Blindly Into The Night (429 Words)

Her mind awash with fear the behemoth charges blindly onwards, destroying all that stands in her way. Commuters are crushed in their cars as they sit in the traffic caused by her arrival, fences, walls bushes and trees are all flattened as she bolts. All she can think of is returning to the safety of the water.

Gone are the thoughts of stealth, as are the graceful movements of a silent hunter. The earth rattles beneath her feet, windows are shattered, car alarms are set off adding to the cacophony of screams that fill the air as this nightmare creature tries to return home.

Having run full circle since emerging from the lake, the behemoth comes down the Broadway and along the side of the park approaching the aftermath of the carnage she has caused.

Emergency vehicles crowd the road beneath her, their blue lights dancing over the scene. A loud throbbing noise fills the air as the police helicopter circles in, shining its spotlight on the behemoth. Blinded the light the beast staggers backwards shielding her eyes, the helicopter flies in closer recording her every move.

The noise, the lights, the fear it is all too much for the behemoth and she swats at the helicopter sending it spiralling to the ground. The resulting explosion is met with an ear splitting roar from the terrified beast. Driven back by the flames and not knowing where else to go the behemoth unleashes another roar and lumbers into town.

Down Lichfield Street she roams, the fear sinking deeper with each step. Her once fertile land now smothered in concrete, trees replaced by buildings she is lost and alone. Standing on the corner of Lichfield and Bridge Street she desperately sniffs the air trying to pick up the scent of something to track in the hope it'll lead her to sanctuary.

She doesn't hear the cars coasting to a stop behind her, or the boots on the road running for cover. The first she knows is the sharp sting of bullets as the armed response open fire into her back. Whipping around looking for her attackers her tail slices through the pillars of the Saint Matthews hall. She doesn't see the half dozen armed officers crouching behind walls or in doorways she only sees the two black Audis abandoned in the road.

Stepping forward she brings her foot crashing down on them. Turning around again her tail whips over the ruins that were Saint Matthews's hall. Sniffing the air frantically again she finds nothing and heads off blindly into the night.


The Tears Of A Clown (462)

Jackson had wanted to be a clown ever since a trip to the circus as a child; he took performing arts at college and honed his craft. When he was nineteen Jollies came around and his dream finally came true, he ran away to join the circus. In the ten years since he had travelled the country, fell in and out of love, broken hearts across the land, made thousands laugh and given nightmares to countless children.

Life on the road wasn't exactly as glamorous as he thought it would be, they hours were long and the work hard. But he loved tending to the animals, especially Luna. She was an Indian elephant who had never seen her homeland; he looked deep into the eye of his beloved and asked "Where did it all go wrong?" Her deep brown eye blinked as if in understanding. Despite towering above him and weighing almost three ton she had a gentle touch and she wrapped her trunk around him, pulling him into a warm embrace.

Reaching out Jackson lovingly strokes Luna' ear and says, "come on old gal, we can't mope about all day" and writhes his way out of her grip. Hanging her head Luna nudges him gently, "ok, ok here you." says Jackson reaching into his trouser pocket and pulling out a handful of peanuts, that Luna hoovers up with her trunk.

With one final stroke of her trunk Jackson says "I'll come and see you later doll, I've got to get ready for work" and turns to walk away. As he is walking towards his caravan he catches a flash of green from the corner of his eye. Turning around for a better look he can't believe his eyes.

Luna, her eyes wide with fear, has been snatched up by the behemoth. Blood pours out of the stricken beast as claws sink deeper into her haunch to stop her struggling. Effortlessly Luna is lifted towards the razor toothed maw and she is bitten clean in two.

Acting on instinct and out of love, Jackson runs screaming at the behemoth. Grabbing a pitchfork out of the pile of hay he lunges at the beast's gargantuan foot, driving the sharpened steel down with all of his might.

The roar is deafening, the behemoth has never known pain before, she has only ever known hunger. Dropping what is left of Luna onto one of the caravans she inspects her foot. The wound is only shallow and she licks it gently dislodging the fork.

Blood seeps out of the wound and pools beneath her foot. Gingerly the behemoth rises to her full height again. She glances around in a panic looking for danger but sees nothing. Her hunger forgotten the beast charges off blindly towards town.


Breaking News (498 Words)

"Make sure you get the blood in shot!" Cassandra shouts at her cameraman, a tired looking chap called Trevor. Trevor obligingly starts a sweeping shot from the pool of blood the firemen are hosing down, up Cassandra' legs and then focusses on her face.

Staring in disgust at him down the lens Cassandra says "You didn't just take a shot of me in these wellies did you? You really wouldn't be that fucking stupid would you Trevor?"

Without saying a word, Trevor starts the shot again. He starts with the firemen scrubbing the path, pans across the park, zooms in on a woman throwing fish back into the lake, zooms out again and focusses perfectly on Cassandra face.

"This is Cassandra Donahue live from Walsall arboretum, a place normally associated with tranquillity and quiet reflection. But not today, today that peace was shattered by . . . by. Shit, what are we calling this . . .  this thing?"

Trevor sighs and stops recording, he was better than this. He dreamed of being on national news, maybe in a warzone, maybe in Washington or Hollywood, anywhere really other than regional broadcasting.  Last week they had reported "live" from the scene of a mugging, a mugging that had happened two days previously and half a mile away.

Looking at Cassandra he grits his teeth, desperately trying to keep the mask of servitude in place. She has her phone clamped to her ear and is shouting at someone else for a change, "Well it needs a name!" There is a brief pause where Trevor guesses the poor sap on the other end of the phone tries to suggest something but gets shot down in flames. "Godzilla? Are you stupid? Are you fucking high? This is the news, this is real life you fucking moron."

She hammers at the red button on her phone, the twenty first century version of slamming the phone down. "I'm surrounded by fucking morons." She declares to the clouds as if god is listening.

"So what are we going with then?" asks Trevor.

The look Cassandra shoots him tells him, to keep his mouth shut and just keep the film rolling. He starts his shot again, panning over the debris and carnage, slipping in a brief deliberately out of focus shot of the fire engines strobing lights and then ending up once again on Cassandras face.

"This is Cassandra Donahue reporting live from Walsall arboretum, where the normal tranquillity has been shattered with reports of a dragon emerging from Hatherton Lake."  

Cassandra stands statue still in her pose of professionalism for a few seconds before saying "fuck it, cut it there and we'll drop in the witness reports and their shitty mobile footage in later."

Trevor sighs knowing the "we'll" means him. He also knows that the "mobile footage" will gain more fame than anything he will ever shoot.

"Should have gone to film school." He mumbles to himself as he trudges back to the van.


Catch and Release (381 Words)

As the behemoth lumbers off into the distance looking to further quell its insatiable hunger, the chaos she has left in her wake starts to calm and the true cost is being revealed. Screams and sirens fill the air; blood runs freely down the pathways from the shattered corpses of those caught underfoot or hit by debris.

An art teacher runs around blindly trying to gather her students together. Dazed commuters climb out of the carcass of a bus, not quite believing how lucky they have been. The homeless who were gathered in the corner, sharing tales and alcohol have escaped unscathed and run down to help. Cultural and social differences are forgotten as humanity over rules and perfect strangers help each other.

In amongst all of this someone stands away from the crowds. She stands with her back to all of the suffering and stares at the lake from where the monster has risen. The water level has plummeted leaving fish stranded on the now exposed rocks lining the sides. She watches in fascination as they dance towards their death, their silver skin shimmering in the sun.

Claire has lived in Walsall all of her life, she fished this lake with her dad as a child. When he passed two years back now, she had scattered his ashes across the water from his favourite fishing spot just like he wanted.

He didn't have a lot in life, but he left her all of his beloved tackle on the basis she put it to good use. She never did of course, and the tackle was in her garage slowly gathering dust. She used to come here most days to look out across the water and remember him. But then the winter came and the visits became less frequent.

Tears began to slide down her face, she isn't sure if it is over her dad or the fish but she knows she has to do something. Clambering over the railings, she walks to the edge. The closer she gets the louder the frantic slapping of flesh against rock becomes.

Picking them up carefully like her dad had taught her when she was but a child she starts throwing them back into the water, each splash a weight off her soul.


A Horse Called Malcolm (498 Words)

Helen kicked her heels into Malcolm. It was an odd name for a thoroughbred but it made her smile and she didn't have a lot to smile about anymore.  Malcolm had been an impulse buy after the divorce went through and she suddenly wasn't poor anymore. Admittedly the legal fees had taken more than their fair share but it was worth it just to make the bastard suffer.

It had been a very acrimonious break up; she had found him in bed with some pretty young thing less than half his age. He had wheeled out all the usual excuses, it didn't mean anything, it wasn't what it looked like, and how she had led him on. For the first time in their thirty year marriage Helen saw him for what he was, a dirty old man.

The signs were always there of course, they had met when she was sixteen. She was in the audience while his band pretended to play their one and only hit single on top of the pops. Their eyes had met and she was invited backstage after the recording had finished.

It wasn't exactly a whirlwind romance, she was soon pregnant and the pair married at the local registry office. He had cried during the brief ceremony, already bemoaning the loss of his freedom.

That was a charge he had thrown at her during all of their rows. He was drinking because he lost his freedom; he was sleeping around because of her ruining his life. And the drugs, the drugs were always an attempt to gain back what he had lost.

She of course had her own arsenal of hate, she called him a cliché, a has been, a one hit wonder. That last one was always the one that pushed him over the edge. Despite the millions in royalties that poured in off the back of it he had grown to hate that song. You weren't even allowed to mention it in his presence and come Christmas time he wouldn't leave the house lest he heard it.

For the first time in as long as she can remember she was looking forward to Christmas this year, she couldn't wait to see his dead eyes and fake smile beaming out of the tv set as he mouthed along to the words he wrote in his youth. It was only October and the thought was already making her giggle.

It was these thoughts that she was lost in as the chaos unfolded less than a mile away. She was chuckling to herself as Malcolm sensed the behemoths presence and reared up, throwing her from the saddle. She still had a smile on her face she lay in the mud.  The smile was soon wiped off her face as the claw of the behemoth plucked Malcolm up. She watched in horror as her beloved horse was devoured by this vision of hell.

Dumbstruck she watched as the behemoth lumbered off into this distance.


Ash (432 Words)

Ash had wanted to be a bus driver ever since he was a kid. He never wavered once, there was no backup plan. So when he left school at fifteen with next to no qualifications he worked as an apprentice at the depot. He cleaned the buses and helped out with routine maintenance. He took pride in his work; a bus he had worked on left the yard looking like it had just rolled off the production line.

He started driving not long after he turned Twenty Four, for years he had cursed the government for holding him back but any gripes he has were soon dropped. He was living his dream.

As he drove the Thirty Three down Lichfield street, that all felt like a lifetime ago. He still sort of liked his job but it wasn't exactly like he thought it was going to be. The schoolchildren were outright rude to him; none of them ever sang the wheels on the bus. And the commuters obviously despised him, none of them ever made eye contact let alone returned his smile or cheery welcome.

It wasn't just this route either, the eight, the X thirty five, the three oh three even the sixty nine, he had driven them all. It had taken a while but it had finally dawned on him, he loved buses but hated people.

He was thinking about maybe trying his hand at lorry driving. It wasn't exactly the same but Lorries were kind of cool and you didn't have to deal with all the disgruntled passengers. Sure there was the whole prostitutes and murders thing but surely that was just a myth?

Lost in thought he didn't notice the traffic had stopped or the bedlam the behemoth was causing. At the last minute he snapped out of his daydream and swung around a mini metro, narrowly avoiding a school girl running across the road. His passengers screamed as they were thrown out of their seats and against the windows.

He couldn't swear to it but he thought someone shouted they had whiplash.

In a pretty well justified moment of panic ash put his foot on the accelerator and the bus shot forward, through the chaos until it was plucked off the road. Inertia threw his passengers to the back of the bus. Ash trapped in his cab wasn't so lucky. He had a front row seat as they headed towards the gaping maw. His life didn't flash before his eyes, and his last tragic thought was, "They are going to say I died doing what I loved."


Archived by @NeilSehmbhy (487 Words)

"I have spent every second of countless mortal lifetimes maintaining the balance between life and death. And then you come along spout some old words and here we are. ..up shit creak."

It had been two days since Melvin had been whisked away to Death's house and he was barely coming to terms with it all. Death had testily informed him that if she kept him out of harms way, then they could reverse the damage that he had caused.

Her real name was Śmierć  but she insisted on him calling her Stephanie. Death's house was nothing like he had expected. It was basically an old ladies cottage, decorated with floral curtains, and pastel coloured wallpaper.

All the doilies and crocheted cushion covers aside, what unnerved Melvin the most wasn't her seemingly omnipotent powers but the fact that Death was stunningly beautiful. Melvin found himself staring at her sleek  jet black hair and startling grey eyes. Her skin was pale and smooth like alabaster and she set his pulse racing. The fact that she could easily read his mind made him guard his thoughts but even that was a challenge. Why did she have to wear such tight fitting robes? It was most distracting. 

"Do you know where she got the incantation from?" asked Death interrupting his daydreams," And stop thinking like that you naughty boy."  She smiled coyly feigning her disapproval.

"My friend? Trudy? Not really, the library I suppose. She does work there." said Melvin.

"Right then get your coat, we are going to pay your friend a visit." Death stood by the door tapping her foot impatiently.

"What now? But I was just gonna put the kettle on. Oh okay then." Knowing that there was no point arguing he grabbed his coat and opened the door for her. Death had defined ideas regarding how to treat a lady.  Closing the door behind him Melvin asked.
"Stephanie? Why do we have to go outside to disaparate?"

Death fixed him with a puzzled look as if he was particularly dense. "I'm not the only one who can do that sweetie. We don't want people just appearing in my house do we? No one can apparate in or out. Even Death has enemies."

Holding out her hand for him to clasp they flickered and reappeared in the library reception.
"Where does she work?" Death asked coldly,all business. 
"Downstairs in the Archives." Melvin replied leading the way.

The archives were poorly lit and dank but it wasn't long before they found Trudy, face down in a pool of blood, her throat cut neatly.
"Bloody hell! This is crazy. Don't you usually come and get them. Shouldn't you know about this?" 

Death turned around frowning "Yes I do and Yes I should. The fact that I didn't sense her dying worries me. Her time wasn't up. Somethings wrong Melvin and you're at the heart of it."