[For those of you with weak hearts or compromised constitutions, please be advised that this chapter of Sharkey’s adventures is dark…and gruesome. It behooves me to warn you all that it doesn’t pay to get too emotionally invested in characters in the Primitive Universe, because bad things often happen to good people around here. If you want to remember the GOOD times, the parts of the story before it all goes wrong, you can start from the beginning HERE. For those of you who are heartless, who can hold your own against the forces of darkness, and who don’t mind a little “body juice” on the ground—follow me… —RFY]
The front of the house was dark. There were a few steps leading up to a porch that stretched, left and right, to the edges of the house. The paint on the once white railing was peeling badly. To the left of the house, hidden in the shadows of the high maple tree branches, was a driveway that stretched all the way to the back of the house before running into the garage.
Oliver caught up, and Adam put his fingers to his lips in a “shooshing” gesture, then he started to slink down the driveway towards the garage. His two teammates followed as quietly as they could.
From inside the garage, once they’d crept close enough, Adam and the other two could hear something clicking or scratching, like the sound of a dog’s nails on concrete. Adam reached for the doorknob and slowly, as quietly as possible, tried to turn it. The knob squeaked slightly, gave, and began to turn, but the scratching from inside stopped dead. Adam’s heart froze.
He turned to the boys behind him, his left hand still on the doorknob. He tried to mouth a few words to them, but realized it was too dark for them to see what he was saying. He pulled the flashlight out of his pocket and turned it on, pointing up towards his face.
Both Oliver and Phil took a step backward, and in the slight glow cast on them from his light he saw that they both looked terrified. He gave them a dirty look, shocked at such unprofessional behavior, then he mimed and mouthed the words, “One, two, three,” and pushed his hand out, simulating pushing the door open. He swung the flashlight onto the boys’s faces, both pale as ghosts, but they were also both slowly nodding their heads. Adam smiled.
He handed the flashlight to Phil then pulled his wooden sword from the stretched out belt loop behind his back. Holding up one finger, then two, then three, he pushed the door open. Phil pointed the flashlight through the doorway as something hissed then moaned in a voice like a small electric motor left on for too long. A set of deep red eyes glared at them in the light, and the boys saw a dark grey body, and long fingers with sharp, curved nails stabbed into the half eaten body of a gray tomcat. The creature hissed again and reared back on its haunches. The eyes, peering out of a giant rat face, were now almost even in height with their own, and then a second set of eyes appeared, as did a second set of teeth covered in blood and cat guts.
“Holy shit,” Adam said. “It’s got two heads.” Oliver started to scream, which caused Phil to scream. Adam pushed them back out of the doorway and pulled the door closed. From inside, Adam thought he heard a hissing laugh.
“Let’s go!” Phil pleaded, practically singing in fear. Oliver, who was panting and looked immobilized, just stared at the door.
Adam heard a scratching noise from the back of the garage and saw a claw come through a broken window, followed quickly by a rat head, covered in cat blood, poke through the window, followed by the second head, which turned towards him. Its eyes glowed red, even without the flashlight shining on them.
“Run guys,” Adam said, softly. He swallowed as the creature clambered through the window and landed heavily on the ground. “Run!” he yelled. Phil immediately bolted for the front of the house. Adam, looking at the rat over his shoulder, took several quick steps before he realized that Oliver was standing still, mesmerized by the nightmare rushing towards him. Adam reached for Oliver’s arm and pulled, snapping him out of his trance, and the two of them ran for the front of the house—but it was too late.
The rat pounced on Oliver, knocking him to the ground. He landed with a yelp on his stomach. One of the heads screeched fiercely at Adam, who stopped as Oliver fell. The other head dropped hard onto Oliver’s side. Its several inch-long teeth sliced through his skin, muscle, and ribs. Oliver shrieked in pain. The head that had screamed at Adam reared up, then sunk its teeth into the back of Oliver’s neck.
Adam raised his wooden sword and dove at the creature, bringing it down with a crack on the skull that was biting Oliver’s neck. The creature’s head lolled then it looked up at Adam and howled in a sick, whining scream. A wickedly fast claw lashed out, smacking the sword out of Adam’s hand and sending him stumbling backward. He landed on the ground, smacking his head on the cement foundation to the house. Without his helmet, he would have been knocked out completely. He saw lights dancing in front of his eyes and four bright red stars, getting bigger, coming nearer.
Adam heard a yell from somewhere outside his field of vision and then another terrifying scream from the heads of the rat.
“You got it Jason!” Charlie yelled, and the rat thing turned, hissing, and tore away, rushing for the backyard.
“It’s getting away!” Phil screamed, and Adam heard the rat dive through the hedgerow near the alley.
Adam sat up. Charlie helped pull him to his feet.
“What happened,” Adam said.
“Jason buried the machete in that thing’s back as it was getting ready to attack you,” Charlie said. “Then it took off.”
“Oh shit! Oh shit!” Phil said. He was holding Adam’s flashlight on Oliver.
“What!?” Adam said. “Is he okay?” He half staggered over to Oliver, who was lying on the ground, not moving, the puddle of blood under him slowly expanding.
Phil said, “I think he’s dead!”
[When hunting monsters, one sometimes forgets WHY they are called monsters… Tune in next week (and I REALLY WILL try to make it NEXT week this time,) when the remaining Knights of 58th Street meet a certain canine detective. (I can hardly wait!) In the meantime, if you have any thoughts or opinions on how the story is progressing, let me know! Until then…just keep smiling! —RFY]
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
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