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Winter came to stay, a few days later, announcing it's presence with a storm. The wind came first. The type of wind that buildings shook. The sleet and ice came next, covering the roads with a thin enough layer of ice to make walking more like skating.
Amanda and Teodor were safely inside The Pit. Trucker had also sought shelter there. Bilge kept the place open, but did not expect anyone to come. Instead, he sat at one of the tables watching the TV above the bar. Amanda cooked a frozen pizza in the small pizza oven. Teodor was teaching Trucker how to play cribbage.
“Okay, you have to count your points,” Teodor said, pointing at Trucker's cards.
“Hey Trucker,” Bilge said from his table. “Don't let him skunk you.”
“Skunk?” Trucker asked.
“Don't worry about it,” Teodor said.
Amanda brought over the hot pizza, she placed it on the table with a few paper plates. She sat down next to Trucker. “Eat.”
He grabbed a piece of pizza. “You guys not eating?” he asked, stuffing his mouth full.
Amanda shook her head. Teodor moved his peg on the board. The picture on TV above the bar, began to fade out, then went snowy. Bilge got up and moved the antenna around, before giving up.
“Damn weather,” he said. “You got a place to stay tonight, Trucker?”
Trucker shook his head.
Teodor glanced out the window. The bar's windows were high up and very small, but even these were getting covered with snow. “We are almost ready to move into our apartment. We may have to stay there tonight, you could join us.”
Trucker stuffed another piece of pizza in his mouth. “Sure.”
The station on the TV started to come back in. Bilge grabbed an orange juice from the bar and went back to his table. “That would be a good idea,” he said sitting down.
The door flew opened, pushed open by the wind. On the other side stood Gunner. He was not dressed for the weather, just a T-shirt and his pants on. He looked around the room wildly.
“Help me!” His cry, almost drowned out by the wind.
Trucker sat frozen, pizza slice halfway to his mouth. Bilge jumped over the bar and slammed the door shut behind Gunner. “Kid, you okay?”
Amanda ran to his side. She felt Gunner's face. “Bilge get me some thick blankets, now.” She used her nurse voice. The command surprised Bilge. He jumped and ran to the back of the bar.
Teodor grabbed his jacket off the chair and wrapped it around Gunner's shoulders. Amanda checked Gunner's fingers.
“Gun... Can you touch your nose?”
Gunner looked at her oddly. But when he tried, his finger missed his nose and hit his cheek.
Amanda glanced up at Teodor. “His lips and fingers are blue, he's got hypothermia.”
Trucker walked over to Teodor. “What's that?” he asked pointing to Gunner's side.
Teodor looked down. Gunner's shirt, on his left side, had been stained with blood. Amanda lifted the shirt up. There were four long cuts on his side. Just the size that the Hag would have left.
“Trucker, get me some towels from behind the bar," Amanda said.
Trucker ran. Teodor went to one of the windows. He craned his head to look out. The snow blew so hard Teodor could not make out the cars parked next to the bar, let alone the other side of the street.
“I hope these are enough,” Bilge said behind Teodor.
Teodor pressed his face against the window pane. A small crack along the edge of the glass let a small breeze come through. He sniffed the air, all he could smell was the snow. He glanced back at Amanda, she used the towels to stop the bleeding. He turned his head back to the window. The Hag's face was in the window. She laughed.
“What the hell is that?” Bilge shouted.
The Hag smiled, her black teeth glisten in the neon light coming from the window. Teodor growled. He slammed his hand against wall next to the window. He could feel himself change and he didn't want to stop. Teodor felt his teeth and face lengthen. His claw dug deep furrows as he clawed at the wall.
“Teodor!” Amanda yelled.
Teodor spun around. Trucker hid behind Amanda. Bilge's face was white. Teodor did not have time to worry about their reactions. He spun back around and snarled at the Hag.
She grinned at him, with her sharp, black teeth. The Hag raised her hand and clawed at the window. The high screeching noise her black fingernails made across the glass, made Teodor howl. He heard Amanda scream behind him, but he didn't turn around to see why.
“Open the door,” Bilge yelled.
Teodor tilted his head. He caught a glimpse of the shot gun in Bilge's hand.
“Don't shoot him!” Trucker yelled.
“Not him.” Bilge yelled. “Her.”
Teodor yanked the door open. The Hag screamed and billowed in on the wind. Teodor rolled to the side. The explosion of the both shotgun shells rang in his ears. The Hag looked down at her torso in surprise. She screamed something in a guttural sounding language. To Teodor's surprise Bilge answered her, in Scottish. Teodor heard the click of the shotgun and another round fired into the Hag.
The Hag screamed. Teodor growled at her. He noticed a strange belt around her waist. It looked like a collection of tanned leather hides. Then he realized it was skins, the skins of the children she had killed.