The sign on the general store that read FRESH PRODUCE DAILY began to swing back and forth, pushed by the wind. Its creaks sounded like slow, wheezing laughter. Carl froze in the middle of taking a step. Eyes fixated on the sign, he watched the wind carry it higher and higher until it was slapping against the underside of the overhang.
A heavy hand fell on Carl’s shoulder causing him to try to jump, spin around and flee all at once. He would have fallen if the hand had let him go, but it didn’t. It held him in place, completely unmoved by his frantic activity. Carl started to scream and another hand clamped over his mouth.
“Quiet, son.” Carl recognized the low voice as Sheriff Walker. “Somethin’s amiss and I aim to find out what it is. You see anything weird- like a six-legged coyote? Or maggots the size of cats?”
“Get back home to your parents and tell ’em I said to lock up tight and stay inside. Bad things are out tonight.”
Carl was almost home when gunfire and screams shattered the night.