For just a moment I relax. This is a safe place. For now. The receptionist is nice. She guides me to Mr. Jackson's Office. I look over my shoulder only three times as I walk down the hallway.
I breathe in and contemplate this new hell. I try counting the ticks of the clock on the wall. Tick. Tock. Tick. There's a fern in the corner, and a slightly balding man in glasses at the center of the room. He is looking at my paperwork on the desk in front of him. He pulls off his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose.
He speaks downward into the paperwork. "This is the third time you've come here with an insurance claim for structural damage to your house. What happened?"
I swallow twice. The man puts his glasses back on and pushes them up his nose. "A tree. It's the craziest thing. You remember that storm last month? I think it weakened one of the oaks outside my house."
The man clears his throat. "I just… I don't know that we can keep paying for this."
"The whole side wall is gone. And I'm up to date on my payments." I lean forward.
"I'm sorry. At the very least we're going to have to assign an investigator to look into it. If he says everything is good, we'll look into paying… but it's going to take a few months at least."
I cannot afford to put up another wall without the insurance. But it doesn't matter anyway. The thing that's following me won't be stopped by a wall. It cannot be stopped at all. I have no idea when or where I attracted its attention. It has followed me for a year and a half. A path of destruction miles wide has been left in my wake.
But here I am. Trying to live a normal life. Trying to pretend that nothing is wrong. I stand up and apologize. "I'm sorry to've wasted your time. Your office has my number. Just let me know what I need to do, when I need to do it, and where. The sooner I get my wall back up the better."
"Oh no, Ma'am. It's me who should apologize." The balding man says it with a smile. He stands up and looks confused as my eyes go wide. He hasn't noticed the slight rumbling in the distance.
It is here. It has found me. I close my eyes. I cannot run. I cannot escape. I can only wait here. The clock ticks away. Who will die this time? The insurance agent? The receptionist? Any one of the hundreds of people between it and me? Why is it here? Why does it torment me?
Those questions remain unanswered. The small room begins to shake. The balding man looks over at the nearest wall in shock as the rumbling intensifies.
I whisper "Oh no," as it comes bounding through the wall. The huge and terrifying bulbous form crashes down on the balding man in a sickening crunch.