The Encounter

by Jonathan Paine

Preface

A group of men exit a movie theater late at night and what they encounter is truely frightening.


It was a dark and stormy night in modern Barriville, perhaps gloomier than usual. This was the night when it all started, as if the happenings fell down with the rain during the evening. Some people even gossiped about how the rain somehow seemed different.

The time was about quarter to midnight, present day. The local movie theater had just let out and, like a herd of animals, the customers walked to their parked cars, chatting about the movie along the way. Simultaneously, it seemed, everyone got into their cars and exited the lot.

Shortly thereafter, the theater's signs went out and a small group strolled out from the lobby, each eating out of one shared bag of popcorn. They lived nearby and decided that they didn't mind getting a little wet, so they began to walk home from there.

The tall one, who stood at about five-foot-nine, bore the name of Henry. His two friends both stood around the same height of five-foot-five. The one holding the popcorn was Lawrence, whereas the other was Ted.

It was during this walk that the local church rung its automated bell and startled the members of the group, who seemed to have forgotten that it was the church bell.

As the bell was finishing its ringing, the whole block lost its power. There were no lights in the surrounding area of the group, save for the full moon peaking through the clouds.

The group was scared out of their wits, since they hadn't seen a blackout in a long time.

The rain had finally ceased and the moon had completely emerged from the clouds, giving the block a strange light. Seeing that they at least had enough light, they continued their walk, still visibly shaken by the sudden darkness.

The sound of a large animal swooping just above their heads made all three stop in their tracks.

"What the hell was that?!" Henry exclaimed.

"I don't know," Ted answered back. "I don't wanna know either."

"Why not, Ted?" asked Lawrence

Ted gave him an annoyed look. "The last thing I wanna do is let my imagination run wild in the moonlight."

"What's the matter? Afraid of what might be lurking in the shadows?"

"Frankly, yes. Have you ever heard of the Rake?"

"Oh, come on. You know that's just a myth."

The friends went on walking in the darkness of the night, guided by the dim moonlight.

A bolt of lightning shot across the sky overhead, and thunder shortly followed with a loud bang as it shook the earth. The dark storm clouds swallowed the moon once more, leaving the friends with nothing but the quick lightning to guide them home.

"Ain't this just grand?" Ted asked. "Not only did the whole block lose power, but now there is no natural light at all. Anyone got a light on them?"

They all checked their pockets.

As they did so, Henry said, "This is great. It started out a good night at the movies, and on the way home I can't see an inch in front of my face."

Lawrence took a lighter out of his pocket and lit it up immediately, holding it between the three.

Henry and Ted looked at Lawrence shockingly.

"What?" he asked them nervously.

"You got a little something lurking behind you," Ted told him before he booked it.

Henry followed quickly.

Lawrence turned to see a scruffy-looking face of a man with a devilish grin looking right back at him. Lawrence dropped his popcorn and lighter, allowing him to see the full figure before the lighter went out as it hit the ground. This was no man, but a humanoid winged creature, like that of hell or some other unholy place.

Lawrence was in a state of shock, completely paralyzed in the dark. Though he could not see it, he knew it was still standing in front of him. At once, the creature made a horrible sound, but not directed at Lawrence. The sound was enough to snap him out of it, and he ran off toward the nearest home.

He banged on the door and begged to be let in, all before another bolt of lightning shot across the sky. Once again, thunder shook the earth. Lawrence stood quivering by the door, when the clouds spit the moon back out.

He turned back toward the street where he saw the creature. It wasn't anywhere to be seen, and Lawrence let out a sigh of relief.

The door opened inward, Lawrence falling in with it.

"Young man," said the old man standing above him, "have you any idea what time it is?! Can't you see that the whole block is trying to get some rest before another long day of work?! Now, get out of here before I summon the police!"

Lawrence stood and said, "Sorry, sir. I let my imagination get the best of me and I could have sworn that something was chasing me. Again, I'm sorry to disturb you at this hour. It won't happen again."

With that, the old man slammed the door in his face.

He began to walk back toward the street, thinking about the encounter. "There's no way that actually happened," he kept saying to himself. He continued his walk home, thinking the whole way. He finally got his front door when he heard something on the roof, startling him. He went inside, grabbed a flashlight, and went back out to see what was up there.

To his surprise, the humanoid creature had followed him home and brought some friends along. All at once, they jumped at him, swarming him. A couple of them grabbed Lawrence and began flying away with him.

He struggled to break free from their grip, but each time he did, the grip got stronger. He began to kick about and swing his arms in every direction. A couple of times, he hit the creatures. The two carrying him exchanged a look and they both let go of him, sending him plummeting to a nearby lake. The beings flew off in the night.

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