Authors notes: This story started out a six-page report for my crazy English teacher. Yes, she was crazy. She made the report a three-page report on anything and when someone asked if she wanted it double-spaced she told us it had just become a six-page report. (Also we kept how track of how many times she said 'class' when she taught and she holds the record at 57 times.) So I hope you enjoy this story.
No Where to Run
By: Micheal Spalding
It was a cold summer night when Mark Masters came to my door. I had been sitting in my one room cabin in the woods, reading a nice book by the fire when he came pounding on the door. I had on a pair of khaki pants and a black tee shirt with a pair of thick wool socks. My dark brown hair was long then, coming down past my blue eyes. I hopped up off the carpet and hurried to the door. The pounding came again, louder this time. I slid the dead bolt back and opened the door a crack. Mark looked like death itself; blood poured from a cut above his left eye and his face was pale. "My God!" I exclaimed, throwing the door all the way open to let him in. His gray business suit was covered with dark stains that looked like dirt and oil. I helped him onto the couch and looked at the cut. I picked a towel of the back of the couch and asked him to hold it in place. Once he was taken care of I picked up the phone to call my best friend who was a doctor, lucky me huh? Dr. Alice Carter and I had grown up together, her going on to become a doctor and me, well I decided to become a Paleontologist. After five rings Alice finally picked the phone up. "Dr. Carter's office, how may I help you?" Her melodic voice sounded over the line. "Did you pinch my ass?" I said out of habit. About a month ago I had gone to the video store to rent a movie and the clerk had given me a copy of a movie with two Saturday Night Live actors. I can't recall the name, but on of the actors used that line a lot and Alice and I had laughed our heads off. From then on whenever I called her I asked her that. "Very funny Sean, now if you don't mind I have to get back to work." She said after a small, sarcastic laugh. "No, uh, sorry. Look, I just had this guy come up to my cabin with a small cut on his forehead, but he looks like he's seen bigfoot or something. I'm worried that he is going, or could go, into shock." I said, imagining her on the other end. Alice was 5 inches shorter than I was with jet-black hair and intense green eyes. She was thin, but not too thin. She always wore a white lab coat and black dress pants when she worked. "Ok, I'll come up and check him out, but if this is another one of your jokes I'm going to string you up by your-." "Alice, please! Just hurry! Should I keep him talking?" I didn't want one of her younger patients hear her say anything too bad. "Yeah, keep him talking and put a wet towel on his forehead. I'm on my way." She said and promptly hung up. I placed the receiver into the cradle and turned back. "The doctor is on her way Mr.…" I cocked an eyebrow at him as he stared blankly at me. "Mark… Mark Masters. I was with my brother when…" His face turned a shade paler and he began to convulse. "Cripes!" I muttered as I fought to hold him down. He looked at me with tortured brown eyes. "The darkness took him, it took him!" He shrieked in a high-pitched voice. As suddenly as they had started, the convulsions ceased. I looked back into his face to see that he was sleeping peacefully. I cursed softly under my breath and looked at my watch, Alice should have been there by then. That was beginning to worry me; it was a 3-minute drive from her office/house to mine. Out of one of my windows I saw headlights coming up my driveway. I opened the door and stepped out onto the porch. The car was a Chevy Blazer with a row of police lights along the top. 'Montana State Police' was printed in bold black letters on the door. "Well, I'm just having dozens of visitors today, aren't I?", I shouted to Sheriff Jonathan Black. Alice climbed out of the passenger side as pale as Mark had been. The two of them walked silently into the house as if they were going to a funeral. "Sorry to barge in here like this, McBea. But there was an accident on the road right in front of your driveway. There were 3 cars involved, 4 if you count Alice's… But we think that this guy you have here may be a survivor of that accident, maybe the only one." Jon gave off a feeling of authority, but I could tell that he was really confused. Then what he said really hit me and I stared at him. "What do you mean, maybe? Surely there would have been bodies, injured people and such." Jon nervously shifted from one foot to the other. "Never mind that right now, I need to ask you what happened here." I nodded as I watched Alice checking on Mark. She really looked like a wreck, not to mention that she had been in one. Alice was involved in a major accident about 3 years ago when a drunk driver hit her. Her father had been with her and had been killed; God only knew what she was going through right now. "Sean, are you listening to me?" Jon's voice snapped me out of my worrying. "No, sorry. Zoned out right there for a sec. What was it?" I asked, kicking myself for zoning out. "I asked, could you tell me what happened?" Jon looked at Alice and leaned closer. "Don't worry so much, she's tougher than she looks, remember?" He whispered. I nodded and glanced at Alice. The three of us were close friends, so we knew how each other thought. "Uh, ok. I guess it was about 10:30 when I heard someone knocking on my door. I got up from where I was reading at the fireplace. Mark-.""How do you know his name is Mark?" Jon snapped out. I looked at him, not even trying to hide my agitation. "If you'll let me continue, you might find out!" I snapped, I really hate being interrupted. Jon nodded and waited for me to continue. "Anyway… Mark was at the door with a cut on his head and looking like he had just seen Bigfoot of something. I helped him inside and set him on the couch, noticing the dirt and oil on his suit. I called Alice and explained what had happened. Once off the phone I asked his name, trying to keep him talking in case he was in shock. He told me that his name was Mark Masters. He started to say that he was with his brother when he started convulsing and shrieking, "The darkness took him". I held him down since I didn't know if he had internal injuries. He just suddenly fell asleep, which was odd. Then you two showed up. Now, Jon, I've known you for ten years now, so don't lie to me. What's going on?" I looked at Alice again to make sure she was all right. Jon again began shifting his weight from one foot to the other. "At about 10:45 we received a call from Alice about the accident. I responded with two other units, who I left at the accident sight in case of another survivor. Alice was sitting on the ground by her car in a confused state. She told us that there were no bodies, period. It was as if everyone in the accident, no matter how hurt, had just walked into the woods. I checked the accident to be sure and she was right. Jesus, I shouldn't tell you this! There were just large amounts of blood and clothing. To tell you the truth, Sean, this scares the hell out of me." Jon was telling the truth, but something seemed to be missing. I couldn't place it at that time, but it would come to us soon.
The two of us walked over to Alice when a loud crash came from outside. "What was that?" I muttered, running to the door. I opened it a crack to see Jon's Blazer on its side. "What in the world…" I started as I closed the door. "What was it?" Alice asked, her voice cool even though she seemed scared. "Jon's truck, something flipped it on its side." I said, looking at each of them. Before anyone could say anything a roar sliced through the night, it was an unearthly sound that chilled me to my bones. Mark leapt off the couch, his eyes wildly searching for something. "The darkness is coming!" He shouted in terror. It took both Jon and I to get him back down on the couch. Mark continued to fight until he just passed out again. A sense of terror had settle upon the room like a cloud of sewage stench. "Jon, what do you think that was?" I asked, my own voice was as tight as a guitar string. Jon could only shrug, but he still held his revolver in his hand. "I have a feeling that something took the bodies from the accident along with the survivors." Alice said, causing Jon and I to turn to her. "If that's true, why didn't it take Mark?" I asked, but then it hit me and I held my hands up. "No, it tried to take everyone, but Mark saw it take his brother. He must be calling it 'The Darkness' because it most likely uses the darkness as cover. So, it must have followed him here." I said, walking over to my gun cabinet. From it I pulled out a shotgun as well as two hunting rifles. I handed the rifles along with some ammunition to Alice and Jon. The shells were sitting on the table next to the couch since I had just bought them that evening. We loaded our weapons and looked at each other. " If it did follow him, which we know it did, then we are going to have to fight it. I'd say our best chance is to block the four windows. There are two on the north wall, one on each side of the door. And one on the east and another on the west wall. The fireplace can be blocked with a roaring fire that should stop it from coming down the chimney. Ok, so let's get this place packed down." I said lifting the coffee table and pushing it against the west window. Alice and Jon were busy blocking the windows by the door. We each reinforced the barricades, but we never thought the attack would come so soon.
We had just finished the windows we had been working on when the last window imploded from an extremely powerful blow. My first thought was of the flipped Blazer that lay outside. I spun around to see the creature and what I saw I knew there was no way it could be. But yet I was staring straight at it. It stood on two powerful hind legs covered in thick black fur. The torso appeared human, but it was thicker than normal. The head was a mix of human and bear. The arms were powerfully built and thicker than my thighs at the forearm. The hands had five humanoid fingers that ended in long sickle like claws. "Mother of God!" I heard Jon yell. Alice aimed her rifle at the thing, but she was shaking too much to get a clean shot. Her first shot went high and wide, not even scaring it with the deafening blast. I looked around quickly for the shotgun, realizing that I had left it by the fireplace. The weapon was only about 5 feet from the creature, but it could probably cover the distance in less than a second. "Shoot it!" Alice shrieked, firing again barely missing it. I dove over the couch and rolled up with the shotgun. I fired a shot, connecting with the creature's chest. It turned towards me and roared, not even phased. "I think I just pissed it off!" I shouted, pumping another shell into the chamber. It sucked in a deep breath; the air around me rushed as it filled the beast's monstrous lungs. The thing roared at me, it's jaws mere inches from my face. The blast of hot, stinking air pushed my hair and clothing back. Mark snapped awake and jumped into the air, screaming. The thing twisted and snatched him from the air. "Grab him!" Jon yelled, tossing his empty revolver to the floor. It was too late anyway, the beast leapt out the window with Mark's body in its jaws. I looked at the clock on the mantle expecting it to say at least an hour had past since the beginning of the attack. I was shocked to see that the whole thing couldn't have lasted more than 30 seconds. Jon and Alice pushed the gun cabinet in front of the broken window. Each of us was in a state of shock, the speed and menace of the creature, embedded in our minds. We each worked in silence; no one could muster up the courage to speak. Jon was going around the room, hammering the barricades to the walls. I placed some more wood on the fire before I turned back to the others. Alice was standing in the center of the room, staring at the spot where Mark had been sitting. I walked over to her and stood beside her in silence. She turned towards me, her green eyes glazed over with tears. " I could have stopped it, but I missed with both shots. I could have saved him." She said softly. I shook my head. "No, you tried your best to save him. So did Jon and myself. But it came for him, just like the others. Next time you'll be able to save all of us, but not like you are now. We're all scared, but that doesn't make us cowards. We'll just have to do our best." I whispered softly, holding her shoulders. "But what if our best is not good enough?" She asked. I smiled slightly, "Our best is always good enough, and we just have to realize that we have limits. We'll be fine as long as we try." I replied, wiping her tears away. She nodded and shook lose of my grip. I turned to Jon who was sitting in a chair with his face in his hands. "Jon, we have to move the furniture around to make a little fort. It may be a stupid idea, but it just may give us a little bit more time to kill that thing." Jon raised his eyes to me and I could read the shame in them. "Can't we believe it will just go away?" He asked. I shook my head. "No. It followed Mark here because it knew he was prey, and now it knows that we're in here. This thing is a lot smarter than any animal I've heard of. But, it'll come back, and by God, we'll kill it!" I said my voice strained with rage and fear.
In the hour that followed, we set up a little camp around the fireplace. We placed the guns and ammo inside the little triangular fort, along with food, water, and a port-a-potty. I insisted that we have kerosene lamps, flash lights, and a small gas stove with us. "Sean, we're not going to be here for a few days! We'll have to leave at first light." Jon said as I settled against the back of the couch. "Expect the best, prepare for the worse, I always say." I muttered softly. I looked back up at the clock, exactly midnight. Amazing how one and a half hours can seem like days or even years? I think it was Einstein's Theory of Relativity… never mind that now. As I had expected the lights were cut off, leaving us in the light of the fire. "What's it doing?" Jon asked. "It's doing what I expected it to do. Remember I told you that it was smarter than most animals? Well, I was also qualifying us as animals. It knows that we can see it in the light, so it took away that advantage." I explained as Alice and I lit the kerosene lamps. "You were expecting this?" Jon said in a high-pitched voice. "Yeah, weren't you?" I said, half-jokingly. Jon started to shout again when Alice shushed us. "Listen." She whispered coolly. A sound had started up that chilled us to our souls. The sound of claws on wood sounded trough the dark. "What is that?" Jon asked, gripping his rifle in both hands. "Well, it's like when you need to get through a wall, you look for a door. It's testing the cabin for weaknesses, and when it finds one, it'll come in." Alice said as she looked at the ceiling. I nodded, but deep inside I was hoping we were wrong. Jon was panicky, swinging his gun round. "Jon, when the scrapping stops, swing the gun. For now put it down, we need to talk." I said, motioning Alice closer. Jon seemed a little less than enthusiastic about lowering the weapon, but he listened to reason. "I got a pretty good look at it when it …took Mark. It's basically humanoid, but with bear-like characteristics. The skull looked too thick to shoot through and I wouldn't recommend that even if it wasn't. Some animals can survive for a period of time with out the head. The ribs where placed close together, making it incredibly hard to hit the heart. But, the abdomen wasn't really that well protected. I'd sat that's our best bet." I looked at Alice to show her that she could add anything if she wanted. "Your right, but I would suggest that you try for an upward angle, if the ribs are thick then an upward shot could bounce the bullet around for more damage." She added, drinking from a bottle of cola. "I don't care about your analysis, Sean. What I want to know is can it be killed?" Jon asked, calming down a little. Alice and I both nodded to him as the night carried on.
The scraping sound continued until a little past 3 in the morning, keeping us all awake and alert. It was more unsettling when the sound suddenly stopped. "It's in." I whispered as I felt my blood run cold. Each of us rose to a kneeling position behind the couches, our weapons held at ready. I swung the flashlight left and right, scanning for the thing. I even checked the rafters, trying to see if it was where the lamps couldn't reach. I could hear a low hissing breath somewhere close. "Where is it?" Jon asked, swinging his rifle around in confusion. As if to answer him the floor around us buckled downward, throwing us towards the center. I realized that all of our precautions and careful planning had been for nothing; the creature had come in through the cellar door that was on the outside. I slammed into a bunch of crates that I kept down there and everything went black.
I could tell that something wasn't right, there was something eating very close to me. I slowly, cautiously opened my eyes. I was lying on my side in my cellar not to far from the thing. A kerosene lamp lay at my feet, illuminating the creature and it's meal. The corpse was too mutilated to tell who it was, but the twisted revolver in the left hand told me that it was Jon. The creature was totally engorged in it's feasting on Jon's body. I quickly looked around for Alice and the guns. I was glad to see that Alice was lying on top of the crates above me. My shotgun lay only a foot from my right hand, but it was closer to the creature. Carefully, I gripped the stock and lifted of the floor about an inch. The creature froze, and so did I. It was listening for another sound, and I held as still as I could. After a moment it resumed eating, inside I breathed a sigh of relief. I pulled the shotgun to me and sat up painfully slow. My body ached all over, as if I had been hit with a baseball bat by the whole United States baseball teams including tee-ball leagues. I raised myself onto my knee and aimed. I pulled the trigger and the shotgun clicked. "No shell!" I hissed as the creature spun around. I pumped the shotgun, watching as the beast drew in a deep breath. The deafening roar drowned the shotgun's blast out. I continued to pump round after round into the beast's abdomen. The creature howled in rage and pain, leaping towards me as the last shell was fired. A sharp pain pushed me towards the beast, causing me to lose the shotgun. The beast flew over my head and twisted around to roar again. Small packets of blood exploded from the thing's abdomen. I finally heard the roar of Alice's rifle. The beast turned towards her in a blind fury, smashing the crates in front of her. I grabbed the kerosene lamp and threw it at the beast. The lamp exploded in a flash of red, the oil engulfing the beast's fur. The thing twisted in pain, squealing like some metal being twisted and torn. I hurried around it and grabbed Alice's hand. Together we ran from the cellar, the flames leaping up behind us. I realized that it wasn't the flames themselves, but the beast in close pursuit. I took Alice's rifle and fired until it was empty. The beast fell back down the stairs, still squealing. I closed the cellar doors, shoving the rifle between the two handles. "Come on!" Alice shouted, pulling at me. We ran from the burning cabin, I swore that I heard it roaring as we ran.
I raised my head to the two soldiers in front of me. We had run into them by the accident site. They had known all about the beast and were hunting it down. I told them where it was and they helped us to town. We were sitting in Alice's office, answering questions as she patched the gunshot wound in my shoulder. "I don't know if it lived or died, I didn't go back to see if it was dead. But, if it isn't, Alice and I will be waiting for it." I said. The army Lieutenant nodded and closed his clipboard. "Thank you, that's all. And, remember, we were never here." He said and left. I knew then where the beast had come from, and I didn't like what I knew.