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PREFACE: Class assignment. Be grateful you did not play EYEWITNESS to me writing this crap.

Mind scrambled like the breakfast I ate earlier. At least I think I… did I eat? Can't think straight, got to cool down--cool off. She wore a--that pretty lady, she wore a Channel 4 news baseball cap, uhh, and--and she said she wanted to interview me--me! The lowly gas station clerk. But I guess I'm the, oh man, I'm the only one… left to interview. God. Okay. Breaths. Here she comes.

"If you're just tuning in, we're here live at the Gas n' Gulp, where an extraordinary, unexplainable event has occurred just mere moments ago. Joining us today is the brave employee who survived the ordeal and is willing to clue everyone in on just what happened today. Sir, would you please introduce yourself?"

Name. Damn, uh, Gas N' Gulp? Wait… Gas n' Gulp? Or was it… Gulp n' Gas-she means me, doesn't she? I think. Ow, my head…

I answered her piercing gaze. "Uh… Ping."

"Just Ping, sir?"

"S-Steven Ping. I'm, uh, Steven."

"Steven Ping-" she began, "came into work expecting another regular day on the clock, but he became witness to an inexplicable event. Can you tell us a little about what exactly happened here?"

Fingers brushed against my temple. Mine, I think. I tried--wait, I'm trying to focus, but it feels like my damn brain is stuck on… on-on television stations with no signal. Was Diego here? No, wait, he was here, er, but he… isn't, now. Wait, I-I…

I swallowed my breath and tried to speak, regaining composure. "Uh… W-well, I was sitting behind the counter-wait, sorry, standing, we, uh, aren't allowed to s-sit.. On the job. And…"

"Do you remember what started the event?"

"Huh? What started the… Yeah, man, I mean, there was a man."

"A man? Can you describe him for our viewers?"

"Yes, uh, ma'am, he had… he was… He resembled a… gangster?"

"A gangster, Mr. Ping?"

"N-yes, yeah, uh, and he wanted…"

Shit. He wanted something, right? My money? No, earlier. Sugar… Augh, my head, my… candy! Wait, yes, candy.

"Mr. Ping?"

"Candy. We had… one box of Sugar A-bombs left--big seller, uh, and two teenagers-"

"Teenagers? Can you describe them to us?"

"Huh? I mean, they looked… like teenagers I guess."


"No, no, more like… shut ins, maybe."

"Shut ins? How so?"

"Their hair was… greasy. I don't-I'm sorry. I don't know."

"That's alright, Mr. Ping. Why don't we cut to the chase. Did something happen between these teenagers and the hoodlum?"

Ow, my head. Yeah, she was right. Something certainly happened alright.

"They… yes ma'am, the teenagers took the last box, uh, of the candy. And he, the gangster I mean, got mad. Real mad. And he started screaming at them, and they, uh, slink away and he turns his attention to me, and, he, uh, he asks if I have any more of it, and I don't! Honestly!" And he, he doesn't like that answer… and he…"

"What does he do, Mr. Ping?"

"He pulls a gun on me."

"Were you scared?"

"Only for just a moment. Because something, uh, it, uh…"

My thoughts trail off--I don't, I can't…

"Mr. Ping, is everything alright?"

"Yeah, it, just… Those kids, ma'am."

"The teenagers?"

"They saw what was… going on, and they huddled together and--God. There was this book they produced out of their pack or rucksack or, or, whatever. And they started… murmuring. Pointing at the gangster who-who kept waving that gun…"

"Stephen Ping, are you going to imply something irregular?"

"I think… I think so."

"Please… go on."

Her words shrink into a blur as the events begin to spiral in my brain-Ouch, god, my god--my brain. The things that followed. The screaming. Dear God, the screaming.

Taking off her Channel 4 ballcap, the reporter consoles me.

"It's alright, sir. Take your time. Can you remember what happened next?"

"It started so--suddenly. Their bodies--the teenagers, they flew backwards and crashed into the… chip aisle. Their book, though, it started shaking and vibrating, almost, and it… A sudden burst ripped from their… tomb, and it, it…. The burst of electricity just ripped right into the gangster holding me up."

"My word. What happened to him?"

Taking a moment to think on what did just happen, I tried, ow, I, uh, I tried to think of the best way to… phrase my next sentence.

"He didn't… exist, anymore. He was just there, and then he wasn't."

"But you are the only survivor, right? What happened to the teenagers?"

"It--the book--it started shaking some more and then this… portal? I'm sorry, it just, I think it was a portal, because these… indescribable monsters started… Oh god, they just poured out, and Diego--he was my co-worker for the shift, and he came running from the breakroom, or bathroom, or--and he just started screaming when those--those--things started crashing into shelves and tearing up the flooring. And he saw the teens, and the demons saw the teens, and he--Diego, he tried to get between them and they… the screaming. The screaming. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

"Take a deep breath, sir, it's going to be alright. I need you to tell me everything."

I paused for a second. Something sounded uneasy about what she… No, I can't even focus on that, my head hurts so damn much. I just--need to finish getting this out--so people can know.

Continuing the story, my voice grew shakier, but I was determined to finish it.

"The whole time… the whole time those things were… doing what they were doing, I hid behind the counter. I don't remember… what I was doing specifically, but I was-I was hiding. I could hear the screaming, though. But I couldn't do anything about it. I mean, I could've, but I didn't. I should've done… something."

"Mr. Ping, with all due respect, you gave us everything we needed to know. If you intervened, you might've not been here to explain what happened here today."

"Yeah, yeah I guess you're… right. Sorry."

"Stephen, what happened next?"

"Well I… uh, I waited. I mean, it was all I could do. And the screaming stopped. And there was only the sound of… shuffling footsteps and groans. And then there was a sudden roar as I heard… digging? I peered over the counter--I shouldn't have, but I did, but I peered over and saw that they… were digging downward--out of the station. And the walls were covered in blood and… and the bodies…"

"So you're saying they escaped?"

"Huh? Y-yeah, they… got away. They left."

"Interesting. Thank you, Mr. Ping. You've been very helpful."

Firmly securing her Channel 4 cap upon her head once more, she thanked me again for my time and made sure the cameraman was ready to continue filming. My head… still hurts, it still really hurts, but I felt better about… I mean, it was horrible--everything I saw--but people would know, and people could secure themselves. I don't know. My mind drifted to what I would be telling my wife when I got home--if I got home. Would they want me to go down to the police station? A hospital? I'm not hurt, augh, but this headache…

My thoughts, my pounding thoughts, were interrupted by the reporter resuming talking to the camera and broadcasting the news.

"And there you have it, folks. This marks the seventh such occurrence of occult black magic, and as such, we must prepare ourselves very soon."

Seventh? Wait, what is she… what is she talking about?

"I urge you to immediately inform the President and get Majestic 12 and Area 51 on the line as soon as possible--there will need to be immediate action if we are to be ready by the time this reaches a climax."

Lost in her words. I'm lost in her words. I don't know what she's-ow, my head…

"This concludes tonight's top story. For our next story, we're going to find out how the government deals with loose ends who not only serve their usefulness to the fullest extent, but are then immediately worthless and must be dealt with in a timely fashion. More at 11."