Sunday, 25 May 2014

Short Story: When the Moon is up

This past month, The Cult of Me ran a short fiction competition with the theme of full moon on a night sky. This naturally evoked thoughts of werewolves and other night activities in my imagination and simply I had to send in an entry. I didn't win, but thought that I must share my rather silly story at least somewhere - this blog being the obvious victim.

The competition degrees that the stories must not exceed 500 words. I present to you here a slightly longer version. I hope you enjoy it at least a bit!

When the Moon is up

The path cutting through the dark forest was covered in dry needles that rasped with every step. Gad Sturm wiped his brow with his right hand, the nervous gesture almost dropping the worn bowler hat from his head. His eyes darted from shadow to shadow as he crept along the path. Every patch of darkness could hide danger; eyes that tracked him, following him to his destination. Murderous eyes, wishing to take what was his.

A wolf howled in the distance.

Gad’s left hand groped at the handle of the snubnose he carried in his jacket pocket. It was getting slick with sweat. As clouds flitted past the full moon and the shadows deepened, he shivered and licked his lips. He was certain that there were eyes on him, but he did not dare to hurry his steps. He might not hear it if someone was following him. The path led him over a small hill and down the other side, deeper into the woods.

Something snapped in the forest to his left and Gad jumped in fright. He pulled his weapon out and pointed it into the darkness. For a while he stood there, his courage and gun wavering. Had the North Side mob sent droppers to rub him and his operation out? Was there someone stalking him to his hideout?

The bean-shooter was not providing him the sort of safety that he yearned for. Not only was its firing pin worn, making it hellishly unreliable, but it also held only three homemade rounds. If he was attacked, his best hope was that the attackers would be intimidated by the gun and he would not have to use it.

As minutes passed, Gad began to relax. Had it been merely a dry branch falling from a tree on its own? Or only in his imagination? He shrugged to himself and turned away. But he had taken only a step when something growled in the underbrush. A low, guttural sound. A hunter’s warning.

Gad brought up his piece and squeezed the trigger three times. The gun barked and coughed. The bullets ripped into the bushes, but Gad didn’t stop to see if they had found a meatier mark. He scrambled along the moonlit forest path towards the only safety that he knew. Thin branches slashed at his face and ripped at his jacket. His bowler hat flew from his head, freeing the sweaty locks of his hair.

Then the log cabin was finally in sight. Gad stumbled the final few yards. He could feel something chasing him, could imagine fangs burying themselves into his neck. He flung himself through the door, smashing it shut behind himself. He leaned his back against the door and panted.

A rough growl greeted him and Gad yelped in surprise. There was a shadowy figure standing up from behind a table and spreading his long, hairy arms. His talons reflected the light from the lantern set on the table. His fangs dripped with saliva.

‘...You follow’d?’ the creature asked in a guttural voice.

‘Something in the forest!’ Gad gasped. ‘It growled!’

‘An animal?’ Bob the Werewolf said with a frown, his posture relaxing. ‘Shots I ‘eard - they yours?’

Gad nodded.

‘What if someone ‘eard it? Coppers might come!’

‘It must have been a mountain lion,’ Gad explained. ‘It could have killed me.’

Bob sneered at him. ‘Better you killed by a mountain lion than coppers comin’ and findin’ the stills. The moonshine needs to reach the city or both of us will be screwed! Capones don’t take failures lightly!’