Away from the city, you can feel the spirit of the land.
I hadn’t seen anyone for miles. Out on the deserted road, the miles passed, white sky above and parched, golden landscape on either side. When I started to run out of gas, I found a little cottage on the edge of a field, and settled there.
At night I turned on the lights on the front porch and the back. I sit with my back against the headboard, and a gun in my hand.
I was prepared for anyone that crossed my threshold.
It wasn’t until the third night that I heard the sounds above me. I tried to ignore it. It’s rats. The house is settling, like an old man with feeble bones.
The sounds from the attic could not be explained by rats. Rats aren’t heavy. They don’t drag.
I hear the floorboards shift beneath their feet.
I started to see outlines pass in front of my window. They shrink from the light, like paper curling away from tongues of flame.
If I can last this one more night, I can escape in the morning. Go as far as I can on foot. If my flashlight holds. If the candles don’t go out.
I hear a sound, like a wailing wind, but I know better. They groan, because they are hungry.
They’re just waiting for the last light to pass away. And then they are coming for me.
©2011 Lori Titus