The sirens fade after the large church doors close. I make sure that my sister and I are at the far end of the church, as far away from the doors as possible. I cover my sister's ears in case someone didn't make it in the church in time. Whoever doesn't make it, dies. No matter if they try to survive, they can't escape what lies beneath the darkness of Centralia.
Centralia is a small town in Pennsylvania. This town burned on May 27, 1962. Everyone that resided in this town, have died. A new settlement grew in the mid seventies but what the settlers didn't know, is when it gets dark, there is no escape. Even during the day, someone cannot pack their bags and leave the city, it is impossible because once you enter, the roads break loose. There is no way out.
My sister grabs hold of my black trench coat, "Mina, when will it be day time again?"
I cuddle my sister's head close to my chest. I didn't know what to tell her that the days get shorter while the night grows longer, "Soon, Rayne, soon."
My sister and I were born in this town. I have been living here for eighteen years, taking care of my six year old sister, Rayne. Our parents protected us from the darkness, sacrificing themselves so Rayne and I could lead a better life. That better life is something that will never be set in front of me, no matter if there is still a sun.
"The night will go faster if you sleep." I gently stroke her long, blonde hair as she settles in my arms. I look up at the stained glass windows above everyone's shaking heads. I haven't slept for nearly all my life, I am too concerned for my little sister's safety. I never know when those doors will be knocked down, sending evil right through them.
The pastor here tries to reassure everyone that the church of God will save us from the malicious demons that lurk in the darkness outside. He always tries to keep everyone calm and collected but what he doesn't know is that no matter how calm they look on the outside, they are freaking out on the inside.
Honestly, I don't feel as safe as I should be. I always check my sister, making sure that she is alright. She is young so she doesn't quite grasp the whole situation with what goes on outside. She believes that this is just a phase everyone goes through throughout their lives. Well, it is something we all must go through every single day. Every single day, there is someone that dies because they don't reach the church doors in the amount of time given. The church sounds off their sirens three minutes before the darkness takes place. If they are not in the doors within that time, they will be stuck outside, having to face the monsters that come out at night.
There are times where my sister and I nearly make it to the church doors. It seems as if we are getting closer in time towards the doors than what we should be. I just hope that there won't be a day where my sister and I get stuck out there. Dying is certainly not on my list. I must protect my sister no matter what situation, but if it comes to it, I might have to sacrifice myself to save my sister. It will be devastating for her since she is so young, so I don't want that happening to her, I must fight my way up to the church so I won't have to worry so much for her.
The rays of sunshine shine through the windows, causing sighs of relief to happen to the people in the church. I, on the other hand, do not have relief, I will never have relief until the day when we could go out at night without being afraid of the darkness.
The pastor opens the doors wide, looking out in the fog. The monsters have gone. The pastor gives his signal and everyone starts to exit the church. I wake up Rayne, shaking her gently. She opens her eyes slowly, rubbing them in the process. She smiles as she sees my face, and in reaction, I smile at her back.
I help her to her feet. When she gets up, she walks around in a circle to relieve her sleepy legs. After, she grabs my hand and runs with me out of the church outside.
The buildings are covered in ashes, the wood just barely holds in place. The roads seem abandoned but have so little people walking on them. The skies are gloomy and grey, leaving off a cold fog along with it, low to the ground.
Most of these people are hard to spot during the day in the first place. They always have their hiding spots. No matter if it is light, no matter if the monsters are not out, they still cower down in the buildings. Every single one of these residents are stuck in a never ending darkness.
Rayne pulls on my arm, "Mina, I'm hungry." Her small stomach growls.
I take her to the small hotel that we live in. There is no such thing as money here since this town is cut off from anyone in the real world. It isn't cut off from the map but ever since that fire, rarely anyone passes through here but if there is someone who wants to tour, they would be stuck in this town. The only way they will get stuck is if they stay overnight. During the day, you cannot see the people that live here, it is a ghost town.
I take her into the kitchen to scavenge around for any type of food that could be laying around. I look in the fridge and freezer first for anything that may be fresh. I am able to find a couple apples and a small bag full of peaches. I grab them then show them to Rayne. Her pasty face brightens up as she reaches out towards them. I hold them up so she can't reach them.
"You can only have one. The rest we must save, understood?"
She nods her head as she stands on her tiptoes, sticking her little tongue out, trying to reach for the peaches. She has always loved peaches when I could find them. I slit the top of the bag and put the dagger back in the slit. I can't carry weapons because the church will not allow it. Not even for defense because if someone went insane in the church, they wouldn't have a weapon to use to kill.
I grab a peach from the bag and hand it to Rayne. Her mouth begins to water as she takes a bite out of it. Since her mouth is small, she only bites off a little piece, leaving a small dent into it. I grab an apple instead of a peach because I am saving all the peaches for Rayne. I believe she needs the food more than I do.
I place the rest of the fruit back into the fridge, in a little cubby hole so no one could find it but me. I look over at my sister, who is happily taking bite after bite into the peach. I can tell she was hungry, we haven't eaten for one whole day because the pastor had us all go outside to shout a prayer.
I look over at the freezer door. I notice something on the handle, like the color is a bit unusual. I move up closer to it. Not touching the handle, I investigate underneath it. I notice that there is a red liquid that lay behind the handle. I did not dare to touch it because it looks like blood because of the thick consistency.
"Rayne, I need you to stay there, okay? Don't follow me." I grab a glove from the glove box hanging beside the freezer door.
Rayne looks over at me, kicking her feet happily, still munching on her peach, "Okay, Mina."
I slowly turn the handle and open the door. I reach around the door's edge to turn on the light. I regret turning on the light. When I did, I see a man laying upside from the wall. He is on a meat hook, hanging from his ankles. His stomach is completely torn out from him, leaving a dark hole in the middle of his stomach. I nearly vomited by the sight of all the dark blood still dripping from the man to the cold, metal floor. I shut the door immediately, pressing the lock button to make sure to lock it. Whatever did this to him, could possibly come back in the same area to finish its...meal.
Rayne looks confused as she sees my aghast expression, "What's the matter?" She finishes her peach and threw it away in the tin bin by the wall she is sitting against.
I lower my breathing so I don't scare my little sister, "It's nothing, Rayne. Don't worry about it."
She shrugs her small shoulders and stands up, brushing the dust off her long, white dress. We always stay in the same clothing because we never could find anything else to put on ourselves that fits. She walks over to me, smiling, "We have to go to the fountain." I can hear the bells chime which means that the pastor wishes us to attend to a circle around the fountain for our daily prayers into this town. Like me, everyone else wishes this nightmare would end.
I hold my sister's hand as we walk outside towards the fountain, right across from our hotel. The pastor holds out his hands above his head as everyone begins to form a couple circles around him. They all don't hold hands like what traditional families did before the fire, but they do stand close to each other, all having one simple goal and wish.
The pastor bows his head and folds his arms as he begins giving the prayer for the Gods to protect the town during the day they are out. He wishes to curse the demons that lurk beneath the darkness and killing innocent people that do not reach the church doors in time. I can hear the tears fall from various people in the inner circle.
Rayne begins to shake as I keep holding her hand. I look down at her to see what is wrong. I notice something underneath her wrist. It looks a red symbol. It has a large circle then a smaller circle inside of it with inscriptures that I cannot comprehend. Inside the inner circle there are three small circles forming a triangle with a simple eye in each one. When the pastor says, "Amen", the symbol disappears.
As everyone disperses, I pull Rayne to the side. I move her bangs out of her face and place them behind her ears, "Is everything okay, Rayne?"
Rayne's expression made it look like nothing happened, "Yeah, why? Is something wrong?"
I didn't want to tell her of the mark that seems like it is engraved into her skin. I didn't want to worry about it too much so I came to believe that it is just my imagination. We walk back into the hotel and took the stairs up to the second floor where we decided to live.
The hotel isn't a five star hotel, it isn't really any stars actually. Since no one visits, there is no use for this hotel so my sister and I took refuge in it. It is convenient as well because it is just a minute away from the church so when the bell rings, right away, my sister and I will make it every time.
The rooms aren't so fancy either. Our room has the basic living room, kitchen, and bedroom. We don't use the bedroom only because the beds have been living in here for so long that they probably grew bed bugs. Anyways, my sister sleeps in the church. We covered the couches and chairs with sheets that we washed ourselves in the fountain. The fountain is the only place with water we can use. Anywhere else, the water is contaminated with either blood or mud...disgusting.
"I'll be back, Rayne." I go downstairs to the fridge to grab the bag of peaches and the last apple for the fridge in the hotel room. I look back at the freezer where that dead man is being held. I put it in the back of my mind as I walk back up the stairs. My sister is laying on the couch with her feet up on the back of it, hanging herself upside down. That is her form of entertainment.
"I'm back." I walk over to the small kitchen and place the fruit in it along with a few other things I picked up last week.
Rayne's crystal eyes grow wide as she catches her eye with the fruit. Her mouth begins watering again even though she just ate one earlier.
I shut the fridge before she asks for one. Then, I go sit on the couch with her, looking out the window into the gloomy skies. I sit back thinking about a scenario where Rayne and I don't make it to the church. I wonder if we are prepared for that to happen. I am kind of curious what lurks outside but then again, I should keep my thoughts just as thoughts, I don't want them to turn into reality.