Blogtober 2023, Day 12: Panic
But crouching by an oak fire’s wholesome glow,
I tried to tell myself it could not be.
H.P. Lovecraft, The Messenger
A wildfire of panic enveloped the group. Another scream rose into the night but it wasn’t Carrie’s. This one came from the rear of the house. Liz raced around the corner and between the alley that once was a grassy separation between Glen’s house and his neighbor’s.
“Denise!” Liz cried out. “Are you okay?”
The others followed her. They arrived at a brushy, weed-riddled yard. A rusted swing set was practically folded in on itself. The dim light of the moon barely illuminated what they saw. Carrie released an involuntary audible gasp. Liz stumbled to her friend. Denise’s body lay under the set, a single swing gently swaying. Her hands were clasped on her blood-soaked abdomen.
“Oh my god, Denise.” Liz placed her hands on Denise’s. Three deep cuts spread across her stomach as if made by a large claw. Spencer and Luke kneeled next to the sobbing Liz.
“What happened?” Spencer asked. “Denise?”
She didn’t answer. All she could offer was labored breaths and groans.
“Is she gonna die?” Carrie ran a frantic hand through her hair. “We need to get help. Get her to the hospital!”
“We don’t have that kind of time,” Glen said. “Monster got her.”
“Denise,” Liz whispered through tears. “Who did this to you?”
Denise raised one of her bloodied hands to the upstairs window where the man in the cardigan stood.