by Flying Fox
A couple comes across a terrifying creature, mean while Budsworth's nightmare turns true.
CHAPTER 6: ONE FATEFUL NIGHT
State Road 9, between Foxvalley and Canon City, Colorado
May 27, 10:23 P.M.
The headlights of a roving vehicle casted light along road before it. A loving couple sat in the front seat. They were quiet, just about dead quiet. Their 70s looking red roofless Chevrolet car rode along the silent right side of the road. The man drove the vehicle, while his girlfriend sat in the seat beside him. His arm wrapped around the back of her shoulders. She looked, blankly, into the dense smoke. The moment before they left town they saw the fire on the mountain west the valley.
The car radio sang a slow song. They rode calmly into the night, unaware of the darkness lurking behind them. The man looked over at the women beside him, reaching over to hold her hand. She gave him a slight smile with her cherry red lips. “Silvia, it’s going to be alright,” He tried to comfort her, but it didn’t seem to do much. She gave another awkward smile before looking out the window beside her. The wind blew through her long, ginger hair. They heard of the recent fires along the Appalachian Chain. The thought of a wildfire raging through the small town scared them. Not only that, but all the disappearances lately. The FBI agent investigated the disappeared didn’t didn’t change much on what they though, what if he ends up the next to disappear.
The music irradiating from the car radio began going in and out of static. The man reached up and turned it off. He laid back in his seat in silence. Then the lights from inside the car began blinking rapidly. The gauges above the steering wheel started panicking, moving about frantically. “The Hell?” The man asked, flipping on the car hazard blinkers. He pulled off along side the road, and put the car into parking gear. He looked back at his girlfriend. “stay in here. I’ll be back,” he said, before stepping out of the car.
The man stood up from his car. Darkness flooded around his slender body, covered by a purple polo shirt. The man reached back in and popped the hood. Two blood red eyes watched him from the mountains, but they had yet to be noticed by him. The man circled around the front of the vehicle. He pulled the hood the rest of the way up, revealing the engine underneath.
He leaned in over the car battery. It seemed perfectly fine, what happened? A puddle of water from the thunderstorm earlier rippled. The man’s eyes diverted from the battery to the ripples in the nearby puddle. The water made another ripple, this time accompanied by the slight shake of the ground. The sound of a tree snapping in the distance broke through the silence. The man’s eyes widened in panic. He slammed the hood shut and rushed to his girlfriend’s passenger side door. She jumped out of shock the moment her door swung open. The man reached his hand in, and pulled her from the seat. The ground made another violent shake. This time the car rocked from the shudder of the ground.
“Come on we have to go. Hurry, run back to town and get help. There’s an FBI agent in town, go find him and tell him about anything you see tonight,” He ordered, holding her by her shoulders. A look of terror in both their eyes.
“What? No, no I can’t go without you. Tell me, what's going on Ken?” She asked. He glared back into the forest behind him. The asphalt ground shook again from under their feet. A loud SNAP shot through the forest. The man only wrapped his arms around her and embraced her in a hug, holding her tight.
“Just go. Do what I told you to. I’ll be right behind you, just do it,” He commanded, letting her go. A tear dropped from her eye. He look back at her to see her still standing there. “GO!” Ken ordered. Her eyes grew, and another tear rolled down her cheek. Then she turned and began running in her blue jeans. Ken turned back to the woods behind him. “Come and get me you son of a…” a cry in freight and pain arose over the mountain. The sound of a crushing and snapping of bones erupted from the forest. A low rumble sound growled through the darkness.
Silvia turned back to look at where her boyfriend last stood. She watched in horror as a pair of arms vanished into the shrubs alongside the road. A dark liquid rolled over the grass coming from the woods. Silvia stopped dead in the middle of he road. “NO!” She cried out, falling to her knees. The sea welling from her eyes. A puddle in the middle of the road beside her rippled. Her eyes widened as she slowly turned he head to watch the ripples of the puddle. Lights approached from down state road 9. A long dark yellow bus rolled over the hill, and now headed towards her.
She fought to stand up off from the road. She waved her hands in the air. Two long tear stains stretched down her cheeks. The bus came to a slow stop ahead of her. A stop sign flipped out, blinking two red lights. The door unfolded, and out stepped an older man. In the headlight she could only see the silhouette of the hat above his head and his oversized body. A golden belt bucked, wrapped around his dark blue jeans, reflected the brightness of the bus headlight. “Yes ma'am?” He asked in a rough sandpaper voice, reminiscent of a Southern accent.
Silvia stood there beside him. A waterfall trickling from her eyes. “Kenneth, my boyfriend, I think something killed him,” She wined. Her finger pointed at the dark violet, seeping puddle. The bus driver took a couple steps toward it reaching around the car. Disembodied leg caught him by surprise as it soured over him, slamming into the trunk of the car. The headlights began blinking rapidly. The car alarm sounded, echoing loud through the forest. The bus driver heard a loud ticking sound produce from the forest. “Oh my god,” said the bus driver, his eyes wide and fearful. “Git in da bus now!” He ordered. Silvia followed his orders and rushed into the bus, closing the door behind her. She forgot to leave it open for the bus driver’s convenience.
A few long moments later a bash at the door startled her. The bus driver stood there, frantically slamming his fist on the plexiglass of the school bus door. “Let me in, open the door!” He shouted, loud enough for them all to hear. His head lifted, starting at the dark shadow enveloping him, blocking out the moonlight. The bus driver took a few steps back from the door, his eyes wide and fearful, looking as if his petrified eyeballs could pop out at any moment. He let out a blood curling scream as a dark shape snatched him into the sky. The familiar terrifying sound of snapping and crunching bones haunted them from above.
Silvia looked back at the seats behind her. Dozens of football player occupied the seats, they had also been affected by the horror outside. They stared outside the bus, there eyes wide, full of fear. She tried to think of something to say, but not a single word came to mind. Just that moment a geyser of blood spilled onto the windshield. Something slammed against the side of the bus. It rocked from the force behind it. The football players inside began shouting and cursing, trying to comprehend everything that was going on. They starting climbing over each other to see what it was outside. The vehicle rocked from another, much tougher, slam against the side of the bus. This one put a dent in the side of it, the windows smashed to pieces, scatted across the metal floor. One of the football players fell from his seat. Another burst into the side of the bus tipped it over.
Everyone slammed against the side wall from the force of the slam. One of the football players let out a blood curling scream as his body was violently dragged through the shattered window. Blooded rained through the smashed window onto the other football players inside. The windshield shattered, and the roof of the bus began crushing together like tin foil. Silvia rushed to the emergency door in the back. She pulled a lever on it and a loud ringing sound produced from the speakers. She pushed open the door. It snapped off it’s hinges and landed onto the pavement of the road. “Common!” She yelled.
After she climbed out of the enclosing bus a handful of football players followed closely behind. They began running for the cover of the forest, scattering around the trees like a herd of terrified, hunted deer. Silvia stopped at a tree to turn at look at the wreck behind her. Not everyone escaped, Silvia could hear the cry of a goner inside. Finally their cries of agony ceased when the bus completely flattened. The sound of bending metal and snapping bones cracked from the bus. A purple liquid, gleaming in the moonlight, poured out of what was left of the windows.
She tried to see if she could see the attacker of the bus, but the smog from the fire prevented it. Except for the reddish glow of two cat-like bloody eyes, standing over twenty feet over the devastation of the bus. Silvia stumbled as the ground made a heavy shake. Screams and cries of agony pursued. Silvia tried her best not to take any effect to the sound of dying football players. Football players she had seen only moments ago. She stepped up to the flattened bus.
A head, vacant of its body, laid to the side of the bus. Cut through by the crushed windows. Blood surround just about every part of it. On the top was the flattened pieces of the bus driver. She held back a whimper of freight. Her eyes were clouded with panic. More cries and terrified screams came from the forest. Then there was the sound of the ticking again. SNAP!
~~~ 4 hours later ~~~
May 28 3:12 A.M.
Budsworth stood in the guest room bathroom, looking himself in the mirror. Pink blood residue was left from the nasty cut in his arm. He just only washed it down with cool water a few moments ago. Sticky blood drenched the bed sheets. He knew he’d have to go by the general store tonight to grab a bottle of bleach. A couple loud knocks protruded from his door. Budsworth stepped into the guest room. He looked through the fish hole in his door. The large round head of Henderson smiled at him.
Budsworth hid his bloodied arm behind the door, and pulled it open a tad. He kept his right arm hidden from sight. “Agent Budsworth, are you okay? You don't look so good.” Henderson announced. Budsworth let out a sigh and rubbed the back of his neck with his clean left hand.
“Yeah, I'm just tired.” He answered, “So you said José was found dead downstairs?”
“Yeah, I thought you might want to check it out,” Henderson explained. Budsworth nodded.
“Just hold on a minute. I have to get myself cleaned up first,” He said, closing his door. Budsworth let out a sigh of relief, and glanced back down at the cut in his arm. That fact that it healed decently within the last half hour shocked him, he never had a cut that healed that fast. He stepped up to the bed and covered the bloody parts of the sheets with the comforter. He wrapped his overcoat on over his arms, as he stared out he window. The smog from outside the window had cleared up for the most part. He let out another sigh and made his way out of the room.
Many other men and women of law enforcement were walking up and down the hallway. Budsworth stepped down the staircase he had only climbed up about four hours ago, when José still lived. He didn't know that was even his name until he was told by Henderson. Police tape covered a doorway behind the information desk. Blood splattered even out over the floor behind the desk. Specks of blood dotted everything from the walls to even the occasional dot on the ceiling.
Budsworth stepped into the room, a feeling a strange feeling overwhelmed. Like he’d been there before. Like he’s seen it before. Laying on the the ground under a window a blue plastic blanket covered a bloody dead body mangled against the blood stained wall. Thin layer of blood stuck to the window behind the body. Budsworth remembered the splash of red paint against the window in his dream. He bent down and lifted the plastic. A fowl stench filled the room. Henderson stepped up behind him, and leaned against the door frame. He had his arms crossed and was now looking down at the bloody body.
The body was covered in deep scratches and bite marks. The stomach was ripped open, spilling intestines and a shredded lung. Blood still poured out across the floor. A sliver of red leaked from the man’s mouth. His eyes looked as if they were crying blood. Something reflected the light in the room beside the dead body, shining directly into Budsworth’s eyes. He reached down and picked the survival flip knife up off the wooden floor. This one, however, didn’t look like the one in Budsworth’s dream. No, this one was one of a more cheaper quality.
Scarlet blood coated over the sharp edge of the knife. Budsworth remembered the creature yelping from his dream, he pulled back his suit sleeve. The cut through the skin still remained. Pick dried blood surrounded the scabbing of the wound. “They say that it was an animal attack. What do you think?” Asked Henderson. Budsworth scratched his neck beneath the collar of his white button-up shirt. Then he stood up from the body, the knife still in his hand. “What about the knife?” Henderson asked.
“Maybe we can determine what or who the blood on it belongs to,” Budsworth answered. He didn’t tell anything to Henderson about the cut in his arm. What if he accused him of the murder? Instead the deep cut in his arm left him baffled, the slash in his arm seemed like a fit for a blade like this, but he wouldn't dare lift his sleeve with Henderson in the room.
Budsworth saw something move in the upper corner of the room. His gaze drifted up at it to see a gray video camera. A large, black circular lens protruding from the front end of it. The camera moved sluggishly from left to right. Budsworth stepped up towards the video camera, and looked up into it. He reached up and removed a memory card from it. “I think I may already have a lead,” Budsworth told Henderson. The door into the Bed & Breakfast flew open. A women stepped in, sobbing. Blue and purple bruises surrounded around her arms. Her hair hung down from her head, tangled and covered in leaves. She limped, one hand holding onto the wall. Then when she saw the Budsworth in the room behind the front desk, she tumbled toward him.
She reached out and grabbed ahold the desk, and lifted herself up off the desk with her arms. Rips occupied the blue shirt covering her body under her vanilla colored sweater. A trickle of blood streamed down over her forehead from under her hair. Her clear blue eyes widened with terror. Tired rings developed under both her eyes. “Are you the FBI agent?” She rasped. Budsworth stepped out and placed his hand on her back.
“Yes ma’am, I’m FBI agent Budsworth. Are… are you okay?” He asked. Out of everything he’d seen, he’d never seen this. Henderson stepped out to the desk beside Budsworth.
“Doctor Reynolds will be by to pick José up. She’s going to try to do an autopsy with the few stuff she has,” He explained. Budsworth nodded before turning back to the women in pain, standing in front of him. Henderson glanced up at her, then back at Budsworth. “Is she okay?” He asked.
“I don't know,” Budsworth answered.
“They’re dead,” she whimpered. They both turned back to her. A look of caution on both their faces. Budsworth knelt down in front of her, his eyes widened with terror. He placed his hand around her waist as he tried to calm her.
“Please tell me Ma’am, who’s dead?” Budsworth asked.
“Everyone, all of them. By boyfriend, the football players from the game in Canon City,” She answered. Henderson’s eyes filled with shock. His gaze lifted from her to Budsworth.
“The Foxvalley football team had a game last night in Canon City. They probably never even left till ten o’clock last night,” Henderson explained. Budsworth looked back at the women crying in front of him. “The bus always takes state road 9 to go back and fourth between Foxvalley and Canon City.”
“Henderson, can you take Ms…uh, name?”
“Silvia, Silvia Baker,” She answered, drying the tears from her eyes. Budsworth gave her nod, and stood back up. Without another word said, Henderson stepped around behind the desk, he grabbed Silvia by her arms, gently. He opened a door into a room across the hall. They both disappeared into the dark room for a few moments. Henderson, on his way out of the room stopped in the doorway.
“Anything I can get you Mrs. Baker?” Asked Henderson, flicking on a light switch beside the door. The darkness inside immediately cleared out, replaced by a yellow shine from inside. She must’ve rejected. He closed the door slowly behind him, and headed towards Budsworth standing at the information desk. He lowered his arms down onto the desk, and leaned against it. Then he looked back up at Budsworth. His eyebrows steeped up. His eyes wide with worry. “What do we do know?” He asked, holding his hands together behind his back. His gaze fixated on the brown wooden floor.
“We should go see if we can find this bus anywhere,” Budsworth answered. He looked down at his right arm. It still surged with pain, despite its quick healing. He looked back up at Henderson who was already heading for the door. “Henderson, wait,” Budsworth stopped him. “I have something I need to show you,” He said. Budsworth took off his overcoat, reveling the scar across his arm. “I woke up with this, this morning,” He showed Henderson the deep cut. Henderson looked back up at him. A look of confusion occupying his face. “And that's not the only thing I found this morning,” Budsworth began. He unbuttoned his shirt, and peeled it off his shoulder, relieving the mysterious fox tattoo. “It has a mark on it’s fore leg, as if it were cut. Just like me.”
“The hell?” Mumbled Henderson. He started to back away from Budsworth. “How can that be. It's impossible.”
“I know it is. I just woke up this morning like this,” Budsworth explained, buttoning up his white dress shirt. Henderson looked out of the glass front door. The lights of the clinic glowed from across the street.
“After we check to see what’s going on out there we need to go by the clinic. See what Doctor Reynard thinks about it,” Henderson pointed out. Budsworth knew the real reason he wanted to go see Reynard, and he knew she’d be probably more interested in seeing a different part of his body other than a tattoo that just miraculously appeared a day ago.
Budsworth didn't want to get into an argument with the Sheriff over it though, so he just let it go. They both stepped outside. The smog had almost completely dissipated from the night before. The moon still glowed in the sky. It shined from the far West. Stars glistened in the night sky. The flashing red lights of firetrucks a still glowed from the side of the mountain.
Budsworth couldn’t tell why they were still up there. The fire appeared to be gone. Budsworth stepped up to his Black Ford Taurus. The entire bottom half of the car looked like a wreck, covered in dust from driving through gravel roads all day yesterday. Budsworth pulled a glob of keys from his pocket, and unlocked the car door with his car key remote. Then someone gave him a tap on the shoulder. He turned to find Ben standing behind him. He had a dead serious look on his face. His eyes bugged large and panicky, like something bothered him.
“Benjamin! What are you doing out so early, it’s three o’clock in the morning,” Henderson scolded.
“My brother... hasn't been back from football practice yet. My mother tried to call him on the cell phone but she never got anything. She headed out to get him about half an hour ago,” Ben explained. Budsworth’s gaze returned back to Henderson. He stood next to his patrol car with his driver’s side door open. A constant glare over Benjamin. Then his glare moved over Budsworth.
“Hey, it’s his brother. His mother left anyway,” Budsworth stated. Henderson sighed, and sat back down on the leather front seat of his car. Budsworth turned back to Ben. “If we see anything we don't want you to, I want you to get back into my car.” Benjamin nodded. He rushed around to the other side of the Taurus and opened the passenger’s side door. They both sat down inside and slammed their doors closed shortly afterwards. Budsworth reached up and stuffed the ignition switch with his car key. The engine turned and began to rumble. The Sheriff’s patrol car pulled out onto the road, Budsworth followed closely behind. They both turned onto State Road 9.
They passed the Foxvalley welcome sign on the way out. This time it only hung from one of it’s legs. The screw holding the other part of the sign into the second, scarlet painted leg must've became undone. To the side of the road about a mile further an older open roof car blinked on the side of the road. There was a 80s-like nostalgia to it. The lights inside was still on, and the passenger’s side door swaying wide open. The windshield looked shattered and covered in droplets of blood. The license plate announced they were from around this area. The car blinkers were activated, signaling something wrong. The car alarm beeped deafening loud, repeatedly, echoing through the valley. The headlights on the vehicle blinked to the sound of the car horn Budsworth pulled off to the side of the road behind it. “Actually you know what? I’ve had a change of mind, Ben stay in here,” Budsworth ordered.
Ben only gave him a longing look, but didn't say anything. Budsworth reached in front of him, and opened the glove box. He grabbed the black LED flashlight from inside, then slammed it shut. The driver side door to his car opened up, and Budsworth stepped up out of the car. He flicked on his flashlight. A door slammed close behind him as Henderson got out of his car. Budsworth stepped, cautiously, towards the car blinking in front of him. He flashed the flashlight through the trees of the forest to the side of the road. A unsettling feeling overcame him, as if something or someone from those woods were stalking him, but who or what? It almost felt as if the trees stalked him through widened eyes. Henderson strayed behind, standing next to Budsworth’s car. Probably guarding it to make sure Benjamin goes nowhere. A long rifle dangled in his hand. Budsworth took a few steps towards the front of the car.
Glass from the windshield covered the dented hood. Sitting amongst all the glass of the windshield laid a disembodied leg. Blood soaked the leg, and coated the ripped pant leg wrapped around it. Budsworth lowered his hand underneath the hood and pulled the wires connecting to the battery. He smacked the butt of his flashlight against the alternator. The horn died away and the lights faded off. “What do you think happened?” Henderson broke the silence from behind him. Budsworth turned to him. The headlights of his car silhouetted Henderson’s face. His stalky body laid a shadow along the road asphalt.
“Someone left their leg on the windshield. I'm guessing this leg is what caused the hood the cave in like it did. Which, if I'm right, that means it must've been dropped with force,” Budsworth announced. He flashed his flashlight across the street. There, flattened like a piece of tin foil, sat the school bus. A dark purple liquid bleed from the windows of the bus. It oozed out of the windows, what remained of the windows anyway.
In a lump on top of the flattened bus laid another arm and a leg. These ones had been crushed to a pink pulp of blood and bones. Budsworth felt a unsettling feeling in his mouth, like rushing up his throat. His stomach ached at the sight. He backed away from the bus, trying to hold back his vomit. He breathed in a large dose of air, then let it out. The noxious feeling at the paid of his aching stomach slowly died away. A ringing interrupted his breathing, similar to the ringing of a cellphone.
“Ben, stop! What do you think you're doing? Get back here,” Henderson shouted from the car. Budsworth rolled his eyes, and looked back to his car. Ben opened the passenger door, and rushed out, leaving the car door open. He raced for the location of the ringing. Ben toppled down in front of a layer of old leaves. He searched through the leaves, throwing them everywhere. They cam float back down into the pile before him, only continually adding to the pile. Budsworth rushed up to him, about to stop him, and drag him back to the Taurus. Then Ben pulled something from the leaves.
“I knew it sounded familiar,” He said, holding up an old flip phone in his hand. A white display glowed on the front of it. A green phone icon glowed in the center. Ben pressed a green button on the cellphone and brought it up to his ear. “Hello,” he announced, “Yeah, mom I found his phone… no I'm not alone. The Sheriff and that FBI agent is with me… no all we've found is his…” he stopped mid-sentence the moment he set his eyes down on something down the hill. The sell phone slipped from his hand, crashed back into the leaves below. Budsworth saw it too. It gave him nightmares worse than the one he experienced last night. The bloody bottom half of a body laid on the floor of the hill.
Henderson stopped right in front of them, and looked down at the body. Even Budsworth found it to be more sickening than just about anything else he’d ever seen. He stumbled back. Immediately, a headache overwhelmed him. He felt something rushing up from his stomach. Henderson and Ben only stared down in disbelief as Budsworth rushed off behind a tree dispatching his last meal, which hadn't been for a few days. When he finished he glanced down at the newly formed puddle on the ground, blood, and not only that but scraps of raw meat. The stranger thing is it all came from him. Budsworth reached up and brushed his hand over his mouth. He stared down in confusion. Blood painted the back of his hand. He looked back at the two others hoping they never saw it. Then stared back to the ground in horror. He pulled a pair of tweezers from a pocket in his suit. He bent down, and picked up a chunk of the raw meat he had just exiled form his body. He dropped it into a small plastic evidence bag.
Henderson, finally out of his trance, glanced at Ben for a moment. Then he climbed down the hill, grabbing onto a few trees on the way to make sure he didn't fall. When he reached the bottom half of a body he reached into the back pocket, and pulled out a wallet. He opened it. Inside he found a Driver’s License. The name “Kevin Karmin” printed under a picture. The name of Benjamin’s brother. “Jesus?” Henderson mumbled under his breath, ruffling his hand through his hair. He handed the card to Ben standing above him. Ben grabbed in and looked down at it without saying a word. He lowered the wallet. It slipped from his hand and landed on the forest floor. Ben fell on his knees staring at the lower half of his brother in front of him.