Sunday, October 4, 2015
Randy Speeg

#OctoberFrights Blog Hop: Day 4, The Night Has Teeth (an excerpt)

Good Evening Hoppers, (He said in his cheesiest Count Dracula voice)

As we approach the midnight hour here on the fourth day of the October Frights Blog Hop I have a special treat for you all. Or maybe it’s a trick, blahahaha. Tonight I present an excerpt from my short horror story, The Night Has Teeth. Enjoy.


The Night Has Teeth

“Are you sure you don’t want to pull over?” Carrie asked.

“Yes, I’m sure,” Steve glared at her with a look that said stop-nagging-me.

“The rain is getting heavy,” She said looking out through the windshield. The wipers squealed across the cold, foggy glass. Carrie leaned forward and switched on the defroster. “I can’t even see the road signs anymore until we are right on top of them.”

Steve heard the concern in her voice and the good husband side of his brain kicked in. “We’re fine honey, it won’t be that much longer before we get to the Virginia border. We’ll out drive the rain before we get there.” As the words came out, he wasn’t even able to convince himself. Despite the many times he had driven across this semi-mountainous West Virginian highway, on their way to visit Carrie’s folks, he still got disoriented. “Baby, can you turn on the radio, maybe we can find a weather report?”

***

The report given by the radio’s static ridden voice did nothing to sooth Carrie’s nerves. The rain would continue throughout the night. She looked out her window at the trees, shadowy hulks climbing up into the gloomy night. The forest beside them brightened with a flash of lightning.

“What was that?” Carrie gasped.

“What was what?”

“I saw something, out there.”

“I was watching the road hun, was it an animal… road kill?”

Thunder boomed over their heads. Carrie jumped. She glanced out her window praying to not see it again. She didn’t.

“An animal?… Yes,” She said catching her breath. “But, it wasn’t dead. It was… digging, I think.”

“Digging?” Steve asked.

Carrie nodded. “And it was… big… like a bigfoot, or a werewolf, or something.”

***

They spent the next few minutes in silence. The news on the radio gave way to Garth Brooks’ The Thunder Rolls. Carrie glanced at Steve, who had his eyes glued to the highway, wondering what he was thinking.

I know what he’s thinking. He’s thinking this is just like all the other times.

And he’d be right. It was just like the other times. All the times when she had seen something no one else had seen. She knew he didn’t believe her, but she also knew, deep down, Steve wanted to believe.

***

This had been happening to Carrie her entire life. It began with seeing odd creatures outside her bedroom window when she was nine, by twelve the ghostly lights in the sky appeared. It was as if they followed her everywhere, and only she saw them.

No, that’s not right. Others would see them — those UFOs, aliens, guardian-damned-angels. Fuck if I know what they are — but it was like their brains had a filter blocking out the truth of what their eyes saw.

And these things would vanish every time she attempted to point them out to others. The creatures were even more elusive than the lights — because they got away faster, and came around less often — and for that, she was glad.

Thank God for small favors. Carrie thought. Those nasty things scare the shit out of me.

***

She looked out the window, remembering the thing she had seen a few moments ago.

Was it one of them? Surely not all the way out here, and none of them had been that big before. Maybe I had seen a bigfoot after all?

Carrie found some strange comfort in that thought and then shuddered. Carrie, you are one seriously fucked up chick, you know that? Yes, unfortunately, she knew that all too well.

The rain was harder now, falling in thick crystalline sheets. She stared through the water as it twisted and distorted the roadway ahead of them. She admired the hypnotic symphony of white lines and reflected halogen glow until something out ahead of them grabbed her attention.

“Steve, do you see that?”

Steve gave a reluctant sigh and looked out toward her side of the highway. He expected to see nothing, but was surprised by the bright orange object they were approaching. Through the blurry, rain streaked windshield, he recognized the diamond shaped road sign but couldn’t make out what it said.

“Did you catch that?” He asked glancing to his wife.

“Road Construction… Flagger Ahead.”

***

“I heard nothing on the traffic reports about construction.” Steve said perplexed. He turned the radio dial and Garth hissed out of existence, replaced by silence.

He kept turning until the numbers looped back to the beginning and stopped at the station that had been playing The Thunder Rolls, now just as silent as the others. Steve turned the volume up. A steady hiss of static poured from the speakers. It was as if the entire world had vanished from the airwaves. Steve shut the radio off.

“I know we aren’t that far into the hills, must be the weather.”

Carrie didn’t say a word. She looked pale. He began to ask her a question then stopped. He had seen that look before — the answers to questions that followed that look were never pleasant.

***

Steve lost himself in memories of the last time he saw that look on Carrie’s face. They had stopped at a rest area a few hours before the storm began. Steve checked the Toyota’s oil while Carrie used the restroom. Steve walked up to wash his hands when she came out holding the tiny white stick in her hand. The look on her face told him the answer. They had been trying to get pregnant for months.

Carrie turned to face the wall, not wanting him to see the tears welling up in her eyes. Steve, not wanting to leave her alone just now, opted to use the drinking fountain to clean his hands and dried them on his jeans. He hugged his arms around her and said nothing. He knew she responded to his touch more than words.

They were both staring at the bulletin board next to the state highway map that was telling them YOU ARE HERE. The board was almost filled with missing person flyers. Steve had never seen so many in one place. He looked at the faces of men, women, and children. His mind went to the child he may never have, then Carrie began to hum.

That haunting tune of hers she always hummed or sang. The tune he remembers from the first time they met; when the whole world except for her vanished. Nothing he could do but go to her.

He forgot about the child that wasn’t. The world slipped away, and all that remained was Carrie and her song.

***

Carrie shaking his arm brought him back to the present. “Steve, look.” Her voice trembled.

Up ahead of them orange and white construction barrels, spaced across the two-lane highway, blocked the road. A sign — illuminated by road flares — read DETOUR and the arrow pointed to a tiny dirt road that cut into the forest to the right of the highway. Orange cones placed on the roadway cut a curved path onto it.

Behind the barricade of barrels stood a tall man wearing a high visibility vest and a hard hat — his resemblance to a road-worker ended there. He waved a large lava-lamp shaped flashlight toward the dirt road.

Steve slowed down as they approached this scene, watching the man. His face invisible in the dark except for every few seconds when his waving flashlight passed by. Steve was trying to piece together the flashes of the man’s image to get an idea of what he looked like. He could make out a rather large, unnaturally elongated, chin. Deep coarse wrinkles — or were they scars? — marked his face. And deep-set red eyes. Red? No, that must have been the reflection of the road flares playing tricks of light… right?

“I don’t see any construction.” Carrie said peering through the windshield. “And why would anyone work in this weather anyhow?” She looked at the dirt road the sign and that odd worker were directing them to. “Steve, I don’t want to go down there.”

“Neither do I, but we have little choice.” Steve pulled off the highway and onto the detour. There was brief rumble of gravel under the tires as the pavement transitioned into dirt. Steve let out his breath, which he hadn’t realized he’d been holding in since he looked at that strange man.

The little Toyota’s shocks yelled out in agony as it rocked up and down over the unpaved road. Crooked branches scratched across the sides of the vehicle. The headlights did little to light their way through the pitchy blackness.

Steve looked in the rear-view mirror and could no longer see the lights from the highway. He glanced down at the fuel gauge — less than a quarter tank — and hoped that this detour wasn’t a long one.

***

“Steve, slow down!” Carrie hollered noticing how fast the car had propelled itself through the forest-walled tunnel the road had become. The only things visible outside: trees, and dark.

“We don’t have a lot of gas honey… I don’t want to get stuck out here.”

Carrie looked at Steve’s face, unnerved by what she saw there. She had always known her husband to be strong and fearless. What she saw now, growing in his features was uncertainty and fear.

A large shadowy thing bounded into their path. Steve slammed the brakes. There was a brief crunch of metal, then the shrill scraping of claws against steel and glass as the huge creature rolled onto the hood and scurried up the windshield onto the roof. Silence. Long scratches scarred the windshield.

They looked at each other with the same thought — What the hell was that? Steve hit the gas and the car jumped forward; the thing rolled down the back windshield, across the trunk, and onto the ground with a wet thud.

They both turned peering out the back. “Go, just go!” Carrie yelled, but Steve just sat there; eyes wide, jaw dropped.

“I want to find out what the hell that was.”

“It’s just a stupid bear. This is the forest Steve.”

He looked at her with gaped amazement. “We both saw that thing… that wasn’t a bear.”

“Whatever it is, it’s dangerous… look what it did to the windshield!”

“I think I killed it. Is that what you saw earlier on the side of the highway?”

A low rumbling growl from behind the car answered Steve’s question. A monstrous clawed paw — covered in coarse dark gray fur — reached up and gripped the trunk.

“Shit!” Steve shifted into drive and floored the gas pedal. The car launched into motion and the paw fell away; the claws ripping jagged lines through the metal. Steve looked in the mirror: it stood up on two legs and roared, its eyes — reflecting the taillights — glowed red in the rain.

************* To be continued *************

And that concludes the excerpt from The Night Has Teeth. I hope that you enjoyed the story enough to want to find out what happens next. The full story is currently available on Amazon: Click Here for $0.99 or free with Kindle Unlimited. The Night Has Teeth will also be going into wide distribution later this month, beginning with a release on Barnes & Noble’s NOOK on October 28th. So if you read on a different platform than Kindle you will be able to get the story then!

Thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope everyone is enjoying the Blog Hop!
Randy

Keep on blog hopping and check out some more of the authors below.