It was completely dark outside at this point but there was still a fire burning in the fireplace and a candle in the hallway so the house had some light in it.
Crista's entire body was shaking violently. Both of her parents had been killed and now she was the only thing standing between life and death for her and her brother.
She took a few deep breaths and rose to see the villain that had killed her family. She did not see what she expected to see, but what was worse was what she heard.
The sucking and popping sound her father's femur made when it was dislodged from his hip made her tongue retreat to the back of her throat and a guttural sound escaped her mouth.
She couldn't help but vomit after the sight of the creature snapping open the bloody bone and sucking out the marrow with a wet slurping sound.
After a minute or so of gagging and vomiting she somehow managed to breathe and rise to her feet. Crista was no longer aware of her surroundings.
This had all happened so fast and all she knew was that she needed to leave. Get her brother and somehow make it to the city.
They could find someone on horseback or make it to the river and get on someone's boat. Anything just something to get her away from here. She lifted her head and her entire body stiffened.
Every cell she was composed of at that moment stopped and her world went blank with everything but one emotion. Fear. Inches from her face staring at her was the creature.
Two large glowing yellow eyes were looking into hers, unblinking and unyielding. Not a thought passed through her mind for those long seconds.
No thought of running away or swinging the sword she held in her hand. Nothing, just pure fear.
The creature lifted a claw that was still wet with the blood of her father and reached out to touch Crista. Just before it grabbed her by the neck she heard the most terrible noise.
"Mom!" Ellor screeched, his adolescent voice cracking as he reached decibels that were beyond his age.
"No Mom! Crista help its Mom! She needs help!" Ellor continued to yell and Crista heard him running into the field where their dead mother lay.
The creature whipped it head around and scurried down the hall and out the front door towards her brother.
She caught a glimpse of the old black skin that had been hidden in the darkness of the bedroom. She noticed how unnaturally the creature moved for being so lanky. "No.
" She sobbed in a deep and hopeless voice. "No. No. No. No. No." She continued as she rounded the house and saw in the darkness the shadowy creature bound across the yard at too fast a pace.
She didn't even have time to call out to her brother before it was on him.
She heard him screech as the creature pounced on him and she dropped to her knees as his high pitched cries turned guttural and liquid. At that moment she knew her brother was dead.
Crista wanted to die right there. Just give up on life and drop dead but she knew that wouldn't happen. Death would not come so easily and so painlessly.
She had two options; two primal options. She could stand and fight. She knew this was a poor option. Her brother's trying sword wasn't sharp enough to cut human skin, much less that thing.
Also, it had killed her father and mother who were both stronger than she was. So, fighting was a no go. Her other option was to run and she hated this option just as much.
Running from what seemed like an inevitable demise felt worse than walking right up to the creature and exposing her neck. The thought of that beast running her down was paralyzing.
She had seen how fast and unnaturally it moved and wanted to part in having a footrace with it. On the other hand what choice did she have? Perhaps the creature wasn't that keen on catching her.
It had already killed three members of her family. How much more could it want? She knew if she tried to hide in the house it would find her when it came back to finish feasting on her father.
With two deep breaths and shaky knees she started off into the night.
The closest neighbors were forty miles away on the next farm. Not to mention she would have to pass through ten miles of dense forest to reach them.
Even if she did reach them then what? She would just get slaughtered there. The only real option was the run west. There was a trading post 60 miles west.
Then, from there, she could catch a wagon and make it to the city and tell the authorities what happened. Crista knew there were people trained to handle such matters.
She couldn't bring her family back to life, but at the very least she could avenge them.
Panting and exhausted, Crista collapsed after running for ten miles. It was just too much. She had run out of adrenaline and could hardly move her limbs.
Wheezing and coughing she tried her best to catch her breath but it was clear she was spent. Everything hurt and he head was pounding.
As she reached her hand out she touched something cold and wet. It was the stream. This was as far as she made it. Back to where she started.
Crista rolled her body closer to the water and took a few sips of water. It was the best drink of water she had ever had.
She laid her head in the water and let the cool liquid flow through her hair.
A sharp breath startled her as she realized she had her head underwater for too long. A rustle made her realize that she had just left her head underwater for the rest of her life.
"There's no way it followed me," she thought. It had followed her. Tracked her all the way to the stream and was now searching for her in the moonlight.
Crista flattened her body as much as she could and took shallow breaths. Her body yearned for oxygen but she held back. Slow soft breaths were all she took.
The monster skittered about in a way that terrified her more than the sight of her dead mother. It was so fast, so unpredictable, so unnatural. She hated this monster.
It had taken everything from her and now it darted back and forth along the water's edge looking for her. "Just do it. Find me already." She thought to herself.
The anticipation of hiding and waiting was too much for her. It had been hours of nonstop tension now and she just wanted it to end.
A loud crash of something heavy into the water near her startled Crista. It took everything she had not to jump, but all the hairs on her body stood up at once.
She was not keenly aware of everything. All senses on high alert.
With a cry she jolted up to her feet and face the creature. She realized her hands were empty. She dropped the sword at some point when she was running, but it didn't matter.
Crista could not cower anymore. The creature noticed its foe standing in front of it and stood straight up and let out a pricing cry towards the moon.
This cry sucked all of the courage from Crista's heart. It was clear she was outmatched and once again remembered what terror was.
Her knees became weak and she dropped down holding up her hands to defend herself. The creature lifted a large stone from the river and hurled it at Crista.
The stone flew past Crista's hand and impaled itself into the crown of her head.
With a thud she dropped into the stream and her dead eyes watched her blood flow down the stream off to somewhere new and less exciting.