A Skull with Flowing Hair

Forever goes by.  Ryan paces back and forth at the edge of the roof, looking to the sky.  He yells every once in a while in the hope that Sparky will hear.  But the only sounds I catch are my heartbeat and the sounds of the Jacks.

Over and over, there are screams echoing from the building.  It sends shivers down my spine.  It's definitely Janice.  I can't tell if she's screaming out of fear or pain or anything, but when it starts to keep going on forever, I'm sure it's out of terror.

The sun starts to set, and still Spark hasn't showed.  Ryan just stands with his back to the sun, creating a lovely outline if it weren't for the sick fear gripping me.

He looks at me, then whispers, "It's quiet."

He's right.  The Jacks are barely making any sound at all.  Janice isn't screaming.  Neither are the kids.  I wonder if they're gone.  If the Jacks gave up.

The silence is broken again by another scream, and the sound of metal being torn.  I know immediately what's going on and cry out, "They're tearing down the door! Ryan!  We have to help them!"

He just slumps to the ground, head in his hands.  So this is it.  He's giving up.   Letting the Jacks win.

I crawl to his side, wrap my arms around him, and sob into his shirt.  There's nothing else for me to do.  The freezer is being ripped to shreds, Janice is pleading for help, and in a matter of minutes, the screaming is silenced.  I shudder as I imagine the Jacks down there, fighting over their bodies.  Blood on the floor, pooling up.

Ryan and I are frozen.  He whispers quietly, "It's my fault... it's my fault... oh good grace this is my fault..."  I can't comfort him.  I'm cold down to my bones. I bring my knees to my chest and rest my forehead on them.  I can't take anymore.

A few minutes pass.

"Sparky."

I don't respond.

"Sparky.  ******* bird."

No words come from my mouth.

"YOU'RE THE BIGGEST PILE OF CHICKEN CRAP I HAVE EVER LAID MY EYES ON SPARKY!" he screams.  I jump, then look up.

There she is.  Perched carefully on the side of the building.  She looks at us sadly, knowing she's done wrong.  Her large violet eyes gaze at Ryan, apologizing.

He stands up and strides to her, furious.  He punches the giant bird in the side of her face.  She must be too large for that to hurt, but she chirps in soft pain anyways.

"You're a stupid bird.  I can't believe you left.  Did you not hear? You must have known that the Jacks were coming, you stupid beast," he punches her again, and she doesn't fight him. "You're a piece of crap.  You better hope they're alive down there, or I'll kill you."

He punches the creature again, and she whimpers patheticly.  Then she jumps down and crawls into the building through the front doors.  It's quiet, followed by several minutes of fighting, roaring, hissing.

Silence again.

Sparky's head sticks through the ceiling door behind us, purring.  There's blood on her beak, but she seems to be unharmed.

"Son of a gun," Ryan says, walking over to stroke the place where he had struck her, "Did you kill them?"

She purrs a little louder, then glanced back down.

"Oh, Ryan! What if they're alive?  We need to go down there."

Ryan nods, wrapps his arms around Sparky's neck, and she lowers her head down, and comes back up. I follow Ryan's lead, and when I'm down there, I go numb.

The first thing I see is blood.  And the Jacks laying in it.  One of the dead Jacks has a skull in its mouth.  The face is gone, but the hair flowing from it... Janice.

Ryan is completely silent.  He walks among the bodies.  I know he's seen Janice's head.  Tears flow from his eyes.

I walk behind him.  There's a tiny torso on the ground.  It's stained with blood, so I can't tell whose it is.  Pieces of Jacks and Janice and the child are everywhere.  I go to the freezing, praying with all my might.

There's whimpering in the back of the freezer.  I numbly pull a box away.  Joseph sits there, untouched but in shock.

He's the only surviver.

The End

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