He had an idea—or paranoia—that they were being stalked
through the attic and the demons would let them get to the door…but not beyond. He didn't voice it; no sense giving
them an idea if it hadn't already occurred to them, and no sense scaring Kimberly. He was determined to see her out of
this house, and then—perhaps—that deed alone would be enough.
His questing hand struck a hard splintery object: a supporting pillar. They had reached the main aisle that led through
the junkyard from one end of the attic to the other. Thirteen pillars to the left, and then a blind grope for the door. He
yanked her up on her tiptoes to whisper in her ear.
I say NOW, throw yourself to the left and drop to the ground."
She moved to whisper back, and the scent of lilacs filled his space. "Can't we go back outside of time?"
"No. They won't let us back out."
His hand tightened on hers, and she hissed in pain. "Kimberly, do you understand what
I've done? I've broken every bargain I made with them. And twice refused to deliver you to them."
Her voice was cool. "I thought the keys fell out of your
pocket on accident."
"They did. But when
I took that shot at you before you ran into the woods, I aimed high."
"How merciful of you, Caleb."
what you want."
"I always do."
He tugged her along through the lightless room, feeling for the
pillars and counting them as they passed.
He felt them gathering around them, silent, stalking, anticipating.
Their presence stifled the already thick, heavy air. Cold sweat trickled down his neck and
into the collar of his shirt. He gripped Kimberly's hand tighter, this time lacing their fingers together for strength;
he didn't want to chance her slipping from his grip at an inopportune moment. That she allowed him to told him she felt
the demons' presence around them.
Caleb took two steps past the last pillar and made what he hoped
was a ninety-degree turn to the right. He secured his grip on her hand, lowering himself into a half-crouch, preparing for
Two more steps, and two more…
"NOW!" he screamed, and threw himself to the floor
to the left. Their arms tautened between them, testing the strength of their hold on one another, and then went slack as she
threw herself in the same direction a split second after him. Her lighter body flew farther, her hip glancing off his shoulder.
She slammed into the floor behind him, and he rolled toward her and covered her body with his.
Shrieking and screaming, they came.