Lyle stood in front of his sister Lyla, his left arm around her. She pressed so hard against his back he thought she’d climb inside of him.
They were looking into the closet at deep blue wolf’s eyes staring back at them, possessed of a contemplative intelligence not naturally found.
They were trembling, but it was Lyle’s duty to protect her, and that’s what he was going to do no matter what.
“Why are you scaring us?”
Scaring you? The deep, disembodied voice made them both jump and flinch at the same time, though it hadn’t shouted.
Why do I scare you? What have I done?
“Y-y-you won’t sh-sh-show y-yourself…and y-you k-keep scaring L-Lyla!”
I do, but why are you scared of me?
“Y-you sh-should g-g-go.”
“I-I don’t c-care. J-just go.”
I just whispered Lyla’s name…
“We don’t want you here! P-please g-go.”
The voice laughed softly, and serrated teeth flashed in a cruel smile.
Lyle turned away, holding on to a thread of resolve.
I admire your willingness to sacrifice yourself Lyle, but you can’t.
“I’m doing it…”
I haven’t attacked you. It’s Lyla I want.
“W-we’re twins. We go together.”
No. It isn’t your turn.
“You can’t take me instead?”
I’m losing my patience, child. Stand aside.
The blue eyes brightened and moved closer to the closet’s edge.
The twins took a step back, and Lyla gasped in Lyle’s ear. His arm around her tightened for all that it was behind his back.
“You can’t take my sister away. I won’t let you.”
Lyle, stand aside.
In the mirror Lyle saw Lyla look down and away, and she began shaking her head and pointing as she whimpered Lyle’s name.
Lyle took another step back, as if it made a difference, and glanced where she was pointing.
From under the bed bright green eyes peered up at them. A jagged toothed smile promised a bloody death as a woman’s soft, mellifluous voice spoke to them.
Ah, there you are, children.
A long bony arm came out from underneath the bed, covered with decayed flesh and leggy things that moved beneath the skin.
Follow me, Lyle. I can take you….
Lyle moved away as the closet door opened and the monster’s horned head emerged into the dim moonlight.
Lyla’s grip on Lyle was painful; she wasn’t letting go, no matter what happened.
“We’ll die together,” Lyle found himself saying.
To his surprise, Lyla, calmed down.
“No, we won’t,” she said.
The other monster began to slither from under the bed.
Defiant little bastards, it said.
Lyla stepped from behind her brother.
“Lyla! What are you doing?” he gasped.
Lyla bunched herself into a crouch, and snapped up as if her body were jolted, her arms, legs and back stiff as if she was going to fly apart.
Her piercing scream thundered through Lyle’s ears, and he put his hands on them to find them bleeding.
She drew breath without seeming to and screamed again.
Lyle saw slashes appear on the monsters’ flesh.
Their own roars of pain gathered energy, but Lyla screamed again.
Lyle was rolling on the floor, blood in his nostrils; the monsters were desperately trying to scramble back, but the portal had closed.
Black blood flowed underneath the closet and from under the bed.
The monsters roared at the top of their lungs, so loud and terror filled that Lyle felt the hairs on his arm might pop out from fright.
Lyla gave a final scream that shattered the mirror and windows.
The first monster crashed down, slamming the closet door against the wall hard enough to leave an indent. The monster under the bed kept twitching, its dead skin rupturing with scattering vermin until it stopped moving.
Lyle’s head was between his knees, hands still on his ears, blood leaking through his fingers.
Lyla went to him, held him, and kissed his cheeks.
He pulled back, looked at her flowing tears with silent, screaming faces inside them.
The whites of her eyes turned scarlet, the reptilian irises gleamed amber and gold.
“It’s all right, Lyle. They won’t hurt us anymore. Sometimes I forget…”