a grueling 12 hour shift
Tasha had just gotten off of a grueling 12 hour shift at the diner where she worked. Her body exhausted, it took all her willpower to keep from closing her eyes and falling asleep where she sat in the car. She rolled down the windows letting the cold air stimulate her body and then she turned up the radio until she couldn’t stand the noise, hoping that it would keep her awake. The colossal amount of homework, coupled by her long shifts at the diner had started to catch up with her.
She thought about Kevin and the horrible treatment and injuries befalling him by her twin brother, Brett. Nasty as he could be he was still her brother and she loved him and she couldn’t shake the horrifying feeling that something terrible had happened to him. She thought about Kevin a lot while she carefully navigated the sharp twists and turns from the horribly maintained but shorter back road to Bachelor. He seemed different lately. She closed her eyes for just one moment on one of the hairier s-curved roads but she awoke and righted the wheel before almost crashing. She breathed a sigh of relief, on the home stretch to her house now.
“Yesterday… was a million years ago…” Tasha drummed her hands on the steering wheel as she hummed to the song by Marilyn Manson, “I know it’s the last day on Earth, we’ll never say good bye.”
“I’m still empty here without you…” For the moment the singing had stopped and something grabbed her attention on the left side of the road, “what the…?”
She could swear she could see in between the trees a huge animal, a blonde blur following her. She could swear a dog on the left side of its face a horribly fresh shiny, pink scar. Instinctively she pressed on the accelerator and shook off the feeling of easiness. It was probably just a costume, it is Halloween she told herself, a time to be scared.
Through regularly babysitting, Hannah had been a regular fixture around the house. Tasha began to think about Hannah like her own sister and she would do anything for her. Terrell, Tasha’s next-door neighbor, just barely old enough to babysit had been watching Hannah tonight until she got off work. In exchange she had promised to take Terrell and Hannah out trick-or-treating before the night’s end. Although Hannah’s mom Susan ended up getting off early so there would be no need for her anymore but Tasha would be damned if she did not make good on her promise. Tasha had gotten directions before she had lost signal. She smiled when she saw the big bad Wolf and little red riding hood, with Susan under the bright street lights of Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary.
“Tasha!” Hannah exclaimed.
“You’re here!” Terrell shouted.
“Hey guys,” Tasha opened her car door, “you look good in your costumes!”
“Hey!” Tasha was surprised to see Susan there at the school, “Susan, what are you doing off work so soon?”
Susan hesitated a moment trying to choose her words carefully so as to not frighten her daughter, “I just got off early to celebrate Halloween with my baby, nothing more, let’s go get some candy!”
Susan stalled, walking at a snail’s pace waiting for her husband, obviously frightened from the creepy events around them. The howling was almost too much for Susan as she looked up and down the eerily quiet street. Suddenly she swore she could see the glowing eyes of wolves darting back and forth across the street. The Wolf-men’s tails would straighten up like an arrow as if pointing the way to certain houses. The half-wolves moved as if they were common burglars. The wolves on the street smelled the area of every house; wolf-men were taking their cue from a particularly big and strong, four-legged hybrid-Wolf with silver studs dotting his lupine skull the bipedal Wolf-men would sneak into the unlocked windows of houses.
“What’s happening?” Tasha said inquisitively craning her neck to see what Susan was gaping at.
“Please let my husband come soon.” Susan whispered resting a shaking hand on her useless phone.
Screams coming from the Gas & Go nearby had Tasha and Susan ill at ease. Hannah’s curiosity got the better of her as she slipped from her mother’s protective hand. She tore away from the group and wandered into the vicinity of commotion without being noticed to investigate a large teddy bear like creature still as a statue surveying the scene.
It reminded Hannah of an old brown grizzly bear she once saw at the zoo. She smiled as she remembered the frisky bear playing with a ball, oblivious to the crowd around him. As she got closer Hannah realized that it wasn’t a bear at all but some form of a huge furry dog!
It was Viddarr, the last of the Úlfhéðnar, who sat on his haunches with his long forelimbs straight and huge paws sunken into the gravel. Close up the form was unmistakable. He looked like an enormous prehistoric dire Wolf save for his tattooed muscular forearms and just shorter than normal muzzle and wide human-like eyes.
The memory of the bear and the wolf’s appearance intrigued Hannah, who bravely rushed forward and stuck her hand out, “Doggie!”
Hannah placed a small gentle hand on Viddarr’s back stroking his soft fur. The distracted wolf howled out in surprise. His Nictitating membrane, or third eyelid, blinked rapidly, his fangs snapping a snarling warning as he twirled around to face Hannah.
Hannah stood her ground and stretching out her other hand to pat his muzzle she said with a giggle, “silly doggie!”
She did not flee so he did not feel the need to instinctively give chase; she wasn’t frightened so she did not give off the distress pheromones which might lead him to instinctively attack like she was a wounded and panicked deer. Viddarr looked into her pure and innocent eyes and his heart melted.
Susan noticed a car stopped at the Gas & Go for fuel. An oblivious individual dressed up like a classic vampire got out of his car. He reached into his wallet for a credit card from his cheap black faux tuxedo and quickly swiped it through the scanner; already late for the costume party he kicked himself for his constant procrastination.
“I’m going to miss the party!” he cursed, his fake fangs almost falling out as he violently thrust the nozzle into his gas tank like he was stabbing his economy vehicle.
Suddenly he heard a loud thump feeling the car rock back and forth prompting him to turn around and glance up at the roof of his car. He stared face to face, eye to eye, with a furless hybrid Wolf with a thick neck and claws scratching his roof like nails on a chalkboard.
“What the fuc…!” The vampire instinctively whipped the nozzle from his gas tank and holding the nozzle like a gun he sprayed 91 octane super unleaded gasoline into the beast’s eyes.
The beast howled in agony, mechanically protecting its lupine face from the gasoline that already seared its eyes. The Classic vampire dropped the nozzle on the pavement, now the flammable liquid steadily inched its way toward the Gas & Go. Classic vampire quickly spun around preparing to flee to the safety of the streets from the horrible monster on top of his car. He reached for his cell phone to call 911.
He dialed several times with no result until he looked down at the screen of his cell phone, no bars, no service, “shit!”
He turned his head to see the beast jump down to the pavement. He turned to run but in doing so tripped on his own cheap plastic cape. The furless beast seized the opportunity to prolong the torture of its prey. It slowly loped toward the falling vampire soaking up the sweet stench of his fear. The wolf’s pads splashing about in gasoline.
“Shit, shit, shit, shit!” The cheap vampire went for his pockets. He wasn’t looking for his cigarettes, but for his butane torch. He scurried backwards trying to avoid the slowly advancing monstrosity.
He found his novelty brass torch, cast as a hand with the middle finger sticking out. Shrinking away from the advancing puddle he stuck the middle finger to the puddle of gasoline and pressed the button.
“Fuck you!” a mechanical voice in the novelty lighter exclaimed and there was a whoosh, heat and bright light flooded out.
“Yaahhh!” The beast howled in pain and agony. Engulfed in flames and blind the beast ran about in a frantic and futile circle before collapsing in a flaming heap.
He breathed a sigh of relief, but it was short lived. The fire was encroaching not only toward the pumps but his car as well. He struggled to get off the ground and dusted the grime off his shiny black costume and turned around and started to run.
The vampire’s heart skipped a beat as he realized while he was distracted another lunatic had made his way toward him. This one furred from head to toe, extremely long limbed but otherwise human just barely clawed his outfit but it was torn to ribbons. He blocked his way of escape and grabbed him by the shoulders. He tried to flee, but he was just too strong as another lunatic, seemingly human as well, burst out of the store exit running on all four limbs.
“Nooooo!” He protested but the pair’s bloody teeth bore down through his cheap suit.
Susan gasped her hands clawing her cheeks as the a horrible realization came over her, “Hannah!”
Distracted by the chaotic scene she didn’t realize that Hannah had strayed away from her and now she frantically looked around for a trace of her, “Hannah, Hannah!”
When she finally found her daughter her blood ran cold from the frightening sight… she stood face-to-face with a brown beast. If she tried to rescue Hannah the beast would strike out before she could reach her precious daughter.
Viddarr cautiously skulked closer sniffing in all of her bouquet, no anxiety or panic. He licked her small outstretched hand; absolutely no trace of the fear pheromone.
“You silly doggie!” Hannah laughed and squealed as she prompted a spontaneous hug.
Hannah rubbed the Brown wolf’s abdomen. Instead of attacking her Viddarr flopped over on his back in the middle of the street short tail turning in whirls with his belly exposed. Hannah flopped down on her knees to knead the wolf’s furry belly with her delicate small hands. The wolf’s tail wagged uncontrollably.
Susan stood still as a statue. When she saw both of them, Hannah dressed up as little red riding hood and here was the big bad wolf, entangled together, her voice broke in dread as she exclaimed, “Hannaaaaaaaah!!!”
Hannah jumped out of her skin, looking around for her mother. She stopped patting Viddarr, “mommy?”
Viddarr whirled around to his feet. Unscented pheromones emerging in the air made him apprehensive and nervous his fangs exposed and growling a warning.
“Hannah, come over here now!” Susan screamed waving and motioning with her hands.
Detective Jenkins turned into the subdivision where, according to the directions from Capt. Rogers he could find Rogers’ wife and child. At the edge of the subdivision in the cul-de-sac a flag waved by the library and he could see smoke billowing out from sparse treetops where the Gas & Go went up in flames.
Panicked movement by a black SUV by the library parking lot caught his eye. Tasha, Terrell, and Susan were staring at something, their expressions one of fear. He turned to see a little girl on her knees dressed up like red riding Hood with a huge fearsome Wolf.
The panicked cries of the group told him it was Hannah, Rogers’ daughter, in danger. He had to act quickly and switching on the sirens, alarms, and flashing headlights from his unmarked police car detective Jenkins yelled out, “hey!”
The Wolf Viddarr stopped what he was doing to cover his lupine ears from the piercing sirens. He suddenly stood up on his hind legs his femur balls rotating as a familiar pop could be heard coming from his hips. His paws lengthened and spread like claws preparing to walk on two legs. Now he stood upright and sturdy as he angrily howled out.
Hysteria straining through in her voice as she held out her shaking hands, “Hannah, honey, come here please. I love you!”
“My God, what is that?” Phillip the ghost exclaimed.
“I don’t know!” Jenkins answered the ghost, but in the dark recesses of Jenkins’ memory he did know or at least he had run into this one time before as he stopped the car and got out his shotgun.
He simultaneously pumped the shotgun with one hand got down on one knee swung it around and took aim at the beast and with the car door shielding him, fired. The Wolf staggered back close enough that the 10 gauge pellets did not even have time enough to spread and it was a perfect shot center mass missing Hannah altogether.
“Get in!” Jenkins ordered as he prepared to fire his last shot.
Hannah obeyed, running away from the bipedal beast and into Jenkins car out of harm’s way. No longer in the line of fire Jenkins fired the remaining shot. Another perfect shot that made Viddarr stagger back.
Assured Hannah had been strapped in and safe from harm Jenkins jumped into the car. He put the car in drive and looked at Viddarr. Two direct hits to the chest not even a mark upon him. It was like Jenkins just hit him with two nonlethal beanbags and nothing more. He didn’t have time to think about the consequences as he pressed his foot on the gas.
The 10gauge shots did him no real physical harm but it was enough to shock him and the sirens pierced his skull making it hard to think. With the car barreling down upon him he jumped out of the way and out of sight.
Susan gasped with relief when she saw the headlights and Hannah safe in the back of the seat, “oh, Hannah, baby, oh I’m glad you’re safe!”
The screeching sirens were enough to keep the lunatics at bay as Jenkins skidded to a stop “get in!”
The shell shocked group obeyed. Phillip the ghost moved over toward his dad as they all piled in. He wasted no time to get to the relative safety of Tasha’s house. Susan beamed and finally looked over at what she thought would be her husband’s face. Until she realized it wasn’t her husband at all.
“Hey, I am detective Jenkins. I think you have met me a time or two before. Thompson Rogers wanted me to pick you up, he was hung up,” Detective Jenkins exclaimed, not even taking his eyes off the road.
“Oh,” Susan hugged her daughter tightly. She grimaced with pain in her eyes, “thank you, for saving us.”
“It’s no problem ma’am,” he replied, turning into the driveway at Tasha’s house.