• Fssssshhhhh... This was the noise that was heard as the rain fell relentlessly onto the road. A car sped by, ignoring the indirect and unspoken warnings of dicey pavement. “Stephen, please slow down! You’re going awfully fast,” someone said from inside the car. Stephen and Shannon were the two inside the vehicle. A married couple, they had begun to grow distant from each other due to a certain incident that happened long ago. Stephen sighed. “Shannon, stop worrying. I know what I’m doing,” he assured her. Shannon looked at her husband worriedly and said, “The least you could’ve done is stay on the interstate. I don’t want to get lost again.” The map was left at home, and the spare was in the trunk of the car. “Shannon, would you please get off my back? This is a shortcut I used to take all the time back when-aaaahh!” His sentence was cut short as he took a turn and lost control of the car. Both of them screamed as the 3-ton hunk of metal flipped over upside-down. A large chunk of the car became loose from the door and slammed into Stephen’s head, creating a large gash. When the automobile ceased moving, the couple scrambled out through the doors; and not a moment too soon, for right after they did, a loud explosion could be heard, setting the car on fire. However, the fire was soon put out by the falling rain, the silent warning. “Where...where are we?” Shannon asked, frightened. She looked around. There were woods on either side of them. “Arrgh...I don’t know, but I do know that my head hurts like mad,” Stephen replied, wincing as he touched his wound. “Look, there’s a sign!” Shannon exclaimed. However, her excitement was cut short as she moved toward it. The sign was torn completely in half. She decided to check the car for the keys to open the trunk. “Where could they...found them!” she stated. “I’m going to look at the map and see where we are,” she told Stephen. But, even as she unlocked the trunk, when she tried to open it she found that it was...”Stuck,” she muttered, disappointed. She looked over her shoulder, only to find that Stephen was heading toward her with a large log. “Uhn...move!” he shouted in a rush. Shannon hurriedly ran out of the way as Stephen brought the log down on the trunk hard, forcing it open. He pulled out the map. “Hmm...It says that there should be a gas station past that, uh...sign there,” he said. Shannon began walking toward the sign. “Well then, what are we waiting for?” she asked.
    Minutes later, the two came upon the gas station. There was a small mini-mart, so they decided to check it. They both looked inside, but there was no one there. “That’s strange...where do you think everyone went?” asked Stephen. Just then, a loud siren began to sound in the distance. Someone burst out of the doors to the mini-mart. “What the hell are you idiots doing outside?! Get in here NOW!” the man commanded. Shannon and Stephen rushed indoors. “What’s going on? Who are you?” Stephen inquired. The man put his finger in front of his lips and pointed to a little girl sleeping in the corner. “Shhh...We don’t want to wake her up now, do we?” he whispered. “My name is Officer Darryl. There have been some strange things happening around Starnsburg...” “So that’s where we are? Starnsburg?” Stephen interrupted. Darryl nodded. “Yes. That sleeping girl over there lost her parents a few hours ago. I think it’s something...supernatural.” “That’s bull!” came a voice from behind the service counter.”There’s nothing ‘supernatural’ going on here!” Officer Darryl turned to look at the man who spoke. “Charles, that girl over there witnessed creatures take her parents!” he shouted. The girl in the corner woke up. “What’s wrong, Darryl?” she asked. Darryl turned to look at her. “It’s ok, Amy, there’s nothing wrong. You go back to sleep, ok sweetie?” Amy stretched and yawned. “No, that’s ok. I think I’ll stay awake for now,” she said, smiling. “Wait,” Shannon interrupted. “You said something about creatures?” she asked skeptically. Just then, someone else came out from the employee door. “Personally, I side with Charles on this one... it’s nothing supernatural at all.” Stephen leaned over to Officer Darryl. “Who is that?” he whispered. “That’s Jarod, the town science geek. His motto is ‘if it can’t be explained with science, it must not be real,’” Darryl whispered back to him. He then said to them, “If it’s nothing supernatural, then why don’t you guys go for a walk outside?” “I’m sorry to interrupt, but my husband needs serious medical attention. Do you happen to have a first-aid kit around here?” Shannon intervened. Charles sighed and said, “Sorry lady, there isn’t one here.” “There’s a pharmacy about a couple hundred meters from here,” Darryl told her, “But as an officer I’m not allowed to let you out of here until I receive further instruction.” Charles pounded his fist on the counter. “Fine, then I’ll go! I’ll leave out the back door and lock it so that nothing ‘supernatural’ comes and gets you,” he said mockingly. And with that, he left. Darryl adjusted his glasses. “Stupid kid...” he muttered. Suddenly, Jarod’s worried and frightened voice could be heard. He shouted, “My God! What are those things!?” Everyone rushed to the windows. Strange flying creatures with large stingers had attached themselves to the windows. Amy screamed loudly. “Those are them! Those things took mommy and daddy!” She than began to cry. “Those things...they have a purpose,” Darryl said. “We, as humans...we no longer have existence on this Earth.” “So what are you saying? That this is the apocalypse?” Stephen asked through gritted teeth. Darryl nodded. “God...no longer has use for us in this world” Shannon ran over to Amy and shouted at Darryl. “Shut up! You are going to give this child nightmares! What is she, eight years old?” Darryl looked down and said with a defeated look on his face,”Whatever. You can just do whatever you want now. I don’t really care.” “Well, I’m going to look in for the pharmacy,” Shannon stated. “Shannon, no! you don’t have to do this,” Stephen begged. Shannon replied, “Look, I know there’s someone out there. We’ve got to get help.” “I’ll go with her,” Jarod interrupted, holding an axe. Stephen looked into Shannon’s eyes. “Just...be safe, ok?” he told her. “Don’t worry; I’ll be back in no time.”
    The rain was still falling as Shannon walked to the pharmacy, Jarod in front holding the axe. By the time they got to their destination, the axe was drenched with blood. Shannon approached the building. “This is a pharmacy?” she said nervously. “It doesn’t look like one at all...at least not anymore.” She entered the building cautiously, leaving Jarod outside to guard. Inside, there were large cocoons all over the walls. “What could have done this?” she thought. Suddenly, as she turned a corner, she saw one of the beasts! Shannon turned back quickly. She started talking to herself. “There were two doors...but one was locked very well. Someone must be hiding inside. The other one was being guarded by one of those...things. ” Just then she found a key on the ground. She decided to try the key in the locked door. It creaked open. Shannon rushed inside, looking for someone who might be inside. She finally found someone, but as she began to walk toward him, the sound of a gunshot could be heard. The man had committed suicide with a shotgun. Shannon put her hands over her mouth to stop the scream from coming out. Then she heard a humming sound coming from behind her. The creature that was guarding the door had come to investigate the sound! Shannon’s eyes widened with fear. She looked around the room frantically for anything she could use to stop the beast. Her eyes settled on the shotgun. Picking it up, she yelled, “Die!” and shot the hideous thing into pieces. Shannon ran from the room, and opened the other door. This time she let her scream ring out. Charles was lying on the floor, blood gushing from a large hole where a stinger had impaled him. Shannon looked away from the horrid sight and saw a first-aid kit and shotgun bullets. As she picked them up, however, a loud humming noise could be heard again. Several beasts swarmed into the room, chanting, “You have angered the hive. You killed our brother. Now you must die!” One of the monsters lunged at Shannon, but she pulled the trigger of the shotgun just in time. But this only made the swarm angrier. Suddenly, Charles’ body rose from the ground, another stinger in his back. He began to chant with the monsters. “You have angered the hive...you killed our brother...now you must die...” “No! Charles!” Shannon screamed as Charles’ body made a lunge at her. Shannon aimed the shotgun at him and fired several times. Somehow, some keys he had been carrying flew out of his hands and stuck themselves in Shannon’s arm. She pulled them out, stuck them in her pocket and ran for her life! When she reached the outside of the pharmacy, she shouted frightfully, “Jarod, we have to go NOW!” However, suddenly, Jarod brought the axe down at her. Shannon barely moved out of the way in time. “Jarod...?” she said, realizing what had happened. “You have angered the hive...You killed our brother...Now you must die!” He swung the axe at her erratically. With tears in her eyes, Shannon pulled the trigger three times. Three bullets tore through Jarod’s skin and he fell to the ground. Shannon dropped her gun and ran as fast as she could back to the mini-mart.
    Shannon barely made it inside. “So? What happened?” Stephen asked, worried. “Those things...they got Jarod and Charles...” Shannon panted. “I knew it!” Darryl exclaimed. “We must not mess in the affairs of God! All hope is lost! We must succumb to his almighty-““You know, I’ve had just about enough of your ranting!” Shannon yelled at Darryl. “Stop it now! Please!” SMACK! With one move of his arm, Darryl slapped Shannon. She fell to the ground. Stephen got up and ran toward Darryl. “You son of a-“ BANG! Shannon screamed as Darryl shot Stephen. “You are a MONSTER!” Shannon shrieked. Darryl adjusted his glasses. “I will not be spoken to as such by some woman!” he shouted back at her. Shannon was bound and gagged with pope and handcuffs. Darryl carried her to the basement. Amy saw the whole thing and cried quietly. When Darryl came back upstairs, he looked for Amy. “Amy? Where are you, sweetheart?” He said. “Come on out, I won’t hurt you. I promise.” Amy was on top of a shelf and pushed a can of beans down onto his head. “Ouch!” Darryl cried. “I’ll get you for that! Come out NOW!” While Darryl’s back was turned, Amy ran down into the basement.
    Using things she found in Shannon’s Pocket, Amy freed Shannon. She smiled down at the small child. You remind me so much of my daughter, Katie...long ago, me and my husband lived happily in a small house. Katie wanted to play outside, but both I and Stephen were busy, so she went outside by herself.” Shannon started to cry. “And then,” she continued, tears dripping onto the cold hard ground, “She dropped her ball and it rolled into the street. She ran out to get it...and...Oh, it was all my fault!” Just then, footsteps could be heard coming their way. I finally found you, Amy...Shannon, why don’t we spend our last moments on Earth together?” Shannon stood up and shouted, “Go to hell! I wouldn’t even SPIT in your direction after what you did!” “Nor would I,” came a voice, coming from the steps. Darryl turned and gasped at what he saw. “But...but that’s impossible!” he stuttered. “Surprised to see me?” asked Stephen, a bullet hole in his shoulder and Jarod’s axe in his hands. Darryl shot Stephen again and again, but when he came into view, large stingers could be seen coming out of his back. “I was raised Christian...” he began. “And this is NOT the God I know!” He grunted loudly and swung the axe at Darryl’s neck, severing his head from his body. “My God, Stephen!” Shannon yelled and rushed over to him. “There isn’t much time...we need to get out of here fast!” Stephen stammered. Shannon pulled Charles’ car keys out of her pocket. “We can use Charles’ car!” she squealed. “Then let’s go,” Stephen declared, using all the energy he had left.
    Shannon, Stephen, and Amy all got into Charles’ car and drove away as fast as they could. Hours later, the car ran out of gas. Stephen stumbled out of the car into the rain. “Shannon...” he coughed. “I can’t take it anymore...it’s over. End it now...please...” He handed Shannon Darryl’s gun. “No...Stephen! We need to get you to a hospital!” Shannon yelled frantically, tears welling up in her eyes. Stephen coughed again. “Shannon...please...do it now...i just want to see Katie again...” Shannon shook her head, tears flying everywhere. “I won’t do it! I’m not going to shoot you!” Stephen grabbed her arm and pointed the gun at his forehead. “Do it now! Shoot me! Just end my pain, Shannon!” Shannon, crying uncontrollably, said quietly, “I love you, Stephen.”
    “I love you too, Shannon.”

    There is no victorious end to this story.
    “And in those days men shall seek death, but not find it; they shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
    Revelations 9:6 (KJV)