The Harkin

IMG_0067The warm water from the shower massaged Tracy’s back.  The steam from the heat of the liquid filled the room but left the view within the small bathroom window.  Tracy reached for the shampoo when she saw a frightening shadow passing in front of a the church next to the house.  The creature had tall, thin legs.  It’s keratin-covered abdomen stood six foot over the asphalt.

Tracy, unconsciously, reached for the window shelf and knocked over a bottle of shampoo.  The noise started her and she screamed.

Tracy took in a sudden breath and held her mouth as the insect-like creature stepped from the shadow or the church.

Tracy scooped the shower curtain to the right and stuck her head out.

“Darrin!  There is a Harkin outside.  What are we going to do?”

She could hear someone moving around, outside the bathroom door.  The thought, quick and terrifying, of an invasion within the house swam within her head.

“What did you say?”  Darrin replied.

“There is one of those Harkin bugs outside.  Where are the kids?”

Tracy could hear her husband search the room next door.  Items fell to the ground.  He cursed, as whatever he was looking for, eluded him.

“Darrin!  The crossbow is on the shelf next to the AR-14.”

“Why did you move it,” came the reply.

“Just get it.  The Harkin just stopped at our driveway.  Where are the children!”

The horror of the situation suddenly got worse when Tracy heard her middle child scream.  The Harkin stuttered movements proved that it was surprised by the sudden noise.  It turned its arrow-shaped head to the right and began to step forward.  The driveway was covered in stones.  The Harkin struggled to stand upon the stones.  It’s thin legs pausing and stepping carefully.

The back door slammed shut several times and  Tracy could hear the children talking.  She sighed till she saw her husband step past the window.

Darrin was dressed in ratty shorts and a white t-shirt.  He loaded a bolt and pointed the crossbow at the Harkin.  Tracy banged on the glass.

“You have to shoot it between the head and abs?”

The Harkin turned toward the noise.  Darren grimaced but dutifully grinned then waved.

Tracy watched as her husband began to approach the insect.  She banged on the shower window again as he approached.  This noise distracted the Harkin but also her husband.

She opened the small window and waved. Darrin grumbled and refocused on the Harkin.  Tracy watched as he held the crossbow to his shoulder and zeroed in on the soft section between the plates of keratin.

He fired but the bolt  bounced off the insects armor.  It did attract attention and the Harkin turned toward him.  Her husband skipped toward the back of the creature.  Tracy suddenly noticed he had no shoes on.

“What an idiot,” she thought as he avoided being seen.

She banged on the windows again drawing attention back to her.  The Harkin began to approach the house.  The grass beside the driveway would make it easier to move.

“Darrin, you have to keep it out of the grass.”

Her husband approached the large insect.  He was crouched and moving carefully.  The crossbow trained on the target.  The bolt flew from the weapon and struck the creature.  It didn’t scream, as you would expect, but it sighed and sank.  It’s abdomen stood three feet from the ground as Darrin loaded another bolt.  The creature began to struggle as the poison in the bolt began to work.  It was unable to free the bolt from beneath the armor.  It swung its right-front legs near the wound.  Darrin got closer and fired a second bolt into the creature.  The Harkin retched.  It tried to reach out and tear into its attacker but the poison infected it’s blood.  It’s energy level dropped every second as it was starting to die.

Tracy suddenly heard the door open and close and knew the children had left the house to check out the creature.  She took a final look at the creature.  It sat upon the green grass beside the house.  Darrin, motioned to the children to stay away.  She then stepped from the shower, grabbed a towel and got dressed.

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Yanfis – Darkness series

The small brick and mortar building in Yanfis withstood a downpour as the rain fell hard.  Dontarious covered his face as Angel disappeared into a small building.  He followed.

The rain was a dim fraction of the noise within this room.  It was full of creatures Dontarious could name from fantasy and mythology.  He saw a couple elves.  The ears extending over their bald, round heads, as they stood at a counter.  A long counter sat on the end of a spacious room.  On top of the counter were stacked glasses.  Behind the counter were several shelves containing glass bottles.  Behind the bar was a strange, snake-like creature that hissed when it spoke.  This creature, green and full of scales, had a pair of human arms and hands and a human-isk face.

“Are you going to move,” someone shouted.  Dontarious turned to see the pale face and extended canines of a vampire.  The quintessential bad guy in any action fantasy he had seen once when he was still on Earth proper.

“You can’t stand in front of the door.  Human, you’re lucky I like this place and have to be invited or you would be a crumpled mass of skin and bone by now.

Dontarious stepped back and looked for Angel.  He found him, with his wings behind his back and pushing through the crowd of noise.  Near the left side of the room several other harpies stood talking.

“He is the only guide I have to this world,” Dontarious told himself and pushed through the crowd of colorful creatures.

“Ah, here he is!”  Angel shouted as Dontarious approached.

“You are hanging with a human, Angel… disgusting,” this harpy wore a Cincinnati Reds baseball can over platinum blond hair.  He looked to be nineteen years old or younger.  His wings were smaller than the rest.

“Angel, we don’t want him around here.”

“Wait,” Angel said addressing the largest of the harpies.  An older looking birdman with greying hair and skin folded under his eyes.  “Christoff, the human can help us with the operation.  If you hear what I’m saying.”

The older harpie stood.  He flexed his wings and shook his head violently.  “How can this small human help us?”

Angel had an answer prepared, “he hopped the Spirit of the Dead from the world above.”

The harpies all gasp at the same time.

A to Z Chupacabra

A woman stood, surrounded by clouds brushed around her thin features.  Her skin was fair and her eyes were brown.  A beautiful woman, but underneath the woman struggled with mental illness.  Oscar managed to survive the shouts and insanity by distracting his mother by talking about the chupacabra.  His mother, Olivia, was fearful of the mythical beast.  Whether that fear was warranted didn’t matter to Oscar because it deflected the symptoms for  moments.

Those moments became shorter and shorter as Oscar became older but this dream drilled down to his younger years.  His mother sat.  The chupacabra sat at her side staring forward, uninterested.

“Oscar, sit,” she instructed.  Olivia stretched out her hand and Oscar took it.  She lead him over to the dog-like creature and it stared up at him.  Oscar backed away and sat at his mother’s feet.

“This is Diablo, do you like him?”  Olivia said with a smile.

“Mother,” Oscar said quietly as the creature studied him.  “This is the monster that frightens you so much. Why do you call it your pet?”

Olivia laughed and Diablo seemed to smile.  The chupacabra’s nose was long.  It’s  head was stretched and thin and it’s skin looked like it had been baked and prepared by a taxidermist.  Oscar turned his head to the right and tried to measure the danger of this strange mid-sized animal. Diablo mirrored Oscar and growled just enough to reveal a thin pointed tooth, longer than the others.  The remainder of it’s teeth were stained with blood.

“Please mother,” Oscar pleaded but she only laughed.

“My boy, there is nothing to worry about…”

A flash of light overwhelmed the dream and Oscar gasp.  Oxygen seared the inside of his throat.  The world filled with noise as Gabriel Van Cleese revived the officer and stared at the creature growling back at him from where his partner stood.

The long face, pointed teeth, and brown tanned hide grumbled as it walked slowly to the right.

“NOW stop!”  Gabriel ordered, but the animal continued to search for a clear path to the medic.

“Jeremy!”  He screamed to the driver as the ambulance jerked, forcing him to brace himself.

“We are almost there Gabriel hold on.”

“How the hell are we going to kill a sharp-toothed dog that used to be a paramedic.  You need to tell me this?”

“I don’t know Gabriel but we have to do something.”

A-Z -The Blob – Part 2

 

“Yes, yes I know I’m busting our budget but we have a monster epidemic going on.  I need to hire more investigators.”  Brian Tipene explains as he sits with his feet upon a small desk.

“No, we are the only investigators right now.”  A small brunette woman walks into the room.  Her face hangs as tears fall from the corners of her eyes.  Brian’s gut sinks before he excuses himself from the phone call.

“Susan, what’s going on?”

Susan brushes the tears from her face and struggles to talk.

“Please, don’t tell me something happened to Alan.”

Susan stumbles.  Brian struggles to move from behind his desk but catches her before she falls.

“My god, this is not good.  What happened to him?”

After some time Susan explains that Alan was involved in a chemical accident within his truck.  She relayed that he was stripped to the bone.

Brian swallowed hard.  He was responsible for the death of his brother-in-law now what was he going to do?

Brian helped Susan, called her family, then sat within his small sportscar.  “I have to check out the scene,”  he thought to himself.  “He told me he picked up an odd box.”  Guilt washed over him as he started the car but he couldn’t drive forward.

“I have six agents now.  They are all family and friends.  What have I got myself into…”

“…Brian?”  A CB radio installed under the dash broke the thought.  “I just heard about Alan.  What are we going to do?”

Brian picked up the CB receiver and replied.  “Tom, we are going to figure out what happened.  What do you know?”

Tom explained the details of the accident.  He explained the chaos when the firefighters opened the door of the truck.

“They said a green goo fell from the truck.  They talked about bringing in the FBI but apparently they got impatient and opened the door.  The blob of green goo then chased off the rescuers.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes, that’s what I heard. What are we going to do?”

Brian snapped out of self-reflection and back into work.

“We are going to figure out what this is and defeat it.  That’s what we do.”  Brian pulled from the driveway of his small home and headed toward the accident scene.

Charlie

The sun stood staring down from its mid-day perch. Larry walked across his small yard with a fishing pole on his shoulder and two smaller ones in his left hand. Erica, a blond explosion of energy bounded around him while Robert moped several feet behind both of them.

“Why do we have to do this again,” Robert said.

“Because I don’t get to take much time off anymore. This new job takes a lot out of me.”

“Are we going to catch Charlie today, Daddy?” Asked Erica as she raced ahead.

“I think we are, darling. Today is the day.”

“You say that every time, Dad.” Said Robert as he reluctantly took one of the smaller poles from his father.

“I say it everyday because one of these days I’m going to be right.” Larry smiled widely. He beamed down at his son and watched as his young daughter danced around the small pond behind his house.

Robert reluctantly threw out his line and waited impatiently. Something tugged on his pole bringing it inches from the water. Larry dropped his pole and grabbed Robert’s pole. They both pulled with everything they had till finally the fabled fish leapt from the pond.

“Oh my God, ” said Robert as he flashed a smile and watched. Larry quickly grabbed the fish and looked it over. Two long blue lines ran along the sides of the fish. Its remaining scales glistened in the sunlight. It was a beautiful beast. Larry unhooked the fish and threw it back in the water.

Several years later Larry Price sat staring at the telephone. He was wishing for it to ring. Wishing for someone to tell him where his daughter was. His life had taken a turn for the outrageous. He wife left him after 15 years. His son left with her and his daughter went missing three months ago. She would of been sixteen-years old today. She had been out fishing behind the house when she went missing. When Catherine, his wife, left Larry began drinking heavily. Erica took care of him dispite of her mother’s opinion on the matter. She left their only daughter in the hands of an irresponsible wreck of a man. “He should of been out there with her,” he thought as he downed the rest of glass of whiskey and filled it again.

Larry was still the authorities prime suspect for the disappearance. They approached Larry’s small trailer and opened the door. Larry looked at them and passed out. He woke up in a cell. The police had laid him out upon the small bed within it. Around 10 o’clock they woke him and lead him to an interrogation room. They interviewed him and screamed at him. They knew Larry had done something to his daughter. They assumed this downtrodden man would confess to everything but Larry was too lost in himself. Lost in grief he didn’t care what they did to him. He almost confessed when his son stepped in to declare his father innocent. Robert hired a lawyer and got his father released from custody. He drove him home and helped him into bed.
“Dad, ” Robert said sadly. “You need to straighten up. You almost confessed to murder. Are you that ready to give up on Erica?”
“I am,” Larry paused.
“You can’t give up on Erica,” Robert pleaded but Larry told him it was over.
Robert stayed for several more hours then left. Larry concluded, before he slept, that he would wake up in the morning and decide what to do to end his life.

Something crashed loudly outside Larry’s house. He woke up with a start and sat up in bed. He could clearly hear something moving through his yard. The likelihood of a stray dog in this neighborhood was extremely high so Larry ignored it and went back to sleep.

Morning came very early. A column of light burned Larry’s face as he laid in bed. He opened his eyes and realized glass from his bedroom window was thrown all over the end of his bed. The blanket, that served as a curtain, sat on the floor. The first thought to enter his mind was neighbor kids but it wasn’t likely. They avoided his house like the plague. He carefully moved his feet off the bed. He got up and carefully looked out the window.

Something had made a mess of his yard. It looked like an animal of some sort. Large claw marks under torn gray siding told him that. The ground was moist from a recent rain and Larry noticed a human-sized trail of mud leading to the marsh. It looked-as-if someone had been dragged. Larry got dressed and almost fell from his front door. Something had shoved his stairs from the door and it laid against his truck. Larry jumped from his trailer and pulled the stairs back under his door. Larry found the trail of mud beside his house and followed it till it disappeared into the pond.

Expecting to see a body Larry approached the water carefully. The pond was deeper then it looked. Larry had fallen in it several times over the years. Nothing stirred within the water. Larry stared into the mysterious pond for several more minutes when nothing showed up he left.

It was Sunday and God was waiting. Larry got dressed, left his house and slowly crept into his truck. He stared again at the pond and caught a glimpse of something swimming near the surface. A little bit of hope, and a slight smile surfaced. Charlie was back, he thought as his stepped out of his truck. He grabbed his fishing pole and worms and walked back to the pond.

Larry strung up the worm and cast the pole into the center of the pond. Immediately, Charlie took the bait and Larry braced himself against a tree. Charlie pulled. Larry pulled but neither would give. Larry pulled hard, conscious that he may snap the line. He was going to win this fight. Charlie pulled back and nearly tore the pole from Larry’s hands. His arthritis ached and his back screamed but Larry held his ground. There was little chance Charlie was getting away this time.

That was until Charlie leapt from the pond and Larry dropped the pole. It wasn’t the Charlie he’s seen years ago. It had a long cylindrical body and a large tail, fanned out like a peacock’s plume. It had a human head which disappeared behind a long crop of black hair. It reentered the pond and sank into its depths. Larry’s fishing pole began to slide toward the water. He grabbed the pole and walked around the biggest tree he could find. If he was going to lose his line it wouldn’t be without a fight.

He went around the tree three times. He held the pole as hard as the arthritis in his joints would let him. He waited and he waited but nothing pulled on the line. It sat limp in the water. Again life and hope drained from his face as he realized that his magnificent catch disappeared.

Larry left the pole lying against the tree, he hung his head and went to church.

Larry returned a couple hours later. He had started drinking after church and continued until dark. He woke up on the couch in the middle of the night because of a crash outside the house. He sat up slowly, his head full of marbles. He stood only to sit again. Another crash started him and then the distinctive sound of someone crushing his metal trash cans.

“Get out of here!” He shouted loudly the noise echoing between his ears. He stood and shuffled to the door. He opened the door and began to shout again but stopped. The beast from the pond sat upon his trash cans. Its long black hair covering its face.

“What the hell are you?” He asked not expecting it to respond. The beast flipped its black mane from its face to reveal someone familiar.

“Erica?”

The beast turned and sped back to the pond. It slithered like a snake holding a human, up and in its grasp. Larry stepped from his trailer and fell hard to the ground. He woke up late Monday morning with a welt over his left temple and dried blood pasted to his face.

“I saw Erica last night.” Larry said confidently as he stepped into work.

“I’m sure you did.” Laughed the foreman. A greased up, pig of a man. ” You were likely wasted again like you always are…” He laughed again. “…but your the best damn worker I got. I don’t know how you do it.”

“I’m sure I could answer that”, Larry thought but declined to sink back into his familiar stupor. He felt good today, even with the noticeable lump on his face. He happily fielded questions about it with a reply including he had found his daughter. Most were happy for him until he included what had happened to him last night.

Larry fought with the foreman to let him leave after eight hours. Larry hadn’t worked less then ten in 6 months. Finally, the foreman took him aside and asked if he was alright. “The men are all taking about you and this fish story of yours. They say you have finally lost your mind.”

“I haven’t lost my mind,” Larry said with a smile.

“My God, Lawrence I haven’t seen you smile so brightly in seven years. Why don’t you take a few days off.”

“I would be happy to.” Larry said confidently and left.

It was ten o’clock and dark as sin. The old headlights on his truck barely illuminated the road ahead but Larry was wide awake and more alert then he’d ever been.

The drive home went quickly. He passed the bar that he frequented every night and pulled the truck into his driveway. He scanned his yard like a kid at Christmas but didn’t see a thing. He had a super-bright flashlight in the back of his truck. He reached into the bed and found it. He turned it on and again scanned the yard. Still nothing but he shouted into the stale marsh air.

“Erica!”

He walked toward the pond. The bright yellow light encircling a small patch of the still water.

“Erica!”

Something stirred and Larry swept the light toward it. The beast crawled slowly from the right-side of the pond. Larry walked toward it a little too recklessly and it reared up like a frightened rattler.

It was too late when he realized that Erica was not in that beast. It was an animal like the feral dogs that roamed around the neighborhood. Larry stepped back slowly but the beast moved fast and grabbed his left arm. It pulled him closer and revealed a large set of predator teeth.

Desperate, Larry said the only thing that came to mind, “Erica, please. Please don’t kill me.”

The beast settled for a second and it lightened its grip. Larry saw for the slightest of that second his little girl glistening in the reflection of the beast’s black eyes. He recalled Christmas when she was four. Erica sat in front of the tree as he and Catherine watched smiling. She opened her presents with such innocence, such gleeful enthusiasm. The beast then dropped Larry hard upon the wet marsh ground. Several smaller circles of light danced around him. Larry knew what it was and what was coming. He stood quickly, but carefully and turned his back to the beast.

“Don’t you think about shooting this beast. I will haunt you for the rest of your damn lives if you kill it.”

Robert stood, pale-faced behind his flashlight watching the beast stand quietly behind his father. Two police officers stood on each side of him and one walked toward Larry and the beast. Larry turned to face the beast again and ducked a vicious swing from its long, sharp claws. The officer that approached took the blow and collapsed. The beast tore into the officer as his partner stood in shock. Robert fired the first shot which grazed the beasts head. The other officer fired the remaining shots and the beast fell upon its back. Larry stared at the beast. Two long blue lines traced the sides of the tail. He looked up upon the human body and realized it had changed. It’s hair was short, inches from the scalp, and it’s face was masculine. It had taken the officers life. It had taken his face. Grief erupted from every pore. Charlie had taken his daughter from him. Charlie had destroyed his life. Charlie had done the worse. Larry stared at his mud-covered knees and his worn-arthritic hands till a warmth struck his chest. He then collapsed and everything disappeared.

Larry woke up several days later. Tubes, in his nose, and machinery thumping along side him. Robert was sitting, asleep in a small hospital chair in the corner of the room. He thought about everything that had happened to him. He thought about Erica, Charlie and his life. He questioned his methods and why he had chosen this path. He realized that he had given his life to Charlie, a fantasy. A fish that took away his life. Charlie was now gone. Erica was gone but Robert was still here. Larry’s life wasn’t completely destroyed and he could still recover. It was time to start again.