I can hear them outside, wailing in their multitudes. They chomp and leer in the night, bay at the moon, calling out for murder, for death. My death.
When I first moved to this picturesque, coastal town, I was taken by its charm and beauty. Cobbled lanes and stone-walled cottages. Shadowed-draped pathways sneaking between buildings, too narrow to walk two-abreast. The wooden wharf, unchanged in decades but for the occasional application of fresh paint.
Truly, it was like living in a bygone time, a century in which I felt I belonged. It was an age of innocence and purity. And yet, it was in those yesterdays that the fear of the supernatural was at its strongest.
The first body to be found was that of a young woman. Alone at night, she had left her home and wandered to the cliff edge. No one knew how she had come to an end on the rocky shore – was it intentional, or something more sinister?
Many stated it was a freak accident, a tragedy. But some whispered of dark movement in the night, of a spiteful entity attacking the girl. At first, these tales were mocked as superstitious nonsense, old-wives’ tales twisted into nightmarish design.
Until the next victim was discovered, his blood spilled on the floor about his torn and tattered body.
I began to notice the townsfolk change from that point. It started in groups of two and three, huddling together in dark corners and mumbling among themselves. As the weeks went by and the deaths continued, those muttering groups grew. Six of them gathered, eight, a dozen. It would not be long, I knew, before the whole town was converted and the individual groups would merge and, no longer being in the minority, openly assault any who had not succumbed.
I expected to have had more time to arrange my escape from the stricken town. I had belongings and crates and heirlooms I could not leave behind; fleeing in the night was not an option for me. And now I regret my lingering, for now they are here for me.
I have barricaded the door, bolted tight the windows, but I fear it will be in vain. The sheer number of my enemy, and their strengthened determination to enter my home, will overcome any barriers I can place before them.
Sitting in my chambers, I am shaking with dread. A thunder of splitting wood heralds their ingress. The cries of the monsters increase in fervour and volume as they swarm through the ground floor. The stairway is narrow, and it will force them to ascend in single file. That is a small mercy though, for still they will come. Pushing at the one in front, hungry for my blood, they will rise like a river of flesh erupting from the depths of hell. The cacophony of their voices, words lost in the bloodlust, pounds at my ears.
The horde reaches the top floor and the door to my room shudders as they press against it. Hinges whine. Wood groans.
And then they are in, falling over themselves to get at me. In their hands they clasp artefacts of their madness – crucifixes, stakes, garlic – and I know that soon I will be dead.
Dead, no longer undead.