"Mr.?" "Shhhh!" "Mr., why are you hiding?" "So they don't find us fool, now quiet down, or they'll hear you!" "Who's 'They'?" "They, they, ya know, them things that'r lookin' for us." "Why are they looking for us?" "Cause ya dumb twit, they's hungry, and they'll eat us for shore if'n they find us here. I swear, it's too late now but if I'd knew this space was occupied by a yappin fool, I'da found me a differnt one. An' my name's Tony, not Mister. You Mr. Harding's kid ain'tcha, I thought you'd left town for college, upstate somewhere. It don't matter no-how, you's here now. Now shush till I tell ya differnt." "What are they?" "Man o' man, can'tcha jus be quiet for a bit? Damn, I guess ya jus' won't leave me alone 'till I tell ya ev'rythin'. Those things out there are monsters that come out the ground. I don't know what they's really called, so I call'em monsters okay?" "Okay, Tony." "Anyways, ya know the old Petermill Mine down Ratchetting Lane? 'Course ya do, ev'ryone knows about that place, it's the only mine still runnin' and until two weeks ago mosta the men who still had jobs in this town worked there." "Is that where 'They' came from?" "Yeah, did'ya ever hear've a guy named Dan Albright? He has, well had, about three acres of land westa town and tore it all up makin' fish ponds. He stocked 'em with fish and thought to make his fortune chargin' people for the priv'lage of catchin'em." "I have never heard of him." Tony snorted. "Yeah, well, the stupid idjit went broke stockin' the pond with fish then kilt them all 'cause he didn't know the first thing 'bout keepin' 'em. Anyway, Dan got'imself a job at Petermill, tryin' ta scrape together two nickels so's he could buy hisself some more fish. They put'm ta work on 'Digger', a big machine with a giant auger bit that chews up dirt and rock like its styrofoam, one bit could dig a hunnert foot hole in two hour. He was drillin' in a new cavern found after a wall caved in and opened a big ole hole leadin' to it. He'd jus' started drillin' straight down when the drill punched through inta empty space. The bit fell through really fast; there's lots of pressure behind it, and his machine tipped over, breaking the arm that held the bit. It took two whole days ta remove the durn thing. By that time I guess those Things had got themselves ready and as soon as the bit was removed from the hole they came scurryin' outta there like a pack of wild rats, only these wasn't rats, they was some sorta underground species of manlike monsters." "What happened then Tony?" "They came out screamin' an hollerin' and kilt just about ev'ryone in sight." "How do you know this?" "Cause I was there dummy, I was one of the lucky ones at the mouth of the cavern removin' some rock so's we kin make the entrance bigger. Dan Albright was the first ta go. I saw one of those bastards bite down on his neck and swear I could hear his flesh tear away as the damn thing that bit'im jus' kept right on eatin' while more of them came outta that hole and started mowin' people down. Me and Joey Henderson jus' dropped our tools and run for our lives. That was two weeks ago, Joey's dead now; got caught at Rupert's Deli by two of them monsters. They tore'm apart an' ate his arms like you'd eat a piece of chicken before Dewey Mayerson kilt'em both with his shotgun. Funny thing, the more they ate, the more they looked like Joey, like they was turnin' inta him. I think that's how they've gotten so many townfolk, they fooled'em inta thinkin' they was someone else." Tony stopped talking for a second, "Shhhh! I think I hear somethin'." "Me too, sounds like something is scraping against a chalkboard." "I said quiet!" "Okay, okay, I'll be quiet." "Can'tcha just shut yore trap for ten secunz?" Silence as thick as a blanket fell immediately on the small, cramped space. There was just enough room inside for the two of them laying flat, one in front of the other. The air was stifling and it was impossible to move more than slightly without banging into either the sides of the compartment or its other occupant. A moment later they heard the unmistakable sound of breaking glass, then the sound of a door opening, it's rusty hinges screeching in protest. The sound of heavy footsteps filled the air, coming directly towards them. They stopped just a few feet away. Silence, then, the sound of sniffing like a dog. A moment later the footsteps walked away and out of the room. "Sounds like they're gone for now. Tell me more about them." "Listen dummy, I really don't want ta be found out, so pa-leeze, shut yore trap afore they comes back and gits us. Your gonna git us both killed if'n ya keep yappin' yer flap. Don't ya realize we gonna die if'n they find us here?" "Well, I don't think we'll both die. I think just one of us will." "What the hell ya talkin' 'bout boy? What'd'ya mean by jus' one of us?" "I don't think 'They' would want to eat me, I think 'They'd' just want to eat you." "What? You a fool, these things don't care how dumb or ugly you are. They just like human meat. I bet we tastes like chicken to them." "Well, I don't know what chicken tastes like, but you humans sure do taste good," an inhuman chuckle suddenly filled the small space. "Hey, you ain't Mr. Harding's kid, you one of them!" Unable to move quickly enough to escape the cramped space, Tony screamed in fear then agony as the monster behind him began to feed in gluttonous delight.
x x x