So here is the contest entry for the horror story writing contest. It placed at 3rd place in the contest. Sigh.
No matter how much she squinted, she couldn’t make out the creature belonging to the glowing amber eyes that stared at her through the sliding glass door. It stood on the edge of the deck looking straight at her but even with the full moon, it was cloaked in darkness. Paula shuddered at the malevolence radiating from the creature. She had no doubt it meant to do her harm yet she could not seem to move from the door.
It would be an easy matter to pretend the creature was a figment of her wild imagination if it would only stop blinking and making those gasping breaths that sent plumes of mist from its mouth. A hallucination wouldn’t have that, would it? Paula wasn’t sure; nothing she had ever learned from Mr. Preston in psychology class prepared her to make that assessment. If she were to trust her fifteen year old intuition, she would have to say this creature looked anything but made up.
As if to reassure her it was as real as she, the creature took a tentative step forward towards the glass. Paula tried to take a full step backwards but managed barely a few inches. Her intention had been to close the curtains when she glanced up from reading to see that they were still open. It was creepy to think people outside could look in and see her sitting there. She was so engrossed in “Roadwork” by Stephen King that she hadn’t noticed the sun setting or the moon rising.
It had taken a second for her to notice the creature and another second or two to process what she was seeing. It stood over six feet tall, she was sure of that because she measured 5’7″ last time she visited the doctor and she had to crane her neck to look up into its eyes. Though she couldn’t make out definitions, she sensed it was bulky. She heard the snow crunch beyond the window and shuddered at the thought that it might be taking another step closer to her sanctuary.
Surely, she reassured herself, she was safe inside the house. Creatures, big or small, didn’t usually come in through a shut door, even if it was glass…did they? In one fluid movement she jerked the drape closed and took a step backward. Maybe it would go away since it could no longer see inside. Paula felt her heart hammer in her chest as she searched the end table for her cell phone. Damn! Where the hell did she have it last?
“Think!” She screeched before clamping her hand over her mouth. Maybe making noise wasn’t the best idea. If the creature was confused by not seeing or hearing her, maybe it would go away. Wait! She had been talking to her friend Monica on the phone while in the kitchen making a sandwich, maybe it was still there on the counter. She loathed walking away from the cloaked window but like many modern houses this day and age, there wasn’t a landline available so she’d have to retrieve her cell.
She shot into the kitchen, glancing frantically at the counter, by the sink and even in the refrigerator before realizing the phone was not there. A low whimper escaped her clenched jaw as she checked the table and stove. It had to be somewhere, it couldn’t have disappeared. Paula felt her chest tighten as she struggled to keep calm.
Damn it! Her parents were supposed to be home hours ago! How could they leave her here by herself with creatures like that out there? Didn’t they care? But they didn’t know, she chided herself, otherwise they would have made her go with them to visit the Knapp’s who lived across the field. But they all knew something had been killing the livestock lately – hadn’t Daddy talked about another cow having gone missing the other night at supper? They thought someone was stealing the cows and horses that the two families had lost the past month – it was one of the things they were going to discuss tonight. Maybe that was why they hadn’t insisted she go along – they hadn’t wanted to give her nightmares.
But she was going to have nightmares…she was going to have daymares too if they didn’t hurry up and get home. Paula stumbled back into the living room where nothing had changed – the drapes were still closed, the lamp still burned and her book still lay on the chair she had been curled up in not ten minutes ago.
The utter silence was interrupted by a soft scratching sound coming from behind the curtain. Paula didn’t have to look to know it was the creature checking out the texture of the glass. It probably wasn’t used to encountering such material and wasn’t sure if it was something it could get through. She shuddered. If it came inside, there was no place for her to hide that it wouldn’t find her.
After a moment, the scratching stopped, returning the room to a silence so thick the ticking of the grandfather clock in the corner sounded sinister. Paula found herself holding her breath, waiting. Nothing happened. Was it still there or had it gone around to another window or door? Though it seemed futile, she mentally clicked off the locking of the doors when her parents left. She didn’t like being home alone so making sure every entry door was securely dead bolted before she relaxed was as much a habit as brushing her teeth before bed.
With all the courage she could muster, Paula switched out the light before sneaking up to the curtained door. Be courageous! Her inner voice whispered encouragement. Steeling herself, she parted the curtain barely enough to see the deck beyond. With a shrill scream, she fell backwards, landing hard on her rump. The beast was still out there only now it was pressed up against the glass, staring in. When she parted the curtain, it had smacked its clawed paw against the glass where her face had been, leaving no doubt to its intentions if it made it inside.
It was more hideous than she had imagined. The Creature had the kind of face someone might see on a Pekingese with its snub nose and puffy cheeks but its canine teeth were as long as a bear’s. Her eyes had fastened quickly on the wicked looking claws extending out from big, burly paws. She had never seen anything like it, not in any science fiction movie or nature channel.
She pedaled back away from the door as the curtain swooshed back into place, once more obliterating the monsters view. What was that thing? The word “Bigfoot” suddenly came to mind – could it be? It certainly didn’t look like the ones in the movies; they were always more ape/human like. There were many legends concerning Bigfoot in this area of Idaho but she’d never believed them – nobody really did.
Hadn’t her teacher, Mrs. Woods, explained “legends” last year in her creative writing class? Legends were mythological stories passed down and presented as history but that were unlikely to be true. Vampires, werewolves, and demon dogs were creatures formed from Native American legends. That didn’t make them any more real than fairies; angels or god…did it?
This certainly wasn’t the time to be pondering such things, Paula chided herself. She raked shaking fingers through her short brown hair. “Get a fucking grip”, she whispered trying to calm her wired nerves. What should she do? What could she do? Her eyes flew open; she needed a weapon of some sort!
As she turned to flee to her father’s den where he kept his many guns, a gleaming object on the floor beyond the chair she had been lounging on caught her eye. It was her cell phone and the lit display could only mean one thing – someone had sent her a text message. She hesitated, torn between needing the gun and needing to call for help. A resounding smack against the glass spurned her away from the phone towards the guns.
She heard the crashing of the glass door long before she reached the threshold to the den. The creature was inside and there was no longer time to get to the guns. Daddy never left them loaded and while she had the general idea where he kept the ammo, she knew she wasn’t sure enough of the location to risk being cornered in there by the creature. Screaming, she headed up the stairs towards her parents’ bedroom. A roar in the room far behind her left little doubt that the creature had expected to find her cowering there.
Sobbing quietly, Paula wrenched open the bedroom door and locked it behind her. It wasn’t as strong as the glass door had been, she had no delusion it would stop the creature. The only thing to do was to get to the attic which was accessible only from a hatch in this bedroom. She grabbed the dangling string and yanked the stairs down, barely moving aside fast enough to keep from being smacked in the head by them.
Clawing against the rickety wood, she scrambled into the dark crawl space, pulling the stairs up behind her. She latched the stairs in place and pulled the string up so no one, or nothing, could open the hatch from below. Crouching in a squat, she penguin waddled through cobwebs and across the floor to the only source of light the attic had, a small triangular window at the front of the house. Paula tried not to think about the spiders or other creepy crawlers who might be sharing this space with her – none of them could compare to the gigantic creature that seemed to be intent on ripping her apart.
Curling into the dark corner closest to the window, Paula listened to the chaos below. The beast seemed to be sidetracked with the furnishings; throwing them around the rooms; maybe it had forgotten about her. She pulled a dusty flannel shirt from a box labeled “winter clothes” and wrapped it around her bare shoulders. Already the frigid air outside was obliterating the warmth the furnace provided. She shivered. Daddy sure would be pissed when he got the electric bill – the furnace was probably running constantly now that the glass door was broken.
Paula wasn’t sure how much time had passed when she heard spinning tires coming up the driveway. Her parents were home at last! She hit her head on a low beam as she attempted to pop up from her crouching stance. A glance through the small glass confirmed her parents 4×4 was almost to the garage. She felt a stab of panic at the sudden silence from below – the creature had heard the vehicle too.
“Dad!! Mom!!” Paula pounded on the little window desperately knowing they’d never hear her so there was no way to warn them. They were chatting about something as they climbed out of the car, totally oblivious to the broken deck door or what lay in wait for them. Paula slammed her fist through the glass, feeling it slice through her skin as she did so.
“Mom!! Dad!! Up here!” She screamed over the pounding of the wind. Her mother paused and looked around before heading towards the house again.
“Mom!!” Paula screeched as loud as her tortured soul would allow. Below her mother stopped & looked up. She frowned, took a step back and met her daughter’s stare.
“Paula?” She yelled up trying to grasp at her husband’s arm but he was too intent on getting out of the cold.
“Mom!!” Paula screamed again, waving her bleeding arm out the window. It was too late. She saw it then and knew it was too late. The creature had gone back out the deck door, circling in behind her mother.
“Lookout!!” Paula begged half sobbing as her mother, alerted by the crunching snow, turned and screamed.
The creature was on her before the scream reached full volume, digging claws into her chest. In one fell swoop it carved an incision down her abdomen spilling her innards into the crisp white snow. Paula watched in horror as her mother waved her hands in the air as if hailing a cab before toppling over, blood pouring from the open cavity.
Paula turned to retch as the creature began munching on intestines as quickly as it could pull them out of the mess that had been her mother. She knew she should cry, scream, rant, something but she could not.
“Paula?” She heard her father’s angry bellow from below. He sounded to be in the living room, probably surveying the mess and wondering what his daughter had been up to. Paula quivered as a cold fist squeezed her lungs. Outside, the creature stirred from its meal, having also heard the yell. She closed her eyes as she watched it move back along the house.
There was nothing she could do, she knew there wasn’t, but the knowledge didn’t quell the pain of it. With muffled sobs she pressed frozen hands over her ears trying to blot out the screams of pure terror, then agony emanating from her father below. Paula curled into a ball pulling items from the box of winter clothes on top of her, burying herself from the world.
Hours later the dawn slowly pushed back the cover of darkness. Animals of the fields and forests tossed off the remnants of sleep to begin another day of foraging for food. Already the crows had found the frozen morsels of flesh left in the snow by the creatures of the night ~ they would eat well today with minimal effort. Even the barnyard domestic chickens were happily pecking at small pieces of feed scattered around the barn as the cows chewed peacefully on their cud. Everything pointed to another normal day on the farm. Everything, that is, but the house where nothing stirred, not even a mouse.