I Know What I Saw

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
After a long night at the office, James Erick experiences a horrific and life changing event. This is his story.

Submitted: September 26, 2013

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Submitted: September 26, 2013

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James Erick burst through his apartment door at one o’clock in the morning. Frigid rain pounded his back as it was blown in by the relentless wind, soaking the bristly doormat underneath his feet. He slammed the door shut and hastily walked over to the cramped kitchen. He dropped his shoulder bag full of papers—papers that were now just a soupy mess—on the floor besides the small island counter and took off his jacket. Water droplets fell from the waterproof fabric and landed on the tile floor. On a normal day, he would have grabbed a roll of paper towels and wiped up the mess, but this was not a normal day.

He walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out a chilled can of Coke. His hand shook involuntarily—not from the cans cold aluminum surface. He walked over to the counter and set the can in front of his seat. He wobbled to the sink, across from the island counter, and ran the water. Even though he had been in the rain—nearly soaked to the bone—just a few moments ago, he scooped the slightly chlorinated city water in his hands and splashed it onto his face. He combed his hands through his coarse brown hair, making it look like he had slicked it back with gel. Water dripped off his head and onto the floor. He did not get a towel to wipe it up.

James walked over to the pantry and opened the door. There wasn’t anything ready to eat—unless you wanted to take out the can opener—but he was not hungry in the slightest. He tore off three sheets of paper towels from the roll attached to the wall. He pressed the paper towels against his face to soak up the water. He closed the door and threw the crumpled up ball of damp paper towels into the tin trashcan. He walked in a hazy daze over to the wicker stool and took a seat.

He could not control the shaking in his hands as he slowly reached for the can of soda. Using his left hand for stability, he pulled the tab on the top to open the can. The initial click made him flinch; the violent hiss that followed made him think that it was going to bubble over. The second click of the can was the loudest as the can was opened. The contents of the can fizzed and whispered. Miniscule bubbles leaped from the opening and seemed to vanish into thin air.

John’s grip was tight around the side of the can, almost crushing it in his grasp and forcing the soda to flow up and out. He raised the quivering bottle ever so slowly up to his mouth. He tried to do it faster so the soda wouldn’t come out prematurely, but his arm was barely in his control as it was. When it finally made it to his mouth, the sweet, bubbly liquid flowed between his dry lips and tickled the back of his throat; he did not even taste the sugary flavor of the soft drink. His hand started shaking too violently to control so he moved the can from his mouth. Soda poured from the opening onto his pants without warning, and he stood up as if someone poured hot coals onto his crotch.

“Goddamnit!” he shouted and tried to brush the soda from his pants with his fingertips. He walked over to the pantry again and took out three more sheets of paper towels. He rubbed them on the large damp spot of soda. Before it was even dry, he crumpled the paper towels into a ball and threw them away. His fingers were now sticky from the soda so he walked over to the sink to clean them. When he finished, he walked back to the stool and took a seat. Leaning his left forearm on the smooth countertop, he grabbed the can with his right hand and took another shaky sip of the Coke.

He caught a glimpse of a figure walking gingerly into the room out of the corner of his one bloodshot eye. The figure was cloaked in white. It was his wife, Ashley. She was wearing her soft bathrobe. He loved to snuggle with her when she wore it.

“James?” Ashley’s voice was surprised with a hint of grogginess, nonetheless soft like a mouse’s footsteps. “Why are you home so late?” She rubbed her eye with the back of her hand.

James did not turn his head to see her. He took another sip from the can and set it down carefully. “It was a long day at the office.” He cleared his throat.

Ashley walked with soundless feet across the room to where he sat. She squeaked when her bare feet stepped in the water besides the chair. She looked down. “Where did this water come from?”

“It’s raining cats ‘n dogs out there, haven’t you noticed?” Another sip.

Ashley walked over to the pantry to get a paper towel and noticed the water from the sink on the ground. “What have you been doing in here?” she asked.

James did not answer.

She opened the door and brought out the role of paper towels. She set the cylinder of paper towels on the brown granite counter top, tore off a couple of sheets, and mopped up the water; she returned the roll to the pantry and glared at James.

He tried not to make eye contact, but when he did, he saw that her blue eyes were trying to figure him out.

“So?” she finally said.

“So, what?” James took another drink.

“So, why are you home so late?” She crossed her thin arms under her breasts, pushing them up. James noticed she put most of her weight on her right foot, making her hips jut out on the other side.

He put both of his hands over his eyes. “It’s been pretty busy in the office and I had to do some extra make-up work.” His voice was low and gruff.

Both of them waited in silence for a few more seconds.

Ashley rubbed her thin hand on her chin.

James broke the silence. “If this is about you thinking that I’m cheating, it’s not.”

“I never said that.”

“Then why are you staring at me? You’re making me uncomfortable.” James looked away.

“I’m making you uncomfortable? Why is that?” She walked up to him.

“I’m not cheating, alright?” he said in a shaky voice. Another sip.

“Did I ever accuse you of cheating?” she said. “I’m just a little curious as to why you would feel uncomfortable by my presence.” She made a humorless laugh.

“Don’t do this to me, I had a rough night,” he said and rubbed his eyes.

She put her hand around his arm. “Your suit is soaked. How long were you out in the rain?”

“Too long,” he said and took an obnoxious sip of his Coke. He set it down like a crane placing a steel beam in windy conditions.

“You’re shaky,” she said in a soft voice.

“What makes you think that?” he said.

“Well, by the way you’re handling that can, it looks like you have Parkinson’s.” She chuckled. James did not.

“It’s not that bad,” he said.

“You’re tense and you’re shaking like an earthquake; what’s wrong?” she said. She rubbed her finger slowly on his cheek; gliding over his sand paper like stubble.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said in a monotone voice.

“You come home late, tense and shaky, and you haven’t thought about going to bed yet. I think there’s something that we should talk about,” she said. Her silky blonde hair rubbed against the side of his face.

“I said, I don’t want to talk about it,” he said forcefully and his arm knocked over the Coke can. A small amount of the brown liquid spilled out onto the counter. Ashley took a step back from him out of shock. “Jesus. Look what you made me do!” He started to get up, but Ashley stopped him.

“It’s okay. I’ll clean it up.” She walked over to the pantry and brought back a sheet of paper towels. She sat it flat on top of the spill and the brown liquid spread outwards in all directions as the towel soaked it up. She then scrunched it up and wiped the remaining droplets. She tossed it into the garbage.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have raised my voice.” He started to cry.

Ashley took his hand in hers and rubbed it slowly. Her skin was without a rough patch from her love of hand lotion. James kept a travel-size tube in his pocket at all times in case she ever asked for it.

“What’s the matter, honey,” she said.

“It’s just…I saw something earlier,” he said. He started to shake as if he had a fever and looked around the room anxiously.

Ashley looked at him with a concerned face. “What?” She saw a tear roll down his cheek.

James let out a silent sob.

“Shh-shh-shh. It’s okay.” She gave him a hug; he did not hug her back. She kissed his cheek and tasted the salt from his tear. “Whatever it is, I want to hear it.”

“N-no you don’t,” he sounded scared.

“Yes I do. And from the beginning. Everything.” She ran her fingers through his hair.

James made a sniffle and collected his emotions with a large inhale. He blew the air out in a choppy stream. “Okay. Work was busy. The boss wanted a new project completed to help promote business over seas—particularly Asia. He wanted a synopsis on his desk by ten tomorrow.”

“Today,” she corrected.

“It’s that late?” he said.

“It is,” she said.

“Anyways, he wanted this project done a week ago, but the guys have been slacking off. They say it’s because of the stress that it was taking longer than expected, but I know that they haven’t done shit since it was assigned.” He chuckled. “Since I’m the head of the project, I take the matter into my own hands and say I can get it done.”

“So did you?” she said.

“Yeah, I did. That’s part of the reason I’m so late. I stayed at the office until eleven.” His stare went blank.

“What is it?” she said.

“It’s scary being alone in that building at that time of night.” He paused to take a sip of the soda. “It was around ten-thirty when I heard it.” He shivered.

“Heard what?” she asked.

“I was sitting at the computer, almost loosing my mind from typing for hours on end…” he trailed off. He was staring at the Coke can. He quickly snatched it up and put it to his lips. He tipped it, waiting for the oddly comforting liquid to pour into his mouth. It was empty. He set it down and turned it in a circle.  

“James?” she said and shook his shoulder.

“I heard a door open and click shut. I thought it was one of the night crew cleaning up, so I tried to ignore it and power through my work. Then I heard a noise. It was not a real noise that a person would make, but it was real. I can’t quite describe it because I’ve never heard a sound quite like it in my life. Sitting in my cubicle made its location difficult to pinpoint. I swore I thought it was all around me, but then again, I heard it coming from the hallway fifty percent of the time.”

“So did you find out what it was?” she said. Suddenly a clap of thunder made her jump, latch onto James, and let out shriek. “God, that scared me,” she said.

James did not move or bat an eye.

“When I finished with everything, I printed it out and dropped the copy on the boss’s desk. When I walked out of his office, I heard the strange noise again. Now that I think of it, it sounded like a guttural sound. Something between a pig oinking and a someone choking to death.”

“Oh, God. That sounds awful,” she gasped.

“Yeah, and it was even more frightening being there. I called out asking if anyone was there. No one answered, but the sound persisted. I walked as fast as I could out of there without running.”

John sat in silence. He stared at his folded hands and fingered his wedding band. “I called a cab,” he said and took another pause. “I stood outside of the building alone and in mostly darkness. I waited for the taxi by sitting on a bench. It was so quiet I could barely think. I wanted to hum to myself to pass the time, but I felt like someone was watching me.”

“You felt like you were…being watched?” she said slowly.

“Yes, someone…or something was watching me. So I didn’t hum, just in case it was too dark for them to see where I was. I didn’t want to give out my location. But for some reason, I felt like they already knew where I was. I just knew I wasn’t alone.” A silent tear fell from his left eye.

“So did you find out if someone was actually there?” she said.

“The time sitting on the bench felt like an eternity. I thought I saw a pair of glowing eyes in the distance. I looked at them as they were watching me until they disappeared altogether. Then the cab came and I got in.”

“I bet the driver was none too happy to see you that late,” she laughed.

James laughed with her. “He wasn’t,” he said. “But he was the only way I was getting home so I had to put up with his sarcastic bullshit. Right as I got in, the rain came pouring down after a flash of lightning, before the thunder even sounded. I could barely see out of the windshield, even with the wipers at their highest setting, let alone the driver.”

“Wow, I don’t think I could’ve been able to stand being in that cab in those conditions,” Ashley said.

“Knowing you, you would’ve jumped out and walked the rest of the way home.” They both laughed. “And his music was awfully loud. He would have gotten a ticket if a cop had been around to hear it.”

“That’s why I refuse to get in a cab. The last time I took a ride in a taxi was when you forced me to during that trip to New York City three years ago.”

James took a second of silence. He struggled to get his voice back up to tell the rest of the story. “…Then it happened. Something hit the taxi.”

“Oh my God. Are you all right? Did you get injured?” Ashley moved James’ jacket to look for blood. She lifted his arms up one at a time to test if they were broken.

James waited for her to stop inspecting him. “I think I’m all right.”

“What did you hit?” Ashley said.

“It was something large. We came to a complete stop almost immediately, and I don’t think the taxi driver even punched on the breaks as soon as it hit us.” He was shaking again, more than before. “The car swerved violently to a stop. I could make out an enormous, human like figure squatting on the hood of the car through the water. Then it broke through the window. Glass flew around as if an explosion went off. The taxi driver screamed as the glass sliced into him. I ducked behind the passenger’s seat; the heavy rain came pouring in. I looked up and I could see what it was. It had two arms and two legs like us, but was completely naked. It’s skin seemed leathery and pale. It was bald on top of its skull. Its eyes were the ones I saw in the office and outside, Ashley.” He said, hitting the countertop with his fist for emphasis.

She stared back at him, speechless.

“It had eyes like a cat. It stared at me, not the cab driver.” He started to cry. He could barely speak through his tears. “But the cab driver was screaming and crying too loud for its liking so it—” He stopped to cry the tears of an army recruit who had slain his first victim.

“What did it do?” she said. Tears filled her eyes as well.

“It ran him through with its long claws. They were as long as swords! It had no fingers, just the claws!” He was almost hysterical. “The knife-claw-things went straight through him, Ashley, like a shish kabob; they came out the other end of the seat. It skewered him alive! So much blood…so much blood.” James was starting to choke up from the tears. His face was a brilliant shade of red from trying to strain back the water that ran down his cheeks.

Ashley wiped one side of his face with her bar hand. Then she rubbed her hand on her robe.  

“He stopped screaming after he was—you know. Then the thing pulled his body—still on its claws—out of the car through the broken windshield.” He gave her an example with his hand in the air, like someone pulling their hand back from a mousetrap snapping shut on their fingers. He finally broke down and sobbed into the crook of his arm.

After a minute, Ashley spoke. “Are you sure? Maybe the driver just hit a deer or something and flew out the window from the momentum. That doesn’t sound like anything that exists in real life.”

James looked up at her with bloodshot eyes. “I know what I saw.”

“It’s late and you are tired.” She held up her hand to James’ sweating forehead. “And James, you’re burning up! Maybe the fever made you hallucinate. It happens to everyone.”

I know what I saw.” His face was rock solid and serious. “The thing bit off his head with its massive fangs for teeth. It then made a hideous howling noise, unlike any animal, and jumped higher than a kangaroo. It went straight up into the air as if an invisible cable had raised it. It was gone in a flash and I scrambled out of the car. I tried to turn the keys and ignite the engine, but the battery was fried. The thing must have weighed as much as a car itself because the entire hood was crumpled inward by its impact, as if a meteor had landed on top of it. We were going maybe forty miles an hour. How could anything a little bigger than a human being survive a head-on collision like that? How can someone explain that?”

“Maybe it was a male deer?” she said.

“What?” He said, harshly.

“You know, a buck. Their antlers grow to be very long and could have easily pierced his body from the collision,” she said.

“No. There’s no way that it could have been any animal ever recorded by science. This was a different creature, one that flew under the radar of scientific discovery, and one that has a taste for human flesh. I walked all the way back home in the pouring rain. I was scared to death that this thing would get me too. Run me through like that poor bastard. It spared me, but for how long? I have to go find it before it finds me.” He got up, but Ashley was holding onto his hand.

“You can’t be serious,” she said, tears flowing from her eyes. “After all you went through? You’re lucky to be alive. If what you saw really,” she lowered her voice, “does exist, you’re going to go out there and reface it? What if it kills you this time?” she said.

James pulled his hand from hers; he got up and walked to the closet next to the front door, and opened it. “What if this thing comes back and kills me? And if it comes to kill me, it won’t stop at just me; it will come after you too. And think about all the lives it has taken before. And in the future? This is the only logical action.” He came out of the closet, holding a double barrel shotgun with one hand. “I have to kill it.”

“Where did you get that and how have I never seen it before?” Ashley stood up.

“I always knew you hated guns, so I hid it from you. Don’t worry, this was only meant for intruders.” He opened the gun’s barrel, loaded two red shotgun shells inside, and whipped it back shut with one hand.

Ashley walked towards him. “Don’t leave me, James. I love you and I don’t want you dying before we have a child,” she said and started to cry. She placed her arms around his shoulders.

“Don’t worry Ashley, I can promise you this isn’t the last time you will see me.” He kissed her on the lips and shed a tear. “I don’t want to go and leave you here, but I can’t take you either. This has got to be between me and whatever that thing is.” He took a sniff of her neck. Lavender.

She tightened her embrace, almost to a squeeze. “Please don’t go, I’m begging you!” She cried into his shoulder. He felt her tremble. “I think I might pass out, James.”

“I’ve got you. Walk with me to the couch,” he said and led her by her arm. She sat down and rested herself on the cushions. He propped her head up with a pillow. “Now lay here and go to sleep. It’s past your bedtime young lady,” he said and ran his finger on the bridge of her petite nose. She giggled. “I’ll be back in the morning for breakfast with you.”

Her eyelids grew heavy and he noticed her trouble keeping them open. “Please… Don’t,” she said.

James turned off the lamplight. “Be quiet. You’ll see me in the morning.”

Ashley’s eyes closed and she said nothing else. James rubbed her head with a smooth motion and kissed her hair. He walked over to the door and gripped the doorknob. He turned from the door, looking around the apartment, listening to make sure that the creature had not already broken in. He pulled open the door and noticed the rain had stopped. He grabbed the shotgun with both hands and walked outside. He closed the door slowly so it would not disturb his wife’s slumber.

James Erick burst through his apartment door at one o’clock in the morning. Frigid rain pounded his back as it was blown in by the relentless wind, soaking the bristly doormat underneath his feet. He slammed the door shut and hastily walked over to the cramped kitchen. He dropped his shoulder bag full of papers—papers that were now just a soupy mess—on the floor besides the small island counter and took off his jacket. Water droplets fell from the waterproof fabric and landed on the tile floor. On a normal day, he would have grabbed a roll of paper towels and wiped up the mess, but this was not a normal day.

He walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out a chilled can of Coke. His hand shook involuntarily—not from the cans cold aluminum surface. He walked over to the counter and set the can in front of his seat. He wobbled to the sink, across from the island counter, and ran the water. Even though he had been in the rain—nearly soaked to the bone—just a few moments ago, he scooped the slightly chlorinated city water in his hands and splashed it onto his face. He combed his hands through his coarse brown hair, making it look like he had slicked it back with gel. Water dripped off his head and onto the floor. He did not get a towel to wipe it up.

James walked over to the pantry and opened the door. There wasn’t anything ready to eat—unless you wanted to take out the can opener—but he was not hungry in the slightest. He tore off three sheets of paper towels from the roll attached to the wall. He pressed the paper towels against his face to soak up the water. He closed the door and threw the crumpled up ball of damp paper towels into the tin trashcan. He walked in a hazy daze over to the wicker stool and took a seat.

He could not control the shaking in his hands as he slowly reached for the can of soda. Using his left hand for stability, he pulled the tab on the top to open the can. The initial click made him flinch; the violent hiss that followed made him think that it was going to bubble over. The second click of the can was the loudest as the can was opened. The contents of the can fizzed and whispered. Miniscule bubbles leaped from the opening and seemed to vanish into thin air.

John’s grip was tight around the side of the can, almost crushing it in his grasp and forcing the soda to flow up and out. He raised the quivering bottle ever so slowly up to his mouth. He tried to do it faster so the soda wouldn’t come out prematurely, but his arm was barely in his control as it was. When it finally made it to his mouth, the sweet, bubbly liquid flowed between his dry lips and tickled the back of his throat; he did not even taste the sugary flavor of the soft drink. His hand started shaking too violently to control so he moved the can from his mouth. Soda poured from the opening onto his pants without warning, and he stood up as if someone poured hot coals onto his crotch.

“Goddamnit!” he shouted and tried to brush the soda from his pants with his fingertips. He walked over to the pantry again and took out three more sheets of paper towels. He rubbed them on the large damp spot of soda. Before it was even dry, he crumpled the paper towels into a ball and threw them away. His fingers were now sticky from the soda so he walked over to the sink to clean them. When he finished, he walked back to the stool and took a seat. Leaning his left forearm on the smooth countertop, he grabbed the can with his right hand and took another shaky sip of the Coke.

He caught a glimpse of a figure walking gingerly into the room out of the corner of his one bloodshot eye. The figure was cloaked in white. It was his wife, Ashley. She was wearing her soft bathrobe. He loved to snuggle with her when she wore it.

“James?” Ashley’s voice was surprised with a hint of grogginess, nonetheless soft like a mouse’s footsteps. “Why are you home so late?” She rubbed her eye with the back of her hand.

James did not turn his head to see her. He took another sip from the can and set it down carefully. “It was a long day at the office.” He cleared his throat.

Ashley walked with soundless feet across the room to where he sat. She squeaked when her bare feet stepped in the water besides the chair. She looked down. “Where did this water come from?”

“It’s raining cats ‘n dogs out there, haven’t you noticed?” Another sip.

Ashley walked over to the pantry to get a paper towel and noticed the water from the sink on the ground. “What have you been doing in here?” she asked.

James did not answer.

She opened the door and brought out the role of paper towels. She set the cylinder of paper towels on the brown granite counter top, tore off a couple of sheets, and mopped up the water; she returned the roll to the pantry and glared at James.

He tried not to make eye contact, but when he did, he saw that her blue eyes were trying to figure him out.

“So?” she finally said.

“So, what?” James took another drink.

“So, why are you home so late?” She crossed her thin arms under her breasts, pushing them up. James noticed she put most of her weight on her right foot, making her hips jutted out on the other side.

He put both of his hands over his eyes. “It’s been pretty busy in the office and I had to do some extra make-up work.” His voice was low and gruff.

Both of them waited in silence for a few more seconds.

Ashley rubbed her thin hand on her chin.

James broke the silence. “If this is about you thinking that I’m cheating, it’s not.”

“I never said that.”

“Then why are you staring at me? You’re making me uncomfortable.” James looked away.

“I’m making you uncomfortable? Why is that?” She walked up to him.

“I’m not cheating, alright?” he said in a shaky voice. Another sip.

“Did I ever accuse you of cheating?” she said. “I’m just a little curious as to why you would feel uncomfortable by my presence.” She made a humorless laugh.

“Don’t do this to me, I had a rough night,” he said and rubbed his eyes.

She put her hand around his arm. “Your suit is soaked. How long were you out in the rain?”

“Too long,” he said and took an obnoxious sip of his Coke. He set it down like a crane placing a steel beam in windy conditions.

“You’re shaky,” she said in a soft voice.

“What makes you think that?” he said.

“Well, by the way you’re handling that can, it looks like you have Parkinson’s.” She chuckled. James did not.

“It’s not that bad,” he said.

“You’re tense and you’re shaking like an earthquake; what’s wrong?” she said. She rubbed her finger slowly on his cheek; gliding over his sand paper like stubble.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said in a monotone voice.

“You come home late, tense and shaky, and you haven’t thought about going to bed yet. I think there’s something that we should talk about,” she said. Her silky blonde hair rubbed against the side of his face.

“I said, I don’t want to talk about it,” he said forcefully and his arm knocked over the Coke can. A small amount of the brown liquid spilled out onto the counter. Ashley took a step back from him out of shock. “Jesus. Look what you made me do!” He started to get up, but Ashley stopped him.

“It’s okay. I’ll clean it up.” She walked over to the pantry and brought back a sheet of paper towels. She sat it flat on top of the spill and the brown liquid spread outwards in all directions as the towel soaked it up. She then scrunched it up and wiped the remaining droplets. She tossed it into the garbage.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have raised my voice.” He started to cry.

Ashley took his hand in hers and rubbed it slowly. Her skin was without a rough patch from her love of hand lotion. James kept a travel-size tube in his pocket at all times in case she ever asked for it.

“What’s the matter, honey,” she said.

“It’s just…I saw something earlier,” he said. He started to shake as if he had a fever and looked around the room anxiously.

Ashley looked at him with a concerned face. “What?” She saw a tear roll down his cheek.

James let out a silent sob.

“Shh-shh-shh. It’s okay.” She gave him a hug; he did not hug her back. She kissed his cheek and tasted the salt from his tear. “Whatever it is, I want to hear it.”

“N-no you don’t,” he sounded scared.

“Yes I do. And from the beginning. Everything.” She ran her fingers through his hair.

James made a sniffle and collected his emotions with a large inhale. He blew the air out in a choppy stream. “Okay. Work was busy. The boss wanted a new project completed to help promote business over seas—particularly Asia. He wanted a synopsis on his desk by ten tomorrow.”

“Today,” she corrected.

“It’s that late?” he said.

“It is,” she said.

“Anyways, he wanted this project done a week ago, but the guys have been slacking off. They say it’s because of the stress that it was taking longer than expected, but I know that they haven’t done shit since it was assigned.” He chuckled. “Since I’m the head of the project, I take the matter into my own hands and say I can get it done.”

“So did you?” she said.

“Yeah, I did. That’s part of the reason I’m so late. I stayed at the office until eleven.” His stare went blank.

“What is it?” she said.

“It’s scary being alone in that building at that time of night.” He paused to take a sip of the soda. “It was around ten-thirty when I heard it.” He shivered.

“Heard what?” she asked.

“I was sitting at the computer, almost loosing my mind from typing for hours on end…” he trailed off. He was staring at the Coke can. He quickly snatched it up and put it to his lips. He tipped it, waiting for the oddly comforting liquid to pour into his mouth. It was empty. He set it down and turned it in a circle.  

“James?” she said and shook his shoulder.

“I heard a door open and click shut. I thought it was one of the night crew cleaning up, so I tried to ignore it and power through my work. Then I heard a noise. It was not a real noise that a person would make, but it was real. I can’t quite describe it because I’ve never heard a sound quite like it in my life. Sitting in my cubicle made its location difficult to pinpoint. I swore I thought it was all around me, but then again, I heard it coming from the hallway fifty percent of the time.”

“So did you find out what it was?” she said. Suddenly a clap of thunder made her jump, latch onto James, and let out shriek. “God, that scared me,” she said.

James did not move or bat an eye.

“When I finished with everything, I printed it out and dropped the copy on the boss’s desk. When I walked out of his office, I heard the strange noise again. Now that I think of it, it sounded like a guttural sound. Something between a pig oinking and a someone choking to death.”

“Oh, God. That sounds awful,” she gasped.

“Yeah, and it was even more frightening being there. I called out asking if anyone was there. No one answered, but the sound persisted. I walked as fast as I could out of there without running.”

John sat in silence. He stared at his folded hands and fingered his wedding band. “I called a cab,” he said and took another pause. “I stood outside of the building alone and in mostly darkness. I waited for the taxi by sitting on a bench. It was so quiet I could barely think. I wanted to hum to myself to pass the time, but I felt like someone was watching me.”

“You felt like you were…being watched?” she said slowly.

“Yes, someone…or something was watching me. So I didn’t hum, just in case it was too dark for them to see where I was. I didn’t want to give out my location. But for some reason, I felt like they already knew where I was. I just knew I wasn’t alone.” A silent tear fell from his left eye.

“So did you find out if someone was actually there?” she said.

“The time sitting on the bench felt like an eternity. I thought I saw a pair of glowing eyes in the distance. I looked at them as they were watching me until they disappeared altogether. Then the cab came and I got in.”

“I bet the driver was none too happy to see you that late,” she laughed.

James laughed with her. “He wasn’t,” he said. “But he was the only way I was getting home so I had to put up with his sarcastic bullshit. Right as I got in, the rain came pouring down after a flash of lightning, before the thunder even sounded. I could barely see out of the windshield, even with the wipers at their highest setting, let alone the driver.”

“Wow, I don’t think I could’ve been able to stand being in that cab in those conditions,” Ashley said.

“Knowing you, you would’ve jumped out and walked the rest of the way home.” They both laughed. “And his music was awfully loud. He would have gotten a ticket if a cop had been around to hear it.”

“That’s why I refuse to get in a cab. The last time I took a ride in a taxi was when you forced me to during that trip to New York City three years ago.”

James took a second of silence. He struggled to get his voice back up to tell the rest of the story. “…Then it happened. Something hit the taxi.”

“Oh my God. Are you all right? Did you get injured?” Ashley moved James’ jacket to look for blood. She lifted his arms up one at a time to test if they were broken.

James waited for her to stop inspecting him. “I think I’m all right.”

“What did you hit?” Ashley said.

“It was something large. We came to a complete stop almost immediately, and I don’t think the taxi driver even punched on the breaks as soon as it hit us.” He was shaking again, more than before. “The car swerved violently to a stop. I could make out an enormous, human like figure squatting on the hood of the car through the water. Then it broke through the window. Glass flew around as if an explosion went off. The taxi driver screamed as the glass sliced into him. I ducked behind the passenger’s seat; the heavy rain came pouring in. I looked up and I could see what it was. It had two arms and two legs like us, but was completely naked. It’s skin seemed leathery and pale. It was bald on top of its skull. Its eyes were the ones I saw in the office and outside, Ashley.” He said, hitting the countertop with his fist for emphasis.

She stared back at him, speechless.

“It had eyes like a cat. It stared at me, not the cab driver.” He started to cry. He could barely speak through his tears. “But the cab driver was screaming and crying too loud for its liking so it—” He stopped to cry the tears of an army recruit who had slain his first victim.

“What did it do?” she said. Tears filled here eyes as well.

“It ran him through with its long claws. They were as long as swords! It had no fingers, just the claws!” He was almost hysterical. “The knife-claw-things went straight through him, Ashley, like a shish kabob; they came out the other end of the seat. It skewered him alive! So much blood…so much blood.” James was starting to choke up from the tears. His face was a brilliant shade of red from trying to strain back the water that ran down his cheeks.

Ashley wiped one side of his face with her bar hand. Then she rubbed her hand on her robe.  

“He stopped screaming after he was—you know. Then the thing pulled his body—still on its claws—out of the car through the broken windshield.” He gave her an example with his hand in the air, like someone pulling their hand back from a mousetrap snapping shut on their fingers. He finally broke down and sobbed into the crook of his arm.

After a minute, Ashley spoke. “Are you sure? Maybe the driver just hit a deer or something and flew out the window from the momentum. That doesn’t sound like anything that exists in real life.”

James looked up at her with bloodshot eyes. “I know what I saw.”

“It’s late and you are tired.” She held up her hand to James’ sweating forehead. “And James, you’re burning up! Maybe the fever made you hallucinate. It happens to everyone.”

I know what I saw.” His face was rock solid and serious. “The thing bit off his head with its massive fangs for teeth. It then made a hideous howling noise, unlike any animal, and jumped higher than a kangaroo. It went straight up into the air as if an invisible cable had raised it. It was gone in a flash and I scrambled out of the car. I tried to turn the keys and ignite the engine, but the battery was fried. The thing must have weighed as much as a car itself because the entire hood was crumpled inward by its impact, as if a meteor had landed on top of it. We were going maybe forty miles an hour. How could anything a little bigger than a human being survive a head-on collision like that? How can someone explain that?”

“Maybe it was a male deer?” she said.

“What?” He said, harshly.

“You know, a buck. Their antlers grow to be very long and could have easily pierced his body from the collision,” she said.

“No. There’s no way that it could have been any animal ever recorded by science. This was a different creature, one that flew under the radar of scientific discovery, and one that has a taste for human flesh. I walked all the way back home in the pouring rain. I was scared to death that this thing would get me too. Run me through like that poor bastard. It spared me, but for how long? I have to go find it before it finds me.” He got up, but Ashley was holding onto his hand.

“You can’t be serious,” she said, tears flowing from her eyes. “After all you went through? You’re lucky to be alive. If what you saw really,” she lowered her voice, “does exist, you’re going to go out there and reface it? What if it kills you this time?” she said.

James pulled his hand from hers; he got up and walked to the closet next to the front door, and opened it. “What if this thing comes back and kills me? And if it comes to kill me, it won’t stop at just me; it will come after you too. And think about all the lives it has taken before. And in the future? This is the only logical action.” He came out of the closet, holding a double barrel shotgun with one hand. “I have to kill it.”

“Where did you get that and how have I never seen it before?” Ashley stood up.

“I always knew you hated guns, so I hid it from you. Don’t worry, this was only meant for intruders.” He opened the gun’s barrel, loaded two red shotgun shells inside, and whipped it back shut with one hand.

Ashley walked towards him. “Don’t leave me, James. I love you and I don’t want you dying before we have a child,” she said and started to cry. She placed her arms around his shoulders.

“Don’t worry Ashley, I can promise you this isn’t the last time you will see me.” He kissed her on the lips and shed a tear. “I don’t want to go and leave you here, but I can’t take you either. This has got to be between me and whatever that thing is.” He took a sniff of her neck. Lavender.

She tightened her embrace, almost to a squeeze. “Please don’t go, I’m begging you!” She cried into his shoulder. He felt her tremble. “I think I might pass out, James.”

“I’ve got you. Walk with me to the couch,” he said and led her by her arm. She sat down and rested herself on the cushions. He propped her head up with a pillow. “Now lay here and go to sleep. It’s past your bedtime young lady,” he said and ran his finger on the bridge of her petite nose. She giggled. “I’ll be back in the morning for breakfast with you.”

Her eyelids grew heavy and he noticed her trouble keeping them open. “Please… Don’t,” she said.

James turned off the lamplight. “Be quiet. You’ll see me in the morning.”

Ashley’s eyes closed and she said nothing else. James rubbed her head with a smooth motion and kissed her hair. He walked over to the door and gripped the doorknob. He turned from the door, looking around the apartment, listening to make sure that the creature had not already broken in. He pulled open the door and noticed the rain had stopped. He grabbed the shotgun with both hands and walked outside. He closed the door slowly so it would not disturb his wife’s slumber.


© Copyright 2020 AlexGrey1. All rights reserved.

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