“I’d like to first thank Annie,” Drew waved towards where she sat at the back of the kitchen, “for letting us have this emergency meeting in her apartment. Second, I’d like to thank all of ya’ll for coming on such short notice. I know we’re usually hunkered down when a storm is blowing in, but this really can’t wait any longer.”
The group of believers crammed into Annie’s kitchen nodded or mumbled responses. A few were eyeing the boards over the windows, others had bluebonnets clutched in their hands. The wind was howling around them and you could hear the rain pelting the glass outside, but they were safe.
Stephen held up the newspaper article about the sinkhole. “We have a hunch. And if we’re right…we think it’s time to act.”
Two men in the front exchanged a look.
“Act in what way?” Ryan asked.
“You’re not saying we should– “ Tim began.
“Attack, yes.” Drew finished. “This has gone on long enough. We’ve lost too many people. We need to fight back.”
“How do you know it caused the sinkhole?” A woman near Annie asked. “There’s another one in town already.”
“Yes,” Stephen held up the article about the missing kids. “Do you mean the one these kids were supposed to be playing near when they went missing?”
Amanda was silent, but others whispered to each other.
“A sinkhole would be a perfect place for it to hide. No one is exploring them or doing anything about them since they aren’t effecting anything,” Drew said. “We feel it’s time for us to do something about them.”
“What can we do?” Ryan asked.
“We scout it out first, once the storm has blown over. There isn’t supposed to be any rain this weekend.”
“And if we find it?” Tim asked.
“We find a way to kill it.”
“Who says it can be killed?”
Drew and Stephen glanced at each other, at a loss.
“We have to try, at least,” Annie spoke up from the back. “We can’t just let it keep on anymore.”
“Exactly,” Drew said, offering her a small smile. “We have to hope.”
“I’ll go,” Ryan said.
“Me too,” Chyanne, the girl next to him said.
Others added in their agreement and Drew started writing their names on a list. By this time the wind had died down a little and the rain wasn’t beating against the windows. A man off to the side of the room stood up and dug out a pack of cigarettes.
“I’m taking a smoke break,” he said to no one in particular. No one seemed to notice his exit except for Annie.
“No, wait!” she said, but he’d already closed the door behind him. Everyone else turned at her outburst.
“What’s the matter?” Ryan asked.
“My neighbor was taken a few weeks ago… He was outside smoking when it started to rain. I saw it. And he –“ she pointed at the door, “just went out there. It’s still raining.”
Several people stood and went for the door, but Drew pushed through and got there first. They rushed down the stairs and out under the awning. The looked out at the steady drizzle of rain, but no one would step out from the cover of safety. No one was there.
“Where is he?”
“Who was it?”
Annie stepped out last just as a scream echoed through the night.