It Walks Among Us

It Walks Among Us

By: James G. Boswell 

Note: This is a preview from the scary short story collection e-book, “Deprived …and Other Stories.” To find out how the story ends, you can buy the collection on Amazon for $2.99. Click here to buy on Amazon.

“Emily, stay away from that disgusting thing,” Sophie said as her friend tiptoed towards the mangy fox. Emily ignored her and continued to edge closer. The creature sat motionless at the far end of the desert campsite and stared at her as she approached.

“It probably has rabies. I bet that’s why it’s acting weird.”

Emily said, “Poor baby, you look like you’re starving,” then took some beef jerky and her folding knife out of her backpack. She sliced off a small chunk and held the meat under the animal’s nose, but it responded with a small, high-pitched growl. Emily frowned and put her things away, then reached out to pet it.

“Emily do not touch it. I swear there must be something wrong with it.”

When Emily’s hand got close to the fox’s head, its whole body shifted a few inches away in an instant, so fast that Emily jumped back in surprise and fell over.

Sophie laughed and said, “See? I told you to leave it alone. Did it nip at you?”

Emily looked dumbfounded for a moment as she sat on the ground. Then she stood up and said. “Whatever. When will your friends get here?”

“Hey Em, grab us some beer, would you?” Sophie said.

Emily reached into the cooler next to where she sat and took out beers for herself, Sophie, and the three women who were with them by the campfire. One had dreadlocks and wore a tie-dye shirt, another had on a purple blouse, and the other a dirty black dress. She held the beers out and Sophie and the first two people each took one, but the last person ignored her.

Emily shrugged, returned the last beer to the cooler, and sat back down next to Sophie. Then, she sipped her own beer as she watched their shadows dance across the wall of the nearby cabin and upon the cactuses that surrounded them. Sophie’s gold cross necklace glinted in the firelight.

Sophie said, “One time, when Emily and I were in tenth grade biology class together, she thought the teacher had left the room and so she made a loud comment about what a drunk he was. He overheard her and said, ‘Emily, you know you shouldn’t say bad things about people behind their back.’ He was so angry he turned bright red. Then, he gave her detention for the rest of the month.”

They all laughed except the woman in the black dress who stared into the campfire with a blank expression.

Emily shrugged and said, “I was just saying what everybody was thinking. The guy smelled like booze all the time.”

Sophie looked at the woman with dreadlocks and said, “Hey Sara, did you and Chloe bring any weed?”

She and the woman in purple shook their heads.

Sara said, “No, we were hoping maybe you guys did.”

Sophie and Emily both shook their heads as well.

Sara nodded to indicate the woman in the black dress and said, “What about your friend here?”

Sophie and Emily exchanged confused looks, and Emily said, “Our friend? We thought she was with you two. She showed up at the campsite right when you did.”

Chloe said, “No, we thought she was your friend. We don’t know who she is.”

They all looked at the woman in the black dress as she continued to gaze into the fire, oblivious to their conversation. After several moments of awkward silence, Sophie said, “Uh, hey, who are you?”

The woman didn’t respond.

Sophie furrowed her brow and said, “Hey, I asked you a question,” but the woman ignored her again.

Sophie stood up and began to walk over to her. Emily said, “Sophie, don’t…”

Sophie hovered over the woman with her arms out and said, “Are you deaf or something? I asked you a question. Who are you, and what are you doing here?”

The woman remained unmoving as she let forth as a deep, animal-like growl.

Sara said, “What the hell was that?”

“Did you just snarl at me, you little psychopath?”

Chloe said, “Um, maybe you should…”

Sophie tried to shove the woman, but her body shifted away in a split second, and she then stood three feet from where she’d just been sitting. Sara, Chloe, and Emily gasped in horror as Sophie fell to the ground and began to writhe and moan in agony.

Emily said, “Stop, leave her alone!” and stood up to charge at the woman, but Sara and Chloe grabbed her before she could. Then they dragged her inside the cabin. Sophie screamed as Sara slammed and locked the door behind them.

Emily said, “We’ve got to go back out there and help her.”

Chloe said, “I don’t think that would be a very good idea.”

“But she’s my best friend.”

“Emily, we have no idea who or what that thing is. You saw how fast she was, right? And how she was able to hurt Sophie without touching her?”

Sara said, “Chloe’s right. I think we should wait here until daylight and then make a break for it. The door’s locked, all our stuff is in here, and our cars are parked on the other side of the campsite. We’ll wait until that thing goes away, and then we’ll grab Sophie and get the hell out of here.”

Tears rolled down Emily’s flushed cheeks and a vein throbbed on her forehead as her face bunched up in frustration. Then, she sat on the mattress of one of the wireframe beds, put her face in her hands, and cried…

Click here to find out how the story ends and to read many more tales of terror by purchasing the e-book, “Deprived …and Other Stories” on Amazon for $3.99.

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