A jet black sky, sprinkled with myriad of twinkling stars and a full moon filled the heavens and bathed the countryside in lunar light. Cruising slowly along the empty country road Joseph stroked the leather seat beside him. ‘They’ll all be jealous when I drive around Trinidad in you.’
Joseph pulled into a lay-by, got out of the car and closed the door.
‘Man, I ain’t seen a sky like that since I was back home. Just look at that.’
Lighting up a cigarette he leant against the car and looked across the dark fields to the city lights on the horizon. Only another two years before I retire, he thought, then I can sell up the house and go back to Trinidad for a peaceful retirement. Now the boys are all grown up and got their own families it’s time for me and the wife to relax and get to know each other again, instead of passing each other like ships in the night. It will be nice to spend some real time together.
‘Oh well, better get home.’
He dropped the cigarette butt on the floor and ground it out with his heel and drove off. The car radio began playing an old Nat King Cole number. Joseph sang along with it. The road was empty and he was in high spirits.
When the car approached the bridge crossing the river Stour, Joseph saw a shape sitting on the parapet wall. He slowed the car and leant forward to peer through the windscreen. It looked like a large dog. As the car entered the confines of the bridge the dog jumped down and stood looking over the low wall.
Pulling over to the kerb he got out and walked over to it.
The dog was making a strange whining sound.
‘Hey boy. What’s the matter boy? You lost?’
Joseph stroked the dog’s head. He quickly pulled his hand away. Under the bridge lights he could see it was covered in slime. The dog gave out a low throaty growl and slowly turned a hideous hairless face to him. A monstrous thing looked up at him. Its coat was hard and spiky like a porcupine.
The eyes were wide red slits with glowing orbs, the nose two weeping holes and the mouth wide and full of rows of razor sharp teeth. As Joseph backed away the thing dropped off the wall. Instead of paws there were powerful limbs ending in long sharp talons that scraped on the pavement.
Joseph staggered away, his old legs barely supporting him. He screamed, taking in the full horror of what was advancing on him.
He turned and tried to run to the car but his legs were shaking and his heart was pounding in his chest. The creature began screaming, so high pitched that he had to cover his ears with his hands.
He looked back and saw the thing advancing on him. Even as he reached for the open door he knew he was too late, it was already on him.
‘Oh Jesus. No. No.’
He tried to back away from the denizen of Hell onto the passenger side, but the gear stick and transmission tunnel prevented him from going any further than the driver’s seat. The creature leapt into the car and began biting and slashing at his chest and arms. A single swipe from the creature’s claw ripped off most of his face. His arms came up in a futile attempt to fight the creature off, but each arm he raised was ripped to shreds by the razor sharp talons, the fingers bitten off and swallowed.
As Joseph’s life ebbed away, the last thing he saw by the soft glow of the car’s roof light was his own lifeblood splashed across the cars white leather interior. A strange thought entered Joseph’s mind as he died. I’ll never get that stain out.
Joseph’s head fell backwards across the passenger seat and slumped against the door.
Burrowing into him, the creature ripped him apart with its teeth, swallowing his organs whole until all that remained was an empty cadaver. Lifting its blood soaked head out of an empty torso it looked into what remained of Joseph’s face. The creature had already begun to mutate with the fresh DNA.
Lifeless eyes stared back at the horror. Its mouth opened and a barbed tongue as sharp and pointed as a meat skewer shot out and pierced Joseph’s sightless left eye. The tongue shot back into the creature’s mouth pulling the eye from its socket with a loud sucking sound.
When both eyes were gone, it looked over the lifeless body, and as if seeing that there were no more tasty bits to eat, it backed out of the car.
The creature scuttled across the pavement, mutating as it climbed the wall and disappeared over the other side, a lot larger and different from before.