“This is stupid. Let’s just go.” Randy pushes open the glass door, the final barrier between us and the nearly-empty parking lot.
Veiled in shadow, a figure stands between us and our cars, facing the store in which we work.
“You’re such a wuss,” Randy says as he pulls me outside by the front of my shirt. He locks the door behind us. “I can handle this idiot.”
As soon as the door latches, the stranger launches into motion, shifting forward, sideways, forward again in a ghostly blur.
Randy shoves me aside, and I fall to the wet pavement. Then the two of them fight. Grabbing, swinging.
My coworker grows larger, monstrous. His uniform tears away to reveal a bony back and a shaggy mane running from his head, down his spine.
They turn. Metal flashes. The thing that was Randy crumples to the ground, defeated.
The stranger approaches me, offers me a hand. As I take it, the parking lot dissolves.
Bed springs shriek as I sit up. We’re in a derelict barn, in the real world. The day is hot.
“Thank you,” I tell the stranger, breathless.