I dreamt I was flying high above a white mountain at night. As I swooped closer I made out the glint of bone on the moonlit slopes and with that realisation I began to plummet downwards. Something big and winged was trying to catch me with its claws but my descent was too rapid. Just before I hit the broke-bone mountain, I was jerked awake by the sound of a frantic pounding on the door.
“Rose. Let me in,” shouted Rufus. “Rose! Quick!” The last word degenerated into a long drawn out shriek.
Swinging my legs wearily over the side of the bed, I shuffled like the crone I’d become to the door, pausing as I reached it. A ferocious growling and the sound of splintering wood didn’t lift my torpor. Damn Vic was good. But what the hell-
“Rose!” Somewhere out in the dark, something snarled. Given it hadn’t already attacked, I decided that whatever was stalking us wasn’t in a hurry.
“Oh Jesus,” Rufus moaned.
“Reports of Jesus’ caring side have been greatly exaggerated,” I said, flicking on the overhead light, unbolting the door and dragging Rufus inside before he had time to reply. He’d been facing the thing on the landing and fell backwards onto the floor, legs blocking the opening. Outside, something moved, a scrape of claw, a flash of fang and neon yellow eye. The beast snarled again, softly this time, confident perhaps that its supper snack wasn’t going anywhere.
“Pull your legs up,” I whispered to Rufus who didn’t respond.
Maybe he couldn’t. The tricking growl was making my hackles rise, Christ alone knew what it was doing to him. I was going to have to haul him out the way by which point the monster in the hall would have torn both our throats out. A taut silence followed by the scrape of claws, the beast was gathering itself for a final lunge. My sensitive eyes picked out the wooden remnants of the door from the neighbouring room.
Just as I was about to grab Rufus’ shoulders to pull him out the way he raised his legs and kicked it shut. I ran forward to bolt it just as the creature crashed against it, roaring with rage. A splintering sound and the top hinge looked like it was just about to fall out. My fingers, numb with whatever Vic had worked, fumbled with the bolt and a wave of dizziness threatened to evolve into a fully fledged black-out.
The door was just about to give way for good, but there was only silence beyond it. Had the thing left? I was distracted by a loud banshee screech of only to discover it was Rufus dragging a squat chest of drawers towards me evidently intent on barricading the door.
It would never hold.