Monday, November 2, 2009

Fleeing Spirit Lake

A response to Nathaniel Lee's "Morning Breath" in Mirror Shards.

The truck's shocks squeaked in protest as something scrambled over the cab. Tony's lungs burned. He saw a shadow move across the windshield. Claws scratched at the frost that must have condensed on the windows. The shadow leaned closer, but Tony was confident it wouldn't see anything.

When it jumped off the truck, the cab shook and Tony almost fell off his seat. He continued to hold his breath. Seconds passed, but the fear helped him fight breathing. A foot-long metal spike pierced the truck's roof. Tony screamed. The truck shook back-and-forth and Tony couldn't stop screaming.

The shaking stopped and the spike was pulled out with a spine-tingling screech. Tony saw a hairy eyeball stare down at him from where the spike had been. The eye was large and bloodshot. So much for playing possum.

Tony cranked the engine while the truck shook as the creature climbed back onto the cab. Several knuckles descended into the hole left by the spike. The engine purred to life and Tony kicked the gas. The truck careened forward. The truck crashed into a tree or something on the edge of the parking lot. The creature now had two fur-covered hands through the roof and was pulling the edges of the metal back.

Tony reversed the truck and drove towards where he thought the road should be that led away from the Spirit Lake parking lot. Tony rolled the steering wheel back-and-forth hoping to dislodge the creature clinging to the truck. He found that he knew where the side of the road was by a change in the texture of the wheels as they drove over the grass berms.

Tony slammed into a tree when he missed a sharp turn. The creature rolled forward and fell off of the hood. Tony remembered that the road twisted to the left here and quickly reversed the truck before the creature climbed back onto the truck. He made the turn and gunned the engine. The crashes had cracked the windshield and Tony twisted to kick out the glass.

Something hit the roof of the truck and Tony found himself covered with a thick brownish sludge that smelled like a cross between porcupine musk and cow patties. Tony fought the urge to vomit and concentrated on driving down the mountain to Castle Rock and his hotel room.


The truck quickly disappeared from sight, but she could smell the stink left behind. She'd go back to the skoocooms main camp and together they'd hunt the photographer.

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