Happy Halloween, Geeks!
Part three of A Strange Occurrence wraps up Mark’s spooky fiction offering. I hope you enjoyed this foray into the depths of Mark’s imagination… that is, if this is truly fiction. Please let us know in the comments if you’d like to see more serialized fiction on the site. ~ Regina
Two days passed seemingly without incident. On the evening of the second day, I was lying in bed reading a book. Alex had just gone to take the dogs out for the last time that night. Suddenly, I heard her come crashing through the backdoor down stairs yelling and swearing at the dogs to get in quickly and then the door violently slamming shut. I jumped up quickly and flew down the stairs where I nearly ran into her. She was clearly terrified and told me that there was something out there. The way she said “some… thing” chilled me. It was clear to me in her pronunciation of the word that whatever was out there wasn’t right. I ran back upstairs taking them two and three at a time as, from behind and below me, Alex mentioned something about a terrible smell and the eyes. I ran back to the closet at the back of our room and grabbed my shotgun and a handful of double ought shells. I loaded quickly as I went back down the stairs and to the backdoor. Before I stepped out onto the deck I pumped a round into the chamber and grabbed a flashlight. Alex begged me not to go out, but I was having none of it. I was tired of this “thing” using my backyard as its hunting ground and, as of two nights ago, its bed.
All of that anger and fire went out of me as the screen door slammed shut behind me. There was a light fog. It made my backyard feel strange and alien. Then the smell hit me. It hung in the damp air so strong and heavy that I could swear that I was almost tasting it too. I nearly retched as the odor practically stuffed itself into my nostrils and throat. It was the smell of the beach when the tide goes out, but fouler. A rotten, decomposing smell. As I bent over gagging, I heard a twig snap and then branches rustling in the trees and shrubs between my and my neighbor’s yards. I glanced up to see a pair of amber eyes studying me from the shadows in the trees. In that instance, I knew that whatever it was, it was all wrong. The eyes were peering at me from roughly eight or nine feet up and were spaced far too widely. Then it shifted and I saw part of the outline of its body backlit by a street light the next street over. It wasn’t up in the trees. It was standing amongst them!
“Then the smell hit me. It hung in the damp air so strong and heavy that I could swear that I was almost tasting it too. I nearly retched as the odor practically stuffed itself into my nostrils and throat. It was the smell of the beach when the tide goes out, but more foul. A rotten, decomposing smell.”
At that moment of my realization, it took a step forward. I stood upright and began back peddling to the door, screaming as I went. I dropped the flashlight as I pulled my shotgun to my shoulder and fired in the general direction of the thing. I don’t know if I hit it or just startled it. Whatever happened, I didn’t ever want to hear the noise that came from it again. It was a howl that was too deep, too terrible and went on far longer, it seemed, than any natural creature should have been able to do so.
As I opened the door and scrambled back into the hallway, I was just able to glimpse Baby Bear as she sped past me out into the darkness. I was about to call after her but then there was a loud yelp. It was a sound of surprise that came almost instantly to an end.
I was yelling for Alex to call the police or some such nonsense when I barreled into her at the top of the steps that led down to the hall. I looked into her eyes and in a moment I knew we were past calling the police or anyone for that matter. Her wide, terrified eyes told me in a heartbeat what I think we had both been thinking for some time now. We had to get out! Leave and never come back!
Alex held the keys to the car in front of her like a talisman as she went past me down the small flight of stairs. She was across the hallway in two steps. The two remaining dogs, Baron and Buddy Bear right behind her as she passed through the doorway into the garage. I heard the doors of our car open and slam twice in quick succession, followed just as quickly by the engine roaring to life.
I stepped down into the hall to go to the car. As I did, my vision caught something on its periphery. I turned in time to see the door smash in on its hinges. Not just the back door itself, but the screen door with it! And there it stood, bent slightly to peer under the doorway. It was backlit by the porch light so I can’t describe it very well. To be honest, I don’t know that I would want to have seen it in its entirety.
What I could make out is almost too much to bear. It was tall. I suppose I’ve covered that, but it cannot be overstated! The sheer size of the thing alone would be enough to reduce anyone to a quivering coward! But that wasn’t the only thing that made it terrifying, was it? No, it wasn’t! The eyes, as I mentioned before, were too wide apart on its head. Caught somewhere at a point where they should either have moved around to the side of the cranium, or been spaced inward on the face. Their placement was wrong!
It also seemed to have scales. Not reptilian. More like fish scales. I say this because there appeared to be an oily sheen to them. However, it still had tufts of what looked like hair sprouting here and there. I could see them on its shoulders, arms, and legs by the light coming from the porch.
And, of course, there was the smell. A smell I will never forget for the rest of my life. It was the smell that saved me. It was the smell that broke me from my frozen panic. That enabled me to lift my shotgun to my shoulder and fire a quick shot. A shot that gave me the moment I needed to run to the car just as Alex began to back out of the garage.
As we drove away from the house I could hear the thing bellowing as it had before. Louder and longer than anything I’ve ever heard on this Earth.
We never returned to that house. We had the police check it out the next morning and filed a home invasion report with them later. Something about a cult or prank gone wrong. After the police gave us the all clear, we hired a repairman to replace the back doors. Then there was the realtor to get the house sold, and movers to get our belongings to our new home.
Everything was fine again. We were happy here for almost a year. We had almost allowed ourselves to think that it was just a home invasion.
Until we found a rabbit last week. And that, my friend, is why we are moving again.