The lights from the car shown on a tan overcoat lying on the path. There was a silhouette behind the lights; motionless except for the steam rising from its mouth. I reached in my pocket and came to the unpleasant realization that in the struggle I had lost my gun, but they don’t know that, at least not yet. There is a girl screaming in the distance, but the ravine walls make it impossible to tell from which direction. The sentinel behind the car remains motionless; a threat of violence and the unknown.
I pull myself up and stagger drunkenly forward, eventually steadying myself on the hood of the car. Cold steel immediately surrounds my wrist followed by the sound of metal on metal and chain. The silhouette is gone and the car is now moving. A tug on my wrist can only mean I’ve been attached to the bumper. The engine revs and as I look at the ridge above the ravine I see a pale girl struggling against someone or something. She seems to float as she falls. If I could lunge forward I might break her fall, but now the car is backing up.
My feet keep up with the motion for a moment and then I hear the engine and feel my feet leave the ground and in that instant I am no longer attached to the car, but floating towards her. Our eyes meet as I sail to the rock wall and at that moment I reach out for her and know that I cannot because my arm is still attached to the bumper of the car, not to me. The rock is cold against my face, cold gives way to sting and then to pain and now I am falling. Dust is still rising when I open my eyes. She lay not more than four feet away. There is weight on the hand I still have and then three hot sharp impacts into my arm.
The lights are gone. I turn on my back and feel tired. The last thing I remember is the moon and the sound of water.
They had migrated here from the East and had been enjoying an understated existence for what seemed like some time now. For most it was an overwhelmingly positive transition, but some were initially wary of the valley, particularly of its distance from the ocean that they had lived beside for so long. Most of those concerns were forgotten after the first few years though. It wasn’t until the disappearances started that stories of old times began to dominate conversation again. Rumors abounded concerning strange lights and large misshapen shadows moving along the cliff ridges at night, but were generally dismissed as the alcohol inspired hallucinations of a few degenerates.
Adam, the oldest in the valley was generally regarded as the definitive resource for the history and phenomena of the area. He had lived by the ocean for his early years, and had only been caught up in the mass exodus west because his wife at the time wanted a change of scenery. She had left him for a young local shortly after they arrived and he had been incredibly bitter ever since. Once public outcry had reached a near fever-pitch he issued an official statement that they all existed in a changeable world and if they didn’t learn to expect the unexpected they were doomed. There was no specificity concerning what type of doom they were to expect, however it was generally accepted that it was likely to be of the unexpected variety.
At the bottom of the valley is a small town that consists primarily of restaurants and bars with a few small businesses in between. It is Wednesday morning and traffic is stopped, residents gather in the street as a man in a waiter’s uniform struggles against a point of light. Eventually he falls to the ground and is repeatedly perforated by the glowing object until there is nothing left but a silhouette in the dirt. It then cuts through the crowd, punches holes through all those in its way and vanishes over a ridge.