Granny Po didn’t waste a second. She yanked with all her strength, but her emaciated arm couldn’t pull the chain free from the wall. It’s bolts started to creak as they were stripped and loosened. She let loose a piercing, wild shriek that echoed past the other chained beasts, past us, and out into the meandering hallways beyond.
The monsters all turned their heads in our direction. Rows of thin, pale lips peeled back to reveal masses of pointed yellowed teeth as they all roared at us.
But we were already racing back through the halls. With unspoken agreement, we headed back toward the central room of the bunker. Campbell ran to the bunker door and expanded his arms to turn the wheel of the door with all his strength. But it wouldn’t budge.
So he backed up toward the central fire of the room and ran headlong at the door. Just before he reached it he billowed out into an erupting mass of muscle, vein, and skin.
Sara watched over the doorway behind us, keeping track of approaching monstrous auras. Rachel knelt in the center of the room to meditate as she sent us all personalized messages of inspiration for hope, urgency for adrenaline, and (in my case) some of a mixture of death and letting go to help me on my way.
I slipped through the bunker door to see it vibrating with the force of Campbell slamming his weight into it again and again. But it didn’t seem to loosen.
On the other side of the door, below my ghost-like presence, I spotted an unending mob of fire-bearing townspeople. They looked a lot like the people we’d met inside, just without the glowing eyes and penchant for turning into bloodthirsty monsters in the dead of night. They held torches, nooses, and long, machete-like blades. I just hoped we could get the door open and that they wouldn’t want to kill us in their rage too.