The Eyes In The Dark
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Peter looked forward into the darkness of the city. It was peaceful - the stars were out and he could hear the gentle hum of cicadas and grasshoppers ringing out into the night. He could only see silhouettes of the buildings, as the crescent moon hardly illuminated anything within his surroundings.

He made his way down the desolate road, avoiding the major potholes and dancing around the fissures, his mind vaguely remembering that stepping on a crack would break his mother's back. He chuckled to himself at this silly thought. Though, despite knowing that it wasn't true, he continued to avoid the crevices.

Finally entering the city, he took a moment to observe the surroundings. Off to the left looked to be a corner store. To the right is what appeared to be an office building. He briefly considered what to do, before deciding to go to the corner store. It probably had some decent loot, at least compared to the office building.

Peter crossed the street and headed onto the sidewalk, his shoes crunching broken glass as he observed the building. It was dilapidated, half of the eastern wall being caved in, the western wall being covered in graffiti marks. He could barely make out several swears in the darkness. The front was blown out, glass barely hanging onto the panes it once resided in. The automatic doors were wrenched open, the left one on the ground, with sharp shards of metal showing where it had been torn from.

He stepped over the door, heading inside and looking around. Several shelves were knocked over, others damaged in various ways. The checkout area was staffed by a singular skeleton, bones picked clean long ago. The shirt it was wearing had a nametag on it, reading 'Hello! My name is OLIVER'. The skeleton was sitting in a seat, hunched over the counter, skull resting on the glass that showed off the cigarette packs below in the locked area. Not that the lock mattered, seeing as the glass in front of the counter was smashed.

Peter leaned down and picked up one of the shelves, pulling it up and setting it back to where it was supposed to be. He looked down at the ground, seeing several candy bars left behind. He grabbed them, stuffing them into his large frame backpack. He then stood back up, eyeing the fridges. Everything in there was probably bad, and he didn't feel like opening them to smell the stink of rot and decay. He moved to the counter where the skeleton was, kneeling down and knocking a few shards of glass away.

He reached inside of the case, grabbing the cigarette packs that remained. He could get good trade value out of these. Grabbing the lighters that were left behind, he set them into his backpack. He was satisfied with this.

As he began to head towards the door, he could hear something move. Panic flooded his system and he quickly turned around to see what it was. The skeleton was shifting, slowly beginning to sit up and flex its finger bones. The sound was nauseating, the sounds of scraping bones and grinding teeth. He could see it turn its head to look at him.

"You gonna pay for that?" The skeleton asked, its voice a deep, croaky, groan, its lower jaw moving in time with how one would speak. Despite not having a tongue or vocal cords, it somehow spoke. Peter let out a sigh of solace as he heard this. Despite this scene being horrifying to most people before the apocalypse, this was just a standard reanimation.

"No. I'll come back later and help clean up the store, though." Peter said, lying through his teeth. He had no plans on coming back. "The store could use some TLC, which I can give."

The skeleton seemed to ponder this for a moment, taking a look around at the store before looking back at Peter. It nodded slightly. "Fair enough. Have a good day." The skeleton then laid back down in the same position it had been in prior to reanimating.

Peter let out a sigh of relief, stepping outside into the cold, winter air once again. "Just one more building. Gotta get something good for the traders. Just one more building." He mused to himself as he tried to think. What good stuff could an office building have? Coffee machine. Coffee machines were good. Maybe even some money. USD was still used at some of the trader camps.

He made his way to the street and entered into the office building. There were no corpses this time, although the office seemed to be in much better condition. No cracks, rubble, or debris. The only noticeable sign of the apocalypse or distress was a large blood pool on the green carpet, which streaked to a door that was closed. Peter made a mental note to avoid that room.

He walked further inside, heading to the offices, climbing stairs to get there. The power was out, and, thus, the elevators wouldn't work. He grabbed a few empty mugs from the breakroom, along with the coffee machine. People who had power would kill for that. As he went to grab the coffee bags, a loud, thunderous groan rang out from outside, causing the building to shake. He paused what he was doing, eyeing the window in the breakroom, looking to see what was causing the noise. As he watched, he could see bright white lights peer down through the alleyway. "What the hell?" He mumbled. Cars couldn't make that noise, nor were their headlights that bright.

Entity. It had to be an entity. And God, did it sound pissed. He stuffed the coffee bags into his backpack and quickly moved away from the window. He crouched down behind the wall as the light flooded into the office room. The noise continued, battering the office like waves against a beach. He could feel the building rock as the noise grew louder.

The light moved, as if peering into the room, looking for something. He stilled his breath, getting down on his stomach and crawling towards the stairwell. He just had to get out and he would be fine. The lights moved away, bathing the office room in darkness again. He let out a sigh of relief and stood up, making his way to the stairwell. He stood inside of it after opening the door, slowly shutting it behind him with a quiet click.

Peter propped himself up on the railing, sliding down as the building began to shake again. The light creeped in through small cracks in the foundation. He wasn't worried about it seeing him, though, as the cracks were far too small. He slid further and further down, finally stopping at the bottom. He opened the door and stepped into the main room, cursing silently as he remembered the amount of windows there were. He got down on his stomach and began crawling again, keeping his head down.

As he made it to the door, he paused, waiting for the light. It didn't come. He assumed that the entity moved on, standing up and heading outside, looking around with apprehension. No movement, no noise, no lights.

He decided that was enough looting for the night. A close call, and he didn't want to risk it further. He made his way down the sidewalk, heading back down the road towards his cabin in the woods. He needed sleep.

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