Creature (Flash Fiction)
by L. V. Gaudet
(C) December 2008
The naked figure crouched low to the ground as though trying to hide in the short stubble of the freshly harvested wheat field. Her hot steamy breath wafted out in a white mist between lightly parted lips as she exhaled gently into the chill fall air. The crisp coolness of the night enveloped her body in a silky blanket of frigid darkness. Alone in the center of the field, she raised up from her crouched position on the ground to her full height. Pale face reaching for the sky, she watched as the moon danced out from behind a bank of slowly roiling clouds to bathe her in its eerie white glow. A cold breeze tickled across her bare back, making her shiver, catching her long flowing ebony hair and teasing it up into the air like the swirling skirts of a dancing lady.
From a far distance her form was breathtaking, surreal beauty as you would expect it to appear in a nymph or a fairy that you just discovered, real and in the flesh. Glimpses of pale flesh through a cloak of thick shiny black hair that trailed all the way down to her knees teased with a promise of what this creature might look like up close; an exquisite being that had just walked flesh and blood out of the mists of myths and legends. If, however, someone had been present to witness this creature from a distance far enough to leave details to the imagination only.
Up close her appearance was different. Very different.
All alone in the field not so much as a field mouse dared to invade on her solitude. Even the crickets would not have made a sound had they not been already slumbering from the cold.
Turning slowly like a broken carousel, wobbling slightly, face to the sky, she raised her arms like elegant featherless wings as she turned. Barely moving, she turned slowly, silently, ethereally. Turning and turning in one spot, ever so slowly quickening her pace. Faster and faster she turned, spinning like a slowly winding up top. Faster and faster she turned, trampling the wheat stubble beneath her feet to a flattened nest. Faster and faster she turned, dizzily, spinning wildly; face reaching for the sky, staring down the moon and the stars. Faster and faster she turned, a wild shrill cry erupting from her throat, getting louder, higher, as she turned faster. It was a bone chilling, spine tingling shriek of someone who has just lost everything that ever had any meaning to them. All at once, devastatingly; all loves, hates, needs, wants and thoughts; the high wailing howl of death.
Silence and stillness crashed into the field at once when she suddenly stopped still, silent. Her dark eyes blazed with such intensity they should have glowed in the silvery light of the moon. Violence filled that heated glare. All the rage, hatred, fear, and loathing a world could hold filled those all too human eyes at once. Breathing heavy, her breath rushed out to meet the cold night air; a cloud of mist roiling out like the dust from a battle field as hot moist breath clashed with the freezing air.
Her face twisted into a demonic grin of hatred, a death’s mask. She dropped to sit on her haunches, unable to stand any longer. She was not accustomed to being able to raise herself to more than a low crouch due to the limiting confines of the cages she was cruelly kept in.
On hands and feet like a four legged animal, she fled. Racing from the field with a surprising grace and agility similar to a long legged lanky wolf, her hideousness bathed in the moon’s glow. The long flowing hair was not a wondrous mane of human hair, but a scraggly pelt of longish dirty fur covering much of her body as well as her head. Bald patches gave her the appearance similar to an animal with mange. She was a creature that walked on two legs with a human-like body and very human eyes, with the face of a creature spawned from a cesspool of genes not of this world. Lesions, welts, and deformities twisted her body and features into a Frankensteinian creation. Hideous. Evil. Terrifying.
Frightened, she cowered in the little crawl space under the stairs of the house on the edge of the woods. The darkness of the night was a small comfort to her. She had already discovered that her senses were keener than most of the creatures she has encountered so far.
She raised her head alertly at the sudden sizzling sound in the distance. An acrid smell she couldn’t identify that made her nose tickle drifted to her on a breeze. What could this be? What are those two-legs gathered in a large herd across the open space up to? Was it dangerous for her? They didn’t act like they knew she was here, but her experienced had taught her these creatures could not be trusted.
There was a popping sound on the ground on the other side of the open space. Something leapt into the sky with a shrill whine.
Curiosity took over where fear climaxed. She cocked her head, listening, scenting, and watching.
Suddenly the sky exploded with an earth shattering crackling boom, and a flash of bright colorful lights.
She cowered lower to the ground, screaming in terror, eyes wide. Her nostrils flared with the pungent smell, her night vision was shattered by the bright blinding light. Blinded by the colored spots that danced before her eyes, she struck out with a hiss at a foe that wasn’t there.
Another pop and hiss. The sky roared with another boom as more lights erupted in the sky, the ground beneath her trembled with its shock.
She screamed again, trembling violently.
Hairy four-legs from all sides began barking and howling.
She recognized that they too were crying their fear.
Published online at:
Flashes in the Dark January 14/09
The Patchwork Project