The light kissed his face as the sun dipped behind the mountains, a pink hue spreading across the open sky. A klaxon sounded somewhere behind me as I moved closer to him. I studied him, his faded jeans and worn t-shirt as his gaze shifted to the last of the townspeople scurrying to enter the city.
The humming began, my body, involuntary tensing up as I watched him, a burn in my chest inching its way to the surface. The sweet, tart zing of ozone perforated the air. My heart leaped as he stretched his arms out the majestic scene shifting to a purple-blue haze just inches from him.
“I thought I would find you here,” I said as I moved in behind him.
A chuckle escaped his lips as he stepped away from the barrier, turning his head to face me. “Jonah! My friend how what’s up?”
I smiled, as he moved in beside me, slapping my back and embracing me in a quick hug.
“Jacob, why do you do that? The last thing I want to do it tell you, mother, how her oldest son got vaporized by the barrier because he liked to stand too close to it.”
Jacob eyed me his gaze drifting down to the ceramic jar I held in my hand. “We all have our vises to survive this hell of a life.”
“Yeah, at least mine doesn’t kill me,” I said, moving the jar to my lips savoring the burn of the amber liquid as it floated down my throat. “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
Jacob smiled his gaze moving back to the barrier, “It’s starting early tonight. I bet they ram the barrier.”
I follow his gaze to the silhouettes of several creatures forming in the horizon. “They are smarter than that; they’ll stop before they hit.”
“Care to bet on that?”
“Yeah, winner buys drinks?” I said.
Jacob nodded as the creatures charged toward the town. It's humanoid features a blur as claws extended from its fingers — the coarse black fur covering its body waving in the wind. Static crackled as it impacted the barrier, a shimmer running across as several more creatures charged.
“Damn, I guess they never learn,” I said.
Jacob laughed as he turned to town. I shook my head as I moved to follow. “Um, I am a little short today.”
A broad smile crossed Jacob’s face. “I guess that means you’ll owe me.”
The barrier popped and cracked followed by the sound of breaking glass. Jacob and Jonah paused turning their heads back toward the barrier. One creature was pushing its arm through the barrier. Splinters and cracks were running through the barrier.
"What the hell," I said looking over at the empty spot where Jacob used to be. I turn my head to see Jacob running full speed back to the barrier.
“What the hell is that noise? What is going on?” I yelled at him, but I didn't need a reply, my eyes shifted past him to the arm of the creature pushing its way through the barrier, several cracks splintering away across the barrier.
My heart plummeted as Jacob pivoted towards a cart of farming supplies. "What the fuck. How the hell is it doing that?" I yelled as my body was going frigid and locking in place.
“No clue,” he yelled grabbing as he scooped up an ax. The sounds of screams filtered around me as more creatures impacted the barrier.
Jacob shouldered his weapon and glancing my way. “Dude get your ass into gear. We need the alarm going and General Richard needs to mobilize the defenses!”
I tried, but my body froze, as I watched Jacob charge the creature. My eyes fell on a small girl her leg at an awkward angle only inches from the creatures outstretched claws. The creature was struggling to pull his last leg through the barrier.
Jacob jumped into the air the ax arching toward the creatures back and slide harmlessly off its hide.
A klaxon roared to life in the background followed by General Richard's voice. "Everyone that isn't essential personnel, please get indoors; I repeat all non-essential personnel, please move indoors. This isn’t a drill!"
Relief and loathing coursed through me my mind registered that someone had alerted everyone. The creature stretched its arm toward the little girl ignoring Jacob's attacks completely. Its claws cut a thin line across her leg.
The pain and scream in the girls face finally got my legs working again. I sprinted towards her as I noticed Jacob bring the Ax back preparing for another strike. I slide in beside her dust billowing around us. Digging my feet into the dirt as I wrapped my arm around her pulling us away. The creature's claws stabbed down digging into the earth where her leg used to be. I turn away and focus on the girl the sound of boots rushing towards us. I glanced over at Jacob, and my heart sinks as Jacob falls to his knees blood pouring from his ruined side. The world around me devolving into chaos fading to black
"I don't remember when they stopped the creature's attack," I said as I sat beside Jacobs prone form. Tubes and wires were running from his body. "When I saw you lying there my brain shut down."
Nurses came and went as the days drifted by. “They had to up the voltage of the barrier, and they seem to have a stronger resistance to it.”
“Am I dead?” rang through my ears jerking me awake. My eyes moved over to Jacob, and his blue eyes staring back at me.
My heart, and before I could control myself, I had closed the distance pressing my lips against his. "I didn't think you would ever wake up," I said as my lips refused to leave his. Jacob pushed away looking at me as tears streamed ran down my face.
“Jonah,” Is all he said as he studied me.
“I’m sorry I shouldn’t have. It’s just…”
Jacob pressed a hand to my lips. “No don’t, I feel the same.”
My eyes widened as our lips came back together.
The world around us ceased as what we kept bottled inside moved to the surface and overtaking us.
Life can wait a little while longer.