Gun smoke swirled through the dead silence of a dim hotel room. Sean sat on the bed, the revolver still warm in his hands. Moira hadn't moved from the corner, her horrified expression froze in place as she gazed at the corpse near the door. A black suit and tie adorned a haunting figure devoid of features with skin as white as paper. It had no face, no ears, and there was no blood.
Sean didn't know what had just happened. Moira's last scream echoed in his ears. All at once the haze cleared from his mind as a single thought snapped his head around.
"We have to go." His urgent tone pulled Moira from her own dull panic and she stood up. A floor down they heard the screech of tires and slamming doors, but no sirens. Hastily but without a word the two grabbed only the necessities and dashed into the hall.
"No! Not the elevator!" Moira shouted, leading the way to the fire exit. Single drops fell through the calm city from a black sky. Pulling their coats on they made their way down the alleyway, ducking behind a dumpster as a black car flashed down the street. Avoiding the avenue, the couple navigated the clustered buildings towards the train station. Both knew it didn't matter where they were going. They had to run.
Bathed in tired orange light, the desolate station beckoned from across the road. After a quick glance up and down the street they darted into the glistening darkness. The last train of the night lazily opened its doors to allow the desperate couple entry. Sean felt uncomfortable, but Moira tentatively pulled him into a seat and they waited.
With a groan the carriage shuddered and she looked out the window in time to see a black car pull up to the platform. Two figures in long black coats and brimmed hats got out and watched the train inch forward, their smooth white faces staring without eyes. She shuddered and grabbed Sean's arm.
"I think they saw us." she whispered. Sean worked his fingers around the revolver in his pocket.
"We're okay." he reassured them both. The grim countryside sped comfortingly by through the glass as the train rocked gently about. Their anxiety melted away and the two dozed off. When Moira opened her eyes the lights on the carriage had gone out, turning the train into a black tunnel. Sean was no longer with her, but something told her he was nearby. Nervously standing to look for him, a glow appeared at the door to the next car.
Through the darkness its skin shone, illuminating the suit it wore under a brimmed hat. A scream stopped at the top of her throat as she froze, staring at the man-like thing as it took a step towards her. Panic filled her mind and she latched on to one thought: the gun. Sean had it, but where was he? It took another step. She was paralyzed with fear. Ideas began to flash through her mind. She couldn't run. When it got to her she'd have to fight.
It drew closer. Where was Sean? She tensed her arms. They must already have him. What did they want? It reached out a white hand. Now! But she couldn’t raise her fists. It grabbed her. Moira jolted awake as Sean's hand squeezed her upper arm.
"Next station." he said quietly. Upon seeing her jump he gave her an awkward hug around the shoulders before they stood. They waited at the door, nervously composing themselves as the platform crawled to a stop beyond the glass. A rush of cool damp air met them as they stepped onto the wet pavement. No windows were lit, but a solitary taxi sat in the nearby roundabout. Sean led the way, glancing at the darkness pressing in on the town from the surrounding fields.
"Wait." Moira said, looking into the idle vehicle. Sean pulled out the revolver and approached. Nobody was inside. He looked around for the driver, but the station was deserted. In the distance, he saw a pair of headlights speeding through the fields towards the town. With a stab of panic, he realized the train had already left them there.
"Get in!" he said, but Moira was already opening the passenger door. With a heavy foot, Sean steered them onto the main road and out to the edge of town. The two constantly checked the mirrors for the car, but the empty highway and distant countryside were doused in shadow. Confusion clogged both their minds, but neither said a word to the other. Moira hoped Sean hadn't noticed that the radio was actually on throughout their silent ride.
Just as the needle dipped below empty, a sign appeared before them like a large yellow beacon. The two knew this city, but couldn't recognize the towering buildings in the utter darkness. Only the street lamps illuminated the concrete maze. Finally the engine sputtered its last and Sean pulled onto the empty sidewalk. Together they strode aimlessly down the cobblestone, glancing over their shoulders as they went.
Suddenly Moira pulled Sean into an alley. He poked his head around the brickwork to see a pair of headlights turn onto the road they'd just left and begin rumbling in their direction. With an exchange of fearful glances they ran between the buildings. They only got two blocks down the next street before another car appeared.
"I think they know." she muttered through the crisp air as they hid behind an electrical box. As they darted back down another alley, a car squealed to a halt behind them. Sean turned to look but a figure jumped from the shadows and grabbed him. Moira screamed as another took hold of her. Sean threw a fist at the nearest blank face and kneed a third figure as it appeared. Moira freed herself with a well-placed elbow, but yet another materialized.
Sean shouted at the top of his lungs, swinging furiously at the impervious creatures as two more ran over. Kicking and screaming they were dragged back to the street towards an unmarked white van. Sean thought he saw the flash of a needle through the struggle before everything went dark. The last thing Moira saw was Sean being pulled into the van.
"Sean?" Through the fog in his mind the familiar voice sounded a long ways off. For several moments he tried opening his eyes before realizing the darkness was due to a black bag around his head. Moira heard him try looking around beside her. Arms like lead, she wanted to reach out and touch him, but her body say unresponsive in the metal chair. Breaking the sanitized cold of the room, a pair of shoes clicked like the second hand of an enormous clock.
Blinding light flooded their eyes as the bags were suddenly pulled off to reveal two large screens directly before their faces. Both Sean and Moira's gaze was immediately locked on the black and white static flashing in front of them. An agonized screaming filled Sean's mind as he stared into the white noise, while Moira felt as if her brain were vibrating within her skull. His eyes glazed over as his mind was consumed by static, but Moira could still cling to small thoughts.
She could see the room in her peripherals, its white tile floors and bleach walls. She knew the third person in the room was standing just between them. Moira strained to keep a coherent thought as everything else swirled in unintelligible noise. Her grip on consciousness slipping, she focused on just moving her hand. The concentration it took to even find her hand was exhausting, but for a moment she knew she could do it.
The world seemed to empty around her, even her perception fading into nothingness as she just focused on moving her damn hand. Slowly, ever so slowly, she pushed against the crushing weight on her limb and got her wrist off the metal armrest. Even though the noise in her head dulled as she focused, the strain was almost too much to bear. She just wanted to give up and slip into bliss, but no, she couldn't. Her arm began to drift outward.
With a shock she realized her fingers had touched something. It had to be Sean's arm; she could see his screen directly beside hers. Just one more push, one more clear thought, one gasp of air before she went under was all she wanted. With the last of her mental energy, she forced her hand to clamp onto where she knew his arm should be.
Everything came crashing in from all sides as the abyss Sean was lost in shattered. With a rush of energy he threw his fist into the screen, smashing it across the white room. Somebody grabbed his shoulders and he lunged forward from the metal chair. One of those things stood between the chairs, this time in a lab coat instead of a suit. Instinctively he grabbed the screen in front of Moira and slammed it into the creature's head, knocking it to the ground.
The world came back to her, and Moira jumped up from the chair as the screen shattered beside her head. Her heart kicked into overdrive and she grabbed Sean's hand and ran towards the only door in the room. Light shone from every sanitized surface in the hall, contrasting suddenly with the black suits of the two figures about to lunge at them.
Moira kicked on in the stomach as Sean struck the other where its jaw should be. Thinking fast, she snatched the revolver from his pocket and fired a shot into each of the two creatures with reflexive accuracy. More of them were scattered down the hall, standing in lab coats and staring blankly through eyeless faces.
"This way!" Moira yelled and Sean obediently followed her down the hall. Another suited one rounded the corner to catch a bullet and crash to the floor. Sean tackled one as it jumped from a doorway, bashing its skull against the tile until it stopped moving, but the ones in lab coats just watched. A strange confidence filled them as they ran down the featureless halls, passing the stationary creatures in search of an exit.
"Locked." Sean said after trying another door. Several footsteps drew their attention back down the dead-end. No less than six of the suited creatures were running towards them. Moira took aim and fired her last two shots. One of the creatures stumbled while another collapsed, but the remaining ones charged past them. Sean got in front and drove his fist into the first to reach him but was tackled by the second.
As they grappled on the ground, the next jumped over its two companions and lunged at Moira, who landed a punch of her own that knocked it off target. But now they were once again outnumbered. The creatures had begun to overwhelm the struggling pair when someone began pounding on the locked door.
"In here! Help!" Sean bellowed between blows against the things trying to restrain him.
"Hurry!" Moira added, hoping it wasn't more of the creatures coming to stop them. One of the ones in a lab coat approached holding two syringes, and Sean yelled desperately as he tried to break free of the creatures. Despair began to fill Moira's mind as she watched, now pinned to the ground by two of them. One was suddenly knocked over her as the door flew open with a loud crash. She let out a defiant cry that drowned out a foreign shout.
Gunfire exploded from the doorway, the impacting bullets knocking the creatures off them. Pistol drawn, a police officer stood over Moira with an expression of bewilderment as he observed the mess before him. Relief washed over Moira as she saw his blue eyes, the lines in his face, and a row of teeth through a cracked grimace.
Sean anxiously looked across the hotel lobby from the café, watching Moira as she spoke with a detective. The building was now filled with police and paramedics wheeling gurney after bag-strapped gurney out of the doorway they'd been found in. His hand shook as he lifted the cup of hot chocolate to his lips under the careful gaze of a police officer in a leather jacket. Eventually the detective finished with Moira and came over.
"Are you alright, sir?" he asked, professionally. Sean nodded. "I need you to tell me everything that happened and then you two can return to your room."
Inspired by the Twilight Zone and the song by Golden Earring of the same name.