The small car turned off the main road and onto Coldean Lane. The traffic was already backed up as far as the eye could see, the make shift road the council had put in to run across the fields wasn't working. The road works were still causing more problems, all they seemed to have done was dig a huge pit to try and find something more solid to build on. It didn't seem to be working.
Eamon Culkin sighed and turned his car into the queue. It was slow going up the hill but things sped up a little once they hit the make shift road, Eamon yawned and stared out of his window at the amount of police cars that were surrounding the pit. They must have found something, Eamon sighed. Great, that meant more months of this stupid dirt road while gangs of students fucked about in the pit. Eamon craned his neck to try and see but he was too far away, sighing he turned back to the road just in time to see a figure step out in front of him. He yelped and slammed on the breaks.
The woman was a tall, skinny blonde with shabby clothes and a face that had seen better days. She held up a cage with a huge, grey squirrel in it. Her smile was wide and almost toothless.
"Would you like to buy a squirrel?" Eamon wound down the window and poked his head out, shaking with rage.
"No! I don't wanna buy a fucking squirrel! Get out of my way you dumb bitch before I run you the fuck down!" Eamon swung the wheel and drove around the woman, screaming obscenities at her.
Al Gera unfolded the vacuum cleaner and wheeled it into the living room. The door swung open and slammed shut, Eamon walked past the living room and into the kitchen. Al raised an eyebrow, his housemate looked furious. Eamon opened the fridge and snorted in disgust, letting the door drop closed.
"Haven't we got anything edible in this crap hole?"
"The girls have gone for pizza" called Al. He switched the vacuum on just as Eamon went into one of his rants. Something about road works, the Squirrel Lady and police at the pit. Al sighed, he didn't hear the others come home but he smelled the pizza and switched the vacuum off.
Fanny Ripley placed the pizza boxes on the table and clapped her hands, dancing from foot to foot.
"In the chalk pit where they're doing the road works! Oh my God! It's filled with bodies, still in their cars! The most recent was just a few years ago. They reckon it was just before that huge landslide from the fields and that's why they only found them now!" She sat down on one of the chairs and breathed hard, beaming. Demy Walsh scowled, they had agreed to share the story but Fanny had ruined it. Still, that was why she'd kept a little back for herself.
"Yeah. You know what else? You remember those teenagers that vanished like fifteen years ago? They were right at the bottom, first one's in apparently." Fanny stared at her for a moment before beginning to pout.
"I didn't hear that part" she huffed, hating not being the centre of attention anymore. Demy gave a smug smile.
"I know you didn't." She put the bottles of beer on the table and opened the pizzas.
The grisly discovery was on the news that evening. Apparently the pit was over half a mile deep, the workmen had been trying to clear the loose mud from the landslide before they could start the work proper when they had found the first car. None of the bodies had been formerly identified but there was talk on the estate, all the people that had gone missing in the last 10 years or so. But there was something else. The bones had been picked clean, they were covered in tiny teeth and claw marks.
"Maybe that's what Squirrel Lady feeds her pets on" muttered Eamon, staring at the TV screen. Demy laughed and sipped her beer.
"I hate those squirrels. Horrid, mangy looking things. She had one in a cage last week that was the size of a frigging poodle" said Fanny, pouting a little. Eamon was frowning at the news, he had always wondered about Squirrel Lady. Maybe he wasn't too far off the truth.
It was just past 3am and Eamon had to pee. He groaned and rolled out of bed, shivering as his feet hit the bare boards. The bathroom was unoccupied, which was something of a luxury in a house with four people and only one toilet. Eamon pulled his pyjama trousers down, took aim and fired, sighing in relief. When he'd finished, Eamon pulled the chain and padded back out onto the landing just in time to hear something scratching at the front door. He frowned when the scratch was followed by a light tapping. Who the Hell was at the door at stupid o clock in the morning?
"Rapists and serial killers" muttered Eamon, he picked up a tennis racket from the umbrella stand and crept down the stairs. He lifted the flap of the letter box, wincing as it squeaked and peered out into the darkness but the front step was empty. Eamon let the flap drop back into place and, raising the racket over his shoulder, yanked the door open. There was nothing but a brown paper bag sitting on the step. Eamon raised an eyebrow and prodded it with his foot, the bag tipped sideways and nuts rolled across the pavement.
The next morning, Eamon told his housemates about the bag on nuts on the doorsteps. Demy snorted.
"What are you so pissed about? It could've been worse. Dog shit or a dead cat or worse, we don't exactly live in the posh bit you know" she said, spraying toast crumbs across the table. Al scowled at the mess but decided to leave it untill later.
"We're gonna be late. Forget the nuts" said Fanny, she hoisted her bag onto her shoulder and shoved Eamon towards the door. He frowned as Demy dropped the nuts into the bin and followed them out the door.
The drive to college took longer than usual but most of the cars seemed to be full of students anyway so at least they would all have the same excuse. The pit was surrounded by photographers, journalists and other students trying to get their photos in the papers. The line of traffic was moving so slowly that everyone was hanging out of their car windows to get a better look but they were much too far away.
Al twisted back to the front in his seat and cried out.
"Eamon! Look out!" Eamon turned back to the make shift road and slammed his foot down on the brake. Once again Squirrel lady was standing in front of the car, she was smiling but there was no cage in her hands today. Eamon clenched his jaw as he heard the crunch of metal, the car behind hadn't stopped in time. He swung the wheel of the car and stomped his foot down on the gas pedal, the corner of the car just clipped the edge of the table Squirrel Lady had set up. Cages of tiny squirrels and bags of nuts and seeds flew everywhere. As the car headed away screams floated to them.
"My babies! My babies!" Eamon grinned into the rear view mirror as he drove away.
When they got home that evening, nobody really wanted to talk to Eamon. He'd almost run that poor woman down and it was he that hadn't been looking at the road. Demy went straight to her room. She had never seen the big squirrels that Fanny had mentioned but the ones in the cages today seemed to be just babies, tiny little bundles of fur. She closed her bedroom door and sat on the bed. Maybe it was time to find another room.
The house was dark and the rooms were silent. Kit Swanson took a ring of keys from her pocket and selected one from the chain; she slipped it into the lock and twisted. The door swung open and she smiled.
"No bolts, kiddies. Naughty, naughty" she murmured. Kit placed a large box on the wooden floor of the hallway and lifted the hatch; red eyes gleamed in the night. Something large and scruffy skittered out of the box and away, Kit lifted the box back and closed the door.
Demy swung her legs over the edge of her bed and wiped her face. It was so damn hot in here, she'd meant to bring the fan up but Fanny had grabbed it before she could. Sighing, Demy crossed the room and opened the window. She breathed deeply, leaning out just in time to see a huddled figure hurrying away from the house. She frowned, something skittered past her bedroom. Demy spun around, she edged towards the closed door and laid her ear against the wood. Whatever it was seemed to be having trouble getting a grip on the hardwood floor. Demy placed her hand on the doorknob and was just about to open her door when she heard Fanny's voice from down the corridor.
"Who's out there? What . . . Jesus Christ! What's that?" Demy flung open her door as Fanny screamed. Al slammed into her in the hallway, they both rushed into Fanny's room and gaped as something jumped from her chest and crashed through the window. Demy ran to Fanny, the girl was shivering and bleeding but it just seemed to be little scratches and a few bites. Al peered out into the night but whatever it was had vanished.
"What's going on?" yawned Eamon, he was leaning in the doorway. Demy pushed past him and ran for the phone.
The ambulance came and the police. Fanny was okay, just hysterical. When the police asked her what had happened, she said she had been attacked but that was the only part of her story that remained the same. The thing that attacked her started out the size of a small dog, but by the time the police left she was raving about a creature the size of a bear with glowing red eyes and huge fangs. It was obvious something had got in but the police had tagged Fanny as hysterical and left, the paramedics took her away to the hospital and the house was again silent.
Demy sat in the kitchen in her robe, smoking a cigarette and trying to shut out the sound of Eamon's rant.
"I heard the police say that the marks on Fanny's arms look the same as the marks on the bones at the pit! I knew that crazy squirrel bitch had something to do with all those missing people, I just knew it!" Demy stubbed out her cigarette, stood up and hurled the ashtray across the room. Eamon just managed to duck in time to avoid catching it with his head; he frowned at Demy as glass rained down on his head.
"Will you shut the fuck up about fucking squirrels?"
"I'm just saying! What if she decided to get revenge on me for knocking over her table and -." Demy moved across the room but Al held her back before she could start swinging at Eamon.
"Serves you right if she did! You should have been watching the road! Anyway, it was Fanny that got hurt, not you. And how did that thing get in here anyway? You said you locked everything up."
"I did!" cried Eamon. Demy didn't listen to anymore of his excuses; she disentangled herself from Al and stormed from the room before she killed someone.
Eamon slammed his car door and gunned the engine. How dare that bitch just walk away from him like he was nothing? Al was just as bad, taking her side and Fanny was a stupid little girl anyway. All that screaming and for what? She'd probably made it all up. Eamon frowned as he slowed the car at the bottom of the road; it was the squirrel cunt's fault. She'd done it but how? Eamon had locked the doors before he'd gone to bed.
The car slowed to a stop and he was a little surprised to see that he had reached the make shift road opposite the pit. Eamon stared ahead of him as the headlights illuminated a table with about half a dozen squirrels perched on it. They stared at him, not seeming to care when he once again gunned the engine. Eamon stepped out of the car and slammed the door as hard as he could but still they didn't budge. He stepped forward and heard someone hurrying up behind him.
"Don't you touch them! Oh, it's you." Squirrel Lady hobbled past him and went behind the table to join her pets in staring at him.
"You put one of those things in my house." Squirrel Lady tipped her head to one side, her eyes wide and innocent.
"Now, how would I do that dear? Do you think I have keys to every house on the estate?" She began to laugh as she held up a huge bunch of keys and jangled them, still her pets just sat and stared. Eamon wasn't aware that he had moved but suddenly he was on her and they crashed to the ground, he picked up a rock and smashed it into her head again and again. Her laughter finally stopped and the red haze lifted from his vision.
"Shit" he muttered. Eamon struggled to his feet and back to the car, aware that he had to get away and fast. The squirrels on the table watched as the car peeled away, their eyes glowing red in the new darkness.
When Eamon got home he rushed straight to the shower. He washed off all the blood before bundling his clothes into a ball and throwing them in the trunk of his car, he could throw them in the furnace tomorrow. The house was still silent when he went to his room, Fanny was still at the hospital and Al and Demy were asleep. Eamon pushed open the door to his room and padded to the bed, not bothering to switch on the light. He was just slipping beneath the duvet when a movement outside caught his eye, he walked to the window and peered out into the darkness. The street was empty, nothing moved.
"You're jumpy. Go to bed" he muttered. Just as he was turning away, something in the tree opposite moved. Eamon frowned and pressed his face against the glass, his eyes suddenly grew wide and he screamed as something hit the glass.
Demy struggled out of her bed and bolted across the room. She just wasn't meant to get any sleep tonight. She pulled open the bedroom door and came face to face with Al.
"Are you screaming?" they asked together. Another scream from down the hall and they were both running, Al reached Eamon's room first and burst inside. Demy gaped at the quivering mass on the floor; Eamon was pointing at the window and screaming. Al hauled him to his feet and landed a hearty slap to the side of his face. Eamon gasped, hiccupped and swallowed.
"The tree. In the tree." Demy went to the window; in the tree opposite were maybe two dozen big, grey squirrels. They glared at her before throwing nuts at the glass and baring their teeth. Demy gulped and pulled the curtains, she turned back to Al. He was staring at Eamon as he babbled on about squirrels and rocks and blood.
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
"I killed her I didn't mean to but I did in the trunk check the trunk you'll see its true" said Eamon, his eyes were rolling and he gasped for breath. Al heaved him onto the bed before motioning for Demy to follow him out of the room.
"I'm going to check Eamon's car. You stay here."
"Fuck off will I! I'm not staying here with him if he did kill someone. I'm with you mate" whispered Demy. They headed downstairs and out to the car, Al hesitated a moment before lifting the trunk. He glanced at Demy, she nodded and swallowed. They both gripped the trunk and lifted the lid. Demy gasped, flinging her hands up to her face while Al turned deathly pale and staggered away from the car. They stood that way for a moment, unable to take it all in. Eamon had killed someone. Demy turned to Al, her throat working but not sound coming out. The sound of the engine of the car roaring into life made them both scream, then it shot off into the night with Eamon behind the wheel. They hadn't even heard him come out.
Eamon grinned to himself as he drove away from the house, leaving Al and Demy gaping after him. That had been a clever bit of sneaking around; they'd been so shocked by the blood in his trunk. Eamon's grin slipped, the blood in the trunk. He'd have to do something about that. The pit was coming up on his right; he couldn't see any flashing police lights so Squirrel Lady hadn't been found yet. He suddenly wondered what her real name was, Eamon was sure it had been something like a bird. Swanson? Something like that, Fanny had told him when they had all first moved into the house.
Eamon swung the car in and pulled up by the pit. Surprisingly, there was nobody on guard but the police tape was still in place. He stood listening for a moment but no sound came to him, he circled the car and opened the trunk. Removing the blood covered clothes, Eamon hurried towards the edge of the pit. He had just reached the edge when something skittered between his legs, making him stumble. Eamon twisted around and felt the blood turn to ice in his veins. There was what seemed like hundreds of huge, grey squirrels standing behind him. It was like a scene from The Birds, they were covering his car and the ground and the small fence that circled the pit. He took a step backwards and again one of the squirrels skittered through his legs. Eamon screamed as he tumbled backwards into the pit, sliding towards more squirrels that were waiting at the bottom.
The next morning, when Al and Demy were finally allowed to leave the police station, they climbed in a cab and headed to the hospital to pick up Fanny.
"You took your time" she snapped, forgetting about playing the invalid for a moment. Demy stared at her through bleary eyes and explained about Eamon. Fanny was silent for the rest of the trip home where they settled in the living room in front of the TV. Al sipped his tea and switched on the set, the news was on. They had found another body at the pit, this one fresh and not in a car.