The B.E.C.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
My first short story, based around an existing urban legend - comments gratefully received!

Sarah's day was getting worse and worse, but a strange encounter was about to change everything - forever.

Submitted: January 19, 2015

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 19, 2015

A A A

A A A


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The B.E.C.

By Adrian Hunt

From the deep shadows, he watches as she emerges into the night. He has chosen many before her; and he will choose others. As she stands beneath the shelter of the canopy wishing her friends and colleagues a fun weekend, he emerges in silence from the darkness and carefully positions his trap beneath the rear wheel of the waiting Prius. He can predict the place that she will be forced to stop,

and he will be waiting...

** *

The sound of the rain against the window mingled with the creaking and whistling in the boughs of the trees. The mild, dry autumn had turned suddenly tonight; catching everyone at the office off guard – and without umbrellas. Sarah sighed and regarded her reflection in the rear-view mirror. Most of her mousy-blonde hair had remained held up in her hair clip, but the blustering wind had blown it into a pretty tangled affair; and the relentless rain had soaked it through to a dark, dripping mess. 'FUBAR', Sarah thought.

Sarah turned the heaters up to full and turned the key in the ignition. If she was going to be stuck sitting here for ages waiting for her knight in shining high visibility jacket to rescue her, she was sure as hell going to be warm. She had considered sorting the flat tyre herself – there was a jack and a spare in the boot – but the rapidly descending nightfall had been hastened by the poor weather and she just didn’t feel safe.

Not that James cared.

What sort of asshole would leave his girlfriend stranded on a dark road in this weather with a flat tyre? The sort that was sitting in her warm flat, playing stupid video games that’s what. James didn’t know it yet, but he was so dumped.

How long had it been? Must be at least twenty minutes by now. Sarah checked the time on the dashboard – ten minutes? Time was dragging. She had known that today was going to be bad from the start. Sometimes you just know that. Maybe you drop your toast and it lands butter side down – everyone knows it will– but sometimes you just know that this time it was because today was going to be a bad day; and a bad day could quickly become FUBAR - Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.

From the radio Sarah caught the opening riff from ‘Under The Bridge’ and turned the volume up, but she was quickly disappointed to find that this was the 'All Saints' cover, not the 'Chilli’s' original. Sarah rolled her eyes and leaned back into her seat, turning her attention to the raindrop race that was being played out on her driver's door window. Drop one on the left had stalled and was in serious danger of being swallowed whole by a larger drop below. She half-willed it to get going again but it was past the point of no return. Meanwhile drops two and three were about to merge into a super-drop that would be set to break all drop speed records.

As she gazed, the window suddenly illuminated into a twinkling canvas of raindrop stars as they were caught by the headlights of a passing 4x4, which cast sweeping elongated shadows across the outside world from the trees and bushes. Sarah saw something that made her start.

The light had passed, and the world was dark again, but had there been someone out there? Sarah thought not, but the shock of thinking she may have seen a dark figure out somewhere in the pouring rain had left her blood cold. She tried to see it again, straining in the darkness and driving rain; and thought she did for a moment, then the next she could see nothing. It may have been all in her mind; and yet she even thought she could hear…

TAP-TAP!

Sarah’s heart leapt in her throat…

…then immediately, it melted.

Standing in the pouring rain; his small face mostly covered by his little rain-soaked Spiderman hoodie was a small boy - no older than five years.

Sarah didn’t hesitate; didn’t register the nagging unease that tugged at her subconscious mind. It didn’t even occur to Sarah how this was completely, absolutely, totally FUBAR.

She simply did what any caring woman would - leaned across and opened the door.

 

* **

 

Houndog369 was history and so was Crai9theB055 – a well-placed claymore mine had sorted that. James glanced away from the screen again and checked his wristwatch; the AA must be taking their time. He half considered calling Sarah but that would surely result in another ear-bending, so he thought twice about that one. No, just be grateful for the extra man-cave time and take the slating later.

The screen faded to red. Someone had taken him out with a headshot, then the clock counted the last few seconds and the stats screen was displayed. Despite the last minute kill, James was top dog in that round.

Should he text her? That seemed like a safe option. If she gave him a bashing by text, at least he would have time to think of a witty reply. He reached for his phone.

 

‘Hey babe. Need me to call AA? Luv ya x’

 

Safest bet, pretend like everything was fine. Then he had the ‘I just didn’t think’ defence for later.

He picked up the controller again, and hit ‘start’.

 

* **

 

Something about this kid wasn’t right, but Sarah couldn’t pinpoint what it was. His request had been perfectly reasonable and his story plausible, but there was just something about the way he spoke. Not an accent – though that was not local, just a sort of generic English - it was the kind of language he used that made him seem too old somehow. To Sarah, it felt like she was speaking with someone much older even than she was. ‘I have lost my mother’, he had said, ‘Do you think I could take some shelter with you while I wait for her?’ Sarah’s guard had gone up straight away and despite the weather, her first instinct was to slam the door again. Having seemingly sensed her hesitation, the boy had become a little more insistent.

‘I really am very wet and afraid of the dark; please allow me to have some refuge from this rain’. Almost without wanting to, Sarah had found herself pushing the door open wider. Her temporary resistance had dissipated, and with a shaky voice she answered.

‘Of course, get in’.

That had been almost fifteen minutes ago, and since then he had sat in the passenger seat staring downwards with his hood pulled low over his face; and Sarah had sat bolt upright, staring at him. It took a while for her to realise that she had slowly moved her hand and it was now resting on the door handle. When the boy finally spoke again, Sarah nearly jumped out of her skin. “Did you see the news today?” He inquired. “It would seem that the arctic ice has receded very much indeed. Are you concerned?” That voice! The eloquent way in which he phrased his sentences was years ahead of his apparent age. Sarah’s voice was only just more than a whisper when she answered,

“Y-Yes, yes I am. That’s why I drive this thing. It uses less petrol, better for the environment”.

“I am pleased to hear that”, came the reply. The boy slowly lifted his little hands and pulled back the hood, revealing a head of perfectly straight dark-brown hair that was cut to a long, straight fringe. “It is one of the reasons that I chose you – though your efforts are futile, you care at least.”

Sarah’s blood ran cold. “Chose me? Futile?”

 The boy turned to face her.

Sarah Screamed.

 

* **

 

She was ignoring him. He guessed he deserved it. He got up, switched off the console and stretched his arms above his head. Now that he was out of game-world he felt the heavy knot of guilt in his stomach, after all it had been more than two hours since Sarah had made her distress call. But really, what could he have done? He didn’t have a car and had never changed a flat tyre before. He would have had no clue what to do anyway.

But his Dad would. He rolled his eyes and reached for his phone.

James pulled on his jacket and boots while he made the call to his Dad, and was trying to get Sarah to answer when he saw the blue Kia estate pull into the street from the window. He gave up on getting through to Sarah, snatched up his keys and made for the door. As he reached for the handle and swung the door open, two things happened.

Firstly, James gasped and jumped almost out of his skin at the two small figures – children of about five or six years – standing in front of him, dropping his phone.

 Secondly, on its way to the floor the phone beeped as a message came in.

A message from Sarah.

 

* **

 

Sarah was still in shock at the sight of the child in front of her. His face was somehow aged, yet childish at the same time - and those eyes! They filled the sockets with impenetrable blackness that violated the little remaining humanity of his face. Sarah was sure there must be some condition or something that had caused this. Was the boy blind? She didn’t think so - he seemed to be staring straight at her. The urge to flee into the pouring rain was strong, yet at the same time Sarah could not move a muscle. The bizarre conversation that she had just had still echoed in her mind, and a million questions buzzed around her head like bees in a hive.

“You are quite like us” the black eyed child had said. “However you do not understand this world as we do”. Sarah struggled to comprehend. The child went on. “There is no hope for you here. Your only hope lies with us”.

Then the child, his black eyes staring earnestly up from the passenger seat, had made Sarah an offer.

 

* **

 

‘An offer I couldn’t refuse’ James thought.

His heart was still beating fast from the nightmare. It had been almost six months since the night Sarah had disappeared – the night of the black eyed children.

James had researched them for hours every day since they appeared at the door that night - the internet was full of stories about them - and they haunted his dreams endlessly. The boy and girl at the door had given him the fright of his life, and those eyes…those horrible eyes… James thought they would remain imprinted in his mind forever.

Then there was Sarah’s text.

His phone’s screen had shattered completely when it had fallen from his startled hand that night. It had been a full week before he had been able to get it fixed and finally read the message that he had so narrowly missed. Reading it had given him the creeps.

‘J, you might b an idiot, but I love you. You won’t see me again, unless they come for you too, then who knows? I’m sorry 2 say goodbye like this. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse’

 

James didn’t understand most of it, except for the obvious message that Sarah was gone.

He yawned widely now and swung around to sit on the edge of the bed. The room was far too warm and he felt hot and clammy. On tired legs he padded across to the window and looked out to where it seemed the sun would soon be rising behind the angled shapes of the city skyline. The morning sky was ablaze with a strange fiery-orange glow and a shimmering distortion that reminded him of heat waves on desert roads that he had seen in movies. He glanced at the clock and frowned. One-thirty-six?

It was way too early for sunrise, yet there it was; and ferociously hot. James was tired and struggling to figure any of this out; but as he stood confused, the sweat beading on his forehead, there was an event unfolding. This event had begun many millions of years ago, far below the seething plasma of the sun’s outer surface. Like tangled rubber bands, electromagnetic fields were twisting and stretching, looping across the surface and becoming more and more complex and strained.

Soon, they would snap.

James knew none of this. Standing in his shorts and gazing out at the rapidly baking world outside, he was aware only of the prickly warmth that made his skin sweat and itch; and of the strange way that the scene before him was becoming rapidly brighter.

It was then that he felt the real heat, and had just time to think one last fleeting thought – one of the last ever thoughts on the unfortunate planet Earth – before the searing red-orange wave engulfed him,

‘This shit is seriously FUBAR…’

 

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© Adrian Hunt. All rights reserved.


© Copyright 2017 Adrian Hunt. All rights reserved.

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