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Rated: 13+ · Novel · Thriller/Suspense · #1920629
a story of a group of friends who awake to the end of the world as they know it.
                                    Part 1
                          And it all falls apart

                                                        chapter One

It was a Sunday morning around 11:30am when the world fell apart.  But before we get into all of that I guess I should give you a little back story first.  My name is J.D Williams., yes it does stand for jack Daniel, my father was a big fan. Not that I don’t like to drink because I do like to drink when the mood strikes, and I am pretty proud of my name if you know what I mean.  I guess you’ll need a description of me, I’m a pretty big guy about 6’1” and I had a pretty big build and I tried to keep in at least half decent shape. I had red hair but I usually kept it shaved pretty much to the skin, the red hair only showed in my goatee. After high school I had tried to do the college thing but it didn’t really take.  After spending a year in community college I went to the police academy and became a corrections officer.  It was a good job, the type that you didn’t mind going to every day when you woke up.  At the time it all began I was living in a house with my two roommates Mark and Jay.  It was a fairly large three bedroom house in South Amboy, New Jersey and seeing as how we were three unmarried guys in our mid twenties it was basically a frat house.  It was the type of house where friends would stop by unannounced nightly, the three of us were very close and our separate groups of friends had basically merged at this point.  We had all agreed without really having to talk about it that were getting older and we may as well use this opportunity to have as much as we could before we had to settle down and do the family thing.  Mark and I had met three years ago working the same shift as correction officers in Rahway state prison. I can’t even remember now how we actually became friends as it seemed almost immediate after we met. He was a great guy and we had just gotten along right away.  Everyone we worked with always jokingly referred to us as brothers because we were always together.  When jay had gotten the house, it just seemed like a given that mark would move in with us.  We always joked with him that he was the token black guy of the house but he was actually half German as well.  Mark was a fairly big guy, at 6’4 he was three inches taller than me and he dreadlocks that actually went all the way down to his shoulders but kept them up because of work.  Mark had played defensive end in college and had used his football scholarship to get a criminal justice degree.

Jay and I had known each other since we were four years old.  We went to the same preschool and our mothers had been close friends so in turn we became friends.  We grew up living a block apart and just stayed friends through high school and college. Our friendship had gotten to the point where we barely had to talk to communicate; we just knew what the other was thinking. We referred to jay as the geek of the group what that really meant was that he made twice as much money as either of us working as a computer engineer for a big company in Manhattan. Jay was also the smallest, by far, he was 6’1 the same height as me but I had at least forty pounds on him. He had that tall lanky look, kept his blonde hair short and spiky and always wore his glasses which added to the nerdy look. The three of us had been sharing this house for a little over a year ever since Jay’s parents had moved to Florida and sold him the house. Mark and I were living there so we could help pay for the bills for now and save some money at the same time.  It worked for all of us we were all able to put away some money for later and he didn’t have to live all by himself.  The arrangement worked so well mostly because the three of us were so close, ourselves along with a few of the regular visitors had become a family.  Like I said it was a large house which was good  because usually it tended to be pretty full, jay and I both had pretty serious girlfriends who may as well have moved in they were around so much.  Add that to mark’s occasional company and the constant wave of friends that were in and out throughout the weekends and we needed all the space we could get.



                                        Chapter Two

The weekend of October the 12th was even busier than usual; my 25th birthday was that Sunday so that the three of us took the weekend off from work and made it into a 72 hour party.  On Friday the three of us along with Katie, Allison, and mark’s date who I believe was named Lisa went out to dinner to get the weekend started.  Katie and I had been together for about a year, we met through a mutual friend at a party. She caught my eye the second we were introduced, she was one of the few girls I’ve met who could be cute and fun and smart and pretty all at the same time.  The first thing I noticed was her height, or lack of.  She was only 4’11 but had more personality than anyone else I knew.  She was half Puerto Rican and half Irish, she had long straight black hair, but her skin was just as pale as mine.  She was a year younger than I was but more mature by at least four.  It was a little bumpy at first; we spent about six months after the initial hookup trying to figure out whether we were a couple or just friends.  Then one day it just kind of came together, that was thirteen months ago, now I couldn’t even picture my life without her. She taught fourth grade at the local elementary school and she said sometimes she couldn’t tell the difference between us and the students.  She liked the occasional party, and could handle her alcohol as well as most guys but once in a while she had to keep us in line.  It was definitely a case of opposites attracting but it worked. 

Allison and jay met during his senior year at college, they had the same major so they had a couple classes together and tended to run into each other a lot.  Finally during the last week of classes he found the nerve to ask her out.  They had been inseparable ever since. Allison was a very pretty girl, she was taller than Katie but at 5’3” she couldn’t be considered tall by any standards.  She had dark red hair that went just past her ears, and she was a little skinnier than Katie. Allison and Katie had also become very close friends, they had gotten along right away and I knew they both liked having a fellow female around in our predominantly male house.  Mark could have had a girlfriend had he wanted one; he was just enjoying his freedom way too much.  Mark had been in a relationship when I first met him, with the same girl he had been with all through high school.  It had finally ended, and ended badly about seven months ago and since then mark had dated as many different girls as he possibly could.  At the moment he was dating a girl named Lisa.  She was attractive and seemed nice enough, but they had been dating about two weeks and he was getting ready to move one any day now. Allison and Katie always tried to avoid getting close to marks “girls” because they never lasted but this time they just weren’t very fond of her.  They said she was fake and a little whiny, mark just laughed when they said it.  The first night of what we were calling the “three day party” went well; dinner was great, the drinks were even better.  We went to a Portuguese restaurant called Ria Mar.  We had been there a couple times and the food was always great.  We had a lot of laughs and by the time dinner was through we were feeling pretty buzzed from the sangria. Of course after dinner we ended up back at the house for some more drinks and a couple movies.  It had been a nice relaxed night, the perfect way too start a great weekend.

                                                        Chapter Three

The next day on the schedule was the big one, Saturday was the party but it didn’t end there.  We had tickets to the eagles versus giant’s game on Sunday; thankfully it was a four o’clock game so we would have time to sleep off the night before.  Not that the extra time helped, we never made it to the game.  The party started at seven o’clock, but by five the six of us were already starting the party with a few beers and some burgers on the grill.  Around 5:30 my sister Sarah arrived, she was two years younger than I was and she still lived with our parents.  She had just graduated from college and had just started work as an interior designer.  Growing up she always like to hang around with my friends and I and more times than not she was the most mature one in the room.  Having her around all the time was tough on me because I hung out with a lot of guys and she was a very beautiful girl.  She was 5’9” and had red hair like I did but it looked much better on her and she kept hers fairly long. You can put two and two together I’m sure.  Needless to say I got into my share of fights throughout high school, not that she needed me too because she was definitely tougher than she looked.  Years of hanging out with the guys had given her a toughness most girls like her didn’t have.  We were extremely close the entire time growing up even after I moved out when I was twenty one.  Two years ago my parents had decided to move down the shore and she had gone with them but she still came around fairly often. The rest of the guests started trickling in around 6:30.  First my cousin Kenny, he was the same age as me and also one of my closest friends, but he was also the “crazy one” in the family.  Kenny had been a star quarterback all through high school and had his choice of colleges.  But after he got hurt his sophomore year everything kind of fell apart on him, he lost his scholarship, dropped out of school, and after that he didn’t bother trying to stay in shape either.  Now he worked undercover security in a department store, he won’t admit but I think it’s because they put up with his “almost homeless” look.  Kenny let his beard grow out of control most of the time.  He had long brown hair almost down to his shoulders; he was close to six feet tall and a little overweight. He was a great guy and an even better friend but lately he had just been letting himself go a little bit. Kenny lived a few minutes away and was almost like a fourth roommate in the house. Anytime he wasn’t working he was with us.

The last two guests to arrive were Justin and Michelle, both my friends and were now a couple as well. I had introduced them two months ago at another one of my parties.  Michelle had been my friend for about six years now and was actually the one to introduce me to Katie.  Michelle was a cute girl but she was very shy and sometimes lacked in self esteem.  She was pretty tall at 5’7” and had shoulder length black hair. We all tried to get her to come out of her shell, but it never really took. We had been through a lot together and I considered her one of my best friends.  I had actually met her through a girl named Julie that I had dated for a few months. They had been close friends but after I broke up with Julie we kept in touch and Michelle and I just ended up as really close friends.  There was never anything more than friendship between us, we just never had those feelings.  Justin worked with mark and I and he was a good enough guy but I just wasn’t sure he was good enough for her.  Justin was one of those guys that was always the center of attention, he was a lot of fun at parties but something about him kept me from trusting him completely, don’t get me wrong I trusted him as friend but I was just afraid he would hurt her.  He had that thing that girls seemed drawn too, although he was only 5’6.  He had an athletic build, salon styled black hair with blonde highlights. He was a lot of fun to be around and had been there whenever I needed him. He made for a good friend but as a boyfriend for one of my closest friends I wasn’t too sure yet.

The party had been a huge success, even more so than most of our parties.  Don’t get me wrong we weren’t always partying.  We did know how to have fun but we also knew how to work from time to time.  Almost thirty people had shown up, and we’d managed to finish both kegs by midnight.  Everyone was drinking and having a good time, Kenny was tending bar as usual.  The beer pong table had been busy all night, mark and I had won six games in a row when I finally left the table to fulfill the rest of my duties as host. By about ten thirty I was far beyond drunk, Kenny had been pouring shots for anyone that even got near the bar.  We had all toasted for my birthday at least four times by now and at one point I noticed we had emptied three bottles of Jaeger all ready.  The party had started to quiet down by midnight and almost everyone was gone by one in the morning.  Most of them had arranged for a ride home but a couple of the regulars were spending the night.  Kenny and Sarah were both coming to the game with us tomorrow so they weren’t leaving and Michelle and Justin were sleeping over just because.  Sometime around two in the morning I was sitting on the couch sipping a beer and watching sponge bob square pants. Katie was fast asleep with her head on my lap Mark was in the chair next to me with my sister on his lap which was strange because I knew Lisa was around somewhere.  My sister had always had a thing for mark but she wouldn’t get involved with him until he was through his phase of jumping from one girl to the next.  He had no idea of this, and neither of them knew I had figured it out.  Normally this scene might bother me but I was drunk and I was feeling very trusting at the moment.  Kenny passed out on the living room floor, jay and Allison had gone to bed and Justin and Michelle were asleep on the other couch.  I took a quick walk around and it looked like everyone else was gone.  I woke up mark and he insisted we do one last birthday shot of Jaeger then I carried Katie to bed.  I climbed into bed next to her and fell asleep without knowing that the next morning everything would change.

                                            Chapter Four

That morning I woke up around nine am, for some reason I always woke up early the morning after a party.  I noticed Katie was still fast asleep so I figured I would take a shower before waking her up and making breakfast for last nights survivors.  I took a quick walk through the living room and noticed that I was the only one awake.  Evidently mark had found his way to his room, and his date but everyone else was pretty much where they were last night.  I took a walk over to the big window and noticed that it looked like it was going to be a pretty decent day, the sun was already out and the sky seemed virtually cloudless. As I stood I started thinking about what today would bring.  Jay and I had decided to propose to Allison and Katie today right after the game.  I know it sounds corny to do it together but about a month ago we realized that we had both decided to do it so we figured lets make it one big party.  Mark had gone on the record and officially said he thought we were both out of our minds. Although he really liked both girls he still couldn’t get used to the thought of sex with the same one person forever.  I think it was more that he was afraid to trust someone that much again but he would never admit that.  I ran through it in my head one more time and decided for the thousandth time that I was ready, now I just had to hope she said yes.  I knew she was happy and I knew she loved me but it was a big step and I didn’t know if she had even been considering it let alone thinking about it for weeks like I had.  But somehow in my heart I knew she would and that everything would be perfect today, that is as long as the eagles beat the giants.

About five minutes into my shower the bathroom door opened, my first thought was please god don’t let it be Kenny coming in to puke.  It wasn’t, when I pulled back the curtain I saw Katie standing in front of the shower wearing nothing but a bow, on the top of her head.  “Happy birthday” she said giving me that evil little smile of hers.  I picked her up and pulled her into the shower with me.  “I love the present, but now I have nothing to unwrap” I told her as I kissed her.  For the thousandth and first time now I knew I was one hundred and ten percent sure.  Like I said before we had a bit of a rough start, I was coming off a bad breakup and she just wasn’t sure if i could be serious enough about the relationship for her.  In fairness I wasn’t sure I wanted to be serious about it either.  When we had first met I wasn’t looking for anything serious I was just trying to have fun, but she was past that point. She wasn’t ready to get into a relationship again, especially with someone who wasn’t sure of what he wanted. We had just been friends at first, at her insistence, but that didn’t really work too well as we both knew there was something more there. It just took me some time to realize that my future was right in front of me.  As it turned out first she won me over and made me serious, and then I won her over.  When I realized what I could potentially lose out on I got very serious very fast, and as soon as she saw that she was willing to take a chance on me. Now at this moment more than ever I knew I couldn’t live without her. I only known her eighteen months but that was enough, this was it, and she was the one.

We walked out of the bathroom about forty five minutes later and got dressed.  I heard a couple voices so we figured it was about time to start breakfast.  As I was walking to the kitchen I heard Kenny calling me, “hey jd, mark I guess you guys wont be going to the game today.” I walked over and said “what the hell are you talking..”  I trailed off as I saw it.  Outside the big window I saw that it was almost pitch black outside, pitch black and snowing.  I can’t remember the last time it snowed in October, especially since it was sixty degrees out yesterday.  “This is nuts, It was sunny as hell outside just an hour ago.” it looked like the snow was getting heavier and heavier.  That was when I heard mark behind me, realizing for the first time that he had joined us “well I guess the game’s out, may as well eat breakfast so we can start drinking.  Its not like we’re getting anything else done today.” “Cable’s out too, tried to check the weather to see if they knew where this came from but all we’re getting is static.” Said jay as he walked into the room with Allison by his side.  “Since when do snow storms knock out the cable?” asked mark, and then he picked up the phone.  “Phones out too, that’s what we get for getting phone service through the cable company.” He said laughing a little.  “Yeah I’m sure it will be back up soon, they probably just got hit by surprise.” I said.  Kenny bored by the storm already said “well we can’t go out and there’s no TV, I’m getting another beer.” Everyone pretty much seemed content to hangout and just wait out the freak storm, it seemed like the perfect day to stay in and relax and since we were already all here it was all the better.

Forty minutes later most of us were clearing up the breakfast plates, after a buffet style breakfast consisting of bacon sausage pancakes eggs and my famous southern comfort French toast.  One of the house traditions was to all cook a huge breakfast the morning after a big party.  I can’t remember when exactly it hard started but by this point it had become a given after every party.  Justin and Kenny were in the living room playing guitar hero 3 on Xbox, already drinking their first beer of the day; mark and I were giving a hand to the girls doing the dishes.  Just as everyone started settling in to the living room I noticed Allison standing in front of the big window.  “umm has anyone looked outside lately?” she asked.  At that we all walked over to take a look for ourselves.  It took me a second to even understand what I was looking at, the sun had come out slightly making it a nice shade of grey, and it was definitely still snowing and harder than ever, and the most unbelievable thing was that there was at least four feet of snow on the ground.  In just about an hour the snow had already reached half way up the cars.  Out in front of the house I could only see my black suv from the windows up, and the snow was showing no signs of stopping.  “Has anyone tried to check the internet?” Katie asked.  “That’s down too” responded jay “I just tried but there’s nothing.”  Now the panic started setting in on the house.  “I have to get home today” said lisa looking towards mark “you have to drive me home now before it gets worse”  lisa only lived a five minute drive from here but with this much snow I doubted any of our cars could make it that far.  “Just relax and wait for the plows to come through, it shouldn’t be too long.” Mark told her while putting an arm around her to try and calm her.  “Well we may as well get dressed and start shoveling, that way when the plows come through we’ll be able to get out of here right away.”  Jay suggested.  “yeah lets just dig my truck out so they don’t plow it under any more, then ill drive everyone home that wants to go as soon as its clear.”  I told everyone, knowing my truck was the only one that had any chance of making it through this storm.  That seemed to settle most of the panic, as everyone started getting ready.

                                          Chapter Five

After taking some time to find some decently warm clothing and the snow shovels, mark, jay Kenny and I, we only had four shovels so Justin decided to stay in with the girls, were outside starting towards my truck.  The snow was up around my stomach so wee needed to dig just to get to the truck.  It was still snowing but was slowing down and unbelievably it wasn’t really all that cold outside.  We started digging, taking our time bullshitting around and having a good time like we usually did.  The four of us were currently on either side of the car, mark and I on one side Kenny and jay on the other and were flinging snow over the truck at each other.  Mark and I ran to the other side and we all just started firing snowballs at each other when we heard a woman scream.  We all froze and assuming it was one of the girls looked to the house, I was actually halfway up the porch steps when we heard it again from behind us.  A woman was running, or trying to through the snow, towards us from about a hundred yards down the street.  “Is that Mrs. Martin?” asked jay.  Mrs. Martin was a lady in her fifties who lived at the end of the street and had taught both jay and I in high school.  It looked like she was still wearing her nightgown and she was absolutely terrified.  She kept trying to move towards us and was screaming the whole time, although we couldn’t really make out the words.  We started moving towards her when suddenly jay grabbed my arm and said “no wait”.  “What are you doing?  She needs help.” I told him.  “something’s chasing her, look.”  He said and pointed past her.  At first I couldn’t see what he was talking about and then I noticed that just behind her the snow was moving, and whatever it was was moving very fast.  We were all watching in a state of shock not really sure how to react when she went down.  We caught a glimpse of whatever it was as it overtook her but t was hard to make out because it was white and blended with snow, but it was much bigger than she was, that much was obvious.  The thing, whatever it was was hovering over her fallen body but all we could really see was the red snow around her.  Finally someone spoke, it was Kenny “can we please get back in the house; I don’t want that thing seeing us.”  We all started moving towards the house as mark said “what is it?”  “Whatever it is” I said “I’ve never seen anything like around here before.”

We hurried back into the house and mark locked the door behind us, we hadn’t run very far but were still all breathing heavily from the shock.  “Are you guys done already?  Can we leave now?”  Lisa asked.  “No, we can’t go yet” mark answered.  “Yeah we’re definitely not going anywhere anytime soon.” Kenny added as he walked into the kitchen and opened a beer.  “What happened? What’s wrong?” Katie asked coming towards me looking concerned.  “I don’t know something was out there.” I told her catching my breath. “What do you mean something?  What’s out there?” Lisa asked seeming frantic, almost angry.  “It ate a lady!” yelled Kenny from the kitchen right before he began chugging from his beer bottle.  “What? Who?” asked Allison, now also panicking.  “great Kenny, scare the shit out of everyone.”  Jay said to him.  “They should be scared, it ate a fucking lady jay!” yelled Kenny, now on his second beer. “What was it? a big dog or something?  A wolf?” asked Katie.  “No it was much bigger, twice the size of Mrs. Martin.”  Answered mark.  “Wait there’s no way im going to believe something out there can eat a person so just stop playing around asshole.” Said Justin, almost laughing.  “Ok wait everyone just calm down and let’s talk about this.”  I said.  “Yeah let’s figure out what’s going on” said mark walking back into the room as he was holstering his gun.  “What do you need that for?” asked Michelle. “Yeah you should really put the gun away mark; you guys know I hate those things.” Said Sarah, she had been calm and hadn’t said much but I knew my sister and she was scared.  “Alright everybody sit down and we’ll explain” I said.  Everyone hesitantly sat down in the living room and listened as I told the story, letting mark and jay jump in occasionally to confirm the story.  Kenny only sat there staring out the window as if he was waiting for whatever it was to jump in and kill us all. After we finished the story everyone sat quietly until Justin spoke up.  “I still don’t believe any of this, this is just another of your stupid jokes.”  “Justin stop, you know they’re telling the truth, look at them!  I’ve never seen anyone of them this scared.”  Michelle said to him raising her voice slightly.  “Yeah these guys may joke around but not like this and not believing them is only gonna make this worse than it already is.” Said Sarah, she was always good at keeping people calm. “We need to call the police.” Said Allison in a matter of fact voice trying to stay calm.  “Already tried, the phone’s down just like everything else.” Stated Katie who was now holding onto my arm so tight she was almost breaking skin.

For the next ten or fifteen minutes we all sat there in the living room discussing what had happened so far that day what the thing that attacked Mrs. Martin could have possibly been.  Every few minutes someone would get up and look out the window but no one was really able to see anything out of the ordinary.  “We need to get out of here now.” Said Lisa suddenly, jumping to her feet.  “No it’s not safe, as soon as everything clears up then we can go to the police.” Said jay.  “Yeah we’re safe here, nothings coming in here and if it does we’ve got guns we can handle it, but there’s no way we can leave its too dangerous.”  Said mark.  I also had my gun on now and our three hunting rifles and mine and marks second handguns, both revolvers were all lying on the coffee table.  Mark, Kenny, jay and I had decided to start hunting so we all purchased rifles but we had only gone once. One day during our break at work mark and I had seen hunting rifles on sale in one of the circulars for a sporting goods store and I had said “wanna go hunting?” he said yes and the next thing you know the four of us were buying rifles.  The trip itself hadn’t been that exciting, we drank beer, ate hot dogs and slept in a tent but never found anything to shoot.  After that we never bothered to go hunting again but we kept the rifles in the hopes that we would try again one day.

“Everyone just try to relax, we’ll put on a movie and try to take our minds off of everything outside for now.  We’ll deal with trying to leave as soon as it’s possible.” I said, and everyone seemed to start to relax. “Yeah it’s just another snow day, lets just hangout and have a few beers, just like any other Sunday.” Mark said, seeing what I was trying to do and running with it.  Katie got up and returned from our room with a DVD in her hand.  “Old school, I figured at a time like this we should go with a classic” she said trying to smile.  I loved her even more right now for being so strong even though I knew she was terrified.  Everyone seemed to agree with the choice of movie so everyone started to settle in and relax.  I sat one the big chair in the corner and pulled Katie onto my lap as everyone else spread out on the two couches and the floor.  The movie started and everyone was laughing, a couple us even saying the lines along with the characters on the screen.  Once we got going we didn’t even really need a movie, within a few minutes we were all cracking up, most of us had the movie memorized so were quoting it back and forth then we moved on to quoting from a few other movies.  Things were just starting to feel normal again when the lights went out.



                                      Chapter Six

Now the panic had returned with a vengeance.  There was still some light outside, so thanks to the large picture window in the living room we were still able to see fairly well but to be honest that didn’t help all that much.  Everyone jumped, Lisa and Michelle both screamed, and mark was up with his gun drawn and pointed at the window.  “Everyone calm down, that was bound to happen with the storm this bad, it’s no big deal.” I said although I really didn’t believe it myself.  Jay went to the kitchen and got our three flashlights, and gave one to me and one to mark.  We didn’t need them yet but if it got any darker outside we would.  “I wanna go home now” screamed lisa, who had started to cry.  “Just relax everything’s going to be ok” said mark putting his arm around her.  “No! It’s not going to be ok.  Somebody just get me out of here!”  She was screaming at the top of her lungs but the words could barely be made out through the tears.  “Come on just relax, lets go get you cleaned up” said Katie as her took her by the hand and led her to the bathroom, Michelle followed.  “We really need to come up with some sort of a plan; this is starting to get weird.”  Justin said. “What do you guys think do you want to try shoveling out the truck again?” Jay asked looking toward me and mark. We then heard more yelling coming from outside.  “It came from the backyard, come on” said Justin as he started towards the backdoor through the kitchen.  “I wouldn’t go running out there” said mark staying where he was.  “Yeah we better go out on the deck and see what’s out there first, just in case.  Myself, Kenny, Justin, mark and jay started to head upstairs each one of us armed with one of the guns.  I noticed Sarah was also with us carrying my revolver; I started to protest then realized it wouldn’t make a difference anyway; she was as stubborn as I was.  We all went out onto the deck together and looked over the rail in shock.  In the yard directly behind ours there was a man lying in the snow, already torn up so bad he was unrecognizable and standing over him were three wolves.  The last time I checked there were no wolves in this area but there were three right in front of us and by the looks of it they had chased him out of his own house before catching him.  Mark and Kenny began to take aim, when jay said “stop, don’t shoot them.”  “Jay they killed that guy, what if they try to get in here next.”  Mark protested.  “If they try then we shoot them, but that’s not what killed Mrs. Martin, and I’d really not make noise and attract whatever that was by killing these things.” Jay responded.  “Yeah he’s right let’s go in, we’ll just have to keep watch by the windows and if anything tries to get in we start blasting whatever it is.” I said.

We stood there on the deck watching the wolves on the other side of the fence.  Once the man was dead it seemed like they lost interest in him as they began walking around the yard, even looking up at us a few times.  “Come on let’s go in and check on the girls” I said breaking the silence.  “Yeah hopefully they managed to get Lisa under control, I think she’s gonna give me a panic attack” joked mark, and a few of us laughed.  Then we froze again when we heard yet another scream.  Although this time we knew exactly where it came from and who it was.  The scream had come from the living room and all three girl’s screams had been accompanied by the sounds of breaking glass. My mind flashed with visions of some thing attacking Katie and I knew had to save her. I was down the stairs, into the living room and had fired my gun three times before I had even had a chance to register what was happening.  The first thing I saw was a large white thing standing in the middle of the living room, the big picture window had been completely smashed in, and the creature was standing over someone, and they weren’t moving.  I heard screams, I felt mark next to me also firing his gun, and I couldn’t see anyone else.  I knew at least three of my shots had connected, and I knew at this range mark wouldn’t be missing much either.  The thing, seeming unaffected by the bullets, lunged towards us and quickly and crashed into both of us knocking both me and mark to the floor.  All three of us tumbled around and came to a stop in the dining room.  I immediately started fighting the thing but I realized it wasn’t attacking us. I looked up and saw that jay now had his gun pointed at the thing which had stopped moving.  “J.D.!”  I heard Katie scream, and my first thought was thank god she’s ok, I hadn’t seen her yet and my only thought through the whole ordeal was please let her be alright.  I began to try to move out from under the thing, still not sure of what it was or who was hurt.  Blood was everywhere, and I heard a couple of the girls crying, then I realized mark was moving too, we pushed the thing off of us then we both stood and looked down on the thing that had killed Mrs. Martin and now lay dead in our dining room, it was a very large white Bengal tiger

Chapter Seven

“Oh my god!” yelled Katie as she ran toward me and held onto me fiercely. The ground around us was covered in blood but I wasn’t hurt and mark didn’t seem harmed either. “Is everyone ok?” “nnno” said Michelle whimpering and pointed toward the middle of the living room.  That’s when we looked back towards the living and saw Lisa laying on the floor.  “Oh shit is she ok?” said mark. “Lisa!” he screamed as he realized she wasn’t moving. We rushed towards her and jay turned her over to check her pulse.  An audible gasp passed through the room as we saw her, Sarah ran out of the room, and Michelle and Katie started crying all over again.  Lisa’s throat had been completely ripped out.  “She’s gone” said Chris and he covered her with a blanket from the couch.  Everyone went silent, a kind of shock took over as well as, I’m sure everyone else in the room, we had never seen anything like this outside of a movie and now someone we all knew was dead.  Mark sat on the chair and put his head in his hands.  I wanted to go over and be able to say something to comfort him, although he didn’t know her long I knew he was hurting like hell, but there was just nothing I could possibly say.  “What the fuck is going on?  That was a damn tiger.  There are no tigers in new jersey.”  Kenny yelled.  “There’s wolves in the backyard, and now this, we need to get out of here now.” Justin said raising his voice. “What are we going to do?” Allison asked, still crying.  “Ok let’s just get into the basement everyone.  I don’t want anything else coming in through that window.”  I said pointing to the now shattered picture window. Without a word everyone grabbed the guns and we filed down the stairs, with jay shutting and locking the basement door on his way down.

Once we got in the basement it became a scene of total chaos, everyone was talking over each other in a complete panic, mark hadn’t spoken a work nor looked up since we got down there, and Michelle and Sarah hadn’t stopped crying.  Katie and Allison were both holding up a little better but not by much.  Justin and Kenny were arguing about the situation with jay trying his best to mediate.  All I could do was hold Katie, I had never been so close to losing her and I was afraid to let go again. Now after what had happened to lisa the whole thing seemed all to real, and I knew I was ready to fight anything I had to to protect Katie.  All of the sudden mark stood up and stepped to the center of the room, he began to speak in a strong flat voice.  “ok everyone just stop.  We’re better than this, whatever is going on is fucking crazy, but it doesn’t seem like its getting any better and we’re only gonna get through it by sticking together.”  “he’s  right, freaking out wont do any good, whats happening is happening, its real and its not just gonna go away, so lets figure out how to get through it.” I said as I stood up.  Now the room started to pull together, the fighting stopped as did most of the crying.  “ok I think we should be safe down here for a while but not long.” Said jay addressing the group.  “what do you mean not for long, there’s no windows, we’ll be fine to wait it out here.”  Justin stated still looking angry.  “Eventually something’s gonna get down here and then theres nowhere to go.” Answered mark.    “no it’s more that that” said jay, he thought for a second and then continued “whatever is happening is getting worse and I don’t think it’s a coincidence, first the snow, which we all know never happens like that especially this time of year.  Then the animals, not only are they in places they should never be but they’re hunting people, theres not even a zoo around here.”  “so what are you getting at? This is the end of the world or something?” asked sarah  “I don’t know why its happening and I don’t know whats happening anywhere else but I think this areas being wiped out.”  Jay answered.  “that’s ridiculous its just some freak thing we need to wait out here” Justin said.  And almost as if on cue the ground under us began to move.

                                                            Chapter Eight

I had never experienced an earthquake before, and to my knowledge they didn’t have many of them at all in this part of the country but whether any of that was true or not that’s exactly what this was.  The ground was shaking violently, the storage cabinets against the wall crashed to the floor.  “Everybody over here” yelled jay over all the noise.  He was in the doorway that led to our small laundry room off the main room of the basement.  Our basement was a small area that we used as both an exercise room and a storage area.  Now all of the equipment as well as the boxes and cabinets were everywhere.  We all huddled together in the doorway as everything crashed down around us.  Kenny, jay, mark, myself and Justin made up the outside protecting the four girls inside.  I saw the walls begin to crack and felt small pieces of the ceiling landing on my back.  At that point a pipe or something must have burst because I saw water start to flow in through the cracks.  Finally after about three minutes that felt like an eternity the shaking stopped.  “is everyone ok?” I asked and I was answered by everyone saying yes and I’m ok.  We had all survived the quake which was a good thing but now we had to survey the damage.  “was that an earthquake?” asked Michelle “it must have been, I think we need to get out of here” responded jay.  The water was still rushing in and was now up to our ankles. “where? Theres nowhere to go.” Said Allison frantically  “ok lets get upstairs and check things out then we can decide what to next, if another quake comes the basement is not where we want to be.” I told them.  “What if more animals got in?” asked Sarah  “jd and I will go up and check things out, we’ll make sure its all clear” said mark, he looked at me and I nodded.  “im coming too.” said Justin  Kenny and jay started to come forward too, but I stopped them by saying “Justin grab a rifle and come with us, but you two stay here with the girls, if something’s there and we don’t make it back, take the rest of the guns and make a run for it through the storm doors.

The three of us each grabbed a gun, mark and I took our 9mm handguns, and Justin grabbed one of the rifles.  I walked over to Katie and hugged her she held tightly, I knew she wanted to try to talk me out of going upstairs but knew it was pointless.  Besides my stubbornness mark and I knew that seeing as how we were the only two with any real firearm and combat training, albeit not much, we had to take the lead here.  I kissed her then let go and started upstairs.  Mark was following behind me with Justin taking up the rear.  The stairs were cracked and in bad shape but still usable.  We got to the top of the stairs; I unlocked the door and quickly moved right scanning the room.  I knew mark had done the same thing on the left side; however the entire area was clear of wildlife.  The kitchen was a wreck, all the cabinets had opened and there were dishes and broken glass everywhere.  The living room was much of the same, our 42 inch plasma tv had fallen of the wall and smashed, and walls everywhere were cracked.  We continued our sweep through the house and found more destruction but no animals or real threats.  “you guys might want to see this” yelled Justin from the backdoor of the kitchen.  We ran over and looked out the back windows to see what he was talking about.  There were four wolves just sitting outside the back door in the snow.  “Check the front” I said to mark.  He ran over to the window and came jogging back into the kitchen “yeah five of them out front” he said.  “Shit! How do they know?” Justin asked “I don’t know but somehow they know we’re going to have to come out.” I said “what do we do?” mark asked “nothings changed, we still have to leave.” I said and looked toward Justin “get everyone else up here and we’ll work out a plan” I said and Justin nodded and walked to the basement door “Its all clear, everybody come up but be careful on the stairs” called Justin from the top of the stairs.

Everyone came upstairs and looked around at the damage, we showed them the problem outside, and everyone started panicking.  “how are we supposed to get out now? They’ll be all over us.” Said Kenny “we’re not we’re just gonna stay here. Right?”  Said Michelle seeming a little scared.  “no, we’re leaving.” I said and everyone started arguing until jay stepped forward and said “he’s right, we can’t stay here, things are only going to get worse and this house won’t hold up to much more.  We have to find somewhere safe.”  “Nowhere is safe, how are we even going to be able to get out of the house?” Sarah asked.  “Yeah we can’t drive anywhere because of the snow, there’s animals everywhere, and even if we could get somewhere, where could we possibly go that would be safe?”  Allison asked the group.  “What about the high school?” asked jay, looking at me.  “Saint Mary’s?” I asked him “that school is full of windows and to be honest we’d be lucky if was even still standing after the earthquake.” I answered him, a little confused.  “no not the school, the church across the street.” He answered.  “a church? You want us to go to church?” Katie asked  “no he’s right, we went to that church through all four years of high school, there’s a fallout shelter underneath it.” I said realizing what he was talking about.  “if we can get there we would be safe from anything coming in and it should hold up to anymore weather issues.” Jay stated.  “How in the hell are we gonna get there?” Justin asked.  The school and church were located about six blocks down Main Street.  We lived on cedar street, in order to get to the school we would have to go four blocks to get to main street and then another six to the church.  In a car in good weather it was a three minute drive, on foot in the snow, who knows.  “We run” said mark.  “We get some things packed and run, we can stop house to house if we have to but we have to get there one way or the other.”  Mark finished.

                                                  to be continued
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