Fifteen year old, Katie Daniels, finds herself faced with the impossible, encounters with her dead father.
"Mom! I'm going to go find him, and prove you wrong! I saw him go outside, and he told me that he'd be back in time for dinner."
"Katie, you're NOT going outside! Stop chasing this lie! Your father is dead, do you understand? DEAD! He won't be coming home for dinner, because he can't!"
"You just watch, I'll find him, and we'll come back together, and then we'll all laugh about this." Katie felt tears streaming out of her eyes as she grabbed her big, red coat, put it on and bundled up her long brown hair in a knot so the hood wouldn't ruin it.
"You'd better not go out there young lady! It's freezing outside, and it's midnight! I'm not going to lose you too!" Katie's mom had a firm grip on her shoulder now, but she just waved it off and edged closer to the door.
"Why won't you believe me?! Do you think I'm crazy, or lying?"
"No! Of course I don't believe you. I saw your father die, I was with him when it happened."
"Whatever, I'm going to go find him and bring him back, and then you can tell him that he's dead and see what he has to say." And with that, Katie ran out of the front door and into the cold, dark wilderness with nothing but a flashlight that she'd quickly grabbed before she slammed the door shut.
The snow was two feet thick and rising as Katie got farther from the house, and the trees were all leafless with snow covered branches and frosty white trunks. Katie just ran and ran, and was surprised that her mother wasn't chasing after her, trying to keep her safe. This made Katie angry, and she ran harder. Finally she emerged from the trees onto a small, gravel road. She remembered that her father would always walk this road at this time of night, so he just had to be here.
She started jogging down the road, and called out for him.
"Dad? Dad! Where are you? Please come back home now, I want to be with you!" It was no use, as the only response was a branch breaking way off in the distance.
The road was surrounded by a thick wall of trees on both sides, making Katie feel slightly uneasy, and now, a dense fog was starting to materialize. She kept looking, slowly increasing her pace of speed, until she was running again.
She suddenly felt very alone, and stopped. She couldn't see anything that wasn't less than five feet in front of her. She looked around, feeling trapped by the fog, and called out for her father again. No response again. Looking at the ground, she fell to her knees, and began weeping, punching the ground.
"I know you're out here, why won't you answer me daddy?!" She kept punching the ground until her knuckles bled, and then she stopped, tears still streaming down her face.
She felt bereaved, tired, suddenly hungry, and stood up shakily to walk back home. She kept walking back the way she thought she'd come, until she realized something was wrong. The trees looked different, all twisted and edged, the rocks making up the road became sharp, and the snow was perhaps the strangest thing of all. What was it? Ash? Yes, that's it.
Katie was confused, and afraid. "Mom? Dad? Anybody? Somebody, please help me!"
She, wondered around, somewhat continuing along the road, until she heard a faint but recognizable growl. "Zoey?"
Katie continued to call out her dog's name. The growling became louder and louder until, seemingly out of nowhere, the Great Dane appeared in front of her. Katie almost puked, and fell backwards. Both the stench and the sight of Zoey were unbearable.
The dog had no hair, and there were deep rips in her skin, with organs hanging out, and blood trickling down to the ground. Her eyes were missing, and so were her ears. Her lips looked as if they'd been ripped away, and the teeth were all long and jagged. Zoey growled again, stepping towards Katie very slowly, and then lunged at her.
The dog landed on Katie and immediately went for the throat, but Katie blocked with her arm, and Zoey tore the jacket sleeve away, cutting into Katie's forearm. Katie struggled under the weight that Zoey had on her, and successfully pushed the dog onto it's side. She rolled away, looking for a stick or a large rock, anything to fight the dog with, and finally decided on a fist-sized rock that was on the side of the road. She scooped it up with just enough time to bash it into the side of Zoey's head as the dog once more jumped at her.
Zoey fell with a whimper and a thud. Katie was frozen in place for a second, bewildered, and then quickly crawled to the dog and hit it two more times just to make sure.
And then the tears came back. Katie found herself crying in the middle of the road again for several minutes. What's going on? Am I really all alone out here? Where are you dad? I need help.
She struggled to stand up, but did so, and slowly stumbled down the road. The dense fog was still all around, greatly hindering her vision, and now she was cold too. Her jacket was torn and bloody, and she couldn't stop thinking about Zoey and her parents. She was so deep into her thoughts that she didn't even realize that the gravel was leading straight to her cabin for some reason. She only saw the cabin and it's surroundings for what it was. Home.
She ran to the door, opened it, and looked inside. It was as gray and lonely in the cabin as it was outside, until she looked at the furnace. Then it was terrifying.
"Mom?" Katie's eyes widened, looking at her mother, who was chained up above the furnace, completely naked and scorched. Her skin was as black as the sky, her hair was gone, and her eyes were open, staring at nothing.
Katie backed away, and slowly walked upstairs to find her baby sister. She walked into the baby's room, and turned away immediately.
"Why is this happening..."