Archive for the ‘Works in Progress’ Category

Snapshot One
 
The wooden frame sits, a little off center in the half-lit hallway. Dust collected over time clings like a sheet to the glass, gathers in the imperfections, and sits atop like a crown of age. The faded gray sky hints at the yellowed sunset in the background, the curved edges turning brown as years lapse into decades yet still they stand, defiant and young upon the packed clay earth. The curves of the car in contrast to the rags that drape from their small frames as they lean back against it, his left leg bent, foot resting atop the tire and the wooden spoke wheel. Two teenagers with immortality in their eyes shade their faces from the sun with their hands. The sun that has taken life from everything as far as they eye can see. Behind them, in the distance, the dust stirred in 1932 Oklahoma.
 
Snapshot Two
 
Unframed we keep this one tucked away in the closet, plucked now for a remembered viewing it sits upon the white sheets of the bed waiting. From the top corner, we see a hint of her underwear as our eyes move down to fishnet covered thighs that have been pushed open by his face as he gently holds her left leg with his right hand. The right fishnet pulled down to just below his chin, the fabric bunched up. His love shown through closed eyes, lips slightly parted in anticipation, he presses his cheek firmly against the inside of her bare skin. The razor she holds in finger and thumb, the ribbon of blood just beginning to roll down from where the carbon steel meets the sweetest of flesh. He waits with vampire-like patience, lips parted in ecstasy, still.
 
Snapshot Three
 
The picture dragged to the recycling bin a thousand times and restored. We can almost feel the warmth of her touch on our hands as the light changes and washes over our hands when we bring up the picture. Her hair, how its curls cascade down, teasing and taunting across bare shoulders, disappearing behind her back in waves of red. Her eyes shine with a love that could never be matched. Even the oceans themselves were inspired to change their color to match her eyes in a previous existence. Happiness in the most vulnerable of poses she stands smiling, left arm across her chest, hand tucked under her right arm. In her grinning lips, you can see the mischief peeking through. Breasts revolting against her restraining arm in places to show their perfection. The darker more forbidden parts still safely hidden from view. The trust, the confidence, she will always be the greatest thing you ever let go.
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You sit at some non-descript table in some unnamed place, the air conditioning almost painfully chilly. Customers come and go, employees clean or sneak away to take breaks as you sit anxiously waiting. The worn thin t-shirt and sweat pants we agreed on seemingly inapt at keeping you feeling any kind of security. You grip tight the phone in your hands so you at least look like you are doing something other than debating on whether or not you should be here.

I come in casually, just like any other customer wearing a t-shirt and jeans. You raise your eyes for a second but then they drop straight back down. I can only smile at your timid nature. As I make my way towards you my smile grows, as I watch you concentrate hard on the black face of your cell phone. I stand before your table and you look up slowly, a mixed look of desire and caution creases your brow.

I reach down and slide my hand into yours, feel the heat of your hand and the dampness of your anxiety as I pull you gently from your seat and lead you to the unisex restroom with the lockable door. As we enter I engage the lock and turn to you as you wrestle your hands together in nervousness.

“Hi.” You say sheepishly before I raise my finger to your lips and quiet you. The finger of my right hand traces your bottom lip as I move closer, taking in the smell of your still damp hair from the shower you took before you came, the smell of the shampoo intoxicating me with lust.

We move as one towards the wall. I use my fingers and with a careful caress turn your head to the side, as my breath swims in heated circles across your neck the nervousness that you held evaporates into desire. A small moan betrays your silence as my fingertips trace down from the other side of your neck, over your collarbone and down passed your breast to rest on your hip.
As my lips part and I take in the taste of your perfect skin my grip tightens upon your hip, pulling you into me. My left hand catches your arm starting to embrace me and pushes it up and against the wall gently but firmly. Letting you know that this is going to be a one way encounter and today, I am the one in charge.

My tongue teases your earlobe as your hair cascades down over my face and you writhe against my body wanting to feel my reaction to you grow hard with want. I push against you with shared desire, the metal handicap bar cuts into your ass almost in a painful way but it only adds to the pleasure as you hook a leg around mine and squeeze.

My left hand reaches down to your encircling calf, the thin layer of sweat pants barely even a barrier as the heat from my hand soaks through and finds your skin. I kiss down the side of your neck, no longer teasingly but with a fierce hunger to taste every part of you.

I move my right hand down off of your t-shirt covered hip to the top of your thigh, pulling your sweat pants down at an angle by about ten inches, exposing your skin to my heated touch. My arm encircles around you, the muscles in my forearm straining against you as my hand cups your ass inside the sweat pants. My left hand snakes under your t-shirt and finds its way up your back as my tongue rushes across your flesh, down to your collarbone.

Your breathing is coming in heaving gasps as I embrace you close, my head reels back as we share a look of madness before we kiss for the first time. Completely gone are any notions of youthful caution as we bypass the idea of flirting and instead settle into a feverish desire of greed to consume every ounce of passion that is being shared.

The awkward angle of us leaves me no choice but to pull my right hand away from your ass so as to pull down the collar of your shirt as my kisses descend down once again. The heated hunger of the moment leaves the back of the shirt tightening across the back of your neck as the material strains and a few strands give way before I stop pulling. I nuzzle my way deep into your t-shirt, hungry to taste the rise of your breast, to feel that perfect skin slide under my tongue. Without wanting to fumble with my fingertips for the bottom of the shirt I simply run my hand palm open across the exposed portion of your hip and then push upward, my hand cupping the underside of your breast. I push up with a kneading motion as my lips search lustfully for more from above.

My left hand finds the bottom of the back of your t-shirt and without thinking starts to lift it free from being pinned against the wall. You move towards me slightly and the shirt comes free and in the same motion you throw up your arms and I continue to strip it away from you, revealing the perfection of your partially nude body to me. A slight mix of worry enters your eyes as you watch me take the sight of you in. You need not worry, for I am immediately enthralled. The hunger tears through the longing and lust floods back into my eyes as I see you grin.

No longer barred by clothing, my hands trace the pathways of your body, my lips kissing your shoulder as I give in to discovery with closed eyes. So completely am I lost to the moment that at first I don’t recognize your fingers playing at the button of my jeans until it is too late and you force the zipper down and slide a hand inside my jeans, trying to grasp my completely and free me. I brace my left hand against your collarbone and push you back. As I bend my knees and lower myself down, your hand comes free and grabs for the handicap rail as my right hand circles around you at the small of your back and pulls you off balance and towards me. My lips an inch from the waistline of your sweat pants.

I look up at your closed eyes and know what you want as you lean your head back and against the wall. I trace my fingertips with kisses as they play at the waistband before sliding down to the outside of your thigh where I push harder until the sweat pants start to move down. Slowly and teasingly I kiss down your bare flesh, across your hip, down your pelvis, down the very inside of your thigh as the pants come free and bunch up at your knees. My hands knead deeply into your ass as I pull you to my mouth, my lips finding the outside of you, my tongue tracing lustful circles across your skin, my breath rushing through your neatly trimmed pubic hair.

You gasp as I take you completely into my mouth, teeth gently sliding over your clit as I run my tongue deep inside you in one slow motion from bottom to top, and then kiss just above your clit, letting my lips trail down around the inside of your thigh again in a teasing motion. I know what you want but you are not in control and I take my time with it.

I kiss my way upwards as I stand, my left arm encircling you in an embrace as my right hand is free to explore across your calf at first, then up the inside of your thigh. Across the wetness of you my knuckles run as I lazily trail the back of my hand across your skin, to your hip where my palm opens and pulls you close as we kiss for a second time.

I kiss the swell of a breast as my hand slides down, fingers moving over your clit, over your lips, pushing them aside but not to make a hasty entry but rather to tease as they move down and I cup you in my hand, letting my wrist move against your clit as my fingers slowly open and close. The wetness of you makes everything slide together beautifully and I taste the sweat on the side of your neck as my middle finger slides just inside of you to the first knuckle before coming back out so I can rub the palm of my hand against you.

Straddling your right leg I move against you, letting you feel how excited I am as my hand moves over you. You free your right arm and slide inside my jeans once again where you free me from my own barrier of clothing. You buck hard and twist and before I know it you are holding me in your hand, the head of me pressed against your pubic hair. You strain to get to an angle where you can feel me inside you but I push you back against the wall, denying you the ability to take control.

A look of devilish betrayal enters your eyes but disappears as I push myself forward; sliding passed your quivering thighs and pushing against the waiting wetness of you. You go up on tip toes in an effort to take me inside you as your hand comes down to guide me in. I catch your wrist in my own hand and pull it free as I smile and push you back against the wall again.

Bending over slightly I take a nipple completely into my mouth as my hands explore downward. My hands splay your thighs and run over you. I take as much of your breast into my mouth as I can and slide two fingers deep inside you in one motion. I feel you tighten around my fingers as your breath explodes from your lungs. Slowly at first I start to fuck you with my fingers, cupping my hand so that I can also rub your clit at the same time. As you start to ease open more I speed up. All the while kissing and breathing across the flesh of your breasts, teasing with hot air and warm licks.

As things intensify and you get closer to coming, I start using more force to control you. When your knees start to buckle I hold you up, when you try to wiggle free for a break I simply pull you back and hold you in place for more. Your hands reach up and grab the back of my head, fingers entwining in hair, you pull, testing at first, and then more forcefully when you realize it isn’t getting a reaction. It isn’t long before my neck muscles are bulging as I keep my head still regardless of how hard you pull and push. So infuriated are you by your inability to move me that when you start to come it is like an awakening that you didn’t see coming. Your orgasm explodes from you in such a rush of adrenaline that lights dance in front of your eyes and you get light headed to the point of almost passing out.

As the world comes back into focus you notice that I am holding you. Together we stand for a few minutes, sharing in the experience. Slowly you pick up your t-shirt and pull it on as I fix my own clothing. After we are dressed we share a hug that translates into an unspoken goodbye embrace. As we pull away you start to say something but I just hold a finger up to your lips and say, “Shh.” As I turn, unlock the door, step outside, and disappear back into the anonymous masses of the city.

Fall Begins

Posted: November 9, 2009 in Works in Progress

You ask anyone who was there that day and they will tell you the same thing. The end of the world started with a breath, a breeze and then the birds.
I was just a twenty seven year old unemployed rig hand from the oil fields. I was by no means a saint and by loose definitions a sinner, although I had made it through my life so far without committing any serious sins.
That was all about to change…

That morning was a little different from most other mornings. I woke up around nine instead of my normal rousing period of around noon. Finding nothing of interest on any of my favorite channels I stumbled across something a little peculiar on a cable news network.
“Greg Mandrake with the NASA Observatory is here to give us his take of today’s spectacular events. Dr. Mandrake, what can we expect to see today?”
“Well Jean thank you for having me. Today is a very rare day indeed. The Sun will align perfectly with both the Milky Way as well as the Galactic Equinox which only happens once every 28,500 years.”
The news anchor was quick to cut to the chase, “Isn’t it true that many people predict this will be the event that wipes out the Earth?”
“Well I suppose that has a lot to do with today being the last day of the Mayan ‘Long Count’ or Calendar, but you have to remember that Earth has been around for 4.5 Billion years and has witnessed this event more than 150,000 times without its destruction. So I would guess we are all pretty safe.” He stifles a chuckle and waits for the news anchor to fire some more doomsday questions his way.
The microwave dings to signal either the beginnings of the Apocalypse or the fact that my Pizza Rolls are done and I hop off the couch without worry to collect my meal.
After burning my fingertips on the hot plate and grabbing a cold can of soda to soothe the pain I get a call from Sam.
As I answer I hear slow deep breaths and check the caller ID real quick to verify who it is.
“Sam, I told you no phone sex until after you buy me dinner and a movie.”
“Luke… I am your father.” Replies Sam in what has to be the world’s worst Darth Vader imitation.
“Then I need allowance and a new Camaro.”
“You suck. Hey what are you doing today?”
Juggling a hot plate of Pizza Rolls I say, “Nothing, world is supposed to end and all that, so I am pretty free for anything. Want to go looting and pillaging the town while zombies hunt us?”
“Actually I was thinking since I have Collin we could swing by Alison’s house since she is in Vegas and raid and pillage her fridge. I might even be inclined to leave you alone in her bedroom to sniff her unmentionables.”
“Sam, her ‘unmentionables’ have been memories of quite a few people.”
“Well even strippers have to pay bills you know?”
“Yea, yea, what time you picking me up?”
“We are on our way!” Sam says as he disconnects.

I have known Sam since we both discovered the outside world at age 5. We grew up living across the street from one another and as fate or distance would have it, became best friends. Collin was Sam’s four year old son who he had had with Alison after a drunken night of ‘Uh oh’ good times. They were no longer together but we had all managed to stay close friends.
After having searched for the least dirty pair of jeans I could find and a shirt that may or may not have been washed lately I hopped in the passenger seat of Sam’s jeep and whirled around to high five my favorite nephew.
“Uncle Chris, did you know my dad used to be a Navy Seal?”
I raise my eyebrows at Sam as I ask, “Again, you say he’s only four years old?”
Sam smiles, “My boy has genius unparrabaled.”
“Unparalleled anyway.” Turning back to Collin I inform him that the closest his father ever got to being a Navy Seal was probably talking to a Navy recruiter in high school. I don’t think he quite understood but he got the jest of it.
“My dad could beat up a Navy Seal.” Collin informs me as he tucks his chin in a huff and stares passed me.
“Touché.” I reply.
“Don’t say that.” Warns Collin who thinks touché is a dirty word ranked up there with ass and knickers.

The sun sat hazed in the sky, like something had been draped over it. The few clouds that we could see were stretched across the heavens; they seemed to have been pulled up and away from the earth. It had a very Dali like feel to it but down on the surface of the planet all was running at normal. Cars honked, people spat gum on the sidewalk, and the suits all wore smirks of contempt.
We spent the day lounging at Alison’s. Feeding ourselves on hot dogs and marveling at some of the things Collin chose to put on his. I finally had to ask, “Maple syrup?”
Collin just shook his head in defeat, “You wouldn’t understand.”
Sam piped up from the arm chair, “Four years old!”
Collin was faster than I, “Don’t worry dad, Uncle Chris will grow up some day.”
I damn near choked on sauerkraut.

At around five o’clock is when it all began. The sun should have set a little after four but it still held itself just above the horizon. A reddish orange glow spread across the sky and clouds streaked in from the west in such thickness that it almost seemed like smoke.
The red glow that came through the windows finally caught our attention and the three of us curiously stepped outside to see if the town was on fire.
“Dad, I don’t like this.”
Sam grabbed Collin and held him in his left arm. “It’s okay C, it’s kind of like an eclipse.”
“What’s that?” Asked Collin.
As Sam explained to Collin what an eclipse was, it occurred to me that the clouds that were now dark black seemed to shimmer at the edges as if they were shaking from some unknown turbulence.
“Hey Sam, those clouds seem a little off to you?”
Sam looked up as did Collin and that is when I realized that the clouds were not clouds but millions and millions of birds. They were so high up and so close together that they looked like giant pods of sea foam.
“This whole thing looks a little off to me.” Replied Sam.
“Those are birds!”
Sam looked at me with a raised eyebrow to question my sanity, “Birds can’t fly that high.”
Somewhere high up in the sky a strange thunder gave way that sounded almost like a sigh. The wind picked up out of nowhere ruffling leaves and whirled the loose bits of trash in the street. A plastic bag got caught in it and danced through the air like a blind gymnast.
Collin pointed at it, “It’s like a ghost, dad.”
“Maybe we better go back inside.” I said.

A voice boomed out over the land with such distinction and clarity that goosebumps ran up my arms to my scalp and every hair on my body stood on end. It sounded every bit as powerful and loud as you would expect God’s voice to sound but I had my doubts about it being His when it said, “BEASTS!”

The clouds rumbled and started turning chaotically in the sky. Huge vortexes of birds streamed towards the earth in giant black columns. It looked like tornado fingers reaching down to touch the ground and like tornados, nothing good would come of where they chose to go.

We quickly retreated into the house and I locked the door. Collin was shaking with sobs as Sam tried to comfort him.
“What the fuck was that?” I asked no one in particular.
As Sam ignored me to try to quiet Collin I took to throwing everything I could find towards the windows in the hopes of making some kind of barrier. I didn’t know if the birds would try to get in but I also realized that whatever just happened meant one thing and one thing alone. We didn’t know shit.

Sam talked Collin into watching one of his cartoons and went to put it on for him. When he turned on the TV we both caught the Emergency Broadcast Beacon but because Collin was also staring at it, Sam quickly set it to the DVD setting as we both glanced at each other.
I stepped into the hallway and motioned for Sam to come over so we could try to figure out what was going on or just beat our heads into the wall together. He nodded, glanced out the window blinds real quick then headed my way.
“Dad, where are you going?” Asked Collin when he saw Sam walking away.
“Just over here to talk about grown up things little man, you can still see us.”
Collin looked every bit as terrified as I felt but he nodded bravely and turned back to his cartoons.

Sam and I both just stared at each other for a couple seconds unable to even begin to comprehend what was going on or what to say. Finally I broke the silence and said, “Okay, so uh, did you hear what I heard or was that just some flashback from some long lost acid trip?”
“I heard either ‘beasts’ or ‘beats’.”
“’Beasts’ is what I hard as well. Alright then so we are either both bat shit crazy, Alison’s neighbor is a prankster with a megaphone or some serious otherworldly shit is going on. Do you remember anything like this from any whack-job Alien abduction story you heard or anything?” I ask.
Sam cracked a small smile, “I’m hoping for the megaphone thing but no, I haven’t ever heard of anything that talks like God except from bible thumpers and the likes. I don’t think that was God though. Call me a pessimist, but yea.”
Sam stepped into the master bedroom, grabbed the remote and turned the TV on while lowering the volume so it wouldn’t be heard by Collin in the living room. All we got was the Emergency Broadcast Beacon and a pre recorded voice saying that due to unexpected and extreme weather conditions people were being advised not to travel in our county. He flipped through the channels but it was the same thing on all of them but one, which was showing a infomercial.
I grabbed the cordless phone and got no dial tone. “Phones are out.”
Sam checked his cellular phone and showed me the No Service display.

From the living room Collin said, “Someone’s outside!”
Blood curdling Sam and I both ran into the living room. I stared at the doorknob, half expecting it to turn and a zombie to walk in with a severed head in one hand a ray gun in the other. Sam peeked through the blinds on the window and whispered, “Birds.”
I moved up next to him and dragged a blind down with one finger. Outside black birds were streaming every which way. They seemed to be controlled by something other than themselves as some smashed into parked cars, fences, even trees while others zipped around them with what seemed like impossible speed and agility.

Looking up into the sky I could still see the black columns reaching down as well, though they seemed to move much like tornados, none were very close to our location. I could faintly hear someone screaming but had no idea where it was coming. I glanced at Collin to see if he had heard it as well.
A couple gunshots crashed through the neighborhood, they sounded close.
“Dad?” Collin started to come over to us but Sam quickly stepped away from the window and told him it was just birds and probably someone shooting at them.
“No need to worry though little man, we’re okay here.” Sam said
“Wish we had a gun.” Collin said as he plopped back down in front of the TV.
I raised a eyebrow at Sam but he shook his head and said, “Alison never liked guns. There is a baseball bat in the closet though.”
Sam went to the closet as I went to the kitchen in search of some sort of weapon. I was tossing aside garlic presses and wooden spoons and holding a rolling pin when Sam and Collin came into the kitchen. Collin looked up at Sam and said, “Everything is gonna be okay dad, Uncle Chris is making biscuits!”

Sam and Collin were both laughing so hard I thought they might collapse and finally I had to laugh as well. I grabbed a medal colander and put it on Collins head like a helmet and handed him a broom. Touching him on each shoulder with the mop handle I said, “I dub thee, Sir Collin of California. You are hereby a knight in the Royal Guard of Sarcasm.”
“Cool.” Collin grinned.
Something banged on the outside wall of the house and we all turned to look towards the back door. Two more thuds were heard before I was able to look out and see the dead birds on the back porch. More were scattered around the back yard where they had hit the tree and cement walls, a couple floated in the swimming pool.
“Not cool.” Responded Collin who had managed to squeeze between Sam and I and peek out as well.
The front window exploded behind us and we whirled around to face off with a single bird that was lying on the carpet. One wing was folded under it but the other flared out as if to take flight. It issued no sound although it must have been either dying or in extreme pain from colliding with the window.
Sam pushed Collin behind him as we crossed the room and stood, staring at the bird unsure of what to do with it. “Find something to barricade that window.” I told Sam as I went to the kitchen.
Returning with the dust pan, I took the broom from Collin and awkwardly maneuvered the bird onto the dust pan. I flung it outside along with the dust pan as Sam upended the coffee table on the sofa and leaned it against the broken window. “This isn’t going to work, we need to think.” Sam said.
Looking out the window I said, “The tornado things are gone but there are still a lot of birds out there. What do you think about making a run for the jeep?”
“And go where?” Asked Sam. “I don’t want to take Collin out there with those things. We keep calling them birds, but birds don’t act like that man, something else is going on and we need to figure out what it is.”
“Well none of us have a clue and we aren’t going to be able to get any answers here bro. We need to try and make a run for it. Maybe head up to the mountains or I don’t know, just get out of the city.”
Collin tugged my shirt, “There are birds in the mountains and other stuff too.”
“What about the police station or something?” I ask.
“Bound to know more than we do there, but we need provisions.” Sam said as he headed to the kitchen.

We threw a bunch of canned goods and bottled water into pillow cases and wrapped Collin up in blankets to protect him I carried Collin as Sam held onto the baseball bat and groceries.
“Ready?” Asked Sam when we got to the front door.
“Go!” I said and we plunged outside ready to be bombarded by birds. We made it to the jeep without any attack from above and strapped ourselves in as Sam fired up the engine and backed out of the driveway.
Dead birds littered the roadway and Sam turned on the CD player in the jeep so we wouldn’t have to hear the crunch of them under the tires. We could still feel them though and Collin made a noise of disgust from the back seat.

There were people running around outside as well as people in cars hell bent on their destination and not paying any attention to street lights, stop signs or common sense. The birds seemed to thin out as we got closer to downtown though there were enough of them to still be dangerous.
Some people were starting to loot stores and we saw people throwing rocks and kicking in department store windows. Sam looked back at Collin and told him to keep his head down.
“Hey stop for a second!” I said.
“Stop? For what?” Asked Sam.
I pointed across the street to where two guys had just used their truck to rip the steel bar barricade off the front of a gun store.
Sam pulled to a stop in the middle of the road and I said, “Keep it running, lock the doors and if anyone comes at you just take off and pick me up two blocks up on Seventh.” I glanced back at Collin and winked, “Be right back.”
As I raced into the gun store the two guys swung around and stared at me. “Just here for some guns, I’m not the owner!” I say. They both shrugged and I stepped up to the counter to see what they had available.
Back outside Sam unlocked the doors as I tossed two canvas green bags into the back along with two shotguns and a rifle. Jumping in the passenger seat I let the third canvas bag fall to the floor between my legs as Sam rolled forward.
“You did get bullets right?” Sam asked.
“Yep. I also got two twelve gauges, a 30.06 rifle and these babies.” I said as I removed two pistols from the bag.
“A rifle? You got a rifle to shoot birds with? I should have sent Collin.”
Collin leaned forward between the front seats and asked me, “Do I get one?”
“Sorry squirt, they didn’t have any water guns.” I say as I open a box of ammunition and start loading the clips for the pistols. I load the .40 Smith and Wesson and hand it to Sam along with a shoulder holster.
“This is the right size, right?” He asks.
“Hope so, didn’t really have time to check.”

He pulls to a stop just long enough to figure out the straps and shrug into the holster as I finish loading the 9mm Browning and go to work figuring out my own shoulder holster. “Police station probably isn’t the best choice of places to go now.” He says as he pulls back onto the road.
I start to reply when something that I could never in a million years mistake for a dog streaks out from between two parked cars, stops in the middle of the street, turns towards us and snarls with a full set of razor sharp teeth and red eyes that seem to glow all their own in the dim twilight that is quickly enveloping the city.

As it snarled at us I could see the elongated jaws with endless rows of teeth stretch and then snap. Only two of the eyes glowed red but there seemed to be a lot more spread across its head. It moved on all four legs much like some kind of lion/wolf hybrid only bigger. It was as long as one of the cars parked at the curb and the tail seemed to sway with menace as if just waiting to slash out and attack something on its own. The skin was a pale grey and looked as if it was some kind of hardened plate scale that shimmered and moved freely as if it were only hair or fur.

Someone started to scream like a frightened school girl and I turned back towards Collin to tell him not to do that when I realized it was me. I swallowed my shame quickly enough and whipped back around to see the creature start to stalk towards us in the street. It held its head low to the ground but never took its eyes off of us as the tail flicked back and forth behind it almost daring you to take your eyes of the creature and look at the tail.

Sam was yelling something repeatedly while he threw the Jeep into reverse and drove his foot down hard on the accelerator. “Shoot it, shoot it, shoot it, shoot it!”

Realizing this, I pulled my pistol and leaned out of the window to squeeze off a shot with shaking hands. Click! I ducked back inside the Jeep and now Collin was chanting, “Safety, safety, safety.” I checked the safety on the pistol and said to everyone, “It’s not on safety!” I leaned back out and tried again to shoot but was met with the maddening sound of mechanical parts moving and doing what they are meant to do but not firing the round in the chamber.

We were putting a little distance between us and the creature and Sam said, “Bad ammo, next round please!” So I pulled the slide back to eject the current bullet and chamber a new round and held the gun out of the window as I squeezed the trigger. Click! “FUCK!” I roared and not even Collin bothered to tell me not to curse this time.

The creature realized its prey was gaining distance and as Sam whipped the steering wheel to the right to turn us around it abandoned its stalk and started to run towards us, picking up speed and gaining distance fast.

Collin held out a shotgun from the back and I quickly grabbed it and chambered a round I had previously loaded into it. I pointed it out my window as the creature howled and came right at me. I couldn’t miss at this distance and pulled the trigger bracing myself for the recoil. Click! I thought for sure I was a dead man as the creature launched itself into the air right at me.

Sam slammed the Jeep into gear and stomped on the gas and the creature missed my window and slammed into the right rear of the Jeep as we tore ass out of there. The impact was enough to sway the vehicle and I felt my heart drop when I thought it might be able to roll the Jeep onto its side.

The Jeep stayed upright however and no tires came off the asphalt as we headed away quickly, leaving the creature roaring in frustration in the middle of the road.

“Dad, your phone!” Collin was saying as I was deathgripping the armrest and trying not to burst into hysterics. Sam dug in his pocket without taking his foot of the gas and looked down at the screen before handing the phone to me.
I tried to regain some composure as I looked at the display to see Alison’s name and number come up. I flipped open the phone and was able to exhale a shaky hello.
“Chris?! Where’s Sam? Is Collin okay? Where is my son?! Say something!”
I cleared my throat, “We are all here and okay, Sam is driving, Collin is right here.” I handed the phone to Collin and he snatched it like it was his favorite flavor ice cream. We could hear Alison’s voice but not what she was saying. Collin was trying to calm her down and explain about the birds and what he called the Tiger with an amazing amount of calm that I was ashamed to say I didn’t possess.

After saying his goodbyes he handed me the phone back, by now I had calmed down enough to talk and asked what was going on in Vegas.
“We are not completely sure, we are in our room and the hotel security said to stay put. We head people talking about Demons running around outside and some even coming inside and killing people but I don’t know what to believe. The TV’s don’t work and the power keeps flickering. You guys almost got attacked by a Tiger? Where are you the fucking zoo? Why would you take my son-“
I cut in before she completely lost it and said, “It wasn’t a tiger like that but I guess it kind of looked like a tiger in a way.” I explained as to the best of my abilities what we saw and that we were now safely away from it. I tried to get some more details from her about what she might have heard. “Even rumors are more than we have now.”
“This couple next door said they saw one in the lobby and that it looked almost human but with horns and claws and blue skin. They said it walked like a man and had yellow eyes and spoke some weird language to itself as it moved.” I could hear some commotion on her end of the line and she told me to hang on.
I glanced at Sam and he was looking at me with eyes that were screaming, “What is she saying?!” and I replied with the annoying finger held up which means calm down and give me a minute.
Alison came back on the phone and I could hear people around her talking excitedly. “Gargoyles! We can see Gargoyles on the rooftops from the window here. They are moving back and forth on the ledges. Wings and shit flapping to keep balance! Oh my god! How is this happening?”
I talked to her for a couple more minutes before we disconnected and then relayed her side of the conversation to Sam and Collin as I leaned forward and searched rooftops for Gargoyles. I didn’t see any, yet.
“We need to figure out some place to go.” Sam said
Collin piped up from the back seat as I was going back over the guns and trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, “We could go to Uncle Brian’s.”
“Genius!” Sam replied and put us on a course to Brian’s house.

Brian Garret was a friend of ours whom had inherited a bunch of money from his parents and moved out into the suburbs to escape the gritty neighborhood we all had grown up in. Unlike most people who come into a bunch of money he actually used his to go to college and get a degree. He now worked for a Insurance company and usually paid for and hosted all our little get-togethers for boxing matches and MMA fights on Pay Per View. Where Sam and I were like brothers, Brian was like the cousin we could count on to be there if and when we needed him.

I had unloaded and stripped down my pistol somehow without really knowing what I was doing. Everything seemed to be in order to the untrained eye. Sam kept glancing over at me as he drove and finally said, “What did you do with the firing pin?”
“Come again?”
“The firing pin, did you remove it?”
“Uhm, I don’t think so, unless it jumped out of the window.” I replied.
“There is no firing pin. They must take them out of the guns so people can’t walk in with their own ammo and immediately have a loaded and able weapon.”
“Well yea, that makes sense. So where do we get firing pins?” I asked without much hope.
“We don’t.” Replied Sam.
Collin sighed from the backseat and we all felt the same way.

As we turned into Brian’s driveway we saw his Chevy Truck and an old station wagon that we didn’t recognize. The sun had set and without light we couldn’t be sure what might be circling overhead but we didn’t waste any time in getting to the front door. Usually we would walk right in but with the way things had been going Sam knocked and then announced who it was.

Some old guy opened the door and Sam and I exchanged curious looks before we heard Brian call out from somewhere in the house, “Don’t just open the fucking door Bob!”
“Unkie!” Collin shouted and ran towards Brian as he came into view. Brian’s face grew into a huge grin as he caught a jumping Collin and spun him around in a bear hug. “Damn am I glad to see you guys!” he said as we made our way inside.
“Sam, Chris, this is my uncle Bob. Uncle Bob, Chris and Sam and this little guy here is Collin.” Brian put Collin down and we all exchanged hugs. “Come equipped for hunting I see.” He motioned to the guns we carried.
“Not likely unless you wanna go clubbing baby seals or something.” I said and explained about the firing pins. Brian laughed and we all gathered in the living room to catch up on what we knew or had heard.

We told Brian and Bob about our adventures so far. Brian didn’t have much to offer in the way of news but he explained that while the cell phone towers seemed to work from time to time they were pretty choppy and he didn’t know why. The same went for his internet connection. Hearing this we all stood up but he said it had been down for a couple hours now.

Bob had his own take on things and while part of me wanted to think he was certifiably insane we listened anyway.
“It is the end times as described in the bible!” Bob said with shaking jawls. He looked like a out of shape john Goodman, if Goodman had been a balding and broke televangelist that is.
I looked up at him, “You mean like ‘Pale horse cometh’ type of thing?”
“Exactly, according to Revelations there are seven seals, seven angels, seven trumpets as well as seven churches and seven candle sticks.” Bob opened a worn bible and began searching for something. “According to John-“
Sam cut him off and said, “What the hell does this have to do with us?”
“Everything! God is cleansing the earth of all evil and putting the Beast back into the abyss. We have nothing to fear from this!”
“Yea well that thing that came after us didn’t exactly look like a welcoming party handing out invitations to Heaven.” I mentioned.
Bob was undeterred, “Four Beasts about the Throne of God. The first beast was that of a lion!” Don’t you see? What you saw was a creature of God! It is a part of the Holy Spirit, a part of the cleansing! Before the Angels come down it is the four Beasts which are described in Revelation!”
Sam stood up, “I don’t care what you think you know from reading something thousands of years old but what we saw had absolutely nothing to do with God!”
Bob tried to go on but we all had heard enough. Maybe it was the fact that what he was saying might indeed be true and none of us really wanted to believe that could be a possibility, even if it felt a little right in our own hearts.

We talked instead about what we should do but we didn’t get anywhere with that either. A loud boom shook the night outside and although the rest of us held our breaths in fear, Brian let release a huge shit eating grin and said he had an idea.

“Dwight lives a couple houses down. I don’t know how I forgot about him but he is a gun nut and I think we just heard some of his handiwork. If anyone can fix your guns it is him.”
I cautiously said, “Assuming he didn’t just blow himself up.”
“Worth a shot anyway.” Sam said and we all stood up as Collin ran off down the hall to one of the spare rooms which Brian kept stocked with things he had bought for Collin which hadn’t made their way to Sam or Alison’s houses yet.
He came back out wearing a life vest that Brian had bought him a few months ago when we all spent the day at the lake. We looked at him a little funny and he said, “What? If there is going to be another flood, I don’t want to drown!”
I let out a nervous laugh and said, “This better not be one of your ‘genius’ moments.”

I expected Dwight’s house to be caged in barbed wire with steel bars across the windows from the way Brian had described him. What we found instead when we got there were perfectly manicured lawns and a very warm and welcoming front yard.
Brian knocked and we waited for about an hour while God knows how many locks were disengaged and the door slowly swung open. Inside stood a man somewhere in his late forties with a receding hairline and a smile that made you feel like you just came home for Christmas vacation. “Mr. Garret, how good of you to come over. I didn’t scare you with that small explosion earlier did I?”
Brian smiled as we all shuffled inside, “Not at all, actually it inspired us and we need some help which you may be able to provide.”

Dwight was a very gracious and polite host and as we all gathered inside he asked us all if we would like something to drink and offered his help in any way possible. Brian explained about the firing pin problem and he said he could probably help with that but was curious why we hadn’t brought the guns with us. We explained that we thought it might be impolite to bring arm loads of guns when knocking on someone’s front door on a night like this.

I volunteered to go get them and headed back towards Brian’s house on foot. Without anyone to talk to I realized just how eerily quiet the night was. With all the commotion from earlier today I half expected people to be running around screaming, houses burning in the night, birds picking at dead bodies in the street, or something, anything. Instead the night was as calm as could be. No crickets chirped, no frogs called out into the night, nothing seemed to be alive at all. The hair was standing up on my arms by the time I got to Brian’s front door and something caused me to quickly enter the house and slam the door behind me.

I took a moment to shake the Willy’s off of me and started slinging weapons over my shoulder when Bob came downstairs.
“Chris was it?” He asked. I nodded and he continued, “I know I probably sound like some crazy preacher or something but I’m not. I had a lot of problems and have come a long way into sobriety because of this book here.” He held up the bible, “I really don’t think we have anything to fear from this. We are all sinners but we can all be forgiven for ours sins and saved by God.”
I didn’t really know what to say so as I made my way back to the front door with the guns I just told him I hoped he was right but that I would rather be prepared for the worst.

This time I decided to run instead of walk.

When I got back, Dwight took a look at the guns real quick then told us all to follow him. We made our way down into the basement, the first thing I thought of when I saw all the strange equipment was that Dwight might be some kind of torturer for the government.
Dwight gave us quick explanations of some of the equipment and explained that as a hobby he had taken up gunsmith studies years ago. “I don’t keep many guns myself but I have fallen in love with the art itself and since it is a dying trade I find it strangely satisfying.”
He might not have had many guns but he had all kinds of gun parts as well as loading equipment for making and reloading his own ammunition. The easiest ones he said were the shotguns and he quickly had those apart and on a workbench. As he went to work on our guns we all spread out and looked around at his invitation to do so. “Just try not to move anything around too much or I lose track of what I have down here.”
“Hey dad is that a paint ball gun?” Collin pointed at a gun that hung on a pegboard.
“Dwight looked up real quick then let his eyes drop back to his work, “Nope, that my little friend is a Heckler and Koch G3 Assault Rifle. I redid the bluing for a friend of mine and made him some ammunition for it that would feel more comfortable to him. It is a very beautiful gun and I must say I don’t rightfully know why the US doesn’t give our service men and women a proper rifle like this one. I suppose because it is German made and they prefer to only use Colt but in my opinion the Germans make a superior weapon than we do these days.”
Sam whistled quietly and we all appreciated the weapon Collin had pointed out.

I turned to watch as Dwight placed one of the shotgun barrels in the jaws of some sort of equipment that was foreign to me. He quickly cut it down and went to work filing and sanding the bore smooth before reassembling the shotgun and going to work on the second one.
“Those barrels aren’t very effective for self defense unless you’re trying to shoot something that has already assaulted you and is across the street running away when you fire. I went ahead and cut them down to eighteen and a half inches so that they are still legal but a little less cumbersome.”
I looked at Sam to see if we should mention how we got the guns and he shook his head.

Dwight had finished with the second shotgun and one of the pistols and we were all starting to feel safe and secure again. We laughed easily and swapped stories, even Collin seemed to brighten and become his old cheery self again. He was halfway through a story about me using him to pick up women at the local mall when something crashed through the house upstairs and a shadow cast itself down the basement steps.
A hurried whisper came down to us as we all held our breaths trying to be quiet. The language was nothing I had ever heard before but the phone call with Alison came flooding back into my mind as Sam and I both reached out to pull Collin behind us. The shadow moved as something started to slowly descend the basement steps.

(to be continued)