Travis West wrote my favourite story in the forthcoming Awethology Anthology. He scares the absolute crap out of me, here’s another of his brilliantly chilling tales What Was Left.
Valerie heard screams. A girl. Probably a young one, maybe even younger than Valerie herself. The girl was coming towards Valerie, she could sense it from the changes in pitch and volume. The girl wasn’t the danger, but the danger would be there, following close behind.
Valerie ran across the road and into a nearby shop, her well-worn shoes kicking up a trail of dust and ash behind her. The particles lingered in the still air, painting a giant arrow pointing to the door that Valerie was now hiding behind. She hoped the danger wouldn’t notice, wouldn’t search her out. They would probably be too focused on the girl they were chasing. Valerie would probably be safe.
Valerie peeked through the window in the door to look outside. She knew she was increasing the likelihood she would be spotted, but she couldn’t help it; she had to look. She always had to look. She saw the girl run by, the danger close behind. There were three of them chasing, and the girl was even younger than Valerie had thought. Probably ten or eleven.
One of the men launched himself into the air, tackling the girl to the ground in an explosion of cloudy ash that momentarily obscured them both from view. Once the air had cleared a little, Valerie could see the man had the girl held down easily with one hand, and was extracting his knife from his belt with the other. Valerie knew what was coming next, and she wanted to turn away, but she didn’t. She always had to watch.