It was a DARK and STORMY night. The DARK of the moon. The STORMS of November. After DARK. Before the STORM. Yeah, I’m betting y’all can guess today’s #1lineWed THEME. This “snippet” is more of a short story that I wrote for the OKRWA Halloween Monster Writing contest. We had to write a 1000 word max story about a fictional monster, ie. one that already exists in movies, TV, books. This is what I came up with and yeah, it does match today’s theme. 😉
A dark and stormy night…
She’d just poured a fresh cup of coffee and barely managed not to slosh it over the mug’s rim when the storm hit with a fury. She barely heard the scratch at the door. She waited, convinced the sound was a figment of her very active imagination. Then it came again, followed by a pitiful whine.
Her fingers fumbled with the locks and then the latch. The heavy wooden door banged open, knocking her to the stone floor. A bedraggled dog dripping water and smelling like roadkill bounded inside and straddled her. His fetid breath choked her and she squeezed lips and eyes shut as the damn thing licked her face and drooled.
“Ewwww.” She pushed the beast off, rolled to her knees and scrambled to her feet. After a struggle, she shut the door against the gusting wind. She turned to discover the stray dog rooting through her cabinets.
His tail thumped against the heavy oak table that served as a kitchen island and gave her a wolfish smile, tongue lolling from the corner of his mouth. One sporting very large teeth. She found a bowl of left-over stew in the fridge and put it down for the dog. He slurped it up like it was prime rib.
She was debating whether to simply dry him off or put him in the tub for a real bath when he sat in front of her and offered his paw for a shake. That’s when she noticed the collar and tag. “If found, return me to #1 Nightshade Lane.” No name. No phone number. The lights flickered. She definitely wasn’t returning the dog in the middle of the storm and he stank so she opted for Plan A. Bath time.
In the morning, she woke to the scent of eau de wet dog. “Get off me,” she groused, pushing ineffectively at the huge animal. She’d thought he was part German Shepherd but decided some breed of husky because he looked a lot like a fuzzy wolf. Coffee first, then she’d return the dog. She opened the door to cool temperatures, blue skies, and the scent of a world washed clean by rain.
The dog cavorted around her, nosing bushes and trees and the last of the autumn mums, watering each plant with happy abandon. Pushing through the small wooden gate that marked her cottage from the street, she crossed over to the massive sentinels that delineated the opposing drive. There was no gate, just the weathered stone pillars. Her address was #2 Nightshade Lane, so this had to be #1. The drive curved through an alley of ancient oak trees, their canopies stretching overhead. The pavement ended at a pair of smaller gateposts and a massive iron gate. There was no buzzer or intercom. Then she saw a rope dangling. With a shrug, she pulled it. Nothing happened. She pulled it again.
A voice ghosted from somewhere. “Go away.”
“I’m returning your dog.”
“I don’t have a dog.”
“Is this Number One Nightshade Lane?” Silence. “I’m Mina Harker. I live across the street at Number Two. Your dog showed up during the storm last night. His tag says to return him here.”
The dog settled on his haunches next to her. They waited some more. Mina shivered as clouds moved in, turning the day gloomy and the shade provided by the trees into something almost sinister. A figure cloaked in shadow moved toward the gate. She sucked in a breath as he neared. Tall. Black hair. Eyes sharp and piercing. His skin was pale, like he didn’t get out in the sun. Broad shoulders accented by a black Henley. Long muscular legs clad in black jeans that clung to all the right places. Heat rose in her cheeks and her breath clenched in her chest, an echo of muscles in lower places doing the same.
The gate swung open on grating hinges and she had to swallow—twice—before she could make her mouth spit out the words forming on her tongue. “Hi. I’m Mina.”
The man stared, unblinking.
She held out the rope. “Your dog?”
“Not my dog.”
The dog whined, escaping his collar to dash through the gate. Man and dog disappeared before she could react. She left the collar buckled to the gate.
For seven nights in a row, the dog appeared at her door. On the eighth day, she had to jerk on the bell rope a dozen times before the sexy recluse appeared. She swallowed the saliva pooling in her mouth. Why did the jerk have to be so sexy?
“He’s not my dog.”
The gate rasped open with a screech and Hunter jerked the rope from her grip and dashed through. He was half-way up the drive before the gate clanged shut. The man turned to follow.
“Wait!” Damn but she sounded desperate.
He turned, arching one brow which only accented the sharply-drawn planes of his handsome face. She hoped she wasn’t drooling.
“I was hoping you’d introduce yourself, given that we’re neighbors and all.”
“No. I am not neighborly nor do I make friends.”
“How about fuck buddies?” She clamped her hands over her mouth, mortified that she’d voiced that thought out loud. Face scalding, she turned on her heel to flee.
A man, wearing only faded blue jeans, stepped from the woods. “That’s a hellava invitation, bossman.”
“You should keep your nose out of my affairs, Wolfman.”
“Where’s the fun in that?”
He turned on his heel, the motion military precise. He’d waste no time on the woman and her ridiculous admission. He’d loved a woman once, a long time ago. He would not make the same mistake twice.
The voice of his beloved whispered on the wind. “A second chance, Vlad.”
And then Mina was there, stubbornness stamped on her face. “You are a big jerk!”
Vlad Tepes, Count Dracula did the only thing he could. He kissed her.
Yes, eventually, I’ll round this out to a full story or novella because I think it could be a lot of fun to write and hopefully to read, maybe for next Halloween. Anyway… Writers, have any dark and stormy words to share? Readers, who’s your favorite monster?