Made it back, with enough food for a few weeks. I haven't seen him since the store. Going out into the world of the living again actually taught me a few things about what I'm facing. For one thing, he does NOT like it when you stop him from getting possible victims.
See, he stalked me all through the store. Never closer than about twenty feet, but he was always there. When I first saw him, I considered bolting for the door, and actually started to do so, until I realized he wouldn't get close to me. This strange "passive observer" personality he seems to have grown after our previous encounter is almost more chilling than when he's aggressive. At least when he's on the move, you can actively work against him. When all he's doing is watching from a distance, it leads to this constant fear of when the calm breaks.
Despite getting these constant tingles of fear, I decided to just go about my business. If he attacked me in public, maybe someone would at least notice the crazy guy fighting invisible monsters and wonder what the hell was going on. Things went perfectly, until I noticed he was gone. Shrugging it off as just another one of his disappearances, I breathed a sigh of relief and continued on my way.
It was a few minutes later that I saw him again. He was standing at the end of a long aisle, arms wide open. A glance over my shoulder to the other side froze me to the bone. Walking towards him, in a sort of stupefied state, was a young boy.
I don't want to place motives on this monster. I don't know what it's capable of, why it does what it does, how it even exists. Maybe he just found likely prey. Maybe he'd been after this kid awhile. Maybe things just happen, but some part of me saw this as an attempt by him to see how I'd react. And I wasn't going to let anyone else die because of me. If my "revenge" against him was simply giving an innocent child from being ravaged in the clutches of that demon, it'd be enough.
As the boy was about to pass me, I tripped him. Apparently, the faceplant was all he needed to be jolted out of his trance. The kid looked up from where he lay, and I can only presume he saw the horror he'd been walking towards. He got up, and bolted in the other direction, screaming for his mother. Finally, I knew I wasn't crazy. He'd seen him too. Grinning, I looked over at my stalker to see his reaction.
I found myself staring at the bottom half of a suit top that was far too close for my liking. Stumbling back, I tore at my backpack, fumbling with the zipper as the thing stepped slowly towards me, almost staggering as it walked, like it wasn't entirely certain of the motions needed to propel itself.
I got the damn bag open, and pulled out the bone. Totally prepared to die right there, I held it towards him, awaiting the monster's reaction and my fate. As you can tell from this writing, I lived. He did his chilling head tilt, and then vanished.
After that, I ran to the checkout, paid for everything, and drove as fast as I could back home. It's been about two hours since I last saw him. I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Did this old artifact actually ward him off? Did I simply confuse it? Is this thing testing me?
And if he isn't here, where is he?