Down the beach, two enormous bats attacked a small black dog. Terrified, the dog spun in circles, snapping at them.
But the bats attacked viciously. Swooping from the sky, screeching and snapping their jaws.
One flapping bat landed on the dog’s back. It sank its teeth into the little dog’s flesh.
The dog let out a yelp of pain.
The other bat swooped onto the dog’s neck, biting deeply.
Billy watched, stunned, as the bats gripped the dog in their jaws and began flapping their wings frantically.
The dog twisted helplessly, letting out cry after cry.
This is impossible, Billy thought. Bats can’t do this.
Their wings beat the air furiously. They lifted the yelping dog off the ground.
The animal struggled, twisting one way, then the other. But the bats held on.
Slowly they lifted the dog.
A foot off the beach.
Flapping hard, they moved toward the ocean.
Billy felt rooted to the sand, unable to move. Unable to take his eyes off the horrifying sight.
He heard Lynette’s sobs. Saw her run after the squirming, howling dog.
“Lynette—come back!” Billy cried. He sprinted after her. Over the sound of his own breathing, Billy heard Nate and Jay running close behind him. Their footsteps sounded hollow on the damp sand.
Billy quickly overtook Lynette. He was gaining on the bats. They seemed to be having trouble carrying such a heavy load. Flapping furiously, they moved slowly along the shore.
The dog kicked its legs and howled.
Billy ran harder. Nate and Jay beside him now.
“Stop them!” Lynette screamed.
From the corner of his eye, Billy saw Jay stumble. Jay toppled facefirst into the sand.
Billy didn’t slow down. Nate still ran beside him. They were close to the bats.
The dog wailed in fright. Blood poured from where the bats had ripped its throat.
The bats beat the air with their wings.
Billy ran until he was directly underneath them. He reached up. Tried to grab the dog. Missed by a couple of inches.
Nate jumped too. And missed.
Got to jump higher, Billy thought.
He leaped again. Missed again.
The bats flapped furiously.
Flying faster now.
Pulling away from Billy.
Billy ran as fast as he could. Nate chugged along beside him.
Something cold and wet grabbed Billy’s legs. Swept him off balance.
Billy glanced down. He had run into the ocean. A tall wave splashed over him, pushing him back, startling him with its cold.
Billy saw Nate splashing in knee-deep water, still chasing the bats. A moment later, Nate began bobbing with the waves as they rolled in to shore. Nate’s feet, Billy realized, were no longer touching bottom.
“Nate!” Billy shouted. “Come back! There’s nothing we can do!”
Nate swam to Billy’s side. They watched as the bats and dog became a ghastly silhouette against the moon. Growing smaller and smaller. Until they disappeared.
They’re taking the dog to the island, Billy thought. Taking it home to feed on it. Sickened, he stared out toward the island. Feelings of horror and disgust filled him.
Just wait, he thought bitterly. I know you’re not really bats. I know what you are. And I’ll destroy you. I promise, before summer is over, I’ll destroy you all.