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The Horror of the Night

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THE HORROR OF THE NIGHT

He sat perfectly still, outwardly motionless... but internally his heart was racing, breath coming in small, shallow gasps, muscles taut and honed for movement, as his fight-or-flight instinct kicked into full gear.

Around him the air vibrated, filled with the muted sounds of movement, a low muffled drone of sound that quickly sharpened into raspy moans and wordless grunts as the distant creatures drew closer.
Accompanying that noise, in a disturbing counterpoint, came the cries of fear from the monsters' victims... screams, abruptly cut off... a young girl's voice, calling plaintively for her mother who would never again respond... a low-voiced “God help us all...”

Almost unconsciously, his hand slid slowly, carefully, toward the holster nestled under his shoulder. The movement was subtle, barely visible, as was the flick of his fingers that loosened the clasp and slid the pistol free. The sensation of the metal against his palm was familiar, comforting, and he took a deep, steadying breath as he wrapped his hand around the weapon. The cacophony grew, the sounds of the fetid creatures pulsing through the darkness; they were almost upon him!

In the seat beside him, the slight form of his companion shuddered once, and a slim hand reached out to coil itself around his arm. He sensed her move closer, felt her lips brush his ear lobe as she leaned in to whisper a single, breathless word.

“Popcorn?”

Pau