The noise coming from the kitchen alerted the women.
“What’s going on in there?” Rachael shouted, not thinking she could wake Rose.
“Get upstairs, FAST,” Chris yelled back.
“Why?” Within a second Rachael knew the answer.
She grabbed Marie and ran for the stairs, with neither looking back as they reached the top and entered the bedroom. Rachael shut the door and listened out for Chris’ footsteps, but nothing was heard as she raced over to the bedroom phone. She shook upon picking it up. She dialled the number for the police station, but all she heard was a buzzing sound. The rats had chewed through the phone line.
“Shit, my mobile phone is downstairs,” she shouted, throwing the phone at the wall.
Marie watched her almost break like a China doll, but Rachael regrouped and apologised. “I hope I didn’t frighten you, but I can’t stay in here.” Her anger boiled over. “I have to help him.”
She listened out for Chris again, hoping for a positive sign, but still there was nothing. Rachael looked over at Rose before telling Marie to keep her safe. Marie stared at Rachael, too frightened to reply. She nodded as Rachael opened the door, before closing it on her as Rachael quietly made her way towards the bottom of the stairs.
Rachael searched for her mobile, but couldn’t see it anywhere, her eyes watching the floor in fear of something jumping out at her. Chris was very quiet, and the silence caused Rachael to have doubts. She wanted to shout out to him but knew she couldn’t.
The scolded rat lay stunned on the floor after Chris had kicked out at it, but the others were forcing their way into the room. Chris saw them, but knew he couldn’t fight them all. He held the chair in front of him for protection as Rachael closed in, one hand frantically searching through a drawer as the chair moved about. Rachael spotted a rat racing towards him so hollered, “Chris, behind you!”
He turned just in time to deposit a kitchen knife into it, but five more rats closed in. Chris stared at the large one for a few seconds, but it was a few seconds too long as the others scurried over to help the stunned one back to its feet.
“What can I do?” Rachael asked, feeling useless.
“Get back upstairs.” Chris didn’t look at her.
The large rat sat in front of him, twitching its whiskers as the others stared. Chris knew he shouldn’t fall for whatever this was, but the rat’s presence had him trapped inside some hypnotic dream that he couldn’t escape from. He continued watching the rat licking its paws as it wiped dried blood away from its face.
Rachael wasn’t moving and wasn’t going back upstairs. Whether it was fear to move or she was fighting back. Chris couldn’t tell, but was glad she was still there. He knew she was in grave danger, but also knew she was a crazy lady when pissed off, and right now she was pissed off.
“I’m not going anywhere until those freaks leave you alone.” Rachael grabbed the broom from the corner of the kitchen and swung it at the rats. “Shoo, just shoo why don’t you,” she screamed at them.
Chris watched her swing the broom and four rats jumped over it, but the fifth one, the recently stunned albino one got whacked around the head and was sent sprawling over again.
“Rachael, what are you doing?” Chris shouted. “This isn’t the time to brush the floor.”
“Why don’t you just shut up and kill that thing,” she hollered back, pointing the broom head at the large rat.
The rat glared at her, arching its back as Chris and Rachael watched on. It hissed at them, showing teeth, its eyes looking a devil red. This frightened Chris because moments earlier its eyes were a different colour.
“Be careful,” Rachael said, as the other rats pounced at her.
Chris witnessed her avoid their attack, but the large rat ran at him, springing through the air and landing on his left leg.
Rachael swung the broom again, hitting none of the mouth-snapping rodents as they chased her away from the kitchen to circle her inside the living room.
The large rat bit into Chris’ leg with an almighty snap, but Chris just gritted his teeth and whacked the chair against its back. It worked. The rat winced, squealed, and dropped to the floor, but Chris was set upon by the albino rat before being able to stamp on the large rat’s head. It tried in vain to bite him, but with its vision impaired wasn’t having any success. It snapped out at Chris, forcing him back against a wall, but a chair leg slammed down on its head, crushing its skull.
Rachael remained lashing out with the broom to keep the rats at bay, but for how long? She tired very quickly, wishing she’d done those exercise classes after giving birth.
One of the rats pounced, embedding its claws into the broom handle. Rachael let go of it, shaking on the spot, but Chris arrived with a handful of plates. He threw them one at a time at the rats, missing them all as they raced around the room. Seconds later he was left with only one plate. He looked at Rachael like he’d just lost all his money at the fairground trying to win a prize. She was still shaking, but the rats had scarpered. Chris threw the last plate over his shoulder before reaching out to hold her hand, and, as he glanced at where the plate landed, noticed it had hit a rat on the back.
“Did you kill the big one?” Rachael said hysterically, gripping his hand tight.
“Never mind that one, just hold onto me and I’ll get you out of here.”
Rachael loved this side to Chris, the side that was all Rambo-like. This side made her want him now, to fuck her, but she couldn’t risk telling him that it was turning her on when the hungry rats were charging again.
All of a sudden, the sound of Rose crying halted the rodents, and they turned to glare at Marie. She was standing on the stairs with Rose in her arms.
“Take Rose back upstairs,” Rachael barked. “NOW...”
“But she’s crying for you,” Marie tiredly replied.
One of the rats pounced at the couple, but Chris pushed Rachael out of the way and took the hit. He then screamed at her to get back upstairs. Rachael watched him fight off the rat, as she ran towards the others.
“Get her back in bed,” was all she said to Marie, as they raced up the stairs and back into the bedroom.
Rachael was furious with herself for having left Rose with a stranger. She glared at Marie, who was now sitting on the bed, but couldn’t force herself to give her a lecture. That would have to wait. Right now Rachael was more concerned about Chris. She seriously hoped he had a plan B to get away from the danger.
Chris picked up the broom, as the rat attacked again, but it stuck its claws into him before he could shake it off. The rat finally ran off again to stand with the others, as Chris scanned the area looking for his plan B. He saw the large rat running at him from the kitchen. It looked even angrier than before, scaring Chris. Blood dripped from the recent wound as the rats sniffed the air, and Chris knew they would soon jump him if he didn’t find a way out.
“Rach, you stay where you are and look after the others. Don’t come out of that room no matter what you hear down here.” He shouted. He waited for a reply, but nothing arrived. “You hear me, Rachael?”
Sweat dripped onto the broom handle, as Chris held it close to his chest. His hands shook and were clammy, making the grip harder than it should be.
“I hear you,” a faint reply arrived from upstairs.