A short story about supernatural beings, this unusual story takes place in the desert where a grandfather and his granddaughter are hunting for an artifact that is located in a deep underground cavern.
Grandfather handed her the sledgehammer. The stone wall cracked with each blow. Sharp bits of rock flung to her face. They trekked a mile into the earth to find this, but then a sound echoed down the narrow passage.
Grandfather moved the torch towards the noise. At first, there was nothing, but soon a pair eyes gleamed. Sally clenched her sledgehammer as Grandfather dug into his satchel for a metal canister.
The second pair of glowing eyes emerged. Grandfather shone the torch towards the creatures. They were pale, with mangy scalps. Thin flakes of skin fell from their faces revealing their bones.
“They’re starving,” he said.
“Wait!” Sally saw what he was about to do.
He doused them with gasoline. The creatures lunged, but Grandfather tossed the torch onto their ragged clothes.
The entire cave lit up. The warmth touched Sally’s face. Both creatures screamed as they flailed about the narrow passageway. Grandfather pulled her. Together, they rushed down the dark and winding tunnel. It seemed never ending until they saw the daylight in the distance.
Each step drew them closer to the light. Suddenly, a figure blocked the path and, like a tumbling boulder, it charged.
“No matter what happens run for it!” said Grandfather, but she’d never leave him.
She quietly pulled a wooden stake from her back pocket. The creature stumbled into Grandfather. The two wrestled on the dirt floor, grunting and punching.
“Run!” he yelled.
Sally looked to the daylight. Her heart raced, her palms sweated. The creature was on top of Grandfather, Sally took a breath and stabbed it. She used her foot to punch the stake further into the creature’s chest so to reach its heart.
Grandfather pushed the creature aside, but to their surprise, it didn’t die. It stood upright and pulled the stake from its back.
Sally knew what the creature was, but Grandfather was stunned. They rushed into the daylight. For Grandfather, the dry heat was a refreshing calmness, but Sally pushed him towards the truck.
As she started the car, Grandfather saw the creature step into the sunlight. Before it could catch them, the truck drove off. They bumped along the road for a long way then Grandfather broke the silence.
“How did you know?”
She said nothing, but his stare made her sweat more. Finally, she gave in.
“I befriend one,” she said.
His sudden heavy breathing told her that Grandfather was upset.
“Some are over fifteen hundred-years-old, and they can’t be staked or burned by the sun.”
His continued silence worried her.
“They’re not demons or devils, Grandpa,” her voice was shaky, “they feel pain, sadness, and revenge like us-“
“They killed your parents! They feed on us to live!” his scream was louder than gunfire.
They had finally reached the paved highway.
“No, grandpa, we killed the ones that murdered mom and dad,” she took a breath, “things are not as simple as we think.”