I haven't written a story in forever. This post fixes that. I was over on terribleminds.com, and I saw Chuck's Flash Fiction Challenge, and I got inspired. So I wrote a response. And here it is! (If you wanna see the post that inspired this post, see here.) Only problem is that I'm still not sure what to call it. Well, that and I don't think it's done yet. But hey, it's a start. Enjoy!
There are some days when you just can’t win. Like those mornings you wake up and see the blinking face of your alarm clock silently telling you that the power went out last night, and your stomach suddenly remembers that it’s the not-so-distant cousin of a Black Hole as you realize just how late you are for work.
Well today was just that sort of day for Hunter and his big sister, Scarlett. Except replace the power outage with a werewolf invasion, and up the dread-factor to about 157%.
“Hunter, Scarlett! Get back inside, right now.”
“Dad, we can help!” Scar insisted, her father’s spare axe hanging from her hand like a broken branch.
“We don’t know that, and I need you kids safe. Now get inside.”
Hunter was already there, obediently opening the trapdoor leading down to the cellar. Howls and grunting screams seeped through the walls. Scar could see the worry in her father’s eyes, the tension in his jaw. There was blood spattered on his shirt. “They got through the wall?” she asked quietly. He didn’t answer. That meant yes.
“Stay down there until me or your Uncle Logan comes and gets you, alright?” He kissed them each on the head. “And bolt that damn hatch.”
He didn’t look back as he hurried out the door.
“Scar, close it,” Hunter said. The noises were getting louder, or maybe the walls were just getting thinner. “Just close it.”
“But…we can help. I can help. If we just….”
“Dad said; just close it!”
The hatch came down forcefully, Scar’s arms unable to resist the sudden force.
Scar whirled and faced her brother. “Damn it Hunter! Don’t you see? You could help out there!”
“You know I can’t control it like that,” he said, his breathing shallow.
Scar’s face went expressionless, her eyes roiling with intensity. “You seemed to control it pretty well on that,” she said, indicating the closed and bolted trap door.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Hunter appealed. “You don’t know what might happen.”
“Hunter, you need to be dangerous. We need you. You need to let it out.”
A scream from outside pierced through their containment, followed by an inhuman roar like a monstrous semi hurtling down a highway.
Hunter looked up at her, his wide green eyes glassy and unknowing. “I can’t,” he said, barely audible.
“They’re dying out there!”
“I can’t,” he said, barely audible.
“Well I can,” she answered, her eyes hardened and glowering, “and you're coming with me. I'm not gonna let dad die just 'cause you won't let it out."
She unbolted the latch, tossed the axe out onto the floor, then climbed the ladder, Hunter’s shirt firmly clutched in her hand. He whimpered a little, but didn’t put up much of a fight. Her face was blank. Dropping him on the floor, she turned back and shut the trap door, swiping up the axe in the same motion. Hunter looked up at her, his face pale, lips trembling slightly. “Let’s go, little brother.” His eyes got watery. She paused.
“Logan! Logan, look out!” their father’s voice cried. A roar; a snap, a crunch; a scream cut off at its crescendo, as if a doomsday symphony’s conductor had suddenly dropped dead on his podium, announcing the arrival of the apocalypse.
Everything stopped for a second, and then it moved in freeze-frame fast forward. Hauling Hunter from the floor, open door, step outside and push him forward; he stumbles and falls on the torn-up grass; she takes in the sight of half of her uncle’s face, the only part of him still recognizable in the slimy mass of pink and red, white bones poking out like fresh kindling, her father, blood-drenched, emerging from behind the corpse of a hulking dead wolf. Hunter sobbing, his hands bloody, his face contorted like paper crumpling in a fire.
And then time snapped back.
“Dad, behind you!” she screamed. He ducked and rolled to the side, rising to a crouch, face to face with another wolf. She tried to throw her axe at its head, but her arm refused. A growl and hot breath came from behind her. She fell to the ground; the axe fell from her hand. Backing away, backing away, those snarling, saliva-dripping fangs approaching steadily. From behind her, her father’s grunts let her know he was still alive; who knew for how long. Unexpectedly, an arm was under her hands. Hunter. He’d passed out. “Hunter! Hunter!” she yelled. She slapped him across the face. She shook him. She dragged him behind her, unable to stand in the face of those fangs, still approaching, unrelenting; grinning. “I won’t go out like this,” she said, her teeth gritted together like a bear trap. The teeth were almost upon them. “Hunter!”
His eyes snapped open. They were red. They were fire. They weren’t Hunter.
He stood in front of her, facing the wolf, confident. He smirked. “Come on, little bitch. Let’s see who’s an Alpha.”