Gale quickly leaped up and shut the door. “Sorry, mom," she said. “I was trying to lock the door, and I tripped and…"
Her mom ran over and pulled Gale into a quick hug.
“No, it’s all okay, baby girl," her mother said as she hugged her. Gale’s ribs were pressed against wood and nails clutched under her mom’s arms.
“Was just trying to help," Gale said.
“It’s appreciated," her mom said, releasing her. “If you want to help, I need you to go upstairs. Make sure the wooden beams are in place."
“Can do," Gale said.
Her mom gave her a smile, and Gale ran upstairs.
Mere minutes later, Gale and her mother were cuddled together in the closet of the upstairs bedroom. For the longest time, there was silence.
Gale’s mother tightened her grip as a small clicking sound started. And grew closer and closer. Gale shifted her weight. Her eyes stayed on the door.
Off in the distance, growling and screaming cut through the air like a knife through butter. Barking and even a sick tearing sound reached Gale’s ears from the other side.
As for the front, the clicking suddenly stopped. A snuffling sound replaced the clicking.
Gale’s mother tightened her grip again as barking started. Yet, unlike the barking that Gale heard accompanied by the tearing and screaming, this barking was… amused.
“If wolves could laugh," Gale mused. “I think that’s what they’d sound like."
“Sh, baby, please," her mother said, stroking her hair.
The amused barking died down, followed by a huff. The clicking came back.
But it faded. Gale felt her mom’s grip loosen as the clicking of whatever was out there… went away.
When Gale woke up, her mother was asleep. Gale moved her mother’s arms aside and stood.
Stretching, Gale grabbed a baseball bat and opened the door.
Nothing. The hallway was untouched.
Gale moved to her room. Everything was as it was before. No one had been in there since last night.
Then Gale looked out the window.
Blood pooled in the streets. Houses were busted apart, with walls torn down and glass windows shattered. A single human lay in the street, his throat torn open and blood leaking into the sewers.
Gale moved away, covering her mouth with her hand. Stumbling over her feet, she ran downstairs.
Everything in her house was untouched and fine. None of the barricades had been broken.
She looked outside the door’s window. On the doorstep, where the bowl had been.
It was gone.
Gale moved over to the phone, avoiding the windows. She picked it up and dialed.
The phone rang once. Then twice.
The phone rang a third time.
The phone rang a fourth time.
“Come on, you… son of your mother."
“Hello," a voice said.
“Chance did you…?"
“You have reached the Smithfield’s residence," the voice mail said. “We are unable to come to the phone right now, so if you could leave your name, message and a phone number, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can."
Gale hung the phone up and dialed again.
“Come on, Chance, please."
Voicemail again. Gale hung up and dialed again.
“Don’t do this to me."
Gail dialed again.