THE TEMPERATURES PLUMMETED DRASTICALLY on that December evening as the winds picked up speed, and whipped into the Hudson Valley of New York with a biting edge. Within minutes, the ground and grassy surfaces were covered with snow and the Weather Channel announced the storm of the decade. Greenwood Lake was expected to receive close to thirty six inches of snow over the next two days, and the winds classified the storm as a blizzard.
Linda Murphy parked her Jeep in her driveway, opened the hatchback and grabbed three bags of her groceries. As she made her way quickly to the front door, she slipped, and almost fell on the icy walkway. Once inside, she dropped the bags onto the mudroom floor and flipped the switch for the outdoor flood light, cursing when the light refused to illuminate. She made her way back outdoors for the remaining bags.
The speed of the wind picked up. She could barely see the Jeep she parked twenty-feet away. In silent protest, she rolled her eyes up to the sky then slowly walked toward the Jeep. The wind nipped at her face and bit the tips of her ears. She wondered why she decided to sport the latest, short haircut. For the first time in weeks she missed her long hair.
Pausing in the driveway, she put on the hood of her jacket and then continued her journey to the tailgate of the Jeep. The coating of snow that blanketed the neighbourhood caused her to slip and slide all the way to the vehicle.
She grunted over the possibility of falling on her butt, lifted two more grocery bags out of the vehicle, and noticed the snow was already accumulating into measurable quantities.
A sigh escaped her lips as she regretted waiting until the last minute before doing her shopping. The storm warning, released by the media two days before, didn't deter the procrastinator inside her. The storm had started before she decided to tackle her grocery shopping. The store had been packed and she'd found that she wasn't alone in her quest for batteries, milk and eggs. The lines were long, the cashiers tired, and the children celebrated the closing of school. The Warwick Mountain had become slippery and she regretted ever taking the ride over to Shop Rite.
Now, as she turned to make her way back into the house, she heard a scream. Holding her breath, she listened, while blinding snow was all she saw as she looked up and down her street.
The howl of the wind scared her. That's what she decided the noise was. Running inside, she dropped off the bags and made her way back outside for the remainder. The stairs were slippery and she carefully navigated the three slippery stone steps near her front door. Twice, she slipped on the circular, snow-covered driveway on her way to the Jeep. The storm suddenly magnified in its intensity; the wind biting at her skin. She dug her feet into the snow for traction, dragging them, to speed up her trip to the vehicle.
Again, the sound of a shrill scream filled the air, sending chills shot up her spine. Running to the Jeep, Linda grabbed the last two bags, slammed down the hatchback and ran toward the house as quickly as she could manage without slipping and falling.
I need to get the hell inside! That was not the wind!
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw movement on the roof of her house. She tried to see what was going on, but the heavy snow made it nearly impossible to see anything. Linda blinked, as her eyelashes caught the fresh powder. Removing her hood, she placed her arm over her brow to block the falling flakes. On the roof, she spied two dark blobs.
What is that?
A dark figure stood erect on her roof, swinging a limp object in its hands. Linda gasped.
What is that? Is that a person? Can't be.
Suddenly, the shadow lifted the object in its hand, and threw it directly at her. She tried to move but it knocked her to the ground. She fell with a thud. The object rolled off of her shoulders and rested on top of her legs.
The grocery bags fell from her arms. She watched a single tomato fall from the plastic bag, roll down the slippery walkway and lose itself inside of the snow. Her feet were stuck.
Something is on me!
The object rolled from her feet as he kicked at it. It lay in the white powder about five feet from where she had fallen.
What is that? A lump of coal? Wood?
She crawled to the dark lump. The snow fell faster. The wind howled. She screamed.
It's Emma. Emma's head!
She screamed louder and looked back to the roof.
Oh my God. Oh my God. Where is her body? What is this?
She pushed herself to her feet.
Anxiety devoured her body; it began to shake. Her screams melded with the howls of nature, until she was unable to tell them apart.
Linda knew there was no chance to escape it, although she was only a few feet from her front door. The huge figure stood before her, looking down at her.
It moved its massive arm and sliced through her coat and sweater. She looked down and saw her bleeding flesh. She screamed louder.
She fell to her knees, not from fright, but from weakness. Her cry for help echoed through the valley. The creature crouched over her, and plucked out her throat.
For Linda, it was over within minutes. A feral scream released itself from the creature's throat. The snow fell faster. Silence filled the valley.