- On March 16, post a short story around 750 words, no more than 1000, in any genre you like.
- Read and give a critique for the person before and after you in the Linky List (and as many others as you can/want to). When you critique: a) find at least two things that really work, and b) at least two suggestions for how it can be tightened or improved.
- (Optional) When you post on March 16, list one or two (online) journals where you plan to submit your piece after making revisions.
They found the vampire dog just outside Close City.
That’s the last thing Jeffrey said to me before I tossed my sneakers in a bin at Security. This beast, the third we’d heard about, took a bullet in the neck while draining a chicken. After hearing my husband’s exaggerations about this dog-wolf-bear monstrosity, I refused to look at the pictures he seemed hell-bent on showing me.
I sprinted to make my connection after the Dallas flight and sat beside an enormous man with deceptively light body odor. I thought it was me, and while he chatted with the grandma across the aisle about an increase in the coyote population, I fiddled with the buttons above the seat and gave myself a discreet sniff. Certain my armpits smelled like Bath and Body Works, I settled into the half seat left after the man’s belly situated itself.
The jolt of our landing shocked me awake, my heart running five minute miles. Rain beat on the porthole of a window, and I rubbed my swollen stomach. I hailed a cab in the pouring rain, but the poor driver didn’t speak a syllable of English. He kept turning his head to ask me about a chupa-something. Around the seventh time, I snapped that I didn’t even like Taco Bell and could he please drive faster.
If the nightmare I was looking into now was any indication, I must’ve upset him. This was not in my briefing.
The gnarled hole of an entrance was two feet taller than my five foot five but very narrow. If I reached my hand in, I was positive it would disappear into blackness thicker than dear Aunt Ruthy’s homemade syrup. I looked over my shoulder when I couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching me, and the baby decided that moment to jab a knee into my kidney. My hand flew to the opening of the cave-like place to steady myself and landed in something wet. I snatched my fingers back, pulling a string of mucous-like drippings with it. I somehow swallowed back the vomit that rushed up my throat.
After two, deep breaths, I tugged my courage around me like a Snuggie and stepped into the darkness, the silky horror of spider webs immediately netting across my face and tangling in my black curls. I jumped forward with a shriek and clawed at my face as the smell of decay accosted me. This time, I couldn’t help it. The meager contents of my stomach splashed into the water beside me.
Wait. There wasn’t supposed to be water.
Something brushed my leg.
I ran to the left, wrapping a protective arm around my middle, and my shin bumped into something solid. I crashed to the icy floor. My free hand fumbled for whatever tripped me while my eyes darted back and forth, trying to find whatever was stalking me. I touched something at last and followed its curvy contours until I felt silky skin, lips, eyes…blinking eyes!
I leapt to my feet, held my belly, and sprinted the way I came. Around the water, through the webs, out the opening, across the parking lot, and through the double doors. I slammed the key card in front of the skinny blond at the check-in desk.
“I demand to speak to the manager about my room!”
Her eyes widened when she saw my bulging stomach, and a smile slithered across her blood red lips. “I’m the manager.” Her voice could seduce a priest.
“There’s a…a woman, I think, and water…spiders…” Her hungry look silenced me as the hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention. Before I could blink, the girl’s loveliness disappeared, and she changed, no, transformed, into a disfigured, dog-like thing with a hunched, hairless back that reached up to my belly button. It turned its crooked snout and yellowed fangs toward me, took a loud, panting sniff, and jumped.My name is Jewel Ceray, and my darling Jayce was born three months later. He would always be safe from me, from the pack, but as my sharp, shining eyes followed Jeffrey into the bedroom, I wondered if my baby would be the only one.
That's it! The hosts of this blogfest asked for a listing of where I plan to submit this, but I have no plans at this time. I've never even thought about online journals... This short was an on-a-whim idea based on another idea (an adult novel about a thirteen year old Jayce, actually). So, read it, comment, critique. I appreciate any and all feedback!
And my Spring Forward and Help! event ends Saturday. I know we can make a difference for those affected by the earthquake, tsunami, and continued threats in Japan and the Pacific!