I turned on the TV to check if any of the channels were back up, there was only one channel available and it was just a pre-recorded broadcasting message from the BBC, it was urging everyone who "values their safety" to not be outside after sunset. It was in effect: a curfew. But it seemed different, it was an optional curfew. This "curfew" had been in place for four days but if you wanted to be out after sunset it was still your right and you could simply walk out your door to go to wherever you pleased and no police or Army personnel would stop you. I and everyone I knew didn't have the faintest idea to what was going on, the internet was not working, the phone lines were dead and we couldn't get a signal on any mobile phone throughout this city.

Down at the Nags Head, the local pub. The man who runs the pub, Bob, said he’d been hearing troubling stories from lorry drivers stopping by. He said, "If half the stories I've been told are true then something very bad is happening, families disappearing on a regular basis in this county, not just the city. Some say there’s something’s going around killing entire families and the army are simply arriving afterwards to try and capture the thing and remove any evidence of the deaths as to not cause panic to the county. Others say the government has turned into a dictatorship and is now assuming totalitarian rule. But there’s one thing that all the drivers are saying that seem to match and that’s that the entire county of Cambridgeshire has been quarantined, nobody can get in or out without proper authorisation."

"Why would they quarantine us?" I said.

"Who knows, maybe there’s a new virus going around that’s originated here and they want to prevent its spread—no that can’t be why, if it was just a virus then why go through the hassle of shutting down all the TV and broadband stations, and that doesn’t answer why they don’t want us going outside after nightfall. This is something far worse unfortunately, I think."

Three days later, the curfew had been going on for a week. I heard screams from my neighbour’s house last night, but I assumed it was just an argument that had taken a bad turn, I didn’t want to intervene in their affairs, but when the screaming and shouting died down I could hear this horrifying distorted type of breathing, I’ll never forget the sound, no human could ever breathe like that. I live on my own so this whole fiasco that was occurring throughout the county wasn’t really affecting me too badly but this has to come to an end. Work last week was a complete fucking nightmare; I had to do unpaid overtime three nights out of five last week because half of the department didn’t bother to turn up to work, lazy fuckers. I was off work for a few days paid holiday, I wasn’t told why but I won’t complain, I laughed to myself.

I stepped outside to collect the bottle of milk from my doorstep the next morning and I noticed an army truck outside the front of my neighbours' house, two armed soldiers were standing guard at the front door. I noticed at the bathroom window on the upper half of the house had what seemed to be a red hand mark which seemed dragged down violently on the inside of the bathroom, someone has been killed was my first thought, it looked like someone was trying to get out on the inside of the bathroom and what seemed seconds after I saw the red hand mark, a soldier popped out of nowhere on the other side and was cleaning it off the window and the red hand was no more. Then the front door opened and about fifteen armed soldiers came out, they seemed to be scanning the streets for activity and then they spotted me, one soldier simply pointed at me and then pointed to my house, basically indicating to me to go inside. This was when I dropped my milk bottle and ran inside and watched from inside my house, as what seemed the rest of the street did the same, to see what was going on.

Then five more came out about thirty seconds afterwards, this was insanity. 'Even it was murder, what the hell were twenty five soldiers armed to their necks with guns doing in that house?’ I asked myself. Then I noticed four more come out but they weren’t armed, they were simply carrying two black rectangle shaped objects out of that house. "That’s Mr and Mrs Parry’s bodies no doubt," I said to myself. They loaded the rectangle objects onto the truck, and the soldiers boarded the truck, two soldiers who were most likely officers were talking sternly to one another, I opened my window slightly to try and eavesdrop on them.

"Sir, we only missed it by about an hour."

"Did these two die like the others?"

"Yes sir, which brings the death toll to 8,659. I fear word will spread no matter what we do, we need to warn the public and tell them, we can’t find this thing, it only comes out at night. 15,000 Infantry, 150 Tanks, 35 helicopters and 10 UAV’s have been searching for a week and found nothing. The Prime Minister will be asking questions and we’ll be in deep shit, sir."

The man who seemed to be in charge took a sigh and looked to be holding back tears.

"Very well, restore television to the county but keep internet and broadband blocked for now, if word gets out then the whole world will be in panic, tell the BBC to make a home defence preparation broadcast to the local population at necessary times. They’ll need to be warned."

"Yes, sir."

They then boarded the truck and were gone.

"What... the... fuck," I whispered. "What the fuck is happening? This wasn't any virus or military takeover, something is in this county, in this city and that’s the reason for the families’ disappearances. That officer said that thing had killed 8,000 people." It was only now that I realised the seriousness of everything. How could something kill eight thousand people and have the whole country searching for it and still not be caught? I now refused to leave the house. I had enough supplies to last me a month anyway, surely it would all be over by then. Then the TV went from its pre-recorded broadcast to an actual live recording. The news woman said:

“There is an unknown person or thing that is terrorising the city of Peterborough, and civilians living in this city should be noted that all shops and public services are closed and that everyone should avoid going outside their home at any time of the day unless absolutely essential. For your own safety, gather necessary supplies and board up all your windows, lock your doors and block any place that anything can get in. This is an emergency. Stay tuned for further announcements.”

I honestly didn't know where to start; she said not to go outside at all. Does that mean that the thing these people are talking about comes out during the day also?

My heart suddenly stopped for a few seconds. 'Nex... next door, that thing... it was next door to me! That breathing, I knew it, no human could ever breathe like that and I was right.' If that thing was only a few metres away from me roughly ten hours ago then it might still be in the area. It was 6:49 PM so nightfall was only an hour away; I needed to secure my house. I went outside in the back garden shed to gather the necessary tools to board the windows, in my back garden you can see for miles the countryside. It seemed as the sun in the sky was declining the horizon, it was getting darker, and the darkness seemed to be creeping towards my house slowly. I felt uneasy as if that with the darkness it was carrying something horrible with it. "You’re being paranoid," I said to myself and went back inside; the house wasn't going to board itself.

I started at the upper half of the house first which took about 30 minutes, it was nearly 7:30 PM and it was a lot darker than it usually was at this time, never mind. The upper half was secured so now it was time for the downstairs windows to be boarded. I started with the front side of the house first, as if that thing was going to come, it’d probably come through the front door "manners and all," I joke to myself to loosen the silent tension. Now for the back of the house which consisted of two windows and a back door, the two windows were done easily enough and now time to confirm my safety for the night, the backdoor. Which I was only too eager to do, seeing as it was practically pitch black outside. As I hammered the final wooden plank sealing the door, out of a moment of self-pride, facing the sealed door I said:

“Now nothing can get in.”

Then I heard that heavy distorted breathing clear as day right behind me which then...

I heard its disembodied voice say:

"Or out."

Written by Suat Timocin (LancasterBomber)
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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