rating: +57+x

It's been a long day.

First the absolute bullshit at the hotel last night (what kind of asshole puts a family of four in a one bed smoking room?), and Shannon wetting the bed, and Tate flipping out over that (but at least he's asleep in the backseat for now, right?), and then crawling out to the car this morning to find that some jackass had hit and run torn off the back bumper in the night, and now this.

Stephen Forrier grumbles to himself over the staticky half tuned radio (couldn't even find a fucking station for miles) and tries to soothe his panicking children. Nikki and Shannon are terrified of storms, and it's a damn good thing Tate's a heavy sleeper, because lord knows he'd wreak havoc if the girls woke him up… Stephen sighs. This would've been so much easier if Nina were still… Nevermind.

The car's blinking emergency lights serve only to deepen the surrounding gloom. The storm had come on heavy and fast, and Stephen had been shocked at how quickly the dark clouds had enveloped the daylight. He'd hoped to make it back into town by tonight, but no chance of that now.

The ends of the power lines loosely draped over the hood cast sparks over the surrounding puddles, and the splintered remains of the pole and blown transformer blocked the road behind the car. Trapped. Stephen sighs again, softly stroking Nikki's curly hair. (It'll be alright, baby. It's okay. Daddy's here.)

He'd tried to call for help on his cell when the lines fell, but the storm and remoteness got him nothing but a dial tone. (We're sorry, your call can not be completed as… Damn it.) Nothing to do now but wait, he supposes, and his eyes glaze with boredom and tiredness and loneliness and fuck you I don't deserve this and for a time he sleeps, until a faint sound wakes him.

Slosh, slosh, splash.

Stephen shakes his head, forcing his groggy mind to adjust, and looks out the window. There. At the edge of the shadow, just outside the headlight's flickering glow, a figure is making its way along the lines, looking for a way around. (Probably some fucking drifter. Just what I need right now. Better lock the- oh shit.)

As the figure edges closer and closer to the puddle where the power lines lie, Stephen feels his mind race as adrenalin kicks in (This motherfucker's going to get himself fried!). He opens the door and jumps out of the car, rushing toward the oncoming silhouette.


Stephen's warning dries into a choked off shriek as the figure looks up at him with a face suspended from nothing, whipping at him with strange heavy tentacles of flesh and light. He staggers back from the thing and dives into his car, locking the doors and fumbling for the pistol in the glove compartment.

The next morning, a man who must work for the power company and a man who claims to be a policeman give Stephen a cup of coffee and ask him long questions about what happened in the night. At first, he's reluctant to talk (they'll think I'm crazy. Or stoned…), but as time goes on he opens up, explaining everything. He's too numbed by dread to notice how the policeman doesn't look surprised, or how the power company men are using HAZMAT gear to get samples of the puddles. The officer gives him a pill. Valium, to calm his nerves.

By the next morning, he doesn't remember a thing.

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