This an original short story by me and so please, copyrighted. Don't take it off to share elsewhere, but do share the link, so that others may come and read. Thank you.
The breathing in his lungs grew harsher as he ran and ran. Damn it, it hurt to suck in air. He didn’t dare look over his should to see if it still pursued him. After all, he might stumble over something and fall and the thing would be able to get him. The night being so dark he wouldn’t see it, not until it was in clawing distance anyway.
They warned his wife, Tillie and him, that some beast prowled the area at night, mainly when the crescent moon hung low in the sky. For months whatever it was, bayed long into the night as it prowled. Hearing it for so long, he hated it. Hated that it kept him indoors at night. Hated that fear of it ruled his and the town’s nights. Tillie went to bed early those nights, but he stayed up until late, after the sound had died away. When he came to bed, Tillie seem to have a sexual appetite that rivaled none she had any other time during their marriage of one year. She appeared to pay no heed that he obviously spent the night smoking. The only time he applauded the creature stalking the woods nearby. It made his wife even more . . . sensual.
The past month, there had been nothing. And he needed some cigarettes. Bad enough that the shakes came over him and the craving dug deep into him. He grew sharp at Tillie, who started to give him angry looks. Looks she never had before. She bit back at him, like PMs had gotten control of her. She told him not to go. After all, he could get the damned pack in the morning. But he didn’t listen to her. After their worse argument ever, he stomped out the door and to their car.
It hadn’t taken him long—just a half hour to drive to town to the only gas station that stayed open until six at least. By the clock in the dashboard, it was six.
The owner of the place was locking up when he screeched the car to a stop. Would have locked the door and gotten into his own vehicle to drive away if Jim hadn’t paid him an extra twenty just to remain open for five more minutes to get his pack of cigarettes and pay for them. The man then closed the place and zoomed out into the street and down it. Normally, a cop would catch and ticket him, but since the killings, the police had more things to worry about then some speeder. Which was why Jim himself could stamp on the pedal for home. The only good thing; lack of cops and oh yeah, his horny wife. Though the way they been duking it out, he doubted he get some tonight.
He had made about halfway home when the car broke down. He cranked the engine. Nothing. Tried again. It didn’t even give a cough.
The ‘bitch’ finally gave up the ghost on him. He couldn’t understand what the problem could be and it was too dark, with only a crescent moon and a few straggling stars as his light, as he couldn’t find the flashlight he swore he had put in the glove compartment anywhere in the vehicle. He climbed out, kicked the door shut, and not even bothering to lock it, trudged home.
There had been nothing for the first fifteen minutes of him tramping on the road. Whatever had haunted the woods must have left after the last death. A crescent moon mocked him from the sky and there’d always been that kind of moon during the killings. He heard not one peep from the woods on either side of him. The silence reassured him.
Jim remembered the terror that had filled the tiny town. That some beast had caught and ravished, even partially eating, some pets, a horse in a pasture, and fifteen people. . . What was that? He paused, and stared at all the trees. Minutes before the night appeared harmless. Now the hulking shadows that lined the road on both sides of the road had his heart hammering. Though nothing moved.
Suddenly, the stillness bothered him. Sweat beaded on his forehead and under his armpits, despite the chill in the air. Heart pounding, he began walking faster. No, make that he began to jog. Not much for exercising, his legs protested it.
A low growl came from the left of him.
Jim didn’t stop moving, but he turned to peer at the forest that way. Nothing. A shadow detached from the trees and stepped onto the road.
He broke into a run. His legs screamed, but he ignored them as a howl rent the air. An answering prissy girl screams in his own ears.
God, was that him?
Yes, it was. He belted out into a flat-out run for his life. For that was what he was doing; saving his skin.
He caught sight of a light. His house! The light glinted from behind the curtain at one of the front room windows.
Thank God, if he got inside and locked the door behind him, he’d be safe. Of course, he would give a call to the police and let them know the thing that been killed all those people and pets wasn’t gone. Tomorrow, he would tell his wife they need to love into town. Forget it, move some—
“Hell,” he cursed, “that hurts.” Hurt? He felt sure that he’d broken his nose, running right into his front door. He wondered why Tillie hadn’t opened the door and hissed at him to get inside. But she hadn’t. What a time for her to go to bed. She had nagged about him going out, that it was not safe to do so, but then, she doesn’t even remain up until he made it back home, safe and sound.
Fumbling in his pockets, he found the pack of cigarettes that had foolishly drawn him out tonight, a lighter, and nothing else. No wallet, no keys.
Damn it—he must have left all his keys dangling from the ignition in his dead car and the wallet on the seat. Dead car? If he didn’t get inside, he might be dead as it. With a frantic hitch in his breathing, he tried the door knob, but the door refused to open. A dumb idiot to boot, he didn’t leave a key hidden outside, just in case. He darted over to the front room windows, fumbling with them, but none would lift up so he could climb inside. He got all way to the back. Put his hand on the knob of the back door, knowing it was futile as the howling grew closer. Twisted. . .
The door creaked open.
Oh God, oh God! Jim bolted in and slammed the door shut behind him, locking it and sliding the deadbolt home. He backed away from the door, waiting for something to ram against it. When nothing did and the howling cut off, he backpedaled through the doorway into his living room. A light glowed from a lamp by the window and he switched it off. No need to alert the thing outside of any presence in the home as it was.
God, Tillie. He crept down the hallway, not turning on the light, and pushed open the bedroom door.
He stood in the doorway. Strange. Even when she’d gotten mad as soaked bear, she never shut the bedroom door on him. After what his life had been like earlier, he needed a cigarette. He took one out of the pack and lit it. Drew the taste into his mouth, then blew out a ring or two. Tillie would kill him for smoking in their bedroom. Oh well. With a shrug, he stepped inside. Heard a sound behind him and turned to see a shadow. The door slammed shut.
A low growl that sounded familiar. His heart thumped like a rabbit pursued by a fox as he sweated. He reached over to the lamp on the bedstead near him. The light flooded the room, washing over what stood by the closed door.
It looked like Tillie and yet, it didn’t. A mouth full of fangs too big for it, red eyes and a flat nose, with Neanderthal brows hung over the features like a hanging cliff. Claws like knives sprouted from her fingers and toes. Nude, she felt no sexual want at her form, for raggedy fur scattered over her skin.
“I told you to stay home, but no, you had to feed your addiction for smokes.” Her voice and yet, not, more growly and deep, and he admitted it, downright frightening. “Mother said not to marry a human, but did I listen? No. She said they were filthy, with their drinking and smoking, but in the beginning, I thought you were different. I fought my old urges. Even when I heard Mother’s howls at night. Calling to me to come join her.” She shook her head and for a minute, despite her horrible visage, she almost looked like the old Tillie he had married. But only for a second as her face hardened. “Guess you can’t change a human and not even a troll either. I am finding I can’t control my need for raw human flesh just as you can’t stop smoking those nauseous cigarettes.
Mother was right. Humans are only good for one thing; food.”
Jim screamed, the sound growing shriller as she leapt onto him and bit his throat. His blood flowing and his fingers numbing, the burning butt dropped from them into the rug below.
A fire lit in the fibers. It raged as she dragged him outside to where another troll waited beneath a giant tree. Jim heard the screams of a fire engine in the distance as both started gnawing on him. Or was that his own waning screams?
His last thoughts as his life ebbed; Tillie always said smoking would kill me.