It was a freezing day in the valley of Fraughan Rock Glen in Ireland. At the bottom of the hills one solitary house, crumbling with age but still managing to stand, braced against the oncoming wind. Everywhere was covered with a thick blanket of pure white snow, blinding and giving Tyler a visual representation of just how cold it was. The whole scene was completely and utterly dazzling. The sky managed to merge with the ground at some point in the horizon, two shades of white coming together.
Tyler missed the usual warm orange and vibrant yellow that would come with the sun, the way it tinged the clouds with amber and pink making an amazing sunset. Any other day he would have really dwelled on it. He would have given it no end of thought, how much he missed the sun. But right now his mind was focussed on other matters.
A vibrant, red drop in the snow.
He had spotted it from his room, it was that noticeable. Now up close, his coat wrapped around his body and his teeth chattering violently in his mouth, he began to notice what it was. Chills ran down his spine, not from the weather, but from something a lot more sinister. The stain wasn’t far from his house but he couldn’t think where it might have come from. His house was the only one for miles.
His eyes flickered upwards, a crease appearing between his brows.
‘What on Earth…’ he muttered under his breath.
In the distance he could see something amidst the mini blizzard. A dark shape. It didn’t look very big, but it was definitely coming towards him.
Tyler took a shaky, uncertain step backwards.
Something brushed past his foot.
A scream caught in his throat, threatening to rip him apart. Until he saw what it was.
The damn family cat. What was he doing outside? Tyler scooped him up in his arms, realizing he had left the front door open. He started to head back inside, his eyes fixed to the sight of the shape. It was gathering speed. But the way it was walking… It was almost disjointed. Like a step, a limp and a shuffle.
A step, a limp, a shuffle.
Tyler’s eyes widened.
Another step backwards and he’d be in his house. Safe in his house. But he couldn’t quite make it. His curiosity was just too much. The cat began struggling in his arms.
Why had his parents chosen to go out now? Why hadn’t he gone with them?
The figure was completely visible now, no longer a dark shape. And what Tyler saw would haunt him for the rest of his life.
Bright red stains, the same as in the snow, covered this thing just about head to toe. There was more around his mouth and throat. Lank grey hair fell past its face in tattered tendrils. Yellow, sagging skin embellished with cuts and bruises. Arms extended towards Tyler. A torn up suit with a limp purple flower in the breast pocket. But the thing that startled Tyler the most wasn’t its overall appearance, it was more specific. The way it was looking at Tyler. Blank, lifeless eyes staring at him. Blank, hungry eyes. Blank, white eyes.
Tyler slammed the door shut, sagging against it and letting the cat go.
His head was spinning, bile rose in his throat. It wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be. These things did not exist.
Nails started scratching at the door, followed by a guttural moan.
No. Tyler was shaking his head, muttering. ‘No. How? Why?’