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Skulking up the stairs, knife at the ready for all the good it would do him. The rumbling footsteps continued to withdraw into the distance. Spying a common area over the last steps. A bathroom, office, and a room he couldn’t quite see into had their doors open. Taking the last few steps as another dull, beastly crunch made the chandelier sway gently. It was still close, staying in the neighbourhood maybe. But he dared to scavenge. The door to the office did not squeak, thank fucking God! Anton beelined for the small corner desk, brushing his hand over the MDF’s fake wood grain. It was slightly higher quality than a telemarketer’s cubicle. The one right side drawer was locked, its shiny silver lock plate mocking him. He could break it easily, but not as easily as that creature could break this house if it heard him. It’s shuffling was still vibrating his feet as he moved onto the night table being used as a cabinet on the left.

The two drawers were more bare than his hopes but less then his memory. He tried, but all there was were vague feelings that he had a life before this, and his name. A piece of paper inside gave few insights. It looked like someone had used it to hash out some plan for themselves, done some math, drawn a crude map of some part of the house maybe. All he could tell is they seemed to have been in the same situation as him. He didn’t want to think about where they could be now.

There was a light jacket bunched in the corner. Putting it on to take the chill off his shoulders, his cold hands dug into the wide, deep pockets... a key! It clicked easily in the desk lock. Inside was the holiest of holy’s, a loaded .45 calibre pistol with two extra magazines. Holy fucking shit! He might even be able to take the eyes out of that beast with this if he had to. It fit snugly in his right jacket pocket, the spare mags tucked in the left.

The bathroom was simple, a medicine cabinet over the sink with a broken mirror and a tiny bathtub with no curtain. He left lucky with a full bottle of painkillers. Odd that someone would leave it behind. Same with the gun, what’s with that? At least he has them now. The other open door led to a girls bedroom from the looks of it. Other than maybe the cloth in the bedding it had nothing useful. There was one last room, though it’s door was closed.

No keyholes, and he couldn’t get himself low enough to see through the bottom. He couldn’t hear anything on the other side, might as well take a look. Twisting the knob, the door groaned belligerently as he inched it open a millimetre at a time. Mixing the door’s protests with the ambient creaking of the sick home. Masking them to any distant listeners, he hoped, as he peered through the widening slice. Back of a dresser, large bed, clothes or something on the floor, a window... with no curtains...

It showed a view of across the way where he came from. What he saw made his heart sink and his stomach curl up into a little ball and die. Outside, facing away from him, on all fours, was an immense demoness. Busy inspecting a house on the other side of the park, looking in through the second story window. She would certainly be more than twice it’s height when standing. A long, powerful tail with a black tip swished back and forth behind her, telegraphing her curiosity. Brownish red skin like dried blood. Long and rather exotic ears twitching with frightening dexterity. Straight, jet black hair spilled over her back. Totally naked, that was clear. But what disturbed him most was what she held loosely in her right hand. The mangled, still quivering body of a person barely the size of her thumb, if that. He couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman. Not that it mattered, they were still alive, somehow. Missing an arm, covered in blood, their whole frame deformed grotesquely. The creatures hand was drenched in blood, but she didn’t seem to mind.

His body was behind the door before he even noticed. Hiding like the cockroach he surely was to her. The realization that she had been looking in here earlier chilled him deeply. Would he be in it’s other hand now if he’d stayed outside even a second longer? He dared not touch the door again.

Those ears hadn’t looked like they were just for show. Furling and unfurling like chinese war fans, rotating, curving and straightening at will. Three white barbs on each winking in and out of view. Retractable like cat claws. A perfect accessory to the black ones on her fingers. God what was her face like? That thing was a predator. Hunting for food or pleasure he couldn’t tell yet. Anton stayed in the anteway between the rooms, the soft kinetic burbling of it shifting was oddly soothing. Eventually, she seemed to get up and saunter away.

Though before she did there was a sickening wet crunch... It seemed she was hunting for food after all.

Anton’s stomach reluctantly admitted that it needed something to eat too. Carefully lifting himself, he realized he had to pass the door to get to the stairs. Peeking in, nothing, she was definitely gone. He inched the door back closed before moving to the stairs. Step by step, trying to remember which ones had creaked on the way up, he made his way down. Halfway down a table with some chairs were visible through that archway. The kitchen probably. Well lit, probably no blinds on a window in there either. As he got to the bottom his blood froze, a dull shadow passed on the floor.

It had a tail.


Chapter End Notes:

I feel like I did a lot better with my descriptions this time. Still not perfect but more organic than chapter one. I very much like the creature I designed and I hope I painted a decent enough picture of it that wasn’t overwhelming.

This story has a number of horror influences, which I’ll list as they become either relevant or non spoilery.

First up, “Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead”. I can’t go into the specifics yet, people might’ve already noticed the overall CDDA vibe if they know the game. Or will now that I’ve mentioned it.

Secondly, a point and click adventure game called “Scratches” that I HIGHLY recommend you play. Or at least watch a playthrough of. If you know the game, I wonder if you can tell what specific inspiration I took so far? Tell me in a review.

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