Randy glanced up at the darkening sky. “We’d better hurry and find shelter, Brie. Storm’s coming.”

She gripped her bag tightly, nodded wearily, and trudged behind him across the grassy plain.

“Look!” said Randy. “There’s a building at the edge of this sweep. Come on, we’ll wait inside ‘til this blows over.”

Brie squinted. In the distance, she made out a small, deserted shack. She stumbled on. She was tired and needed rest. It would do.

The shack looked even shabbier as they neared. The doors and windows were missing and it looked as if, at some point, it had sustained a fire. Cautiously, Randy edged up and eased his head around the door opening.

“It’s clear.” He went in peering up at the shadowy ceiling and rafters. “Don’t seem to be many holes. It should keep us dry as long as we stay away from the windows.”

Brie followed him in. They’d stayed in worse. Lightening flickered behind her and thunder rolled. She looked around the dim room. Nothing there except the bare floor.

Randy shucked his bow and makeshift quiver, and his dilapidated backpack, settling them against a wall. She put her just-as-ragged bag beside his, slumping down the wall to the floor, hugging her knees. Lowering himself beside her, he placed an arm around her shoulders pulling her close. He was tired, too.

They fell asleep huddling in a corner away from the broken windows, listening to the rain pelt the little shack.

Brie awakened first. The storm was over and it was pitch black.

“Randy? Rain’s stopped.”

She felt for her bag and pulled out one of her precious kitchen matches and a candle. She lit it. And screamed.

Randy opened his eyes – and looked into the face of a monster. It grabbed him around the neck with a huge hairy hand, the flickering candlelight glinting off its jagged rotted teeth, its yellow eyes gleaming.

Shrieking, Brie scrambled up and rammed the candle into its left eye throwing the shack back into darkness. The thing roared, dropping Randy and clasping its eye.

Randy, coughing from being choked, groped for his quiver, pulled out an arrow quickly nocking it into his bow, and rose to his knees unable to see anything in the dark.

“Down Brie!” he shouted. He heard a soft thud, prayed it was her hitting the floor and loosed his arrow toward where he heard the howling creature.

There was a gurgling snarl and Brie gave a muffled cry as something fell across her back. It didn’t move. Light flared as Randy lit a candle. He’d gotten it through the neck. It was dead.

He moved its arm from Brie, made sure she was all right, and set about making a fire just outside the door. Brie found their lone knife and began hacking away at the thing’s pelt.

They didn’t know what kind of monster it was – mutated human or otherwise – and they didn’t care. They would eat well tonight.