Thursday, February 21, 2013

Featured Creature UPDATE: The Night Thing Part III

The following is the continuation of the short fiction presented for the Featured Creature piece, The Night Thing.  I will be posting each update to the original post as I go If you would like to read the pieces as a continuous whole.

The Night Thing Part III

"What the hell was that?!?" Ricky asked, but the man was gone, moved back under the covered area in front of the doors.  The man turned in a circle several times and poured the salt around him until one whole container was empty.  He tossed the container away and closing his eyes, began chanting.  It might have been Latin or maybe Spanish, but Ricky wasn't sure.  The howl came again.  Closer.  This time it extended into what sounded like a bird call, but deeper and almost clicking.

The man was struggling to open the second container.  Ricky could see fresh tears on the his cheeks.  He tore the metal funnel off and poured some the salt over himself, still chanting.  From somewhere within his tattered coat, the man presented a large silver medallion.  It was the size of a small saucer and he seemed to struggle to keep hold of it with his small hand.  He held the medallion in his right hand and with his left he gestured upwards then drew his hand down to touch the circle of salt.  He turned and repeated this four times.

Ricky saw something.  A huge black shape moved at the edge of the lights circling the parking lot.  It looked like a tall man in a hooded cloak of some sort.  It lunged about within the shadow then to Ricky's shock, the figure seemed to open the cloak and lift off into the sky.  Ricky backed away from the window.  He could still hear the raggedy man's chanting, but it had become repetitive.  The man was facing the direction where the hooded figure had been.  He was making strange gestures with his free hand as he presented the medallion with the other.  A strong wind had suddenly come up and the man's hair danced around his head in thick dark strands.  He continued to chant over and over, his eyes wide and staring.  The man's voice became deep and resonate, causing the windows of the store to vibrate in harmony.  Somewhere in the parking lot, the weird cat cry turned into a shriek.  That's when Ricky noticed the headlights of a car pulling into the lot.

The haggard man turned to face the car as well, still chanting, still wielding the medallion like a gun.  No sooner had he turned than a great shadow covered the car.  A swath of inky black, blocking the headlights and covering most of the hood.  The car swerved towards the pumps, then it was lifted straight up into the night sky.  As it rose, it tilted at an angle and the beams of its headlights jaggedly danced across the parking lot.

Ricky leaned forward to the window.  He couldn't see past the roof, but he needn't have looked for mere seconds later the car came crashing down opposite the ragged man and just at the edge of the pumps.  Glass flew across the concrete and the car frame crunched in on itself, compacting the vehicle.  One of headlights burst free of it casing and still attached, cast its light in wild arcs.  The man inside the salt circle did not flinch, but turned to face the fallen car.  Some of the glass had grazed his face and left thin lines of blood, but he continued to chant.  The thing that had lifted the car continued to shriek.

Suddenly at the edge of the lot, one of the street lights exploded in a shower of sparks.  Seconds later on the opposite side of the lot another exploded.  Each was punctuated with the shriek of the hooded figure.  The hairs on Ricky's arms and neck stood on end and he realized then that his face was covered in tears.  Two more lights exploded and now only the building remained lit.  A small glowing pool in a sea of night.  Just then the car door opened and the man inside fell out onto the concrete in a heap.  In the back of his mind, Ricky thanked God it was no one from town, just a stranger from the highway.

The man's neck and arms were bleeding and his cheeks were pink and flushed from the airbag.  It hung behind him in a huge deflating pile.  Using the door for support, the man managed to get on his feet and stand.  He looked at Ricky and then the man with the medallion.  He screamed.  A huge black shaped crossed the space under the covered area and enveloped him.  His scream faded as he disappeared into the night.  It became disjointed and gurgling as it faded, then stopped completely.

The man within salt circle slumped and the wind died down.  He lowered his arms and sat.  His hair returned to its previous torpor. Ricky grabbed his ring of keys and rushed to the door.  He fumbled through the mass of metal for the door keys.  He turned the latch and began to open the door.


To Be Continued...

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