Faint wails swept through the room, making him shiver. Laid on the floor was a body, which looked very similar to that of the shopkeeper's.
He quickly looked around, but only to find wooden boxes of storage covered in spider webs. Though one corner attracted him. He took a step forward but willed himself to stop.
The screams and cries seemed to fade into that corner.
Suddenly, a faint glowing symbol of a crescent moon floated in the pure darkness. Bao's breath hitched, and his body tensed as he felt complete silence piercing him.
He fixed his gaze on the symbol unintentionally, his mind was worryingly blank. The crescent moon irradiated a tangled mess of black hair and a ferocious grin.
The next words were spoken harshly-the voice inhumane- bouncing off the walls as it cooled the air.
''You're next, Bao''
Bao had never run that fast in his life. He checked the time on his phone, without stopping. It was 9 pm.
Which means he still had two hours to protect and think of a plan for himself and his grandma. The town was still fogged in shadows, making it seem like an old photograph, black, and grey.
Bao rushed inside and locked the door. Grandma Chen walked as fast as her poor old legs would allow, her face worry stricken.
''What's wrong?'' She asked immediately, ''are you hurt?''
Bao took the biggest inhale of his life, ''grandma,'' he began. ''You remember The Silencer you told me about? It may or may not have been following me.''
Grandma's pupils dilated. ''Bao, I hope this is a joke because if it is, I am going to beat your as-''
''Grandma! This isn't a joke! I'm serious, and you need to hide. Now.'' Bao interrupted. ''Hide in the storage room, it's out of the way and it won't be able to hurt you.''
''Listen, Bao,'' grandma urged, she clutched her walking stick tightly (where'd she get that?) ''You need to get in your room, right now. I know how to prevent it from getting to you.''
She hobbled towards the kitchen counter and grabbed a fistful of salt.
Bao immediately ran towards his room, not wanting to anger his grandma any further or she wouldn't hesitate to throw her stick at him.
The shadows of the night flooded into his room through that one small window. He glanced at his hand, which was still carrying the bag.
Placing the bag on the table, he guaranteed that he'd make the cake the next morning if he survived.
Grandma's eighty-second birthday had to be special, it would be the day she finally fulfills grandpa's last wish. And it was less than three hours away.
His hands dropped in his state of nervousness, but when he felt his pockets, he realized he had dropped his phone on the run.
Grandma Chen walked in and placed a fistful of salt in each corner, and drew a line outside his door with the same.
''Now, you do not step out of the room until midnight, understand? No matter what happens, don't get out.
'' Grandma had never looked that serious before, her eyes were determined and a frown rested on her lips.
''But how do you know all this?'' I asked her, standing just behind the salt line as she stepped out of the room.
She looked behind, her once determined eyes now melted into soft sadness. ''How, Bao,'' she whispered, ''do you think your grandpa died?''
His mouth slightly opened as he stared at her. Grandma Chen turned around and shuffled away. Bao kept looking at the spot where she stood, now gloomy, sighing and shut the door.
Alright, I did not expect that. So, this isn't the first time The Silencer attacked our town? Why haven't I heard of it before? He thought.
He walked over to his mirror and rested his hands on either side of the table. A young man, who's mouth was curled downwards, fear in his brown eyes looked back at him with disappointment.
His messy copper hair which he inherited from his father, gleamed in the little lights around his mirror.
The monster had always gone unnoticed in the city. Lurking in the shadows, hunting its next prey. Innocent people died each night with a scream as their last breaths.
Bao glanced out his window, the moon floated in all her might.
It was a crescent moon.
Coincidence? He didn't think so. Maybe the Silencer became more powerful today? The salt was used to cast away the evil, Bao didn't believe it, but he had to trust grandma.
He wondered what would happen if he died.
His grandma would have nobody left for her, her eighty-second birthday, the most special one, would be celebrated alone, without a cake, because she didn't know how to make one.
Who would she visit? Probably his grave, if he gets one since nobody comes out of their houses anymore, he wouldn't get a proper burial.
Grandma would have to live in a house where her grandson died, with his body still there, or maybe she would leave the body and go back to her home, to live alone till her time comes.
Bao slapped himself, thinking about his death was not helping. He had to stay alive, for his grandmother. She was the only living family he had left.
The wind blew hard into the room, knocking over his lamp and the curtains danced in the air. Bao struggled to get the windows shut.
He remembered what grandma had said, the Silencer wouldn't attack until it was eleven.
But what about the shopkeeper? He was definitely dead, and it wasn't eleven yet, Bao wondered. Unless he was dead since last night, or even before that.
Nobody probably heard him scream since his store was away from houses.
Bao immediately felt bad. Dying and nobody noticing that you're gone is probably the saddest way to die. A knock signaled him towards the door, it was grandma, she didn't step in.
''Hey, it's ten fifty-five, be prepared, it's going to come soon. Remember, do not step out of the room, because once you do, it will get you and the salt won't protect you twice.
It only works once,'' she warned me.
''Grandma, why couldn't we just leave town for now?'' Bao questioned. He thought leaving this town would solve this problem, surely The Silencer wouldn't follow.
''Once the Silencer decides who its next victim will be, there is no escaping it, except for salt of course. Salt is a very powerful weapon against evil, as it is pure and demons are not.''
Bao nodded in understanding, he was starting to get worried, now that eleven pm was ticking closer and closer.
''And one last thing Bao,'' grandma continued, her white hair glimmering, ''You'll get through this, and when you do survive this day, when this whole situation is over,
you'd be the first survivor. You can help people. When my time to go comes, I'll always be there, if not in person- I'll be in your heart, watching from the stars in spirit.''
She leaned in and kissed his forehead tenderly. Smiling, she shut the door, her green eyes crinkled with grief and contentment.
Bao smiled, grandma was safe in the storage room with her own magic salt and he was determined to survive.
It was then all the lights blinked out, he quickly locked the door and made sure his window was shut properly.
A sigh crept into the walls of the hallway to his room, tiny whispers and cries swept about.
It was eleven pm.
The struggle for survival had begun.
Thank you for reading! Read the other parts in my profile. Leave a like if you liked this post! Stay safe Lots of love Saanvi Gangashetti