Teratahrra Fora

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic


(Reader discretion is advised for scenes of bloody violence and brief nudity)



After a crime boss is murdered, Salma calls together the syndicate to solve the death of her husband. What they uncover leads to a traitor, a cult, and a creature which lives in the forest.

Submitted: May 08, 2018

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Submitted: May 08, 2018

A A A

A A A


Teratahrra Fora


Friends, I’m glad you all could get here as quickly as possible.”

With everyone settled in their seats—couches, chairs, recliners—Salma addressed the oval room in the grand lobby of a mansion. Her dark hair cut just above her shoulder, voluptuous figure almost busting out of a glimmering v-neck skirt. Her chocolate eyes scanned the faces. “This morning my husband, Pistola Grande, was found murdered in our bed.”

The shocking news grasped the room’s full attention.

“Damn…” Lauren slouched on the sofa. The brunette bangs of her pixie haircut hung in front of her eyes. Although slim, she appeared tough, wearing holey jeans and black tank top under an unbuttoned shirt. “This… thi—”

“This can’t be,” Reese said. The blonde fanned her teary eyes.

Jennifer combed her almond hair away from her square face. Her eyes misted along with Reese’s. “He knew it was coming.”

“We all did.” Mila stood at the far window, watching the rain patter the glass. The raven-haired woman, in a black elegant dress, smoked from a long cigarette holder. “We still couldn’t do anything about it.”

“We have to do something about it now,” Salma said through clenched teeth. “We can’t have the town see us as weak. So, how do we attack? Who do we attack?”

“Well, he’s had long beef with the Reds but…” Jennifer situated her gun belt—police badge on her hip—and leaned forward in the chair. “…ever since I made the arrest on their crime boss, Villainzo, they’ve been quiet.”

“It’s not Villainzo, the Reds.” Reese scrubbed her clammy palms on her pink dress suit. “There’s a new…” Reese paused to think of the word. “…uh boss, so to speak, in town, a boss Pistola incidentally provoked.”

The room turned to her with open ears.

“It all started when Pistola killed that creature in the woods a month back,” Reese said. “I don’t know why he called me… maybe because I’m his lawyer; maybe because I was the first number he came to but… I wish he’d called someone else. The fear in his voice still haunts me…”

Salma’s face brightened with intrigue. She took a seat next to Reese on the couch. “Was he—”

“Psssh!” Jennifer whipped her head to Reese with a soured expression. “Pistola would not be afraid of some animal in the forest—”

“It’s not just an animal…” Reese rotated her eyes to Jennifer. “They call it the Teratahrra Fora.”

***

Where’s my money, Donnie?”

In the dense forest, a blindfolded man knelt with his hands bound in front of him. “I swear—just… just give m—” A punch interrupted his words. He collapsed to the ground, groaned, before being picked back up again. He wiggled his jaw and spat a wad of blood aside. “Please, Pistola…”

With a cigar pinched between his teeth, Pistola lit it with a single match. He puffed. A cloud of smoke surrounded his head. He ran his hand over his slick black hair before kneeling in front of the captured man. “You see, this forest is my enterprise and your debt is like the embers of this cigar…”

Donnie snatched the boss’ hand, kissed his knuckles. Pistola slapped him away. Donnie tried again, but Pistola smacked him even harder.

“Stop! Listen to the damn allegory.” Pistola squeezed Donnie’s cheeks in a firm grip, flicked his ashes into the leaves beneath them. “These ashes will fall to the dried leaves beneath me…”

Donnie whimpered.

“And, well, most of the time they’re too small, too insignificant to catch fire. But! All it takes is one to go unchecked…” Smoke rose between their faces. The leaves smoldered. “One little ember can bring my whole forest down.”

Donnie clasped his hands together in prayer, sobbed. “One week is all ask.”

“Are you listening to me!” Pistola’s voice embogged, tobacco smoke crept from his nostrils. He snapped his fingers in the air. “I have to smother it.”

Two hulking guards, dressed in black suits, appeared on each side of Pistola. They stomped out the small fire.

Pistola stared between the two guards, eyes never straying from Donnie. While puffing on his cigar, he withdrew a Glock pistol from the inner pocket of his blazer. He pressed the barrel into Donnie’s forehead. “Any last words?”

“What is m-my wa-wife and child gonna do wi-without me?” Tears trickled from underneath the blindfold on Donnie’s face.

“I can assure you they’ll live more comfortably, not having you gamble all their money away.” Pistola pulled the trigger without hesitance.

The gunfire echoed through the forest. The bullet exploded out the back of Donnie’s head in a mist of blood. He collapsed to the ground, convulsing, as blood continued pumping from the wound.

Pistola inhaled a big tug of his cigar. He looked to his guards. “You know what to do with the body.”

The guards nodded.

“And here…” Pistola stood back to his feet while removing an envelope from his inner pocket. “Give this to his wife. Say it’s… Donnie’s life insurance.”

“You got it, boss.” One guard grabbed the letter and stuffed it inside his suit jacket.

“Once you’re done, stop by the casa if you’re hungry. The wife is cooking menudo.” Pistola kissed his fingers. “Delicioso!”

“Cow stomach?” the guard asked. “I’ll, um, settle for McDonalds.”

Pistola chuckled with the cigar between his teeth. He started away when a bushel shook but a few feet from him. He stopped in his tracks, whistled back to the guards.

“Boss?” one asked.

“Yeah, yeah.” Pistola waved back over his shoulder for them, all whilst inching closer to the bush. He squeezed the pistol tighter but kept it at his side. He stuck out his hand and, ever so gently, pushed the foliage aside.

A small pale creature crouched on the other side of the bush. He had a human face, body, with dark coal-like eyes. Black nerve endings hung from his head like dreadlocks. The Teratahrra Fora hunched over, gripping a mutilated squirrel with his spindly fingers. The beast bit into the rodent, tore at the skin with his teeth. A tail appeared from behind, swished back and forth in the air.

Pistola’s eyes broadened. “What the hell are—”

“What is it, boss?” a guard asked.

Pistola wheeled around on his heels. He shushed them, motioned for them to keep quiet. Upon turning back, he found the Teratahrra Fora staring directly at him. Pistola didn’t know how to react. His eyes just lingered on the unusual humanoid.

The Teratahrra Fora cocked his head to the side as though studying Pistola’s appearance as well. Without warning, the creature made a shrieking cry. He appeared startled, nervous. He craned his head all around, searching the woods for something, before finding Pistola’s face again. The creature stopped, stared, and suddenly lunged for an attack.

Pistola scrambled backward in a crabwalk, kicking up dirt. The creature sprung out from the bush, knocking leaves in the air. Pistola raised the Glock, fired. The bullet caught the Teratahrra Fora in the chest. Maroon colored blood sprayed Pistola’s face. The beast flopped to the ground, the lower half falling on Pistola’s legs.

The two guards hurried over and grabbed their boss up underneath each arm.

Pistola shoved the beast over, freeing one leg to kick the creature completely off. He made it to his feet, eyes searching the maroon substance all over his suit, hands. With a handkerchief from his pocket, he wiped the blood away from his eyes.

“Have you ever seen…” One guard palmed his head in shock. “…anything like it—”

“Shhh-shhh-shhh!” Pistola’s voice rattled. He lifted his trembling hand, pointing in the distance.

Through the thick of trees stood another, bigger, Teratahrra Fora. The creature resembled the smaller one besides the red circles around the end of its nerve endings. The pale beasts’ black eyes glowered into Pistola’s soul, chest heaved.

“Run…” Pistola whispered.

“What about Donne?” a guard quietly asked.

“We’ll come ba—”

The Teratahrra Fora flexed his muscles, tilted his head back, and shouted to the treetops. His human-like voice carried pain through the wilderness.

“Run!” Pistola screamed.

***

Silence overwhelmed the oval white and gold lobby of the mansion. Everyone in the room reacted differently to the story: Lauren gulped. Reese hung her head. Jennifer squirmed in her chair. Mila rolled her eyes back to the window. Salma fanned her flushed cheeks while standing from the sofa.

“Did any of you see it,” Reese asked, “the Teratahrra Fora?”

“I saw it, majority of the town did, before they burned it,” Lauren said with a distant gaze to the floor. “It was different. It was…”

“Alien or not…” Mila spoke up from the window. She peeked over her boney, fair shoulder. “Pistola has been acting strange over the last few weeks, that’s for sure.”

Salma paced the floor with one arm folded and a hand to her chin. “You think that strange beast came into my house and killed my husband out of vengeance?”

“Well, it could be the creature,” Mila said. “But, I have a more likely suspect.”

Salma looked to the pale figure in the window. “Like?…”

“Like that crazy fuckin’ cult…” Mila shot a glance to the room before turning back to the window and trailing the drops of rain down the glass. “…the ones that worship that creature in the woods.”

“I know them very well.” Salma flexed her jaw. “It was them that ambushed you and Pistola this past week, am I mistaken?”

Mila nodded without looking back, her head hung further with each bob. “And now, I can’t help but recall the last thing he said to me…”

***

In the backseat of a Lincoln Town Car, behind tinted windows, Pistola propped his head against the backrest. He released a moan before lifting his vision to the windshield.

In the forest, three tailored men stood in the center of a circle of tents. Workers, wearing nothing but gloves and surgical masks, carried cocaine crates to the trunk of the Lincoln.

“Hurry up…” Pistola grumbled while twiddling a toothpick in his mouth.

“What’s that?” Mila raised up from his lap, daintily wiped her mouth.

“I was talking to them.” Pistola’s eyes nervously searched the forest. He even twisted in his seat to check out the back window. “We need to…” Pistola twirled his wrist three times. “…boom, boom, boom, get faster.”

“Hey… look at me.” Mila placed her thumb into the cleft of his chin and turned his head to her. She looked deep into his brown eyes. “What’s troubling you, huh? I’ve never seen you so—”

“Nada…” Pistola clutched her wrist, glare sharpened. “Okay?”

“Sure, sugar.” Mila sat back with a waning smile.

“Listen…” Pistola expelled a big breath, relaxed his posture. “It’s jus—”

Gunshots sounded. Bullets bit into the naked workers and they dropped like flies around the Lincoln. The suited guards scrambled for cover behind trees, tent poles, and cocaine chopping benches.

Pistola dipped down in his seat, arms cocooning Mila from the danger. Bullets thudded against the door, pinged off the hood. The back left tire popped. The car sunk as air hissed out. Shards of glass rained on their heads. He pointed to Mila’s door. “That way!”

Mila took her heels off and kicked open the door. She jumped and barreled out in her expensive dress, Pistola darted out behind her. After finding cover behind a tree, she yanked the dress above her knee, reached under, and removed a snub-nosed revolver from a holster on her inner thigh.

With a Glock pistol in hand, Pistola poked his head around the side of another large pine. His eyes carefully searched through the trees, bushes, and hills. Gunshots went off. Two bullets hit the tree just above his head. Bark splintered in the air, crumbled in his hair, on his shoulders. He spun around and released several wild shots. One happened to clip the fleeing attacker in the ankle. As the ambusher collapsed, gripping his leg, Pistola fired a follow up, which caught the assailant in the shoulder and through the neck. The man squirmed on the ground while clasping his throat. He gasped, gargled, as blood trickled through the spaces of his fingers.

Another attacker dashed around the trunk of the Lincoln. He wore a white mask with an enigmatic expression. With his eyes dead-set on Pistola, he never saw Mila near the back right tire.

Mila opened fire. Two point blank shots to the temple sent the man tail-spinning to the ground, stirring dust and leaves in the air. She ducked low, shouted in a whisper over to Pistola. “Who are these guys?”

Pistola steadied his back against the base of a tree, changed out his clip. “The Teratah—cult. It’s the cult!” He reached down to the attacker’s ponytail, painted white like his mask. “See? They all wear this shit.”

Mila reloaded her chamber as well. “They want you dead for killing that creature?”

“That’s not the surprising part…” Pistola scanned the forest. “…how do they know where the base of my operation is, that’s the question.”

***

“Hmmm…” Salma rubbed her chin while pacing the room. Her heels clunked against the tile floor. “And that’s the last you heard of it?”

“I know my rank. I do the job I’m tasked and don’t ask questions.” Mila’s eyes followed a single droplet down the window. “I just assumed he had someone looking into it.”

“He did.” Jennifer spoke up with a strong tone. “Me.”

The women swung their heads to Jennifer, giving her their complete and undivided attention.

“He called me after what transpired,” Jennifer said, “and no offense to any of you, but we had you all tailed.”

The room shared suspicious glances.

“Well,” Salma flung her arms up, “who the hell is it?”

***

After receiving a call from one of my patrolmen, I responded.”

Jennifer trudged through the forest. She fought through vines, bushes, before finally coming to a rocky canyon. She dipped low with her partner by her side.

In the pit of the canyon, a cult gathered in white robes. Each wore white expressionless masks with dyed ponytails. They stood in formation, shoulder to shoulder, in three rows of six. What looked to be the leader was on the craggy steps just in front of a large cave entrance.

“What do you think they’re doing?” the officer asked.

Jennifer shook her head with a heightened a brow. “Beats me, Joe, but if they stir that thing up—”

A scream bellowed from inside the cave.

The cult buzzed. They broke their ranks and huddled in a tight ball. The leader backed from the steps, joining the first row.

“Oh shit…” Jennifer jumped to her feet.

A cult member darted out from the cave, her loose robe flailing in the wind. She slung the mask from her face.

“There you are, Lauren.” Jennifer smiled, catching the betrayer red-handed.

Lauren appeared horrified. She ran into the cult, pushed through them toward an escape in the forest. Her bloody hands left stains on their robes. They encircled her. She fought with them, but they restrained her.

“What do you want to do?” Joe asked.

“We gotta stop this.” Jennifer placed a hand to her Beretta pistol.

Below, the raucous ceased. Everyone turned to the entrance of the cave. They released their hold on Lauren, and she pushed through the rest of them and raced into the forest.

Another cult member wriggled out from the cave. His face looked as pale as his ponytail. His right arm, leg, was missing, left with jagged nubs. Blood pooled out onto the ground, staining his robe. His chin trembled, eyes fluttered.

A few screams rang out from the cult before being shushed. They all backed away, only the leader approached the dying member. Everything became still, quiet, except the soft sobs from the mutilated man. No birds. No wind. Not one little creature scurried through the surrounding forest. The leader eased up the bottom step. His eyes followed the blood as it streamed on the stone past his sandal. The leader cautiously made his way to the man while eyeing the dark depths of the cave. He crouched low as a guttural growl came from the darkness. The leader froze, eyes wide. A pale muscular arm shot out from the entrance, snatching the injured man’s ankle. He released a high-pitched, blood-curdling wail while being dragged back inside.

***

“Oo!” Salma exhaled a breath, her breasts heaved. “What a fuckin’ savage.”

Mila, Reese, and Jennifer showed Salma a fleeting glance of bewilderment before looking to the guilty one.

“Got some explaining to do?” Salma rotated her sight to Lauren. “Do you deny that this happened?”

“No…” Lauren sighed. She sat up and rubbed her face. “It’s true…”

“After all the years you’ve been with us…” Salma pinched her lips together in anger. She reached for her purse on the counter and casually withdrew a Ruger handgun.

“Wa-wait, wait.” Lauren crawled off the couch to her knees, submitted her hands. “I admit at first, I joined the cult because I felt like Pistola murdered a kid. Teratahrra Fora looks human, and when I saw it, I…”

Salma cocked the Ruger, put it to Lauren’s temple. “You better get somewhere.”

“That thing is not human. It’s a monster. An-and, we must kill it or it will take over this entire town.” Lauren’s pitch heightened in anxiety. “That’s why it wasn’t me that killed Pistola. I needed him.”

“Tell me…” Salma loosened her grip around the gun handle. “…tell me what happened in there.”

***

Lauren crept down the ragged corridor in a mask and robe. The flashlight shook in her outstretched hand. “Have you ever done this—Bob, is it?”

“Hm-mm… the, uh, the name’s Bob. But um…” The man swallowed hard. “…no. I’ve never done this.”

“How hard can it be, huh?” Lauren asked in an attempt to induce some confidence in both of them. “Take his pail and give him an—You got the apple, right?”

Bob took the fruit from his robe, tossed it up in his hand. Before he could catch it, a noise stopped him in place. The apple bounced against the rocky floor.

“Ummm… hello?” Lauren called out. “We’re just here to—”

“Die…” a voice responded in almost a question.

“N-no…” Lauren elbowed Bob, gestured with her eyes to the apple.

“We’re just here to give you this…” Bob picked the apple up and rolled it down the cave, past the flashlight’s reach.

“No. You are here to die,” the Teratahrra Fora said, “just like the people before you and the ones before them.”

“Wa-we’re sacrifices?” Lauren asked.

The apple flew out of the darkness and splattered against the wall. Bob and Lauren jumped back and hugged one another. The flashlight’s beam flittered in Lauren’s trembling hand.

“You are if you enter my cave,” the Teratahrra Fora said. “Leave…”

“We’re only here to hel—”

“Help? I left my home with my youngling, only to have him murdered here by you! Now? Now! You wanna help?” The Teratahrra Fora’s voice briefly rose in fury before simmering down into a sob which sounded like a cackle. “Now…” The creature gathered his voice. “…my good intentions of living here in peace have altered dramatically.”

Lauren and Bob inched backward.

“I will kill you all…” the Teratahrra Fora said straightforward, composed. “…when I’m ready.”

Bob’s backpedal picked up pace. His heel caught a protrusion in the floor, and he tripped, landing on his backside.

Lauren bent down to help him back up, but upon lifting the flashlight again, it shined directly into the monster’s face.

Within arms reach, the Teratahrra Fora leaned into the light and let out a crackling snarl. Saliva flung from its stained teeth, veins appeared in its neck.

***

“It was terrifyin—” Lauren’s voice cracked in fear. “It’ll continue killing. The cult will continue their sacrifices. Death will remain a black cloud over this town if we—”

A gunshot rang out.

The bullet pierced Lauren’s temple and blew chunks of brain out the other side. She flopped on the couch and then rolled off to the floor with a loud thud.

The gun barrel smoked in Salma’s hand. Her nostrils flared. “Don’t give me that blues story. You set my husband up? Tu mueres.”

The members of the Pistola Grande crime family encircled Lauren: Mila smoked from her cigarette holder with her nose up. Reese shook her head, ashamed of Lauren. Jennifer sneered at the traitor.

“After what we’ve gathered today, I think it’s safe to assume that the cult had Pistola murdered. So, I say…” Salma secured the Ruger back in her purse and looked to the three women with a squinted, vengeful gaze. “…we start running through all of them.”

“You can count on me.” Mila blew an ‘O’ ring of smoke.

“It shouldn’t be too hard to search my database,” Jennifer said, “and get their names, addresses.”

“And the beast?” Reese asked.

“Leave the beast to me,” Salma said. “I’ve tamed more than my fair share.”

***

Salma stood in the belly of the canyon, at the rocky steps just in front of the cave. The sun set high in the blue sky causing her silver sequin gown to shimmer. On each side of her were two brawny guards in black suits. At her feet, a captive knelt in ragged clothes and a black sandbag over his head. She grazed the tip of her tongue over her full lips, colored passionate red. While staring forward at the cave, she removed the black sandbag from the man’s head.

The sudden sunlight blinded Pistola. He turned away, blinked several times, as his sight adjusted. His face marked with a busted lip and a black eye, almost swollen shut. A bandana was used for a mouth gag. It stretched between his teeth and tied behind his head.

“You, you, you…” Salma wagged her finger at him. “You were easier to get rid of than I thought. Gather the family, discuss your murder, and lo and behold, I get a slew of motives and suspects.”

Pistola glared up at his wife, then to the fresh-faced guards.

“You don’t know them,” Salma said. “See, I made a few personnel changes as well.”

Pistola tried to speak through the mouth gag.

“Shush! None of that. Just listen…” Salma crouched to him, caressed his bruised cheek. “I didn’t care about your philandering ways. Yeah. I did know. I didn’t care about your looks. Although, quite delicious. What turned me on about you was your power, your strength, the fear in people’s eyes when you walked down the street. Oo!” Salma shivered. “I ovulate just thinking about it.”

Pistola jerked away from her touch.

“But…” Salma frowned, sighed, and stood up. “…you were a fraud.”

Pistola hung his head, staring at the ground in thought.

“You almost poisoned my womb with your seed,” Salma said. “You see, its natural for a woman like myself to seek out the strongest, the so-called ‘alphas’ of the pride. If I am to have children, which I will, they must come from nothing short of a demigod. And frankly, ever since this beast came around, you’ve shown your true self. Your genes fall short.”

Pistola cocked his head to the side, scowled up at her. But, she paid no mind. He followed her gaze to the entrance of a cave. His eyes bulged from their sockets. He swung his sight back to her and yelled something behind the gag, but his words indistinguishable. A giant vein shot out from his forehead.

Salma ignored her husband. She eyed the cave with a sinister yet nervous smirk. “Teratahrra Fora!”

Pistola tried desperately to free himself. He tugged at the rope, got off balance, and collapsed to his side.

Teratahrra Fora snarled from the shadows of the entrance.

“This is Pistola Grande, the king of this town,” Salma said, “the one who murdered your child.”

“I know who he is!” the Teratahrra Fora shouted which died down in a crackling snort.

With her eyes on the cave, Salma reached back to the guards and waved. One extracted a butcher knife from his belt buckle and placed the handle in Salma’s open palm. She then turned her attention on Pistola. She straddled him, grabbed a fistful of hair, and jerked his head back. After a peck on the cheek, she drove the blade into his jugular. She sawed into his neck, cutting through tissue and bone. Blood squirted and oozed out onto the uneven surface of the ground.

Behind her, the guards cringed, fought the urge to spew. Their eyes darted around the gory scene.

With both hands, Salma wadded his black hair and jerked his head from side to side, snapping the spine. She finally sliced through the last bit and stood back up, holding his severed head by the hair. Her beautiful gown was covered in red. Blood was up to her elbows. It dripped from her knuckles as she clutched the knife. After expelling a labored breath, she tossed the head toward the cave. “I think we both want the same thing, you and I.”

The Teratahrra Fora paced back and forth at the entrance, showing flashes of his pale face.

Salma spent a moment, watching him as he watched her. She then glanced over her shoulder to the guards.

“Ma’am?” one asked.

Salma’s glare hardened. She motioned to the zipper on her gown.

The guard shrugged and did as ordered.

“You came here, hoping for something different, something new.” Salma stepped out of her heels, shimmied her hourglass figure out of the bloody sequin gown. The lotion on her bronze breasts sparkled under the sun. She squared her shoulders, stood naked but proud with her pointy chin in the air. “I can give you tha—”

Teratahrra Fora rushed out of the cave on all fours like a stampeding gorilla. His forehead creased over his coal black eyes. The muscles in his arms, chest, twitched. His tail shot between his legs, planted on the ground, and catapulted him in the air. He landed in front of Salma, scattering up a dust cloud. Before the guards could reach for their firearms, he snatched each one by the throat, all whilst looking into Salma’s eyes.

Salma released a heated breath through her slightly agape lips. She leered at his muscular torso. “Our differences can create something new, something better than either of our species. We can create something special.”

Teratahrra Fora raised the two guards up, the toes of their penny loafers barely scraping the ground. He tightened his grip around their throats. Cartilage popped, crunched. He almost made a compete fist around their necks. Their faces turned purple, heads dangled lifelessly to the side. He released them. Their bodies crumpled to the ground like used wardrobes. He bent forward in Salma’s face. His upper lip flinched and his endless black eyes stared through her.

Salma lifted a shaky hand, cupped his strong jaw. Her skin prickled with goosebumps. “Let’s rule the day… and many to follow.”

Teratahrra Fora calmed, breaths slowing.

“A beauty and her…” Salma’s hand grazed down his toned abs and below his waist. “…beast.”


 


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