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the one many choose to ignore

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"Sure you don't want a ride?"

"I'm fine. My home's just a mile away. Besides, the storm doesn't look too bad - I'm sure I'll be fine," you say.

"It isn't the weather that you have to worry about."

"I'll be fine," you insist, and roll your eyes. Some people in this town were way too worried about senseless things; being outside after dark was one of them. They thought that creatures roamed the night, killing and terrorizing the unlucky citizens who had the misfortune of being in Kirlian after dark. Some used them to explain the death of a loved one who had died in a completely normal way. Others spoke in hushed, fearful tones - they had seen them and they had barely lived. They never got much attention, except from others who claimed to have seen them, and the occasional paranormal investigator or radio show. It was all nonsense.

Still, you have lived here your entire life, and have never been outside after dark. A senseless fear, you kept reminding yourself. But you always rush inside the apartment building when the sun begins to set.

Tonight, though, you had needed to grab food. Work left you on video calls all day; you hadn't had the time to run to the store until the sun began to set. You promise yourself that you'll go grocery shopping for proper meals tomorrow. Being afraid of being outside after dark is a senseless fear, but the sun setting leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

You exit the store and immediately wish that you had accepted the ride from the not-quite-stranger. The air is cold; the wind, biting. It took all of the seven minutes it took you to grab food for the temperature to drop, the weather to worsen, the sun to lower.

No matter. It isn't dark yet; and nothing actually happens after the sun sets. You have heard the rumors - werewolf-like creatures, enlarged mosquitos, eldritch abominations - and had dismissed them. There was something about this town that attracted more nutters than usual. There wasn't anything that was actually wrong here. 

Besides, creatures that don't exist? They're all tall tales told to make children behave. You had heard the same stories when you were younger.

We will eat them we will haunt them tasty

being human food to taste and eat once

again and consume

You turn around. There's nobody there; the whispers cease. The sky has turned red. It would be beautiful if you weren't so shaken. Nothing's actually wrong - you're just letting the rumors get to you. Take a breath.

Still, your pace quickens as you continue onward. The whispers continue, but you can't do more than try to ignore them. The teens must be playing some prank again; you'd heard plenty about that from a now-dead neighbor.

And they will curse us they always

will we haven't eaten in years but tonight we will f

east on human flesh and it will be scrumptious

and delectable and all too quickly gone but

tonight we will dine on fine flesh

This is too far, even for a prank. You stop and turn around. "Show yourself!" you exclaim.

Nothing.

You break into a run, grocery bag thumping against your side. You turn onto the street you live on; in a few minutes, you will be home.

We will eat and we will feast and rip the flesh from

bone and skin it carefully ever so carefully

and they will be eaten as we taste quickly savagely

and in quarters we hide it not to be found as we

bring to ourselves the delights of this meal

as we eat as we approach and the glorious taste

The stars are out, and the sky is black. 

You do not go home.