I took a deep breath and strode purposefully up the driveway, taking a good look around as I went. All was quiet. Too quiet. The power’s still out. Right.
The house was dark and silent. I made my way up to the second floor, avoiding my own basement apartment. “Dad?” I called into the darkness that was my parent’s bedroom.
He was instantaneously alert and I loved him for it. “What is it, honey? What’s wrong?”
Now the hard part. “Dad, the power’s out and I think something… got loose… in the storm.”
Rustling sounds as my father pulled back the covers and got out of bed. A sliver of light appeared where he drew back the heavy curtain to look outside. I could see his frown as he took in the unnatural colour the sky had turned around the same time that cat-creature had shown up.
“Got loose?” My mother echoed. “Summer, what are you talking about?”
“There was this cat…” I began and then quickly gave up explaining as I realized how ridiculous I would sound. “Here,” I said instead, entering the room fully and crossing to stand with my father near the window. I showed him the quill in my hand. “It had a mane full of these and I know how it sounds, but it was attacking people downtown. And it killed…” I saw Howe again in my mind’s eye. “It was eating someone… when I found it.”
“Oh my god!” My mother exclaimed. “You were that close? Downtown, you said?”
“It’s true!” Becky surprised me by suddenly filling the doorway, dressed in a bright pink T-shirt and skinny jeans like it wasn’t the middle of the night. She held out her clock-radio, also pink and covered in faded heart-shaped stickers from a simpler time. “I was listening to music when the power went out and I lost my station. I was trying to get it back when I stumbled on this.”
She turned the volume up on her battery-powered device. What sounded like a recorded message filled the room. “…advised. We are experiencing a city-wide state of emergency. We caution you to stay in your homes and await further instructions…”
I met my father’s eyes as the broadcast continued to advise and caution, but give no real information. His expression was grim, but calculated. “Aubrey, Becky, start packing some emergency supplies. Anything you think we might need. Summer, you may want to do the same.”
I swallowed past the lump in my throat and nodded. “I’ve got Debbie in the car… she’s got -”
Without warning, the message coming out of Becky’s pink radio changed. Instead of a vague pre-recorded looped warning, a slightly tremulous young voice cut through the static in high-pitched terror. “… you can hear this, I need your help. I’m at 946 Bruce Ave and I swear I’m not making this up. There’s a…a monster in my closet. I’ve boarded it up for now, but it’s not going to hold. Please, if you can hear this… Please… help me.”
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