Originally published in the Savage Henry Magazine, Issue 3.

“All circuits are busy,” the monotoned male recording said. “Please try again later.”

Sandra trembled as she redialed the number. She pressed the cell phone so hard against her ear, it left an imprint. The phone’s blue glow made her cream-colored, smooth-skinned face look oxygen starved. Dial tone made connection.

“9-1-1,” a female dispatcher said on the phone, voice stern and stressed. “What’s your emergency?”

Words bubbled in Sandra’s throat but wouldn’t come out. She curled up in a fetal position, breathed in a mixture of musty carpet and motor oil. Even in the trunk’s darkness, the world around her spun like a record on a turntable, needle skipping with every revolution. Her heart pounded fast against her chest, stomach twisted tight like ringing out a towel. She felt acid in her esophagus, then an uncontrollable burst – a pop like a balloon thrusting bile into the trunk. She coughed.

“Help me,” Sandra finally mustered in a whisper. She breathed in short, rapid puffs. “Help me…I’m…hiding in my…mom’s car…trunk.”

“What is your address? Are you in immediate danger?” the dispatcher asked sincerely. “Are you hurt?”

“My family…they’re…dead, all of them…dead,” Sandra’s eyes widened. She controlled her breathing, wiped snot dripping from her nose, and cried, “They’re going to kill me. Help me please!”

“Ok, just keep calm,” the dispatcher said, taking a deep breath. “Tell me what happened.”

The images were fresh grafts upon her brain. Mother’s naked body lying ravaged and slashed on her parent’s bedroom floor. Father’s body on top of kitchen table, disemboweled and empty sockets for eyes. Tall slender gray hairless humanoid, long claws replacing fingers, a mouth that split down the middle of its chin devouring her father’s intestines. Then those narrow pink eyes staring at her.

“I ran…as fast…as I could,” Sandra’s breathing became labored again. She still heard those horrible shrill cries coming from outside, the pounding of fists against the garage door.

“Not another one,” the dispatcher said sullenly. She took another deep breath and said, “Look, we’ve received ten calls about strange gray creatures rampaging throughout the city. We’re trying the best we can to…”

Sandra shook her head, “Not creatures…demons. Terrifying demons. They’re coming for me, please! Get me out of here!” Her body shaking hard now as if seizing. “I’m too young to die!”

“Calm down,” the dispatcher paused then said in a shaky voice, “Well, we got a trace on your phone. I’ll try to send someone over.”

The demons continued to slam against the garage door in such a rhythmic fashion it sounded like strong pulsing bass from a techno beat. Sandra’s lower lip shook, realizing her end was drawing near. It hit her like a hydraulic press, expelling all the air from her diaphragm and paralyzing it with a gut-wrenching terror. She felt an emptiness emanate from her stomach, then move toward her heart causing it to ache with the sensation of a thousand needle pricks.

“It’ll be too late by then,” Sandra said softly, her breathing controlled for the moment. She fingered a candle inside a pack of emergency supplies, wondered if she should just light it and set herself ablaze, to avoid being eaten alive. She tuned the world around her out like changing radio stations. She fell into her thoughts, not a soft comforting pillow where she could curl up and fall asleep. No, she fell into a black oozing pit consuming every beautiful soul-stroking sensation she had, leaving her to realize her own mortality without any sense of pleasure.

“Oh my God!” the dispatcher screamed through the phone, “they’ve broken through our barriers.” Sandra heard gun fire through the phone, along with the same screeching sounds still tormenting her inside the trunk. “Take cover, they’re storming the…”

Sandra let loose a torrent of tears, red face squeezed tight, nose running like bad allergies. Torturous thoughts of a future that will not be paralyzed her like a potent venom. These demons are taking over, whatever they are. She could only hide for so long.

A loud crashing noise as the garage door collapsed, then she heard a pair of quick footsteps puttering around the garage. She gasped for air as an agonizing anticipation grew. She prayed the demons wouldn’t find her here, but then the trunk lid flew open. Two silhouettes stood over her. Two unfamiliar shapes.

“Please…don’t…I’m,” she stuttered, covering her face with her arms. The phone fell to her side, its light illuminating one of the demon-like creatures with its mouth open, spreading its face out in three directions and exposing two layers of sharp teeth. A loud screech drowned out her words.

“No, don’t do it!” the dispatcher yelled, “It’s eating my legs!”

Sandra’s eyes widened, her body felt frozen. Then it lunged, attaching to her neck and consumed her blood like a drain drawing a sink full of water. She screamed only for a moment before the creature tore out her vocal cord. The other creature ripped at her legs, plucking it from her pelvis like a turkey leg at Thanksgiving. Then the phone connection died, leaving the demons to devour their prey at both ends of the line.