"Anything, Timothy?" a whisper asks me. Had I not known Shayleen would come asking, I might have jumped. I was scared as it was...
I took one last look around the darkness outside and carefully moved back toward the rear door of the livingroom. It was usually a cheerful room that my family spent their days enjoying in leisure. The couch had been made from the sheep's wool from Justin Brock's farm and the covering made in Homerson. Before it lay a great stone hearth I had pieced together myself. Lillian and Melody had loved it so.
"Nothing, my love," I told her as I made my way through the new set up of our livingroom. Spears lay against the wall in between the door and window I had been at. They had helped us drive the occasional beast that had come since that first attack. The door was, of course, sealed off behind several planks of wood and a iron bar I had crafted in my smithy. Our couch had been moved to the basement, where we let the girls sleep, and the fireplace had been cold for so long...
"It is good, then," Shayleen whispered, "I just got the girls to sleep. I also double checked the basement door before coming up here."
I smiled weakly at my wife, taking in her beauty for the first time as I did. She had dark brown hair that fell in loops on her shoulders. The way her hair cradled her face only helped those deep green eyes I had fallen for all those years ago. Sadly, I could not make out her curves and dress in this darkness. I had turned a new leaf in life, but I could not help my fleshly desires, it seemed. Even in these dark times.
"When day breaks, I will have to calm my nerves," I said in a low murmur, kissing Shayleen on her ear. She grabbed my chin and pulled me into a deep kiss. I had only a moment to enjoy it before she pulled back and gave me a weak smile.
"I will gladly help you, Timothy." She turned toward the window and placed a hand on my arm. "When I first met you, everyone had thought me a simple fool. Yet, without you, I would be dead many times over by now." I tried to reassure her that death would never find my family, but I could not bring myself to tell what was most likely a lie. Instead, I pulled her into an embrace with my free arm and kissed her neck.
"You are the light of my life. I love you, Angel." Shayleen squeezed once and pulled away.
"I love you too, Timothy," she said with a smile, "Now I must go back to the-"
A howl broke the silence outside.
I had hunted, defended cattle, and even fought as a soldier. All those times I had heard the howls of wolves, the sounds of panthers, and even the roar of a lion. This was not like those, though. This howl was much deeper than a lion's roar and twice as long as a wolf's. It also had the canny effect of adding fear into my very existence.
It was one of THEM!
I turned to Shayleen quickly and pointed downstairs. She nodded, but grabbed a spare spear before going. With the basement door sealed with all the metal I could find, I knew they couldn't get to my family unless they went toward me. But if I fell, It would be good to know that Shayleen had at least some way to defend herself.
I still hadn't the slightest intention of letting them get past me, though. The fear I felt tried to gnaw away at that, but I held on stubbornly, repeating the belief in my head several times until I only thought about it. Foolish, or so my old trainer might have said, but I doubted he had ever tried to face these creatures. I needed that little bit of comfort.
Another howl let out, this time closer.