by Chris W
Brief urban fantasy written for the Writer's Cramp.
|This is a little short on description, since it was written for a contest with a max word limit. However, I have been thinking about expanding the story (in a serial kind of way) based on the characters that enter at the end. If you would be interested in reading such a thing, let me know in a review. Thanks!
Alex hated the rain. Living in an attic bedroom under a metal roof had something to with it, he supposed. Tonight it was unbearable. The wind howled and tore at the house, while the near horizontal rain pelted the windows and roof noisily. He grabbed his remote and cranked up the volume to his flat-screen, hoping to drown out the weather.
Lost signal. Fantastic. Alex flipped the channel down to a local one. Sometimes those would stay up. Channel 6 was, but all they were broadcasting was storm footage. He didn’t need to know any more about the situation. Rain was rain.
Alex turned his television off, and pulled his laptop off of his dresser. No internet. He flopped back on his bed, frustrated, staring at the ceiling. Now he was left with nothing but the intermittent peals of thunder and the constant battering of the rain and wind to keep him company. Maybe he could sleep.
Alex had almost dozed off when he heard frantic barking outside. Brando.
He sat up immediately. “Ah, Dan is gonna kill me.”
His stepfather had asked him to bring the dog inside the house before the storms came. Dan and his mother were away for the weekend, leaving Alex alone for a couple of nights. They were enjoying much better weather, of course.
As Alex was putting his shoes on, the barking ceased abruptly. He opened his window and peered out through the driving rain at where his overweight dog should be. Alex couldn’t see him, but he could have just retreated into his dog house.
He hurried down the stairs, tossing on an old hoodie just before he hit the back door. With a sigh he burst out into the back yard, fully intending on a quick retrieval of his pudgy pooch.
There was no Brando. His chain was stretched out fully, his broken collar still attached. Alex stood there dumbfounded, the rain already permeating his cloth hoodie. There was no way his chubby mutt did that.
Alex looked about, confused. He ignored the wind and rain, trying to determine where his dog had gone. His eyes caught movement in a dark corner of the yard, just off the side of the storage building. The street lights never had shone that far back at night, and the horrible weather didn’t help.
“Brando?” Alex shouted towards the darkness. “Come here boy, let’s go get dry!”
A deep growl was the only answer he received.
Lightning flashed, illuminating the entire yard. Alex froze.
A hulking black dog stood menacingly over a still, white form. Blood dripped from the demon dog’s jaws and out into the growing pools of water.
Alex found himself dashing back towards the house. He slipped and skidded in the soggy grass a few feet, soaking himself. He didn’t look back to see if the dog was after him. He was too scared. Alex scrambled back up, closed the remaining distance to the house, and burst in through the back door.
As soon as Alex slammed the door shut, the beast slammed into it from the outside, snarling viciously. Alex locked the door with shaking fingers, deadbolt and all. The wood splintered from the impact. What kind of a dog could do that?
Another impact shook the door. Alex backed away, scared out of his mind. Shards of wood from the door snapped free as it flexed inward. The hellhound rammed the door again. And again.
Alex sat down several feet from the failing door, defeated. He didn’t know what to do, so he did nothing.
The boy had always heard that a person’s life flashes before their eyes when they are about to die. When the black beast burst through the kitchen door, all Alex could think of was that as a high school senior, he had not accomplished a lot of memorable things.
The monster flew at him, saliva and blood streaming from its fangs. Its eyes were wild and shone red in the meager light.
The world seemed to shatter around Alex. Glass blew in from the nearest window as Alex covered his face with both arms in some meager attempt to save himself from the dog.
The attack never came. Alex uncovered his eyes.
There was a struggle occurring in his kitchen. There was a gaping hole in the wall to his right where a window had been. Alex narrowed his eyes, still shaken. He thought he saw a giant. It looked like it was fighting the rampaging beast that had been stalking him.
Just as he was coming to terms with this development, a woman stepped in the shattered doorway.
“Klassus! Wrap this up before you tear the poor boy’s house to shreds.” She put her hands on her hips and gave the giant an impatient look.
The giant grunted and nodded its enormous forehead. He caught the black dog as it jumped for him, squeezing it with his hulking mitts. He slammed it down onto the kitchen floor, buckling the tile floor. The beast snarled and kicked, but couldn’t break away from the giant’s iron grip.
The woman knelt next to the pinned monster, eyeing it curiously. She cocked her head to the side thoughtfully, her blond pigtails swinging.
“Whaddaya think? A Barghest? A Grim? Freybug?”
“I, I don’t know,” Alex stammered.
“Talkin’ on the handsfree, son. Thanks though.” She smiled at him, her blue eyes twinkling. She touched her ear. “Ooh, an Inugami, didn’t think about that. How do I kill it?” She paused. “Ooh, that’s creative.”
She stood up and sighed. “You got any dried Troll ears laying around?”
“No…” Alex replied, still trying compose himself.
“Witches teeth?” She winked.
Alex shook his head.
“Shame. Come on Klassus, think you can contain that beast long enough for us to cook up a removal?”
The giant nodded. They stepped through the new kitchen exit and into the rolling rain and thunder, leaving the stunned and shaken Alex behind, his mouth agape.