Estimated reading time — 10 minutes
Lightning flashed across the sky. Jack wished it hadn’t. The revelation that it bestowed was terrifying. Large, fat rain drops spilled from above drenching the mighty creature standing under the hole it had created upon entry. It stood at an astounding eight and a half feet, skin a bright lush emerald green, most of its head was bald save a small Mohawk patch running the length of its forehead down its back and disappearing underneath its fur loincloth.
Time itself seemed to come to a halt as the monster let its heavy bright orange eyes wash over the people. Thick misted breaths erupted in a calm stream from wide ridged nostrils. It opened its wide mouth, revealing a dangerous and unusual three rows of jagged rock crushing teeth, a single row laid out on its upper jaw that descended and closed perfectly between a lower row of longer and sharper sets discolored by what could have been anything from dirt, decay or blood. Muscles, thick, massive and rippling throbbed softly under each breath, it flexed its wet hands, fingers capable of enveloping a mans head cracked under the moon light, the chest was wider than anything any man had ever came close to accomplishing by several leagues. Horns, inches long were randomly protruded from its head, shoulder and knuckles in inconsistent numbers and varying sizes.
Lightning flashed again, its eyes shown to be fixed on Captain Harrel. He took a step back, his hand flying over his holster frantically unbuckling his weapon. All eyes fixed on the newcomer yet none may have noticed what caught Jack’s eyes.
It moved with terrifying speed for something so large. The winds outside howled, with little effort the creature propelled itself across the room, its brownish-white hair dusting the roof. The captain managed to unholster his weapon, he pointed at the monster with tears in his eyes and shaking hands.
He pulled the trigger. It clicked. He swore and gasped at the same time. He released the safety as the monster’s massive fist came crashing down upon him, barreling his broken body into the floor. Everyone screamed at the same time and chaos erupted.
The creature faced the crowd. Its eyes narrowed selecting its next prey. It opened its mouth to savour the terror, thick globs of mucus slid from its mouth, it was getting excited. The thought of such a feast sent chills running through its once dormant blood.
A loud crack rang out, again, then again.
In a pool of blood, his, the captain had managed to carry out his duty to the very end, protecting the people, destroying the menace.
The monster was both startled by the noise and the fact that such a frail thing had survived a direct attack from him. It glared at the minuscule sack of flesh that had dared strike back. It picked up the man knocking away his little pistol as he waved it in its face. It studied his face. It chuckled to itself once. Mouth sprung open like a mighty bear trap, it snapped shut in the captain’s face ripping it away. He never had time to scream.
The rain had stopped. The skies were clear again and the moon’s light shone brightly over the field, illuminating the frightened people, most of whom had slowed or stopped. Some hurdled in groups more out of the fear of being alone than any misguided notion of banding together as one to fight back. The creature howled once. A crackling and deep howl that filled the night with dread and despair.
Jack felt his blood freeze, his heart beat rose rapidly and he felt a dizzying sensation overcome him. But he had to focus, he had to remain steady, his life could very well depend on it.
All about him he heard people whisper frightened questions, what was it? Where did it come from? What did it want? Is it gone?
None of all that bothered him, he just wanted to find Tina. Under the brilliant glare of the moon light he checked the faces of the locals, his eyes scanning the small gathering of heads searching for anything blonde.
His ears pricked up when he overheard a few of the locals begin to voice the possibility of going back to the Ball hall. He wished he could find Tina and get the hell out of this nightmare.
He screamed out her name once and waited for any response. From the midst of a small group that had hurdled closer to the trees that served as a fence to the local town hall used for all the main social functions. He ran towards her, thinking he would find her and be in his car out of there.
A loud crash interrupted the thoughts of everyone in the area, someone screamed, then someone really screamed as the creature was already upon her, its massive fists closed around her head. It lifted her up and with little effort squeezed and crushed. Blood and bone exploded into its palm. Everyone moved at the same time, now they were certain to be running for their lives.
Watching the meat sacks flee, it felt the mild shimmer of a blood rush. It had been centuries since it could rampage through a flock of the pink skinned ones. Its well muscled legs sprang into action, his thick arms swinging fatal blows as it ran past the fleeing locals.
Jack saw the brilliant flicker of Tina’s hair disappear through the trees and he hustled.
Just beyond the trees was the parking lot. There were a lot less cars as those who had already fled were long gone. The lucky few ahead of the others yanked open doors and screamed their engines into life.
Mrs. McKinnan, the Irish born single mother of three, Molly, Sally and Danny, heaved a sigh of immense relief as her engines roared into life. She looked back at her little ones in the back seat suddenly grateful for the many years she would have with them. Danny, age 3, looked into the sky, he clapped his hands playfully and laughed, pointing at the sky. Mrs. McKinnan followed his gaze, all hope suddenly erased. The creature had leaped into the air and had cleared the trees in a single bound. With meteoric fury he crashed into the McKinnan family car, shattering everything and everyone in it at once.
With savage fury the creature hurled itself further down and swung its fists connecting with Oliver Loll, the town baker, he was barreled into the trees, his body breaking on impact.
The creature followed another couple who had just slammed their doors, the driver frantically trying to insert the key. The monster lifted the vehicle with relative ease and swung it like a bat, crushing another car, then again and again. It took aim and flung the remnants of its new bat, taking off the roof of a station wagon and its occupants.
People now turned around and ran back through the trees. It went after them, flipping and tossing cars as it barreled down the parking lot. Fires raged everywhere as sparks found leaking fuel, there were explosions as fuel tanks ignited blowing up both metal and flesh.
Jack tore through the crowd and grabbed her hand. She screamed and tried to tank it free before turning around. Her eyes relaxed as they settled on her fiancé. He took her into his arms and savored that moment, which could very well be their last. The sound of a nearby explosion snapped them out of their wonderland and back to harsh reality.
He took her hand and led her into the woods, leaving behind the carnage and destruction that raged on. They ran for what seemed like ages, till the smell of burning flesh left the air, they ran until the echoes of the dying waned in the night, they ran until they were out of breath only resuming their flight when the monster’s roar filled the woods. They ran until they came across an old cabin sitting alone in the woods, its wooden walls mouldy and dank. They hid and ran no more.
The ancient cabin doors creaked noisily in the eerie terrifying moon lit night. Jack stepped in first, Tina a few steps behind. His eyes scanned the room poorly adjusting to the darkness. Something rushed at him, arms raised, yelling in defiance. Jack stumbled back and fell on his butt, the person stopped a few feet short of him, a dull looking machete glowing in the moon light. Jack recognized the sheriff deputy, Charles Hock as well as the warm relief running down his legs.
Several hours passed. Jack and Tina sat together, sixteen year old Gretchen Grounds kept fiddling with her phone praying for a signal. Mrs. Oshman sat on the dusty couch next to her blind grand-daughter fifteen year old Melissa. Lastly was Mr. Richard, the British tourist who cursed his foul lick every time he could. The deputy occasionally patrolled the windows and hushed everyone as he tried to listen, even though no dared to so much as whisper.
The monster roared again in the distance followed by an unearthly wail by its latest victim. It was the third time in the last hour and as usual it sent their blood running. Only Melissa chuckled attracting puzzled and frightened looks from the others
Footsteps echoed closer to the cabin and the deputy rushed to the door, standing beside it, his gun in the holster, machete raised, any loud noise could easily attract the monster. He heard voices from outside and gave the hush sign to the others.
The deputy could have sworn he heard it before they did, the gentle thud on the earthly padded ground. He gently eased his shoulder into the door, barricading it. An eternity seemed to pass before the outsiders finally noticed the creature standing behind them, its fists soaked in blood, its crimson drool dripped softly. They begged, screamed, and banged on the door, but the deputy held it strong. From the sound of things one of them tried to rush the monster, the squishing sound of blood and the shriek of the other told him it had been futile.
When it was over, Charles heard the thuds lead away. He sighed against the door. He hated himself. Turning around nearly gave him a heart attack, standing behind him, staring at him with large clear eyes was Melissa, her bright red hair caught in the moonlight gave of an eerie glow. He stepped around her and she turned with him her blank pupil less eyes focused on him. He had often wondered in the past whether she was truly blind or not.
Gretchen announced the time from her phone, 3 o’clock. They all sighed. No one had been able to fall asleep all night. Richard yawned deeply, he staggered close to the fire place, bent over it and retrieved a small rum flask from his jacket, he took the final gulps and emptied the flask. He sighed and groaned at the same time, he swore loudly and flung the flask behind him in anger. Someone screamed, it was Melissa. The flask had struck her over her head and she was already bleeding. Her mother attempted to check the wound when the creature’s roar echoed again. Its voice filled the air as usual, but this time it seemed different.
In what could have been minutes its massive foot steps rounded the cabin. It stopped and slowed, walking by the windows in a slow pace. Deep breaths sucked in the night air outside, occasionally pausing to take short steady sniffs. It seemed to cough once. Everyone paused, no one moved.
Its shadow left. Richard found his way to the nearest wall. He sighed softly then smiled at the others, giving them the thumbs up. The wall broke apart behind him and a green fist closed tightly around his waist pulling him out. The deputy un-holstered his gun and took aim, they heard him scream and cry, the monster savagely beat his body using Richard as a club attacking the nearest object in sight.
Deputy Charles released the safety and checked his shots left, six. The others hurdled behind him. Something flew threw the opening created by the attack, it hit the deputy hard in the chest knocking the wind out of him sending him to the ground it was Richard’s head, the gun flew from his hand and skidded across the floor. Jack ran for it and grabbed it.
The creature burst in and was upon him before he could react, knocking him across to the side of the room. It bore down upon the women. Gretchen grabbed Melissa and ran for it followed by Tina. Mrs. Oshman tried to keep up but tripped and fell, the others made it out the door just as she turned around in time to see the dirt caked foot crash into her head, squashing it like an overripe fruit. The creature turned to Jack, then the door. he stood weakly and aimed the gun at it.
The monster seemed to pick the girls and instead jumped through the roof.
Adrenaline rushing Jack picked himself up and chased. He ran through the trees and bushes, driven by desperation, guided by instinct and the occasional treetop rustling as the monster’s bulk moved. He heard a scream and bolted forward.
In the distance he saw a pearl like object glowing on the ground and realized it was the moon’s reflection on the surface of water, a lake. He stopped when he saw a foot sticking out the bushes he gasped, relaxing when he didn’t recognize the footwear, looking further up he saw the torso was missing, blood still flowed freely, the feet kicked once and he jumped back. Jack stepped back and turned, nearly gagging when he saw Gretchen’s upper torso several feet away, her face still constricted in absolute terror. In the distance he heard someone scream in defiance, Tina! He ran.
The scene he happened upon froze him. Tina stood between the monster and Melissa, she was urging the blind girl to run for her life. He raised the gun and fired. Once, twice, thrice. Direct hits. He squinted at the wounds, but they could barely qualify as such. The bullets just seemed to be stuck in its back. Undeterred Jack charged at the monster unleashing his war cry.
Swiftly it turned and swept him away, for the second time that night Jack felt himself fly through the air, he hit a lone tree and felt several ribs shatter. On his chest were several long gashes where the creature’s horned knuckle sent him flying.
He forced his eyes open and watched.
The monster picked Tina by the throat as it had done to so many others that night. Something glinted in its eye. Jack watched as it grabbed her left hand. She never stopped screaming. It yanked her entire arm free in one swift movement blood gushed like an oil well, her wails splintering in Jack’s ears. The monster flung the arm at Jack, it hit his head and landed on his lap, her diamond engagement ring glittered brilliantly in the moon light.
He cried, cursed, screamed and was silent at the same time. Pure will power pushed him to his feet, he’ll be damned if he didn’t kill this bastard. He fired twice and hit once, no effect.
Now he fell back against the tree, defeated. He watched the creature close in on Melissa who had simply stood, her empty eyes focused on it. The monster walked gently, savoring the moment. It stood over her, its towering height quickly overshadowing her, its orange eyes glowing, wide and focused.
The monster dropped on one knee, its massive bald head bowed low. Melissa placed her hands on its chin and raised its head, tears in her eyes. She caressed its face, its lips. Her blank eyes staring; lovingly into its own, finally, it stood and she flung her arms around it, not even capable of getting across. It in turn bowed its head low, both arms locked around her, both breathing softly. An eternity seemed to pass for Jack. He stared unable to speak.
With her tiny delicate hand disappearing into it, they walked towards Jack, hand in hand. He watched the couple, as if in slow motion walk by him. Melissa smiled and waved at him as they passed him by, her towering partner oblivious to the helpless mess of a man sitting with his fiancé’s severed arm.
Overhead, a thick dark cloud had masked the moon’s light, thrusting the forest woods into darkness. Together they disappeared into the woods, their footsteps fading away into the trees. In the moments reprieve from the moon light, a single gun shot rang out into the eerie night.
Credit : Psymon Idahosa
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