Panic had set in long before she realized it, but now that they were faced with insurmountable odds, she felt calm. At peace and ready to die if it came to that.
“Anna, come on.” Kyle said looking fearfully into the shadows.
Anna’s legs wavered as she felt the presence of dozens of those creatures leering at her. She couldn’t see them, but the hunger in their eyes picked at her skin like ravens taking to a corpse.
The girl stirred in her arms, her knotted hair tickling Anna’s forearm. “Where are we?”
A surge of energy rushed through her like a bolt and she responded to Kyle’s presence. He stared at her with an intensity that she didn’t expect from him during the crisis and she hurried after him. “Kyle, do you know where you’re going?”
“Anywhere but here.” He shoved lowered tree branches out of the way as he made a path for them to travel. She could only imagine the amount of splinters that were lining his hands as he moved through at an uncanny pace.
“Follow the stars.” The little girl said. Her eyes searching the sky between the tree canopy.
“What the hell is she talking about?” Kyle stopped to catch his breath. “Stars?”
“The bright one.” The girl pointed at the sparkles in the sky. “It will lead us out of here.”
They both looked up at for a moment, but twigs began snapping around them. The growls were moving in fast.
“Kyle took her hand.” It was slick with sweat and she clutched the girl to her hip as they followed the star.
After what seemed forever, Anna couldn’t move her legs, her arms were sore from switching the girl from each side. The girl had fallen asleep again during the trek up through the forest. Her head now lolled from side to side with each painful step Anna took.
“I need to rest.” She dropped to her knees. The soft ground softened the blow, but a sharp pain ran up her spine.
The growls were farther behind now, but they had made it to the edge of the forest. Large buildings loomed in the distance and the sliver of moon illuminated their resting spot well enough.
Kyle crouched next to her, his knees popping as he settled on his heels. His hair clung to his sweaty brow. Small lines of blood and dirt littered his cheeks. He glanced at his palms and she saw for the first time that they were covered in blood. The slivers weren’t even visible as the blood had dried over during the journey. “Pretty bad, but I’m fine.”
“Want the girl to heal you?” Anna asked like the girl was an object she could command.
“No, that’s ok. The throbbing is what’s keeping me awake right now.” He flashed a brave smile, but she could tell he was terrified.
“How much longer till morning?”
“I would guess 3 hours or so.” Kyle said looking up into the horizon.
“You think those things are coming still?”
“You think they would give up?” Kyle asked.
He had a point and just to slam the exclamation point on it, a growl roared somewhere nearby.
It was enough to get her up off her knees and to trudge along.
“Here, let me hold her for a bit.” Kyle reached for the girl.
An unexplained wave of jealousy ran through her for a moment as Kyle took the girl into his arms. The darkness hid the heat rising to her cheeks as she moved onward toward the buildings.
“We should try to hide in one of these places.” Anna suggested.
“They could be hiding inside too.” Kyle said as they stepped out of the forest and in front of a small log building. “General Store” hung above the entrance. The dark windows would hide any sign of creatures or other people inside.