Wednesday, October 04, 2017

A Ghost's Tail

A Ghost’s Tail

Tom crashed through the door of the old deserted farmhouse and fell flat on the floor.
Scrambling back to his feet, he shoved a rotting chair against what was left of the ancient doorway
and desperately looked for a place to hide.

It was coming. He could hear it: the God-awful growl, the chomping of teeth, the full-throated screams that cut him off at every turn. He was lucky to have found this old farm.

“I wouldn’t be in this situation if not for that damn dog,” Tom thought. “That stupid, mangy, crap eating worthless dog!” he spat. Tom hated dogs. He never wanted a dog and took every opportunity to abuse his family’s pet, but he took it a bit far this time. Stomping the cowering, screaming and bleeding dog for tipping over the trash bin until it lamely ran off towards the woods. His son found the dying pet behind the garage that evening.
He tried to convinced him that “poor old Champ" had been hit by a car, and to steel his son for the inevitable. However, he could not shake the boy’s belief that the dog would be OK, if only Dad would take him to the vet. As much as he hated that dog, his son’s impassioned pleas must have gotten to him, and he found himself driving the dog to the animal clinic.

Tom dropped the hated beast off with Doctor Campbell at the clinic, and had been back on the road less than five minutes when the trouble started. The car died. Right there in the middle of nowhere, ten miles from home. He tried everything: the motor, the lights, even the radio. Nothing worked. Tom popped the hood latch from inside the car and slid from his seat to go look at the fuses. While looking for a stick to prop open the hood by the side of the road, he heard a faint rustling.

Peering into the deepening darkness of the late evening woods, he thought he saw eyes looking back at him. Big, greenish, almost glowing eyes, and they were coming toward him. They came slowly at first, then faster. He began hearing the grunting, growling breath and the rhythmic padding of feet. Tom turned toward the car but that screaming growl met his ear and filled him with a panic like he’d never felt before, and he ran.

Whatever this thing was, it was instantly on his trail, and Tom knew he'd messed up by running into the woods instead of trying to get back in his car. He hadn't run far though, before he saw the old farmhouse. He made a beeline for it and sought higher ground. He found stairs in the old farm, and now cowering in an upstairs closet, thought he was safe.

He could still hear the beast coming - relentless, methodical - and when he heard the remains of the farm’s front door fall accompanied by howls of delight, he knew it was coming for him.
Tom tried to stay still and silent as the beast growled, stomped, and trashed the rooms below him, its horrible cries caused Tom to tremble uncontrollably; and when he heard those plodding, rhythmic footsteps ascending the stairs, he nearly began to cry.

He found himself cornered in the closet, and was trying his best not to breath as he heard the footfalls stop mere feet from his hiding spot. “Thank God this closet had a door,” Tom thought. He heard heavy breathing and a low growl coming from the crack under the door and froze.

Then, puzzlingly to Tom, this otherworldly sounding growl seemed to change. He heard the panting, and… then scratching on the door… and whimpering? “What?” Tom thought, a nervous smile of relief breaking on his face as he relaxed. He knew that sound. It was a dog. Some damned stray mutt had spooked him. Tom still had that smile on his face as the door exploded inward with a shower of splintered wood, and the beast came through. Tom froze, a horrified silent scream contorting his face as the horrible monster came face to face with his victim. A deep, horrible growl that could only have come from the bowels of Hell emanated from the snarled, drooling lips, now showing a mouthful of large razor sharp teeth. Teeth that seemed to be smiling... Tom looked deep into the horrible, glowing green eyes realized with terror that he knew this beast. This stupid, mangy beast. “Champ? It’s… it’s you?” Tom whimpered. “…It's you!”

Tom gurgled his last scream as the beast ripped into his neck.

Doctor Campbell held the phone to his ear and waited for someone to answer.
“Ah, Mrs. Adkins? This is Doctor Campbell at the clinic. Yes ma’am. No, he isn’t here, he left immediately after dropping off Champ. That’s why I’m calling. I’m afraid there was nothing we could do, the poor thing succumbed to his injuries. Yes ma’am, not more than five minutes after your husband left… but that’s the puzzling thing, ma’am. I left the room after Champ had passed to get my clipboard to do paperwork, and when I came back, the poor fellow was gone…”