He'll come for us

The tinny buzz of her vibrating cell phone jarred Kimber Knox out of her blurry near sleep for the third time in as many minutes. She squinted, her eyes unable to make out the words on its screen without the help of her glasses. She knew already, even without having bothered to reach for the phone to confirm, who it was texting her at this hour of the night. There was only one person in her life, outside family, who even texted her at all.

It wasn't unlike Lizzie to forget that even if she didn't have a set bedtime, Kimber did. Her parents still made her go to sleep at 8:30, only forty-five minutes later than her five year old sister. But Kimber's digital alarm clock displayed in large numbers that it was after two in the morning. Surely even Lizzie had to know that Kimber was sleeping then.

Curiosity and a flicker of concern got the best of her, and Kimber finally rolled over, reaching out to disconnect her phone from its charger. Rubbing sleep out of her eyes and holding the phone up close enough to her face so she could read its screen without her glasses, she scrolled through the messages she had missed, even as two more came in.



"KIM I SWEAR I GOT 2 tty plz txt me plz"



For a few very confused seconds, Kimber just frowned down at the phone's screen, mystified as to what exactly it was that her best friend was referring to. Then the afternoon's events flashed back into her memory, and she felt her stomach drop, an involuntary coldness creeping over her skin.

Because what if Lizzie wasn't just messing around, or being dramatic? If the forum she had shown her could be trusted to be accurate, and Lizzie too was telling the truth….then the consequences, not just for Lizzie, but for Kimber too, could be deadly.


Kimber never would have found the website on her own. She was twelve years old now, almost old enough to be able to watch PG-13 movies, and most of the other sixth graders they knew bragged about the gory R-rated movies they had watched on Netflix and how their parents would let them buy tickets to the scary movies in theaters without even going inside to watch it with them. Kimber knew that she was supposed to think that was fun and cool, just like she should be interested in makeup and clothes, boys and dating, all the things that cool, popular girls talked about with their friends.

But Kimber wasn't even allowed to have a Facebook profile or Skype. Her cell phone was only set up for texting and phone calls, and she wasn't allowed to use the family computer anywhere outside the living room or for anything but parent approved websites. She didn't even know its password, so she had to get permission from her parents to log in.

Even if that wasn't the case, she wouldn't have gone looking for something scary online, and if she had accidentally stumbled across it, she would have clicked out faster than she could say her own name. But things were different with Lizzie, and definitely they were different in Lizzie's house. As far as Kimber could tell, Lizzie had no rules set in place for her, and if she did, she didn't seem to mind breaking them, nor did anyone bother to check whether she was following them.

So when Kimber went home with Lizzie on the bus after school, she was not surprised to find that they were alone in the home, just as they had been the last time she came over and the time before that. She didn't comment when Lizzie had half a sleeve of cookies for her snack and offered her the same, nor when Lizzie's shoe left a smear of dirt on the living room rug that Kimber's mother definitely would have had something to say about. And when Lizzie got out her laptop, gesturing for Kimber to sit next to her on her bed and look at "something scary," Kimber didn't hesitate to lean in close, sitting shoulder to shoulder with the other girl as Lizzie pulled up a webpage with a black background and flashing red letters as its header.

"This forum, it's for people who have seen all kinds of creepy things," Lizzie explained excitedly, scrolling through to show Kimber an example of the topic headers. "Ghosts and vampires and things, werewolves, everything. Isn't that cool? You can talk to people who really know that stuff really exists. People who won't make fun of it because they saw it themselves."

Kimber frowned, her brow furrowing as Lizzie continued to scroll through, showing her around the site. She couldn't be sure that she believed in any of the examples outlined of the supernatural, but she definitely couldn't be sure that she didn't believe, either.

"Do they, like, have proof of it?" she asked tentatively, not wanting to challenge her friend. "I mean, how do we know they didn't just make things up?"

"Oh, yeah, they have some pictures, and drawings and things," Lizzie assured her, nodding. A lock of her short dark hair fell over one eye, but she didn't shake it back, intent on what she was reading. "Anyway, with that many people saying they saw things, it has to be real."

Kimber wasn't sure that sounded right to her. She didn't know that much about the internet, but one thing that her parents had told her over and over was that she shouldn't talk to anyone she didn't know online, because they could be dangerous and they might not tell the truth about who they really were. If they could lie about who they were, couldn't they lie about other things too?

Still, she never protested when Lizzie showed her the videos she had been watching on Youtube or the anime drawings she had posted for other people to comment on. None of that felt dangerous to her, and anyway, it was Lizzie who was really online doing things. She was just watching along with her.

But this website had felt different to her. Maybe it was the creepy pictures, moving and flashing along the border, of all the creatures that the people on the site claimed were real. Or maybe it was because the page looked like a lot of strangers talked to each other and even put up their real pictures on their profiles.

"Do they know who you are on here?" she asked, concerned, when Lizzie logged in under her own user name. "Do you talk to these people?"

"Just on the forum posts," Lizzie answered, her tone careless, unbothered. "I use my real picture, but not my name. I call myself elizzard, see? And they don't know how old I am for real, because you're supposed to be thirteen to be on here."

So she must have lied, then. Lizzie had only just turned twelve last week. Kimber understood that she had gotten her nickname for the site from her real name, Eliza, and that worried her too. She opened her mouth to say so, but Lizzie's face lit up as she cut her off.

"Oh cool, they added a new forum! It's for something called Moloch…I've never heard of that before, have you?"

She clicked on the link, scrolling down to see that no user posts had yet been added. All the forum consisted of was a couple of paragraphs describing the creature it was dedicated to.

"Oh, no one's seen it yet," Lizzie commented. "Wouldn't it be cool if we ended up being the first?"

Later, Kimber would remember her words and wonder if her friend had cursed them with their utterance.

Unbothered that her friend had neither commented nor showed much interest in either the website or its new forum, Lizzie began to read out loud to her.

"Moloch is an ancient Caanite god, often depicted in the form of a dark bull with gold or red eyes. Moloch was worshipped in Greek, Rome, and Hebrew civilizations BC, and he is referenced in some translations of the Bible. It was at one time common practice to sacrifice one's firstborn child to Moloch in order to seek his power and approval of one's family lineage."

Lizzie looked up, her eyes round as she twisted her head around to take in Kimber's reaction. "Sacrifice? Like, murder their own kids?! Wow!"

"That's gross," Kimber mumbled uneasily, shifting a step back from the screen. It felt to her as though Moloch himself could step out from it towards her if she came too close, just from listening to his description. "That's creepy, Lizzie."

"Moloch is nonverbal in his bull form but is able to communicate his wishes through a variety of means. It is not common practice in modern times to believe in or worship the god Moloch. However, it is said that Moloch still sometimes chooses to seek people out, especially children. It is said that if Moloch chooses to appear before a person, that person must seek to appease him by presenting him with a child for sacrifice. However, if that person does not honor Moloch's appearance, not only the person, but also their entirely family lineage will be wiped out in order to fulfill the sacrifice that Moloch demands."

Kimber bit down on her lips, vivid images of such a scenario leaping unbidden into her mind. It sounded worse than any horror movie she had ever been made to squirm through with Lizzie. Even the idea of it frightened her.

"I don't want to hear about this," she started to say, but Lizzie ignored her, reading the rest of the page. As she read, she pulled Kimber forward with her free hand, making her join her shoulder to shoulder to look at the screen.

"You may be lucky enough to escape his focus or his wrath, to never come upon proof of his existence. But that makes him no less real, as those who do encounter him will testify. In this case, knowledge is not power but rather responsibility of the most terrible kind…"

Lizzie's voice faltered then, and Kimber leaned closer to read the words for herself, anxious. For Lizzie Casey to get shook, something about what she had just read must be horrid indeed.

"What, what is it? What did it say?"

Although Kimber could now see the words on screen for herself, Lizzie read them aloud to her anyway, her words small and younger in their sound than normal.

"Now you've seen him…so what will you do?"

Both girls stared wordlessly at the sinister-looking picture of the bull-like figure at the bottom of the page. It was impossible, but it seemed to them both that his red eyes flashed, looking directly back at them as if real, present, and alive.