The cold steel cuffs dug painfully into the bones of Todd’s wrists, as the officer shoved him bodily against the wet squad car. The dried blood on his T-shirt rehydrated in the drizzle that fell softly, leaving a swath of ruddy gore smeared across the hood of the cruiser.
Distantly, Todd’s rational mind knew it was the blood that had done him in. If it weren’t for the blood, he would now be helping the police search for the others. Now he was their prime suspect. If only he hadn’t felt the compulsion to hold onto Stephanie as she bled, he might…
Well, there was little use dwelling on what could have been. He’d have to face a harsh reality now: his entire group was missing or dead, and the cops wanted to blame him.
Each pulse of the blinding emergency lights sent a riot of pain through his aching head. His stomach turned on end. How did it end up this way?
Todd wished he could just go back. Back to before it all began. It seemed somehow possible, as if he could will it into being. The reality of the moment strangely felt far more surreal, dream-like. After all, only a few hours before he had been laughing with them all, telling stupid jokes and singing badly to some 80’s classics blaring from the radio. And then came the lights...
Six Hours Earlier
Flickering on the horizon, two glowing orbs appeared suddenly within the dark envelope of night. Todd Casey squinted with concern, his lips tightening into a thin line that cut across his clenched features.
“Here comes another!” he shouted to the group.
Todd gripped the wheel tightly, as the orbs grew brighter, illuminating the rain on the windshield like a scattering of diamonds.
Within seconds, the orbs had grown to flood the interior of Todd’s van with a blinding light. An unearthly roar erupted in his ears as the group was swallowed in a force that buffeted their cumbersome vehicle precariously on the wet highway.
“Gawd!” Steph Wilson clucked from the passenger seat next to Todd. “Don’t they know it’s raining? That’s, like, dangerous or whatever.”
“Fuckin’ idiots,” Dave Fawcett shouted from somewhere in the dark recesses of the large Ford Econoline.
“Language, guys,” Todd warned, his eyes like two searching beacons in the rearview mirror.