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Horror Suspense Thriller

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Mark Twain despised weather, but weather must have rained on him like a blitzkrieg of fire and hell and fury. Even a storm brings cleansing peace after the clouds dissipate. Weather is weather… and on this night it poured like it usually did on this time of year. The water filled the stream’s veins, and they flowed like a rushing army into battle. The troupe of three, daughter, father, and son mushed over the muddy bank. The water dropped from the trees above and tapped onto the father’s hat. 

“Papa… do you think we’ll find Sherpa?”

“Not too sure, darling. That storm was bad,” the father said noticing his daughters tears beginning to swell. “But… Sherpa’s a strong dog. I’m sure he’ll show up. We just got to keep looking like hawks.”

“Maybe a big ole dragon scooped him up!” Interjected the son. 

“No!” Cried out the daughter.

The father flashed his son a look with cupped lips. 

“But don’t you worry, sis, I’ll slay it like King Arthur!” 

“King Arthur never killed dragons!” 

“Yes he did!” 

“No he didn’t!”

“Enough!” Said the father with a stern tenor, and a hand in the air. He saw something, but the two children weren’t astute enough to see what he saw — or heard. They were too busy with bickering to notice ruffling in the trees and bushes. The stream bristled by like a running thought. The sun twinkled over their eyes, and blinked against the metal of the father’s rifle. He pointed it straight and narrowed his aim. 

“Whaddya see papa?” Said the daughter breaking the silence. 

The son shushed her swiftly. 

The father clicked the hammer slowly, and steadied his aim. 

Suddenly, a howl sounded off, with the father’s aim remaining stoic. The children shuttered and shook. And the critters fell quiet. 

The son wanted to say something to calm his nerves, but he had been on enough hunting trips to keep silent. The hunter needed to listen to the ripples of the forest. And peer into the silence without human interruption. 

But what in the hell kind of wolf howls like that? The son thought. He had never heard one howl like that before in his short life. The father held his aim, for, something was encroaching behind a thick bushel of branches, twigs, and leaves. The footsteps were more oafish than a wolf….

… Another howl. But the boy’s predilections were correct, it wasn’t a wolf, or any kind of animal… it was a human! It was a naked man, with hairy scruples all over his body. His head was covered with a bleeding dog mask. It was Sherpa’s head….

The girl screamed bloody murder, and the boy jumped back a few paces in shock. He held his sister for both her’s and his comfort. The father lowered his rifle slightly, only because he was so perturbed by the scene. Never, in his whole life, had he ever witnessed such an ugly scene. He was at a loss for words. Even the screams of his daughter didn’t sway him. What in the Sam Hill was he going to do? Shoot this Man Beast?

The dog man howled again, and got on all fours and began barking and barking. They were all stone, and stood without motion. 

“They who transform…,” the Dog Man finally said, in a raspy slowness. “Can transport others onto the plain of Bishop.” 

The Dog Man repeated this line two more times, before saying, “follow… salvation…”

Snapping into place, the Father raised his rifle at the Dog Man, but as he fired, he leapt behind a tree and scattered down the stream. Without thinking, the Father pursued. 

“Papa! Where are you going?” The Son exclaimed. 

This stopped the Father in his tracks. He swiftly turned around and said, “Here, take this son,” handing him a Colt revolver that was cradling in the front of his belt. “Go back to Mother, and tell her I’ll be back. I think I know who’s been taking all of our’s and neighbor’s dogs. Now git!” 

The Father didn’t look back, and ran down the stream. His eyes honed in on the footsteps sloshed in the mud. The Son began to head home, but turned back to see his Father was already far along the bank of the stream. 

“Come on, sis, let’s follow him,” the Son said. 

“But Papa said—” 

“I don’t care what Papa said. We’ve gotta help him if there’s trouble.”

“What we goin’ to do?”

“I got this pistol, don’t I?”

“Well, then, what am I going to do?”

“You and Sherpa tracked this stream more than any of us. Help me navigate. I haven’t ventured here since I was young. I don’t want to get lost… especially with Dog Men about.”

“Then why don’t we head home?”

“Because, Father needs help. He can’t go alone. 

The Daughter looked at her brother without a response longer than he’d like.

With a frustrated sigh, he said, “Fine! Go back to Mother and tell her what’s goin’ on.”

Her Brother ran off to Father and didn’t look back — just like Father. 

She ran towards their modest farm home. She expertly knew the way and got there in a flash. She never ran so fast, and thought for a second she could be one of those runners in the Olympics. But she shook that silly thought out of her head. Her mind was always racing and pacing into side shows of thoughts. They all said she had the mind of a squirrel. She didn’t like when they teased her, and often ran to the stream to cry alone and away from the teases. The family was simple, and never thought that she could have had anything wrong with her, other than an eclectic mind that traveled faster than the horses. They could fix wounds, heal ailments & colds, but never any of the mind. Papa didn’t trust doctors. Like his father before him. It was tradition, and no one from medical school was going to tell him otherwise. 

“Mama! Mama!” She shouted as she got to the front porch. “Mama! Where are you?!”

There was no response. She began to worry profusely. Sweat was tumbling down her cheeks — along with tears. Her blonde hair was stringy and clumped. 

Again, she shouted, as she burst into the kitchen, “Mama!”

There was still flour and dough on the counter — untouched and messy. Not like how Mama keeps the kitchen. 

The silence was broken when she heard digging behind the house. The shovel was slinging dirt and patting the ground. She slowly looked out the window, but the shed covered her view of the digging. She had to go out the back door to see more….

“Mama…” she said sheepishly. “Are you there Mama?” 

She peered around the shed and found a man with a dog’s head staring at her. “Mama… deep… Mama sleep… follow Mama…,” the man said in a low rasp. 

The dog on his head wasn’t Sherpa’s. It was another dog that had gone missing. Without hesitation and screaming, she ran through the house and out the front door, back into the mess of trees where the stream flowed. The water splashed as she ran along the bank. The mud splattered all over her legs and shoes. She kept running and running until she found the spot where they encountered the other Dog Man. She huffed long winded breaths as she violently swung her head side-to-side looking for her Brother or Father. She decided just to follow the foot steps, because she heard a howl sound off behind her. It echoed into her ears like a bell. 

The steps eventually cut off into a deeper portion of the woods. The grass fields were long gone. The shadows and thick trees said hello to her, and whispered rough warnings into her ears. But there was no where else to go. She had to find Pa and Brother. 

“Mama Sleep! Mama Sleep!” She heard the Dog Man shouting behind her distantly. The voice wasn’t directly behind her, but still too close for comfort. She trenched deeper, and continued to follow the footsteps and broken twigs. But she hatched an idea that swirled in her messy brain. She began shuffling the tracks and made new ones going into all sorts of directions. She did this swiftly. She then found a large branch with leaves and as she went down the tracks following Pa and Brother, she wiped them away. She did this for a little while before abandoning the branch. 

As she hustled further into the forest of trees, rain drops began dropping on her head. She ignored them, because usually she would try and catch them in her palms or mouth. Thunder shouted at her as she went deeper and deeper into the woods. Her nerves rattled at every strike — with the echoes of “Mama Sleep…,” chilling her spine. 

Finally, she stumbled upon a small, one-room house, and saw Papa’s pistol on the ground near the door. She thought this to be strange. Brother would never leave this behind. Maybe he ran out of bullets? Still… he wouldn’t shed the iron so easily. Papa and Brother loved their guns and hung them like badges of honor. She understood it to be more than just ornamental value. The value of a gun, in these parts, was the difference between devoured livestock or no food on the table. The gun wasn’t on her list of prizes, and she often squirmed at the sight of bleeding animals, whining and wincing in pain. Life was cruel, she often thought. And could only imagine a person experiencing the same anguish and suffering. 

The small home had a lectern near the back wall, with chairs scattered along the sides of the wall. In the middle of the floor was a painted symbol with animal parts and guts. It was a large circle, with three points. In the middle, was the head of a dog, with bleeding guts dripping under its neck. The red was too deep to be paint… it was blood. Painted above the dog’s head, was written: Resurgam. Below the splattering of guts, it translated that to, “I shall rise.” 

She recoiled back and smelt an odor so foul, it almost made her throw up. It reminded her of the time she walked into the barn and found Papa and Brother butchering a deer. 

She then looked out the window and heard the silence of the forest, with chirping birds and burping frogs. The stream flowing in the distance. She wanted to hide and so she did — behind the lectern. But her curiosity got the better of her as she saw a book with the same symbol lying on it. She took it and opened the first page. 

Written by: Avery Montaigne 

Papa?! She thought to herself loudly. She couldn’t miss her last name, because she always struggled to write it at the school house. Though, she hadn’t been to school for some time, since Papa took her and Brother out to work on the farm.

As she fiddled with the book, a news clipping slipped out onto her feet. There were red marks saying “liar!” She picked it up and began to read it.


INDUSTRY AND PROGRESS COME WITH SUSPICION AND MORAL OUTRAGE

New factory spilled sludge into local waterways and poisoning wildlife and people

SHIRKSVILLE, VIRGINIA — The coming of industry was a bright spot for few. The County hall was suddenly flooded with capital, and roads began being built. But this joy was hampered by pollution and poison. Many were admitted to the local hospital with a fever, chills, and mania. When questioned about the occurrence, many locals claimed it was the sign of the “Beast” and the end of times “as we know it.” Further investigation into the poisoning also showed signs of brain rot and insanity. The science is clear to local doctors, but to many in the county, it is a sign from above… or below.


Her young mind twirled with what this meant. She had drunk from that stream, and ate the food hunted in the area. She couldn’t keep still — her mind or actions — but… she felt fine. Or so she thought. And why hadn’t papa told them of the news? What was he keeping from them? He had always been stingy with the local newspaper, but he’d often regale them with the happenings around town. 

However, her memory harkens back to the time he caught Brother trying to sneak the newspaper from his chair. He got a terrible whipping, and said “I didn’t see nothing, Papa! I just wanted to see the funnies!” Papa didn’t care. He whipped him like a troublesome animal. 

She didn’t know where to go, and was afraid to leave, even though, she knew she was a sitting duck in the home. She whipped and turned to find a closet near the lectern. The door creaked and irked as she opened it. It was dark, but the light from outside slowly began to reveal the inside.

“Brother!?” She screamed, repulsing backwards and falling on her back. Brother was hanging from his neck and dangling and slowly turning with a fearsome look in his eyes. His brown eyes, were now blacker than night. 

“You were supposed to go to sleep with Mama…” said a voice behind her. “Why didn’t you listen to Papa? I just wanted you to be tucked in, and kissed goodnight by Mama before we traveled to Bishop,” he said, creeping closer and closer with an axe scraping the floor. Two Dog men stood stoically behind him. “Now, Papa’s got to put you to sleep… if you don’t struggle, I won’t fix you up like Brother. He was fussin’ all over the place. You know Brother…. He left us no choice but to string him up. Now be a good girl, and go to sleep…. Papa’s tired, and wants to go to sleep too. But we have to go together….”

The stream’s flow got louder and louder and louder…. Her screams were mute as he wrestled her into the center. The wood splintered, and blood flowed…. 

…The three of them howled as the fire they struck encircled and entrapped the home, burning fast from animal fat. Thunderstruck one more time, shaking and rattling the world.

Sleep…. Sleep…. Sleep. 

June 06, 2022 21:04

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1 comment

Liz Chavez
22:18 Jun 06, 2022

So compelling and keeps you interested the whole time

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