?”
“I forget the word, but I don’t think your blood clots so good. Ya bleed a lot more than normal.” Kevin said, already feeling bad about what he was about to do.
“I know.” Alexandra said, sounding scared, “Great, I’m going to bleed to death.”
“Naw, can’t let that happen, but this is probably gonna hurt real bad,” Kevin said, unraveling the gauze a little bit, “ya can dig your claws into my arm if ya want to.”
“Claws?” Alexandra asked.
“Your fingernails,” Kevin said, “now hold still.”
Kevin put down a bit of gauze on her leg and placed his hand on it, holding it in place, the gauze already stained deep red. He pulled the gauze taut, took a deep breath and then started to wrap her wound as tightly as possible. Alexandra screamed but cut herself off by biting her lip, and as if by natural reaction her hands wrapped around Kevin’s left bicep and she squeezed as hard as she could.
Kevin hissed at the sudden pain in his left arm but continued to wrap Alexandra’s leg, his lab coat offered limited protection against her fingernails but it was better than bare skin at least. The wrapping seemed to drag on forever for the both of them, the gauze slowly making its way down her calf and staining completely red. Kevin finally finished wrapping her wound but had a little over a foot of gauze left.
“Sorry.” Kevin said, and before Alexandra could respond he pulled the gauze as tight as he could.
Alexandra screamed and the biting pain in Kevin’s left arm grew worse as Alexandra’s fingernails dug deeper into him. Kevin quickly wrapped the excess gauze around her leg and tucked it under, holding it in place.
“Is it over?” Alexandra asked, her eyes squeezed shut, a few tears streaking down her face.
“No,” Kevin said, turning to look at her, “I still have to tape it up, sorry.”
Alexandra made a moaning sound and shifted her grip on Kevin’s arm before bracing herself for another bout of pain. After a few moments of no pain Alexandra opened her eyes and immediately regretted doing so. It looked like a scene from a movie, or at least a hospital. Kevin was holding a blood-soaked piece of gauze in place against her leg, he was turned away from her searching frantically through a pile of stuff with his free hand. Alexandra then noticed that her hands were wrapped around Kevin’s arm and she couldn’t make her fingers move to let go. Then everything became surreal, like she wasn’t even there anymore, like she was watching it all on TV.
There was no more pain, it was replaced by the cold and the numb-contented feelings starting to spread through her body. She really didn’t care about anything anymore, other than the fact that she needed to sleep. She made her eyes focus and looked at Kevin again, he had lied to her, she was going to bleed to death. It was okay that he lied, he was just trying to make her feel better, but why was he still working so frantically on her leg?
Alexandra tried to tell him that it was okay, that all she needed to do was go to sleep but when she opened her mouth it came out all wrong, he couldn’t understand her. She tried to tell him again but all of her strength was gone, she instead let her head roll back on her neck and stared at the ceiling. Someone had painted a pentagram on the ceiling in what looked like wet rust, but there would be time to think about that after she took her nap.
Kevin was working as fast as his hands could take him, both of his hands were now free, and he had already gone through three canisters of tape and was only halfway down the gauze. He grabbed another canister of medical tape and popped it open but when he looked back at Alexandra’s leg he saw that it was useless. The tape was beginning to come off of the blood-wet gauze, it wouldn’t stick on anymore. Kevin had never seen so much blood in his life, it was all over the floor, his hands, her leg, everywhere.
“Should’ve done this earlier.” Kevin said and mentally cursed himself as he grabbed the ripped part of his lab coat and ripped a long section of it off.
Kevin rolled Alexandra’s pants leg up a bit farther and tied the strip of cloth as tight as he possibly could above her wound. As he was tying Alexandra suddenly said something that he could only guess was in polish and paid it no attention. The medical tape was steadily coming undone and if Kevin didn’t act quickly it would all come off and the gauze would unravel itself. He looked down at the medical tape and an idea suddenly came to him, he attempted to jump up but something held him back. Alexandra’s hands still had his arm in a death grip and from Kevin’s half-standing position it looked too much like a corpse trying to pull him down.
He ripped his arm free and Alexandra, no longer supported by Kevin, finally fell from her sitting position to flat on her back. As soon as her head hit the ground her eyes snapped shut and Kevin felt his stomach drop away from him. He wasted another valuable second staring at her and then ran off as quick as he could, slipping a little bit in the blood as he did.
He wasn’t gone for longer than ten seconds before he came charging back, hitting his knees and sliding to a stop beside Alexandra, roll of duct tape in hand. He shakily tore the plastic off and lifted her leg into the air, propping her ankle on his shoulder. He then began to tape the gauze again, running the duct tape back and forth several times before tearing it and slapping the last bit in place.
He lowered her leg back to the ground and stood up quickly, taking his lab coat off and throwing it to the ground. Kevin did something he never thought he would do, he placed his foot on his coat, grabbed the collar and ripped the entire thing in half. He then repeated the process several more times, a strange smile coming to his face. His lab coat had been his “trademark” for almost two years now and also one of his most valued possessions, but there was no time to think about that now, he had to save a life.
Kevin grabbed one of the long strips or cloth and bent down next to Alexandra’s leg again and tied it right below the first one. He grabbed another strip of cloth and tied it right above the first one, he just hoped he wasn’t trying to save a dead girl. Kevin sat back and looked at her leg, there was too much blood to ignore, he had done all he could think of to do and he really didn’t want to look any higher.
Kevin forced his gaze to her face and almost wanted to cry, her eyes were shut, her face was pale, her lips were pressed together forming a slightly purple but pale line. She looked so calm, so peaceful, so dead. He forced his eyes to her chest and sat motionless, staring. The silence took over once again, nothing moved inside of the gas station, nothing made a sound, Kevin held his breath though this time it was on purpose. He strained to see even the slightest movement, but still nothing moved.
Kevin’s body went numb and then started tingling, he didn’t want to believe it, but if she was dead he had to make sure. With his heart in his throat and his stomach in his shoes he reached out and placed his hand on her chest. What followed had to be the most tense, stressful, frightening half-second in all of Kevin’s life. He felt her heartbeat, even though it was weak, it was still a heartbeat. Kevin almost jumped up and danced but then realization hit him painfully again, a heartbeat was all well and good, but if she wasn’t breathing she would die all the same.
He moved his hand very close to her mouth and nose and waited, it was a few seconds before he felt her short, sharp exhalations on the back of his hand. This time he did jump up and dance, though it was more victory flailing than dancing. Her heartbeat was weak, her breathing was shallow but she was alive! Now Kevin had to think again, but a faraway pain in his arm prevented him from doing so. He looked down at his right arm and saw a five-inch blood-caked gash.
He had forgotten completely about his arm in the recent chaos but now as he looked at it the pain was starting to return. He was far from worried though, he had stopped bleeding a long time ago and the pain wasn’t so bad. Kevin grabbed a piece of his dismantled lab coat and the roll of duct tape off of the floor and taped the cloth over his right forearm. He flexed his fingers and made a fist several times testing to see if everything still worked. After he was satisfied that nothing was broken he turned back to look at Alexandra.
His initial victory was subdued by the fact that she could still very easily slip off the mortal coil and join the rest. Kevin started to chew on the inside of his cheek, something he did whenever he got nervous, and tried to think of something else he could do. Alexandra was still deathly pale, though there wasn’t much color to her to begin with, and he couldn’t tell if she was still bleeding or not. He looked back at her leg and at the three makeshift tourniquets he had tied on, the dark blue of the cloth looked tiny surrounded by the deep red of the blood that seemed to be everywhere.
Kevin was worried, the taste of blood suddenly filling his mouth, that he had been too late with the tourniquets. He knew that they were on tight enough, she would probably have several bruises from where he had tied them on, and he had even tied an extra one on just to be safe. Kevin’s vision blurred as he spaced out and started to think what the situation would have been like if his blood didn’t clot either.
He was brought out of his morbid daydream by a sudden sharp pain in his mouth when he bit a little too deep and sliced the inside of his cheek open. He swallowed the blood that filled his mouth and shook his head, clearing away the thoughts of him bleeding to death next to Alexandra. Suddenly Alexandra’s left leg twitched, jumping about three inches into the air, and for some reason what Kevin had been trying to think of sprang into his mind.
“Juice ‘n cookies!” Kevin shouted and ran to the back of the store.
He had remembered hearing that after people gave blood they were given juice and cookies to help build back up their blood, or something like that, and he figured that losing blood was the same as giving blood in a way. At the back of the store he looked through the refrigerated cases for juice, he saw beer, soft drinks, sport drinks, water and finally in the last case were plastic bottles of fruit juice.
Kevin looked at the juice and tried to think of which one to get, and then he realized that it really didn’t matter what kind of juice he got. He opened the case and reached in, noticing that it was the same temperature in the case as it was outside, cold, and grabbed a bottle of grape juice. He then ran off down the snack food isle, more frantic than he should have been but adrenaline was pumping through his veins once again, and looked for cookies. He grabbed several small bags of sugar cookies and ran back to the front of the store.
Alexandra hadn’t moved since he had left, not a surprising fact, and she actually looked a little better. Kevin ran over to her, kicked the leftover medical supplies out of the way, fell to his knees and dropped the juice and cookies beside him. He thought for another second about what to do and then grabbed Alexandra up under her arms and moved her over to the front counter and propped her up into a sitting position.
“Alexandra? Alexandra? Wake up, come on wake up!” Kevin half-shouted but got no response.
He then grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her, “Wake up! Alexandra! Wake up! For…the…love…of…God…wake…up!”
This time he got results, her eyes fluttered open and she started talking softly. Kevin didn’t understand a word she was saying, again deciding that it had to be in polish, and then noticed that her eyes didn’t look like they were focused. He tried shaking her again, he tried shouting her name but she still continued to talk and stare straight ahead.
“Forgive me.” Kevin said.
He drew his hand back and landed a stiff backhand across her face. Her whole head rocked from the impact but she stopped chanting and her eyes focused again. The left side of her face was warm and tingling, she couldn’t move her right leg and Kevin was standing right in front of her, smiling.
“What happened?” She asked, her mind still trying to come fully online.
Kevin stood up, “Well we were attacked by these invisible things and one of them took a pretty good piece of your leg and—
“I know that,” Alexandra cut him off, “The last thing I remember was I was bleeding to death and you were trying to wrap my leg up and then I went to sleep and…” she trailed off.
Alexandra looked down at her blood-smeared leg and saw the duct tape wrapped around her calf and three pieces of cloth tied above it. She saw a gigantic smeared bloodstain in front of her, the shotgun a few feet from that, several large strips of blue cloth on the floor nearby and Kevin. Kevin, stained with slowly-drying blood from his hands all the way down to his knees, her blood.
Most of the pieces finally fell into place in her mind, “You saved me?” Alexandra asked.
Kevin seemed to consider that for a moment, “Well, I…guess ya could say that.”
Alexandra tried to jump up and give Kevin a hug but she had barely even started to stand when she became extremely light-headed and fell back to the ground.
“Hey now,” Kevin said kneeling down next to her, “ya lost a lotta blood, ya don’t need ta be movin’ a whole lot anytime soon.” He then added, “I’m sorta surprised your still alive.” Though it was much softer.
“Thank you!” was all Alexandra said and then she threw her arms around Kevin’s neck.
Kevin returned the hug and couldn’t help but smile, Alexandra was going to be okay. Then a strange thought came into Kevin’s mind, he had known Alexandra for less than an hour but he had been in tears at the thought that she was dead, and overjoyed when he had felt her heartbeat. Its amazing how fast a life-threatening situation can bring people together.
The two broke the hug and suddenly Kevin remembered why he had woken Alexandra in the first place. He turned and reached behind him and grabbed the juice and cookies and turned back to Alexandra, holding them out to her.
“Take ‘em.” Kevin said.
“Why, what are they?” Alexandra asked, reaching out and taking the things slowly.
“Juice ‘n cookies.” Kevin said, smiling.
“Um, what?” Alexandra asked, “Please talk slower.”
Kevin laughed, “Its grape juice and sugar cookies, its supposed to build back up the blood, or somethin’ like that.”
“Oh, thank you.” Alexandra said, taking a drink of the juice, she then hesitantly added, “Um, is there any orange juice?”
“Yeah sure, jus’ hold on a second, I’ll be right back.” Kevin said, getting a little excited.
Kevin got up and ran to the back of the store, headed for the juice. He loved being of help to someone and would normally go out of his way to do so, this attitude was caused by being ignored most of his life by most people he knew. He grabbed a bottle of orange juice out of the case and ran back to the front of the store, once again falling to his knees and sliding to a stop beside Alexandra.
“Here ya go.” Kevin said, holding the juice out to her.
Alexandra took the juice, “Thank you, you’re so nice.”
“Well, its not like ya can get up and get it yourself right now.” Kevin said.
Kevin took the grape juice and took a drink, moving to sit beside Alexandra. Alexandra took a few sips of her orange juice and opened a bag of sugar cookies and ate a few. The silence took over once again, the only noise coming from either eating or drinking.
Finally Kevin broke the silence, “So, what is Poland like?”
Alexandra looked up out of a daydream, “Huh?”
“What’s Poland like?” Kevin repeated.
“Well…” Alexandra began, and the two started into long conversation.
Shadows formed and dissipated in the mist outside of the gas station, unseen creatures stalked by, death continued to run rampant through the streets, but for Kevin and Alexandra nothing outside of the gas station existed at the moment. Their conversation ranged over many topics, not really concentrating on one specific thing, they were just trying to forget about where they were for the moment.
The conversation lasted hours? Days? Years? The actual amount of time was not known, but after awhile, Alexandra started to get color back to her and the excitement from her almost dying was beginning to wear down.
During the conversation, Kevin had ran back and forth in the gas station, getting them things to drink and eat and now a small pile of empty bottles and wrappers lay in between them.
After the talking had stopped there was another short silence and then Alexandra spoke up, sounding embarrassed almost, “Can you help me stand up? I need to use the bathroom."
Kevin stood up and moved in front of Alexandra and held his hands out to her. She reached up and grabbed his forearms and Kevin pulled her to her feet. She immediately put one hand against the front counter and lifted her right foot off of the floor.
There was a moment of silence, “Can ya walk?” Kevin asked.
Alexandra slowly put her foot on the floor and winced, “How far is it?”
Kevin looked around the gas station for a second before spying the familiar unisex bathroom sign, “Right over there.” Kevin said pointing to the door.
By some stroke of good luck the bathroom was located in the corner of the store, right behind the front counter. They were both just glad that it wasn’t outside, neither of them wanted to go back outside unless they had to.
“Do ya think ya can make it?” Kevin asked.
Alexandra considered the distance, put a little pressure on her foot, winced again then said, “Yeah.”
She began to slowly make her way toward the bathroom, leaning heavily on the counter as she went. Kevin stood back and watched her, wondering how awkward their little “adventure” would get before it was all over with. Kevin shook his head bringing him back to the real world, his mind frequently wandered, and walked ahead of Alexandra to the bathroom door. He opened the door and peered into the darkness trying to make anything out. He opened the door wider in an attempt to let more light in, finally realizing just how dark it was in the gas station, and saw nothing to cause alarm other than the fact that the toilet didn’t appear to have water in it.
Kevin reached his hand in and felt along the wall for a light switch, his hand hit the switch and flipped it, but nothing happened.
Kevin let out a half-hearted laugh, “What? Is everything okay?” Alexandra asked, suddenly right behind him.
Kevin turned to her and smiled, “Sure, just hope ya ain’t scared of the dark.”
Alexandra stared at him, a look of confusion on her face, “Lights don’t work.” Kevin explained.
“Great.” Alexandra moaned, and then limped into the small bathroom.
“Anything to make it harder, huh?” Kevin said before letting the door swing shut.
Kevin walked behind the front counter and leaned on his elbows, resting his chin on his hands. He stared out the door and into the fog, he could just barely make out the shape of the gas pumps in the thick, swirling mist. A dark silhouette suddenly formed between two gas pumps, it stood motionless and for some reason Kevin wasn’t alarmed. The silhouette was darker than the gas pumps, as if its presence was more evil than the surrounding environment.
To Kevin it was like a dream, it seemed surreal, but then the silhouette was closer without even moving. Kevin stood up straight, for a moment he thought it was the Red Demon but the shape was wrong, it kept shifting, like it had no definite form. It was closer now, in front of the gas pumps, but once again it hadn’t appeared to move. Kevin was scared now, the shotgun was lying on the floor on the other side of the counter and Alexandra had the .25 in her pocket, but it seemed to Kevin that there was supposed to be another weapon.
The demon-silhouette was now right in front of the door, but it was still only a silhouette, which only freaked Kevin out more. Things weren’t supposed to look like that, you were supposed to be able to look at something and actually see what it looked like, not just a misty, dark blob. Kevin suddenly remembered the nine-millimeter and reached around behind him and grabbed it, he jerked it out of his waistband and jumped up on the counter, pointing it at the demon-silhouette.
Kevin stood straight up on the counter, as still as a statue except for the slight tremble in his hand, pointing his gun at the demon-silhouette. Nothing moved, Kevin’s stomach was coiling over itself with fear, but he refused to blink, not wanting to take his eyes off the thing for even a moment.
“Kevin?” Alexandra suddenly asked.
Kevin jumped and screamed and pulled the trigger involuntarily. The large glass plate in the door shattered and fell to the ground, and Kevin fell off the counter and to the ground right behind it. Kevin tiled his head back on the ground and looked for the demon-silhouette, but it was nowhere to be seen.
“Are you alright?” Alexandra asked, now standing above him.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Kevin said, “I gotta thick skull.”
“Umm, what were you doing?” Alexandra asked.
Kevin sat up, rubbed his eyes, rested his arms on his knees, and looked up at her, “There was a demon.”
Alexandra’s eyebrows shot upward, “Th-the skinned thing?” fear had crept back into her voice.
Kevin stood up, “No, it was somthin’ diff’rent, it was jus’ like a shadow or somethin’…I’m not exactly sure of what it was, but it came up to the door.”
“What did it look like?” Alexandra asked.
“It didn’t look like anythin’, jus’ like a shadow or somthin’.” Kevin said, looking at the door.
“Oh.” Alexandra said, walking up beside Kevin and looking at the door.
Luck, if it could be called that in this situation, had come through again. Only the bottom pane of glass had been destroyed, and once again, the fog did not seem to be able to come inside.
“What are we going to do?” Alexandra asked.
“I guess jus’ move one of the racks in front of the door.” Kevin said.
Without waiting for further incident Kevin walked over and grabbed the long rack of food that was closest to the door. He pulled as hard as he could but the rack only moved an inch or so with a horrible shrieking noise. Kevin grunted and grabbed the rack near the bottom, dug his heels in the floor and pulled again. The rack lifted up a little bit on his end and he started to pull it backwards, the shriek of metal on tile filling the gas station, Alexandra covered her ears.
Kevin let go of the rack, cracked his knuckles and grabbed the rack again and pulled it at an angle toward the door. Kevin felt a sudden tearing pain in his right arm and he could feel blood starting to flow again. When half of the rack was in front of the door he stopped pulling and walked around in front of it. He kicked the rack and it tiled slightly toward the door, before it could fall back into place he shoved it and it fell against the door, cracking the top pane of glass but not breaking it.
“Well,” Kevin said dusting his hands, “that should do it hopefully.”
He turned around, “Did’ja…” he trailed off when he looked at Alexandra, “How are ya standin’?” He asked.
Alexandra looked down and discovered that she was standing solidly on her right leg, “I don’t know,” she said, “I can’t feel my right leg, its numb.”
Kevin’s eyes went wide, “Dammit!” he shouted, “quick, sit down!”
Alexandra obeyed and sat down on the floor and Kevin was immediately kneeling next to her injured leg. He undid the three tourniquets as fast as he could, revealing three circular bruises, and then took a closer look at her leg. It was partially covered in drying blood, but the exposed flesh was an ashy-gray color.
“Ya might wanna stomp your foot or massage your leg or somthin’.” Kevin said nervously.
“Why?” Alexandra asked, “won’t I just start bleeding again?”
Kevin chewed on the inside of his cheek, “Those things have been on your leg for a good long time, an’ your leg hasn’t had any blood to it for a good long time…an’ well, ya might lose your leg…”
Alexandra’s eyes went wide but she started to massage her calf, tying to get the blood flowing again. Time passed slowly, Alexandra continued to massage her calf with ever increasing pressure, but the strange gray color didn’t get any better. Both of them began to get worried, especially Kevin because if she lost her leg it would be his fault, and an odd noise came from overhead but it went unheard.
“Ahh!” Alexandra suddenly screamed as a painful pricking sensation consumed her calf.
Kevin looked up at her, “Are ya getting’ feelin’ back?”
Alexandra nodded her head violently and balled her fists at her sides, “Yes and it hurts!” she said.
Kevin looked down at the blood covered duct tape on her lower calf and poked it with his finger, “OW!” Alexandra screamed and she slapped Kevin’s hand away, “why did you do that?!”
“Ya can feel pain from that hole in your leg, your leg’s not dead!” Kevin replied.
Alexandra narrowed her eyes at him and said something too low for him to hear. Kevin couldn’t help but smile a bit and looked around the gas station, there was a ton of spilled food from where he had moved the rack, a large amount of dried blood on the floor near him, the shotgun a few feet away from that and as he looked up he saw something strange.
On the ceiling there was a pentagram crudely drawn in blood, though the blood still looked semi-wet. Kevin looked at it for a moment longer and then turned his attention back to the floor, near Alexandra was the nine-millimeter. He decided to let it lay were it was for now and give it to Alexandra after he retied the tourniquets.
“Has feelin’ come back to your leg?” Kevin asked.
Alexandra nodded, “Well, can ya move your foot?” Kevin asked and Alexandra moved her foot a bit. “Can you move your toes?” Kevin asked.
There was a slight moment of pause, “Yes,” Alexandra said, “but I think I’m bleeding again.”
“Then we’ll have ta put these back on.” Kevin said holding up one of the long strips of blue cloth.
Alexandra looked at him skeptically, “I jus’ won’t tie ‘em as tight this time, an’ we’ll loosen ‘em up every once in awhile.”
Alexandra didn’t say anything, she just wrapped her hands around Kevin’s left arm
and braced herself. Kevin used the circular bruise as a guide and tied the first one on, though not as tight, it still apparently caused Alexandra quite a bit of pain judging from how hard she squeezed on his arm. Kevin winced in pain, wishing he had something more than his bare arm to protect him, and began to tie the second one on. He hissed in pain as he finished the knot and looked down at his arm, Alexandra’s fingernails had bitten through his skin and he was now bleeding a little.
As Kevin tied the third one on Alexandra’s nails dug a bit deeper into his arm, “Claws was right.” Kevin said to himself, though Alexandra heard him.
“All done.” Kevin said and Alexandra let go of his arm.
There was now a multitude of tiny bleeding crescents on Kevin’s upper arm, Alexandra was about to apologize to Kevin but then she noticed that something was missing.
“Where is your coat?” she asked.
“On your leg,” Kevin said pointing, “and a little on my arm and over there on the floor.” He finished pointing to the remains of his coat.
Alexandra looked down at her leg, “Oh.”
She watched as Kevin stood up and walked over to the remains of his coat on the floor and tore another piece off. He then walked behind the counter and bent down, disappearing behind it. Alexandra knew that she owed him her life, he had saved her, but she couldn’t help but find it a little strange. Somebody she had only known a few hours, if even that, had saved her from death and acted like it was nothing. She wasn’t sure what she would have done if the situation had been reversed, if he had been bleeding to death. She would have tried to save him, sure, she would have tried her hardest, but she had a strange feeling that his life would have slipped away.
Kevin reappeared, standing up, and sat a half-empty bottle of liquor on the counter.
“Are you going to drink that!?” Alexandra said, sounding shocked.
“Naw, I jus’ hafta clean these wounds.” He said, indicating the “claw marks” on his upper arm, “No offence ta ya of course.”
Alexandra watched as Kevin opened the bottle and poured the contents out onto the strip of cloth. He then picked it up and rubbed it over the wounds her fingernails had left, hissing slightly.
After he was finished he seemed to think for a moment, “Better take care of the other one while I’m at it.”
Kevin quickly removed the duct-tape and labcoat dressing off of his arm and looked down at the wound for a moment.
“That doesn’t look too good.” Alexandra said, now standing across from him.
“Ya should see your leg,” Kevin said, not looking up, “it don’t look too good.”
Kevin picked up the bottle and poured the liquor directly onto his arm, screaming quietly. He then picked up the shred of cloth and wiped the dried blood off his arm and re-dressed the wound.
Kevin finally looked up at Alexandra, “Well, what now?”
Alexandra opened her mouth to speak but a choking roar sounded instead of her normal thick, almost purring, accent. Both of their eyes went wide and they looked at the source of the sound, the ceiling, or more specific, the pentagram painted there. The roar came again, louder, and Kevin finally moved, jumping over the counter past Alexandra grabbing the shotgun and the nine-millimeter.
“Here!” Kevin shouted, thrusting the nine-millimeter at
They both backed quickly away from the pentagram, never taking their eyes off of it, waiting for some new horror to appear. They did not have to wait long, a long arm thrust down through the ceiling, the pentagram, and reached around and grabbed the edge of it. Its flesh was twisted and a dull orange color, looking more like leather than skin. A second arm came down, grabbing the other edge of the pentagram, then the demon pulled itself down.
Its head was long and misshapen, with large almond shaped eyes that were completely silver, its oversized mouth was completely filled with large fang-like teeth. Kevin didn’t wait for the creature to pull itself down any further, he raised the shotgun and pulled the trigger, click. He fought of the rising panic and moved his finger around the second trigger and pulled. The shotgun roared and the top of the demon’s skull disappeared, no blood or brains flew though and the demon kept pulling itself down.
All of his life Kevin had heard the phrase, “If it bleeds, it can die.” But this thing had no blood, or brains for that matter, and he had the sinking feeling that it would take more than a few shotgun blasts to kill, if it could be killed. Now with only one clear option left Kevin made a decision, if it were the right one or not he didn’t care.
“Alexandra!” he shouted, “shoot the thing!”
Kevin ran over to the blocked doorway without looking back and grabbed the large rack with his free hand. After tugging on it desperately for a few moments he realized that it wasn’t going to move anytime soon.
Alexandra watched in mild shock as the demon continued to pull itself down, its leathery body steadily coming into view. She raised the gun Kevin had given her and pulled the trigger, she was knocked slightly off balance by the recoil. She raised the gun again, braced herself, and pulled the trigger. She saw the burning black hole where the bullet went into the demon, but it didn’t seem to have any effect.
Alexandra continued to fire at the demon until it had pulled itself completely out of the ceiling, flipped around in midair, and landed in front of her. From far away she heard the sound of breaking glass. The demon towered over her on impossibly long legs, its arms hung down to its knees, its narrow torso riddled with black bullet-holes.
“Come with me, little one.” A deep voice echoed in Alexandra’s mind.
“No!” Alexandra shouted back mentally, “I have to get out of here, I have to go with Kevin.”
Laughter boomed in her head, “You think he wants you with him? You think that he is going to risk his life for some girl he just met? You are just going to slow him down, and he knows it, he is going to leave you the first chance he gets!”
Alexandra’s lips curled into a snarl and she raised her gun, “If you don’t believe me, just turn around and look.” The demon said.
Alexandra hesitantly turned her head and saw Kevin climbing the rack he had used to block the door, the top pane of glass had been busted out and it looked as if he was already headed out.
Alexandra looked back at the demon, “See? I told you, let him go…he is going to die anyway…running is no good here. Come with me, you can rest, you don’t have to run, you won’t have to be scared anymore, you won’t feel pain.”
A look of doubt started to form on Alexandra’s face and the demon slowly reached a hand out to her and caressed her cheek. Alexandra’s eyes closed and her body went numb, it felt like she was floating. Alexandra opened her eyes slowly, they were slightly glazed over, and looked around. She was still in the gas station, she wasn’t sure if Kevin was still there and she really didn’t care. Why would Kevin leave her, injured and alone, to fend for herself in the middle of what seemed like hell?
She then saw something that made her eyes clear up a bit. The blue tatter that used to be Kevin’s labcoat was lying on the floor behind the demon, near a large bloodstain. Her blood, his labcoat. A sudden image of him standing in front of her, smiling, and covered in her drying blood came to her. Alexandra was suddenly very angry, a growl came from the back of her throat and she raised her gun one more time. She fired and the demon’s left eye exploded, silver goo poured from the hole where its eye used to be.
The demon clutched at its face and screamed, a high-pitched noise with a deep rumbling undertone, and finally staggered back a few steps. Alexandra pulled the trigger again but the gun just clicked at her, and the demon was quickly recovering.
“Get down!” Kevin shouted from behind.
Alexandra immediately hit the floor and Kevin’s shotgun roared, he had taken a precious thirty seconds to reload while watching the scene between Alexandra and the demon, and another piece of the demon’s head disappeared. Kevin fired again, the shot hitting the demon directly in the face. Now only jagged fragments of jawbone remained above the demon’s neck, yet it still staggered forward.
Kevin ran over and lifted Alexandra to her feet, shoving the shotgun into her arms, and lifted Alexandra up so that her back was against his shoulder. Kevin ran over to the blocked doorway and heaved Alexandra through where the top pane of glass had been.
There was the sound of her hitting the ground and then, “Ow!”
“Sorry!” Kevin called out as he climbed the rack and threw himself through the ruined doorway.
Kevin hit the ground a little past Alexandra and was on his feet as quick as possible, helping Alexandra to her feet.
He took the shotgun from her and looked her in the eyes, “Run.” He said, he already sounded out of breath.
Alexandra ran as fast as she could, which wasn’t very fast in her condition, the stabbing pain every other step making tears come to her eyes. Kevin stayed right beside her, looking forward into the fog once again, realizing that they were on the highway once again. They ran along as fast as Alexandra could manage, oblivious to anything around them. Suddenly a sign loomed up on the right side of the road, ‘Greenville City Limits’.
There was a body splayed underneath the sign and blood smeared on it, but it was still clearly readable. Kevin and Alexandra stopped near it and looked into the fog, it was thicker than normal. The two stood there for a few minutes, trying to make out anything, but past the sign the fog got so dense that it looked solid.
“Are we goin’?” Kevin asked.
“Yeah, let’s go.” Alexandra said, it sounded like she had been crying.
The two then stepped blindly into the fog and disappeared completely from sight.