Sunday, July 10, 2016
By Daniel Skye
“I heard something outside,” Mona whispered to her boyfriend.
“It was just the wind,” Bryce reassured her.
“It didn’t sound like the wind,” she said. “It sounded like a screech.”
“Just the wind,” he repeated. “We’re out here in the middle of nowhere and you’re mind is playing tricks on you. That’s it. Just relax, babe. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”
In the backseat of Bryce’s red Toyota, Mona could not see beyond the fogged windshield. But she couldn’t shake the feeling that someone, something, was out there. She was convinced she had heard a screech or a howl. It could’ve been an animal, Mona told herself. For all you know, it could've been an owl hooting. Calm down. Don’t ruin this. Do what Bryce said and just relax.
Making out in the back of Bryce’s car was not her idea of a romantic evening. But they couldn’t hang out at Mona’s house without her dad eavesdropping on them. And Bryce didn’t want to go back to his house and subject Mona to his parent’s nightly drunken squabbles. So this was the next best thing according to Bryce.
But Mona was willing to let it slide if it meant spending more time with Bryce. And it wasn’t like he completely lacked in the romance department.
Bryce first noticed Mona in chemistry class. And he never learned a damn thing in that class, because he spent every lesson staring at Mona, transfixed by her beauty. He found her beauty to actually be quite intimidating, and he was too nervous to ask her out right away.
Before they dated, Bryce used to leave a fresh cut rose on her doorstep every day before school, accompanied by a sappy poem he had written himself. Mona’s mother thought it was so romantic. Her father thought it was trite and desperate, and warned her that Bryce was only interested in one thing. But what boy his age wasn’t interested in the same thing?
It took a week of roses and poems for Bryce to finally work up the courage to ask her out. And the answer was an emphatic yes.
Their relationship had been going strong for eight months, and Bryce had been gently pushing her to take it to the next level. Mona had dated a few boys from Clarksville High, but she had never gone all the way with any of them. And the idea of losing her virginity to Bryce Temple, in the backseat of his 2005 Toyota Corolla, which was parked deep in the woods, terrified her.
Bryce kissed her neck softly, and she flinched when she felt one clammy hand sliding up her turquoise blouse. She jerked away and told Bryce to, “Take it slow.”
“Okay, whatever you want, babe.” He kept his hands to himself, but resumed kissing up and down the side of her neck.
“Do you feel that?” Mona asked, breaking his concentration again.
Bryce stopped kissing her neck and said, “Feel what?”
“You seriously didn’t feel the car rocking back and forth?” Her jangled nerves made her voice tremble, and made her envision every twisted scenario her mind could conjure up.
Mona was not a fan of horror movies, but her father thoroughly enjoyed them. Big budget, low budget, no budget at all. He watched every single one he could find on TV. And as a result of being subjected to these films as a child, Mona knew all the likely horror movie scenarios. And that’s what she was picturing.
A crazy cult or a gang of Satanists looking for a human sacrifice. Deranged hillbilly’s stalking through the woods with gas-powered chainsaws. A brood of demonic children, like something straight out of Children of the Corn. She couldn’t get her mind off these fictitious horrors that potentially lurked in the darkness. These were the horrors that existed only when the nights were at their darkest, even if they only existed in the distraught mind of a teenage girl.
“That was just me trying to rock your world, babe. Look, if you don’t like this spot, we can haul ass. My parents are probably passed out by now. We can go back to my house, pick up where we left off.”
“I think maybe it’s best if you just take me home. I’m not feeling very well.”
“What’s bothering you? I can tell something’s wrong. Do you not want to do this?”
“No, it’s not that. I just…I have this strange feeling someone is out here with us. Like someone is watching us.”
“Is this like that urban legend about the killer with a hook for a hand? Because if it is, I’m not going out there to check.”
“Don’t even joke about that,” Mona chided. “Those kinds of stories give me the willies.”
“Why are they even called urban legends?” Bryce wondered. “It seems like most of them take place in the suburbs or small, rural areas. They should call them suburban legends.”
Something landed on the roof with a heavy thud, and Mona shrieked, then buried her face in Bryce’s shoulder, clinging to him like Velcro.
“Okay, I definitely felt that,” Bryce said.
“What was that?” Mona asked, her voice trembling again.
“I don’t know, but we’re getting out of here.”
Bryce wriggled free from Mona’s taut grip and begged her to stay put. “All the doors are locked. Just sit tight back there. You’ll be safe.”
He climbed over the seat and hopped in front. He wiped the fog from the windshield with his sleeve and peered out.
“I don’t see a thing,” Bryce said.
He jumped when something slapped against the windshield, leaving a huge spider web crack in the glass. A massive black wing, pulsing with veins, enveloped the windshield.
“What is that?!” Mona exclaimed. Bryce recoiled at the sight and jumped into the backseat again.
“I have no fucking clue,” Bryce said. “But I came prepared.” He removed a switchblade from the inside pocket of his jacket, hit the button on the handle, and a long, slender blade with a needle-like point popped out from the side.
A hand with long, thin, claw-like fingers smashed through the back window, tearing the knife from Bryce’s grasp, and tearing off two of his fingers in the process. Mona choked out a brief, dull, muted scream.
And a few seconds later, those same hands were peeling the roof back, turning Bryce’s car into a convertible.
They gazed up at black night sky, at the figure that loomed over the car. The man–if you could call it a man–stood over seven feet tall. His face was pallid, yet ageless.
Its long wings flapped effortlessly in the breeze as it descended upon them, snatching Bryce by the nape of his neck and hoisting him into the air with one hand.
Two jagged fangs pierced his jugular. Mona watched as the life drained from his eyes. His body was paralyzed from fear, and he couldn’t scream, couldn’t even react to the pain. All he could do was endure.
The fangs retracted. Blood rained down in thick jets on a writhing, screaming Mona, who watched helplessly as the creature spread its vast wings and took flight, with Bryce firmly in its grasp.