Once again, this is not the final draft. I’m sure there are still grammar mistakes here or there as well as ways the story’s flow could be improved. Nevertheless, here is my latest short story.
A set of headlights illuminated the road. The vehicle was completely alone this late at night, the occupant eager to return home. Brian was a police officer who lived outside of town. The drives home after a long day’s shift were usually a peaceful affair, giving him time to think over the day and to mentally unwind. The giant forest that occupied this part of the country would usually give a quite peacefulness to this drive.
This night, however, something was not right.
Brian felt on edge as he drove the police cruiser down the road. It felt like the forest was alive and had a mind of its own. The dim moonlight that shined down gave the trees the appearance of Colossi guarding the gates of hell.
“Alright Brian, you shouldn’t have watched that movie with Chris today. That crap was way too freaky and it’s getting to you,” he whispered to himself.
Brian thought that the ominous feelings were from exhaustion, Brian reached down for his coffee mug. He pulled it up to his ill-kept beard and took a long drink.
As he put his coffee back into the cup holder, Brian saw a sign that heralded an oncoming bridge. He was almost home; his home was only a few miles past this bridge. He was looking at the sign when a flash of movement on the road caught his eye. Brian’s gaze instinctively shot to the road where he saw a seemingly impossible sight.
The figure was shaped like a man but could not have been more different. Dark hair, 8-foot tall body, and muscles revealing their definition were revealed in the headlight’s illumination. A thick neck connected the head to the body, almost appearing as if there was no neck at all. Yet, these imposing physical characteristics were not what caught Brian’s attention the most.
Golden light from the beast’s lenses was reflected in the car’s headlights. It stared at Brian, almost unaware of the puny man in the car and all of his weaknesses. The eyes seemed to tear their way into his soul and planted a deep seed of fear. This fear suddenly erupted and took control of Brian’s movements. Brian tore the car off the road and found himself hurtling towards the river.
The car shook and jolted over the unpaved ground, sending Brian rocketing forward and slammed into the steering wheel. He had no idea where the car was going to end up or where it even was. Everything was shaking too violently.
The feeling of weightlessness hit Brian and became a catalyst to his fear. The lights of the car revealed the oncoming river mere moments before the car hit. His seatbelt kept him from flying out the front windshield but his head still felt the bite of the steering wheel. A murky darkness overcame him He was unaware if it was the dark of the night or brain damage.
Ice-cold water began to fill up the car’s interior. The shock of the freezing embrace shook Brian from his muddled confusion and into action. He reached into his glove box for an emergency tool. It took him a few attempts to get a good grip with his hands that were slick with something, might have been blood but he couldn’t be sure, and was finally able shatter the window. The car wasn’t in total danger of being submerged but he wasn’t taking any chances. He reached through the broken window and pulled himself out of the car. He could feel the sting of bruises beginning to form but he didn’t have time to lick his wounds.
The weariness of age was becoming more and more evident. He may only be in his late 30s, but Brian was starting to feel old. He jumped to his feet and trudged with soaked pants to the trunk of the car. He opened it and pulled out his AR-15 automatic rifle and his pump action shotgun. His trunk was a miniature armory these days due to the rising reports of pet mutilations and other forms of criminal activity. Whatever had been on the road, it probably wasn’t friendly. With weapons in hand, the next step would be to contact someone to come help.
Brian reached for his radio and called in to the local precinct. All he got back was static.
The silent forest seemed to stare at Brian through its despairing darkness. Besides the dying car behind him, there seemed to be nothing around Brian but dark. This feeling of isolation seemed to add its own chill to Brian’s skin and made him shiver. He knew that he had to do something but couldn’t just wait here for daylight. He remembered a gas station that he had passed about a mile down the road, Brian worked his way back to the abandoned road.
The beast was gone. All Brian could see in the dim moonlight was the road and the dark woods to either side. Nothing stirred and there were no sounds at all. However, he couldn’t keep the hairs on the back of his neck from stirring. He knew that he had seen something, whatever it was had not been a figment of his imagination. He had served for a dozen years in the police department and he had heard stories from the older folks about the wild men of the woods. He always thought that these stories were old folk’s attempts to scare young people from going out in the woods alone to get high or get laid. Maybe there had been more truth to the legends.
Brian began to quicken his pace down the road and kept his rifle at the ready. He didn’t want to shoot anyone accidently but he also wanted to be protected. If some idiot was out here in some sort of suit and was trying to scare people they might need to be shot.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
The sound of wood knocking on wood came from within the forest behind Brian. The hairs on the back of his neck stood at full attention. The stories started to come back in more detail to Brian. These creatures, these Sasquatch, were said to use wood knocking to communicate with each other. At least, that’s what those quacks on TV had always said. Was that what he was hearing?
Knock. Knock. Knock.
This time the sounds were coming from Brian’s right. Whatever was making those sounds, there was more than one of them. Any regular animal accepted by science to live in these woods didn’t have the opposable thumbs to make these signals.
But the Sasquatch did.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
The sounds of communication were coming from in front of Brian now. He began to jog more quickly down the road, his rifle and shotgun bouncing along on their slings. All he wanted was to get to civilization and out of this forest. Whatever these things were, Brian only knew that they dwarfed him to a degree that it terrified him.
Brian had faced down drug dealers and addicts determined to get their fix. He had been in life or death shootouts against people who cared nothing for his life and had not been truly afraid. He had feared for his life in a respectful and logical manner, but this was the first time that he had truly known fear.
Heavy breathing started to overcome Brian. Taking a second to stop and catch his breath, he quickly looked behind him. He caught movement along the tree line about 30 yards behind him. Raising his AR-15 to his shoulder and chambering a round, he yelled out.
“Identify yourself and do not come closer! I’ll shoot you if you provoke me!”
Silence. The night was still silent and the dark seemed to emit its own terrifying quiet. Brian’s hands began to shake in terror. He calmed himself by shutting his eyes and forcing himself to breathe regularly. When he opened his eyes the beast had returned.
Standing just outside of the tree line was another one of the creatures.
“Who the fuck are you?!” he shouted, his throat becoming dry in his terror.
The creature started to walk towards him in response.
Brian screamed as he started to fire his weapon. Bullets flew out of the rifle at supersonic speed and hit true. The rounds tore into the beast’s flesh and proved that it was not supernatural. That fear was dismissed. With that came the realization that this thing was real, and that brought its own terrors.
The beast bellowed in pain and ran back into the forest. Its cries of despair were soaked back up into the trees, screams of anger coming back at Brian. Wails came from all around him, more than just where the wood knocks had come from.
The rifle dropped to the ground as Brian ran for his life. The shrieks from the forest followed him all along the road as he tried to escape. No longer was he trying to logically explain his situation, he was trying to save his life. These monsters were enraged at him and seemed to want his head.
Brian rounded the corner of the road and saw the gas station. The glorious lights of civilization made him feel like he had finally been saved. There was only one car parked in the lot, most likely the attendant, but that was enough for him. The screams suddenly stopped as their makers neared the light of the station.
Brian ran into the station and almost crashed against the counter. The attendant was a young man dressed in a bright red polo with the station’s emblem upon his breast, probably in his early twenties, and he seemed shocked to see him.
“Do you… do you have a phone… please.” was all Brian could get out through his breathlessness.
The attendant had his attention riveted on Brian’s shotgun. Seeing fear in the boy’s hazel eyes, he realized that the attendant thought he was being robbed. He pulled out his badge and repeated his query, this time with a calm voice,
“I need to use your phone, and I need it now.”
The attendant did so without hesitation.
Brian called the local precinct, not willing to go through the extra steps that 911 would take. Chris answered the line but he spoke first; he was in a hurry.
“Chris, this is Brian. I’ve wrecked my patrol car and I’m stuck at a gas station at…” Brian looked at the address above the door and gave it to Chris before continuing. “I’m being followed by… by some sort of… by some crazy people. I need back up, now!”
Brian dared not tell Chris the truth. For one, his friend wouldn’t believe him and would laugh his head off. Secondly, no one would be sent out to help. He needed that help now so he had to say the right words.
“Alright Brian, we have a car a few miles away investigating some sort of pet mutilations. My guess is that the same fucks that did that are messing around out there. Someone or some people with real messed up heads are out there, so keep your weapons loaded and ready. Stay where you are.”
“Hey Chris, what the hell has been going on anyways?” Brian asked.
“I’m not totally sure. It’s been a busy night. We’ve received calls about peeping toms, killed pets, and random vandalism. It seems to be happening all over the county so it has to be a large group. I should have called you since you live up there.”
“Can I have it now?” Brian asked comically.
“You’ll just have to wait, dude. Stevenson is on his way. Hold on.”
Brian hung up the phone and looked up at the attendant. There was a mirror set up behind the counter for God knows what, but it revealed something that helped explain the attendant’s attitude towards him.
His face was pale like a ghost. Blood was starting to return but his face still looked distinctly abnormal. Bruises were beginning to form from the impact with the steering wheel and there were patches of dirt on his face. Truth be told, he looked like shit.
Brian faced the attendant again, this time with more understanding.
“Look kid, I’m a cop and need your help. What’s your name?”
“Mat, sir.” The kid must not have been over the age of 20, faint signs of adolescence were still in his demeanor. The young man was probably a good kid and was working at such a crappy job just to get by. Brian felt sorry for him and wished that he didn’t have to be involved in this nightmare.
“Alright Mat, I need to know what weapons you have here and I need you to give them to me.”
The attendant nodded in acknowledgement and pulled a .45 caliber pistol and a magazine of ammo out from under the counter and handed them over. Brian took the pistol and examined it. He loaded the magazine and pulled the action.
Darkness enveloped the gas station and without having moonlight it became pitch black. The screams started again and seemed to be from all around the station.
Fear and terror exploded into Brian’s mind again. However, this time he was ready for it. He squashed the emotions down and loaded his weapons with the years of memory and training that he had on his side.
“Hey kid,” Brian whispered, “keep your head down and stay low. There’s only one good way into this place and I’m going to cover it.”
“Okay,” came a squeaky voice that hid fear under forced bravado. Brian moved away from the door to the back of the station and waited for the inevitable.
It didn’t take long.
A dark, giant form came walking towards the parking lot.
“Remember what I said kid. Keep your head down. Do not look up. Whatever you hear, don’t look,” Brian said. The last thing he wanted was for the kid to realize that they were about to fight off monsters from myth and legend.
The beast made it to the door and pushed it in. Brian pressed himself hard behind a counter of bubble gum and potato chips, not wanting to be seen until the last second. He could hear the giant thuds of feet from the creature as it walked. Sounds of heavy breathing came next, crude inhalation that reminded him of someone with a bad cold.
The kid screamed.
Brian stood up and saw the monster over the counter. Pure terror covered the kid’s face. The beast had its hands firmly around the kid’s neck and the yelling started to fade into gurgles. Brian stood frozen as he watched what happened next.
The beast snapped the kid’s neck. Death rolled over the youngster’s eyes as the monster dropped the lifeless corpse.
Brian was snapped out of his frozen state. In one swift action that had been drilled into him over his career he raised the shotgun, turned off the safety, and unleashed every round that he still had chambered. It turned out to be a wise decision to go with slugs instead of regular ammo. The beast was blown away by the impacts. The dim moonlight didn’t allow Brian to see the real damage, but the thing was still on its back. He walked up to it, pulled out the pistol, and shot it in the head.
More screams erupted from the forest like a tidal wave of sound. Brian didn’t have nearly enough ammunition to deal with this many monsters and he was already regretting leaving his AR-15 down the road. He was screwed.
Brian ran around the counter to get to Mat. The kid’s eyes were dull and void of any life, his skin already starting to pale. The kid had seemed like a nice guy. He didn’t deserve this. Hell, Brian didn’t deserve this. No reason to go down without a fight.
He looked back up over the counter and out at the forest. In the moonlight he could see dark forms begin to walk out of the woods towards the gas station. The night was only illuminated enough to show their massive size. Brian went to the back of the gas station and started grabbing all the bottles of alcohol that he could find. Without being able to see very well, there was no way to tell what each bottle was exactly, but probability was on his side. Next Brian went to the auto care section of the store and grabbed all of the rags and lighters.
When be looked back out the door, the figures were standing in the street, staring at either him or their fallen brethren. Their eyes gleamed with the deep color of malicious intent, either that or some sort of night vision.
Brian loaded the shotgun and began to pray to whatever god was listening. If Sasquatch had proven to be real, maybe religion wasn’t far off either. If he was going to be killed, he prayed that he could take as many of these freaks with him as possible. He opened his eyes and saw something out of childhood nightmares.
They were coming for him. He let them get within ten yards of the building before he opened fire. With limited ammunition, accuracy became paramount.
He emptied slugs into the nearest one but was unable to take it down. However, it seemed enough damage was done to make it run away. Brian dropped the shotgun and grabbed one of the nearest bottles. He ripped the top off of the bottle and shoved a rag inside before lighting it. The Molotov cocktail was thrown at the nearest beast and hit it in the middle of its back. The monster erupted in flames and began to scream in agony. Brian grabbed the next bottle, lit it, and tossed it at another of the smelly apes that was nearing him. This one was expressly pissed.
As the bottle flew, Brian saw something that made him despair. Moonlight showed the bottle to be that of refreshing water. The bottle hit the monster and the soda put the flame out. It had zero effect.
By the time he could grab the next bottle, the wet Sasquatch was almost on top of him. The monster grabbed Brian and threw him through the window of the station. Glass shattered and tore his jacket. When he landed, he tasted blood in his mouth. He was momentarily stunned and watched as the beast reached inquiringly for his shotgun.
Brian spat blood out of his mouth and this seemed to get the creature’s attention. Realizing that the weak man wasn’t dead yet, the creature came over to deliver the final blow. The monster grabbed Brian by the throat and lifted him off his feet. This animal was massive, at least ten feet tall. Its hands had incredible strength, its fingers felt like vice grips.
Everything was flashing through Brian’s mind. Images of his wife and young daughter brought tears to his eyes. His father who had recently passed away and his mother who was learning to live alone came to memory. All the good times, as well as the bad, were all worth fighting for. Even against monsters of legend.
Brian seized the hands holding him and started to kick where the animal’s genitalia should have been. Screaming in sudden and unanticipated pain, the beast dropped him onto the floor and fell over sideways. Brian hobbled over to the shotgun that was lying on the ground a few feet away.
The strong hands took hold of Brian’s ankles and pulled him to the floor. Tiny shards of glass from the broken window tore into his skin and the beast began to drag him back towards it. With one last desperate push, dirty and bloodied fingers reached for the shotgun.
Somehow, those fingers were able to take hold of the cold steel.
Brian pulled the shotgun close and brought it up. The beast pulled him up and slammed him into the counter. Sharp pain erupted though his back, he probably just had some of his ribs broken. The monster grabbed his face in its gigantic hand and seemed ready to kill Brian once and for all. What the Sasquatch didn’t know was the potential power of the shotgun being raised against it.
He released the slug into the beast at point blank range. The ape flew away and crushed a magazine stand underneath it. The shotgun’s recoil slammed into Brian’s chest and knocked all of the air out of his lungs. He fell onto the ground in agony.
Lights came around the corner of the road; Stevenson had finally arrived. The monsters in the street ran into the woods in flight. The driver drove up into the parking lot and seemed to be looking at the broken window with a healthy amount of suspicion. He turned on a flashlight and pointed it at the wreckage to reveal an injured and beaten cop. Brian hobbled over the passenger seat and got in.
“Drive!” Brain shouted at the driver through his nearly exhausted lungs. The man behind the wheel didn’t argue and pulled out quicker than would be considered safe.
Once they were back on the road, the driver looked at Brian and asked, “What the hell was going on back there? I saw feet behind one of the rows in the station. Did you shoot someone?”
“I… I don’t know.”
“Ok. Chief will want to know what happened.” Stevenson replied. Brian could tell that the other cop knew something out of the ordinary had happened, there was nothing else to say.
“Yeah,” Brian replied, “I will too.”
As the two police officers drove away, Brian felt the adrenaline slowly leave him. No one would believe his story, how could Sasquatch be real?
Everyone knows that legends don’t exist.