“Where is everyone?” Audrey shook with fear as the words came out of her mouth. Brian moved to put his arm around her but she pulled away.

He was shocked and scared too, but he was worried they’d fall apart completely if at least one of them couldn’t hold it together.

They’d spent an hour in a hidden room under the arcade. The place had only been a rumor. Yet Aubrey had touched the right button on the right game and the wall slid open.

Now, the Christmas festival they’d just left was gone. It was more than gone. It looked like everyone had suddenly decided to start looting and run off.

Aubrey shook her head, her hands pulling on her hair. “We were…we were only down there for an hour!”

Brian began to walk through the strewn debris. He kicked at boxes and decorations that littered the roadway. Kneeling next to one, he saw a framed picture and picked it up.

Aubrey ran to his side. “What is it?”

“Looks like a picture of the town’s yearly Christmas festival,” he said while wiping lines of dust off the glass. “Looks like they had a photo booth.”

Aubrey shook her head. “I helped plan it this year with my parents. We had a photographer.”

“Well, obviously it’s older,” Brian noted, “I doubt anyone framed a picture that quickly-and it’s got dust all over it.”

Brian turned over the image to see the date, pulling off the cardboard backing. Looking close, he nearly dropped the picture back into the box. “No….no….no no no. That cannot be right.”

“What is it?”

“Aubrey, what is today’s date?”

“Is this a joke,” she replied with an eye roll. “It’s December 21st, 2023.

“Aubrey, this picture is dated December 21st, 2050.” Ben squinted again to be sure. “What in the—“

Before he could finish, a scream pierced the air like a knife. It sounded like a man screaming at first, but it suddenly devolved into something animalistic. It sounded guttural, feral, territorial.

Brian grabbed Aubrey’s hand as a reflex and found her nearly rooted to the spot. “Aubrey, run!”

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