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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/642050-Manners
Rated: E · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #642050
Never feed anyTHING you meet in the woods
Manners


"OHGODOHGODOHGOD!" Russell Dean prayed as he plunged through an opening in the dense undergrowth seeking a safe hiding place.

The THING was still following him, getting closer despite the zigzag course Russell took through the maze of second generation growth. He could hear twigs snapping behind him, but was exhausted and couldn't go any further.

A quick glance around showed that this spot wasn't a good choice; he had trapped himself near the rim of another long-abandoned stone quarry hidden by all these thick bushes. The quarry was about 35 feet across and ten feet deep.

Russell compressed his small frame into a ball next to the thickest bush and waited to be found and killed. And, probably, eaten.

He prayed to God to turn back the time so he could undo the last few minutes. He promised God that he wouldn't cut across the strip mines -- like his mother warned him not to -- and would just take the detention for being late for school. But God didn't change things. So now he'd likely die here in this wilderness of rock pits and thick, stunted undergrowth. Those tales of a Big Foot-like monster haunting and hunting this desolate area he now knew were true.

Russell heard the creature thrashing the bushes just a few feet away and closed his eyes. He was only twelve: too young to die like this.

Then, like an avalanche, he heard a great noise of wood and rock giving away, followed by silence.
Russell lay unmoving in his discomfort, listening. A few minutes later a low, mournful whistle reached his ears and he got slowly to his knees, hoping that this wasn't a trick. He crawled out onto the path and saw to his right a tear of broken branches in the bushes. Another whistle pierced the air, seeming to come from there and Russell inched toward the spot. Peering cautiously over the edge Russell saw IT staring up at him -- with three large eyes.

"OHGODOHGODOHGOD!" He almost went into shock and quickly lay flat.

The thing worked the huge maw of its mouth into a tight circle and the low whistle came out.

After regaining his senses, Russell pursed his own lips and whistled.

The creature moved closer to the steep limestone wall and those three round, wet, sad eyes gazed up at him.

Russell studied the creature; besides those eyes it had a squat hairless body, four rat-tail-like tentacles rested on the limestone, and that huge floppy mouth.

IT emitted several short whistles and suddenly Russell realized that IT might be trying to communicate with him. He whistled and IT issued several notes back, which to Russell sounded like the word food.

"Are you hungry?" Russell asked, standing up.

A longer, enthusiastic whistle answered him, so he slipped his hand into his backpack and pulled out a sandwich that he showed to the creature.
"Is this what you want? Something to eat? FOOD!"

The maw formed a narrow circle and "O-O-O-O" came out.

"Jeez!" Russell said, "I'm teaching you to talk! Say FOOOOD!"

"O-O-O-O-O-O-O," IT replied.

Russell unwrapped the sandwich and aimed for the floppy mouth, but the bread and lunch meat separated in the air.

The tentacles quickly gathered the pieces and stuffed them into the maw.

"Now say 'Thank You'," he told IT.

"O-O-O-O-O-O-O," IT answered.

"Nope. No more until you learn to say 'Please'. Saying 'Please and Thank You' shows that you got good manners. So you gotta say 'Thank You' for that sandwich and 'Please' before I'll give you another one. Don't they got no manners where you come from?"

"OOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Russell fished out his second sandwich. "Say please. Pllleeeeaaassseee!"

"E-eeeeeeesssss," IT answered with mostly a whistle.

"Good enough!" Russell tossed again and missed again.

"O-O-O-O-O-O-O," IT said, gathering the scattered pieces.

"Say thank you. T-h-a-a-n-k You-u-u."

"OOOOOOO!" IT waved a tentacle toward him.

Russell grew angry and dropped to his knees. He leaned over the edge. "You stupid ... thing. You gotta learn some manners. Now say 'Thank You'!"

The tentacle shot upward, whipping around Russell's thin neck. He was yanked forward and stuffed into the flexible maw.

After crunching, IT patted its swollen belly with a tentacle, uttered a satisfied whistling belch, and said, "A-A-ANK U-U-U-U-U!"

END

750 wds

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