The Cold Embrace of Morning

Outside, Ellen fumbled with the keys, then abruptly stopped.  "H-Henry..." She said, swallowing hard.  "I can't feel my feet."

"Doesn't matter."  Henry shouted, his voice had changed, though  "Get to a hospital, the police-anything!"

"Wh-what about you?"  Ellen stammered, showing more concern than Samir had expected.

"I"m going ot finish this, once and for all."  Henry said, a touch of menace coming to his voice.

There was a roar from inside, and Samir felt the edges of the dream fraying.  The lights inside the house had gone out, leaving only pale shadows from the moon.

"Good platform."  Henry stopped.  He forced himself to relax and pace his breathing.   "The emotional ground  was effective.  You haven't done that one for ages."

Henry's flesh started to dissolve, the massive belly and thick fingers deflating, his pale skin darkening to match Samir's natural tone.  When it was loose enough, Samir reached up to his shoulders and dug his fingers deep in the loose flesh.  He shed Henry's image like a snake sheds its' skin. 

This time he was just Samir. 

A shapeless mass of shadows squeezed out the double-paned front door to approach him, snuffling and grunting as it came.

"But you made the same old mistake.  Look!"  he pointed over the lake, allowing the grin to touch his eyes.  "It's Dawn!"

The creature roared and jumped for him, two arms extended in enormous, hairy shadows.

Samir spun on one heel, ducked and dove to the side, the creature missing him by scant inches.

Then it was all gone: the cabin, the bear, Lake Eerie.

Samir lay on the floor in the panic room, the spent cross-bow flung to one side--but still within the circle.    His shirt was torn and there were remains of the leapers at various points in the room.  The old-fashioned alarm-clock across the room was ringing shrill alarm.  The candles had all gone out.

Samir sighed and stood up, his knees protesting.  The pentagram had held.  Even without the candles, it had contained the damage.   But the emotional toll it had taken on him was almost overwhelming. 

A few more nights like this, and he might as well give in to the Malandanti.  The Leapers were getting stronger.  There had to be other guardians, other Benandanti like the woman from that first dream. 

The End

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