A to Z Challenge 2013

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Short Story Beginning

Last night I started something new, mostly because I wasn't really up for working on my WIP for some reason. So the following is what I came up with. Its not finished of course, but I'll probably do some more on it or work on the novel later today.

The key wouldn't turn. Kris didn't know what else to do, and it was getting pretty late. His hazard lights cast a hazy on-off glow, keeping rhythmic time. The mist crawled across the lot behind him, slow as a panther hunting quarry. He wiggled the ignition one more time, finally getting the silver to rotate a half turn. The dead click sealed the deal; he was walking and he didn't even know exactly which way to go. Kris checked the interior of the SUV once more, making sure he had everything, and then he creaked the door open. The blast of air hit him for a second, catching the young man off guard. His dark eyes widened in surprise, but the forceful breeze was gone.

Kris looked around carefully, his shoulders bunched in irritation. Every nerve itched to fire in his arms, and it suddenly became clear – the silence. The silence was bone jarring as a rock concert. Not even his own heartbeat was audible. He brushed his long hair aside, rubbing a finger in his ear as if to clear it of debris. His eyes were scanning the black landscape, leaping to the amber pools falling from streetlights and store fronts. Now he was getting a little freaked out, and he didn't mind admitting it to himself. Somethin' was down right wrong. Turning around slowly, he noticed the mist across the way was the only thing moving, sliding inexorably across the open expanse of pavement. He could hear its scrape against the wet cement. It was a sour sound, reminiscent of a cat's last yowl; a long never-ending note that played viciously upon the spine. He shouldn't be hearing that though. For one thing, it was over 200 yards away. More importantly though, mist didn't usually make sound. At least he'd never heard of it before. He could see through the mist to something within, but it wasn't really movement. Unreal telescopic vision played images upon his retinas, showing him a purplish glow with silvery tendrils just inside this low fog bank. He blinked twice, looking once more. The white mists covered this purple amoeba completely, but somehow he knew it was more of a doorway than some monstrous thing. The silvery tendrils were something from the other side, some ethereal gases escaping. How he knew this was a mystery, but there was no doubting what he knew. He always knew.

His mama didn't raise no fool, and he wasn't about to go closer to that weird shit. Turning in the opposite direction, Kris walked away from his useless hunk of black metal quickly, not daring to look back at the encroaching miasma. It was there. He knew it. The blackness between pools of amber cast from lights above was absolute, like when those cops shined interrogation lights at you. You couldn't see anything but the light. He'd read once that it was supposed to intimidate you, but he didn't believe it. Maybe it was because of who he was. Not much intimidated him...except for the truly weird. Unfortunately, he ran into the truly weird more often than cops with interrogation lights. He didn't know why that was either. Another gap in his disorganized memory. He knew things, particularly about the weird shit. But he didn't know why, and he didn't know where it all came from. Nobody did. It was like that X-files show, where men in black suits and sunglasses-at-night showed up to tell you not to say anything. They didn't really know either, but they wanted you to believe their super-secret world included understanding the truly weird. It was a hoax. They knew less than he did, and that scared them a bit. He could taste their fear like a bee did. He knew it instinctively, the way a dog knew you were terrified of its bite. He'd warned them once about trying to jail him. He'd never needed to warn a second time.

His polished work boots made no sound as he thumped along the sidewalk, passing in and out of the deep shadows. His ears perked like radar, seeking any sound in this increasingly odd landscape. The only thing he knew was that sound wasn't working right now. And it wasn't just him. A teenager in a fiery street racer was fiddling with his radio while the cop behind him flashed the blues and reds. Neither had noticed the silence yet, but they would soon enough. It was time to get the hell out of the immediate area, Kris thought quickly. Something was going down, and he didn't want nothin' to do with it. He quickened his pace, glancing both ways unconsciously as he crossed the wide avenue. There were a couple cars coming this way, lights piercing the darkness between streetlights like lances. They hadn't noticed yet either, or maybe it didn't extend that far. Glancing ahead, he noticed another misty pool surround the base of a tree. The lower half of the trunk had become invisible, encased in the deep purple and black within the mist's core. The imperceptible sounds jarred his spine once more, the feline death yowl still dragging along. He knew the sound was there, though his ears didn't really hear it. Kris skidded to a stop, his boot splashing noiselessly in the gutter. He was unable to tear his eyes from the formless phenomena, nerves in his arms itching to fire once more. As he watched, the miasma engulfed a brown squirrel on a branch. There was no cry of pain, no startled chattering; It just wasn't there any longer, replaced by a formless curtain with silvery fingers.

The last time this had happened, an entire block was engulfed. There was nothing on the news about it; no anchormen getting the exclusive. But he knew. He always knew.


KLo said...

I love the end ... "But he knew. He always knew." Just spine-tingling : )

WindyA said...

Wow, Eric. This is great! I think it was definitely some time well spent and I have to agree with KLo: loved the ending.

Elizabeth said...

I got a good visual and eerie feeling with this.

April said...

Wow! Me likey!! Can't wait for more!

Anonymous said...

Spooky. Kept me on the edge of my seat. Can't wait to find out what's in the mist that is purplish and weird. Great ending.