Monster: A Devil's Tale

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
An man living in a small town grows tired with everyday life and decides to mix things up with disastrous results.

Submitted: June 10, 2012

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Submitted: June 10, 2012

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Monster: A devil’s tale Michael Keeney

It was a horrible looking thing, I told them while they scratched their heads.

“Like something out of a nightmare.”

This was back before everything got out of hand. Maybe it was out of boredom, maybe I just wanted to shake things up. Fear is the only emotion that people try to avoid, so it’s natural to want to exploit that.

Either way, this is what they mean by crying wolf.

By now, all of the dried hay is catching. The room is completely black and the smoke hangs in the air like humidity. My cheap plastic mask has started melting to the skin on my face, but every time I try to scream I choke on the smoke.

“It didn’t have fur, and I wouldn’t call it skin either,” I explained. “It was rough like leather, and it had glowing yellow eyes. It wasn’t huge, but it was still pretty big. It either had antlers, or horns, but it was standing upright. And this thing had claws like you wouldn’t believe.” I rolled up the sleeve on my ripped green and brown flannel shirt and showed the dumbfounded cops the scratches from that fucking dog that attacked me.

I looked one of the cops in the eye, “Like you wouldn’t believe.”

No one took me seriously that night; I was laughed out of the station by every pig in the building. But that only got me angry, like when you get caught in a lie that you’re so committed to, that you actually get angry at the person who doesn’t believe you. Anger is a powerful motivator.

But no one gives a shit about a dog bite, it’s too plain, too every day. I was just being creative, and look where it’s got me. The smoke is so thick and black that I cant see the flames anymore, its just a dim orange light that keeps fading.

A few months ago, I was out in same end of the field where I’ve reported all the sightings, trying my hardest to make some sort of foreign foot print for the local news to find the next day when I call it in. After getting laughed out of the sheriff’s station, I called them from a different pay phone every few days to report another strange creature lurking by the tree line in the field. They looked into it, never found anything, and gave up. So I called the local news. By the third week after my first report, the creature was mentioned on page one. They called it, “The Darlington Devil.”

i hate that name.

I jammed the hoof print design I carved into the soft dirt enough to make a deep impression. I pressed the heel of the wooden hoof into the dirt first, and slowly brought the rest of it down into the mud. This may be the first foot print this thing is going to leave behind, but I still had to make it look good.

By the next morning, there were two local news vans parked by the field, and one out of town station I didn’t recognize. The sign on the side of the van said they’re from the “City News”. The rest of the town was behind the sheriff’s perimeter, trying their hardest to see what all the officers were huddled around, still scratching their heads.

Weeks later, Mrs. Lofaso’s little dog went missing. She lived on the edge of town, until they found her dog, Bailey. After that, she was so spooked that her house was empty by the next night. Her white and black spotted little terrier was found with its skull crushed by a rock, and its stomach ripped open, all of its guts were missing. All that was left was a hollow shell of a dog with red and black fur.

I even picked the bones out of that thing.

For months now The Darlington Devil has been mentioned on the news every night. It has been in every local news paper and town magazine. Once the sun goes down, give it an hour and this town will look empty. People locked inside their houses, barricaded behind their bedroom doors, just praying for the sun to come up.

Some nights, I will go out in a Halloween mask of a demon with big horns and deep yellow eyes. It has a big furry snout with a gold ring looping between both nostrils and big snarling fang poking out of bloody red gums. Around the rough leathery skin of the face is thick black fur. It’s a frightening mask.

I will wander around neighborhoods near wooded areas and poke my head around the outside of someone’s window. That will always get a good scream. It also takes a lot of the pressure off of me having to call every little thing in.

Other nights I go around scratching strange marks into sheds, houses, barns, garages and trees, anything that will get noticed quickly enough. The worst is having to wait around for a few days before something gets noticed. After so many anonymous calls, every pay phone and phone booth in town was taken down. But the calls kept coming.

Word of mouth takes over after a certain point, and everything just spirals downward. If you talked to every one in this town, half of the people would say they’ve seen the devil. Out of all the people that say they’ve seen it, another half will tell you they’ve been attacked by it.

People that have never had pets will say, “Yup, my dog got taken by the devil last week.” They lie and tell you, “Found its mangled body out past my shed, with some strange scratches carved into the doors.” Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

After so many stupid footprints, and all the cheesy scratch marks, it all seemed a little played out. Even dead pets were getting boring. You can only fillet so many critters until you start wanting something more, something bigger. And it wasn’t until I met Justin Crawl that I knew what the devil really needed to do.

Justin Clancy Crawl was from the City News; the van I didn’t recognize. It seemed his only reason for being here was to prove this whole thing as a hoax. It was a very hot day the first time we met. I was on my front porch reading a column in the local tabloids that read, “Body found mutilated by The Darlington Devil.”

My nose was down in the article and I was reading the line, “The disemboweled body was also found sodomized.”

When I heard a rough voice say, “William Zeebra?’

Most reporters would die for a story like this. A chance to blow the lid off a hoax this big is a journalist’s wet dream. Darlington has become something of a ghost town since the devil came along, and Justin Crawl was just itching to be the hero it needed.

On my front porch, he asks, “Can I take a seat?” And he sits down anyways. Before he pulls out a little notepad from the inside pocket of his jean jacket, he kicks off his boots and says, “So It is my understanding that you were one of the first people to actually see,” he raises up his fingers in little quotation marks, “The Darlington Devil.”

That name still makes me cringe. “No,” I say. “I was attacked by it.”

I roll up the sleeve on my red and orange flannel shirt and show him the fading scratches from the stray dog.

“Claws like you wouldn’t believe,” I say.

Nobody remembers who the first person was to see a Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster. It’s pretty god damn hard tracing these things back to the source, but Justin Crawl is doing a heckuva job. I feel bad for the sad sack that invented Bigfoot, always having to run around in a big gorilla costume, trying to keep up appearances without getting shot. No one’s seen the Loch Ness Monster in years because that guy probably drowned from trying to swim around in his costume.

He reaches in his right front jacket pocket and takes out a pack of cigarettes. “Ouch,” he says, sliding the cellophane off of the bottom of his pack. He leans back in the seat, grips the plastic between the index finger and the thumb of both hands and pulls it tight. “Want to tell me how that happened?” he asks, and wedges the tightened cellophane between his teeth.

I’ve memorized this story by now, so I tell him all about my encounter with the devil. I leave out the part that these scratches were from a stray dog. I don’t tell him about much fun the devil had ripping that same stray dog to pieces only a few nights later. Hoof prints take forever to make, people usually scream before they actually see what’s roaring outside of their window. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, and chaos is all you have left. And you, Justin Clancy Crawl will be the devils first victim.

But I don’t tell him this. Instead, I shake his hand and watch him walk away, down off of my porch and into his car. The cellophane he flossed with blows off my porch after him.

The next day I was in the trapping aisle of the sporting goods store buying the biggest clawed bear trap I could find. Preparation is the most time consuming part of any hoax. It could take all night to plan it, but only take an hour or so to carry it out.

Look at crop circles, you can make one of those in two hours with a 2x4 and a rope. But drawing it out, mapping the angles and the turns, coming up with the design, diagramming it over and over could take weeks.

I finally found the biggest steel trap with 10 razor sharp edges that rise up to make little teeth, perfect for what I needed it for. He’ll never see it coming. I could only guess where that smug asshole reporter will be that night, probably poking around my field, trying to disprove my monster.

He never saw me hiding out in the darkness of the tree line. He never heard me sneaking up behind him, with the big metal bear trap locked back and ready to spring closed. Not until I slammed the release pad on his shoulder and the teeth fly forward tearing into his skin did he even know what was going on.

He struggled more than I anticipated, so I pulled out my devil’s claw that I made for scratching all the sheds and slashed it across his face, leaving a trail of shredded skin and blood running down his face.

He screamed loudly, still pulling at the bear trap digging into his left shoulder. I could already see the life draining from his eyes, he almost looked surprised to see me. He is covered in blood and it’s getting hard to tell where the wounds are. I slashed my claws at his face over and over again, battering it into an unrecognizable tattered mash of blood and bone.

Once he stopped kicking and screaming, I pried the trap from his shoulder locking it back into place. I had to close it on him at least 5 or 6 more times to make this look convincing. By the time I’m done, it looks like Justin Crawl has been mauled by a bear, or a devil.

Just for a final touch, I made a series of hoof prints around his body. My masterpiece was complete. And when I woke up in the next morning, there was only a small article in the news paper about a body found in the woods under, “unusual circumstances”. However, rumors were spreading through the town like wildfire. No one was out that day, but there was not one news paper on a single doorstep. The few people that were out had cleared the streets before dark, and by 8pm that night everyone in town was locked safely behind a deadbolt.

People need demons to fight, a common enemy brings people together.

After the devil claimed his second, third and then fourth victim, people in town took matters into their own hands and started forming watch groups which they called, “The Devil Hunters”. Most of them carried baseball bats or crowbars. Others had ropes and chains, a good old fashioned lynching mob. They would patrol the streets after dark in their jeeps and trucks with their spot lights mounted on their side mirrors, shinning them into the woods as the drove slowly past.

They bang on the side of their trucks with two-by-fours yelling, “Come out, come out where ever you are!”

This makes it impossible for the devil to get anything done.

On my last night out, I pulled out all of the stops. I took my claw, my devil mask, my foot print. I even took out the bear trap, which is a bitch to lug around.

While walking along the sidewalk, past the uni mart in town, I ran into Mrs. Shirley Wintergate; the town’s kind hearted piano teacher. She was a nice older woman, mid 40’s I would say. She had the most beautiful blue eye’s that faded to a light grey as she choked on her last breath. The teeth on the trap tore deep in to her throat, tearing the skin around the wound in a grizzly fashion. She tried to scream, but all that came out was a gurgle of blood.

The sound of the metal arms on the trap slamming down must have given my location away, before I could even pull it out of her throat I saw my shadow, the shadow of the devil in front of me from the spotlight closing in behind me. I must have been too loud.

I heard a voice yell, “We got him now boys!” Someone cheers.

Someone else in the mob yells, “Holy shit, Mrs. W!” And the energy turns from excitement, to rage.

I couldn’t move, like a deer in the headlights, or the devil in the headlights. It wasn’t until I heard the first shot that I finally left her body laying in on the side of the road and ran up into the woods. Footsteps are catching up behind me, and the truck slams to a halt down on the road.

“Get that fucker!” A voice yells. Someone takes another shot that whizzes past and explodes through a tree next to me. It would be easier to run without this mask, but I don’t dare take it off now. Not with the angry mob gaining on me.

A voice behind me hollers, “What kind of monster?”

I ran and I ran, until I couldn’t feel myself breathing anymore. The only thing I saw was the rickety old farmhouse growing in the distance. More shots were ringing off behind me, but I kept running a straight line. My knees were beginning to buckle and my legs were on fire; there was a sharp pain in the back of my right calf that was growing worse, but I could only keep running.

Not until I ran through the barn doors and secured them did I notice the bullet wound in my calf, the sharp pain. Blood was dripping down my leg and soaking through my pant leg. I couldn’t scream, there wasn’t enough air in my lungs. All I can do was crumble to the floor and roll around in pain. I’m still wearing my costume in fear of someone spotting me, I still have hope of escaping.

The crowd has surrounded the barn and are beating on the doors, the aged block of wood locking them closed wouldn’t hold for long. The roar of the crowd has a wicked tone to it, people want revenge.

An angry voiced shouts, “Light it up!”

Through the cracks in the wood, I see one big flame in the center of the crowd that people were gathering around. Several smaller flames appear and bound off over to their own side of the barn. As the flames lower to the dried wood, smoke starts to spew from the corners of the room. It wasn’t long before more flames formed and spread around the perimeter, trapping me in the center of the barn. Gun shots ring out and bullets fly through the burning wood walls. A single torch flies through a window and lands near a pile of hay, igniting it instantly. The mob outside cheers and more bullets fly through the walls.

I stand up in the middle of the flames and bullets, in a thick cloud of smoke I hear the bullets sling by before I hear the gunshots. I’m struck by two more of them, one in the left shoulder and one in the stomach. I shriek loudly and the crowd outside hears the first real sounds from the devil. The roars from the mob hushes silent and everyone listens closely to hear me die.

As the mask melts around my face, I scream again, spewing out smoke and blood. The metal claws on my hand are red hot and have fused to my fingers, with the skin still bubbling around the wounds. I stumble towards the smoldering doors, leaving a thick trail of blood behind me.

People will assume I was crazy, that this was a sick game acted out by a mad man. But the truth is, I was just bored. I was bored with seeing the same thing day in and day out. I was bored with living next to the same people all of my life, with driving down the same streets, shopping at the same stores. People are not meant to live so docile.

I burst through the doors, smashing them in an explosion of flaming wood chips. The crowd gasps simultaneously as I lurch towards them, everyone taking a step back together. My entire body is smoldering. The mask, my new face is dripping with blood and every time I breathe, smokes billows out from between the fangs of my new teeth. People in the crowd pray, others scream, some cry.

A woman’s voice yells, “Oh my God!” And I can’t help but laugh.

On the outskirts of town, there is a cemetery named, “Resurrection”. Just outside of the cemetery property, down a small hill outside of the gates is a lone grave that has been covered by overgrown weeds and fallen leaves. The property’s grounds keeper doesn’t tend to this plot. The name on the headstone simply says, “Damion”. Who most people assume is the son of Satan. Maybe they will bury me next to him.

Once I collapse to my knees, the crowd starts to slowly surround me. No one wants to get too close while I’m still alive. Curiosity draws them forward while fear holds them back.

Voices mumble and I hear, “What the hell is it?”

I cough up more blood and smog, my lungs must be black by now.

No one knows the truth behind the lone grave just outside of the gates. It’s all just local legend at this point. There is no last name or date on the tombstone, which leaves the entire thing open to speculation. The myth is, they didn’t want to bury the son of Satan in the ground of a cemetery named resurrection. Better safe than sorry.

A man in the crowd holding a red can slowly makes his way to the front line of the mob. He unscrews the black cap and slowly starts pouring what smells like gasoline on the ground around me. His eyes are glazed over and there is a tear rolling down his cheek. Everyone in town calls him Mr. W, Shirley’s husband.

The people in town who had loved ones buried in Resurrection Cemetery stopped visiting their graves. They stayed away from the street that led to the front gates of the graveyard until tree branches grew over the path and shrouded the dirt road in shade. The grass surrounding the tombstones had grown so high that you could no longer read the names on the graves. After so long, it was said that the road and cemetery were haunted. Word of mouth takes over after a certain point and stories spread like the plague, into the plague.

Mr. W empties the rest of the can on my smoldering body. I sizzle, and I’m far too tired to scream. He takes a few steps and and pulls out a matchbook, striking one, then lighting the entire book. He is still crying.

This seems fitting, the devil leaving this world in flames. I’d better get used to it, but I don’t live up to my own hype. In the end, I’m the one smoldering on the ground, breathing fire and brimstone. Perfection.

The gasoline is cool on my skin, but my body is in shock by now. I can no longer see straight, but I can see a red blur in someone’s hand, and a glow in their other, the flame.

“She was a beautiful lady.” I tell him. There’s still smoke pouring from my lungs and I cough before I can continue. I hear him whimper.

With my last breath, I say, “She deserved a part in my legacy.”

And he drops the matches.


© Copyright 2019 michael keeney. All rights reserved.

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