Epilogue: Darkness on the Edge of Town

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The tall woman entered the house first. Her footsteps were rhythmic as she walked in her broken heels. Justin's face pushed against the damp floor to see through the small gap the tablecloth offered. All his eyes could see were disfigured feet occupying a set of overused shoes. Christina's claustrophobia kicked in early while she peeked through the lined gaps in the closet door. She couldn't see anything from her angle.

"It's good to be home," the woman's croaky voice rang through Justin's and Christina's ears. The sound of her voice was enough to make them both push tears from their eyes. "Someone light some candles. I'm cold!"

"Yes, mother," a lanky boy, in his late teens, pulled a lighter out from his pocket, and rushed to a cabinet in the living room to retrieve a set of candles. Christina peeked through the door carefully, eyeing the boy as he grabbed a handful of candles and turned. He looked right at her.

Christina gasped and stepped back. The boy's stare only lasted a second as he walked away none the wiser. Christina's heart wouldn't give up pounding. Justin moved back without making a noise, turning his head to face the other way when two younger children appeared through the door.

The first was the young girl Eric saw through the upstairs window. She still carried the knife and teddy bear in her scrawny hands with a grin plastered on her face. She was followed by a boy a couple of years younger than her, but he happened to be the same height. While the girl had some resemblance of an ugly duckling that could become a swan if she tried, the young boy was too far gone. His face was deformed to the point that it would be hard to tell if he was actually a boy or not. The clothes suggested he was, but his hair was also long and unshaven. His nails were at a terrible length.

Amelia looked around her home with a satisfied smile. The eldest boy rushed into the hallway with the set of candles, and started putting a couple on a stand, lighting them, and then moved into the dining room. He carefully set more up on the table. Justin buried his head in his arms, trying to block out the sound of the killer approaching, but was now in close proximity. He regretted using the dining room table as a hiding place.

"You're such a good boy." Amelia's shrill voice didn't sound like she genuinely meant it, but Clyde, being the mother's boy that he was, smiled at her words. "Has mother ever told you how good a boy you are?"

"You don't need to; you're far too busy looking after us. You're such a good mother." Clyde's words were deep and husky for a boy his age.

"That I am, boy," Amelia laughed and sat on one of the chairs at the dining room table. Justin moved out of the way of her long, bony legs. The skin on her legs looked stretched and fragile, smothered in dirt and blood. Justin prayed she hadn't killed anybody recently. It was already hard for Justin to breathe, but now it was impossible. The chair closest to Justin moved out as the young girl went to sit down. Justin's heart imploded at the thought of being surrounded by the feet of the whole family. He scurried out of the way without making significant noise. "Junius, get in here!"

Christina watched as the youngest boy ran out of the living room. Junius wobbled as he walked, reaching the chair next to his mother, and was about to sit down until she pushed him away. He landed on his backside, but he quickly stood and shook it off. "Don't sit. You're going in the bath, you scruffy boy." He was about to run up the stairs until his mother grabbed his arm. Her nails curled around him like a handcuff. "Wait for your father, you impatient little brat."

At that moment, the patriarch of the family thundered into the house. Glasses shook on the dining room table at the large size of the man. Justin dug his nails into the floor. He couldn't see who he was, and he didn't want to either. The low rumbling continued as he walked through the hallway.

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