As always I start my tale with the usual caveat. I am an author; I write to engage and entertain. What follows could be complete fiction, or could be a true tail of my encounter with something… odd. And please remember, these are unedited recollections, not polished stories.
Skye shook her head and straightened, trying not to step on any of the bone fragments.
“So… maybe we should get out of here?” Sean asked hopefully.
The young blonde shook her head.
“I want to look around some more,” she said, wiping her hands on her jeans. “Come on.”
Skye led the way deeper into the gloomy house, her stiletto heels making the floor creak underfoot. In the hallway were three doors, each closed. A stairwell went upwards into darkness while the hallway went further towards the back of the house. Skye paused to examine each door, finding them locked. She stopped at the third and used a hairpin and her knife to pick the lock. The door squealed open to reveal a well-appointed room decked out like a hunter’s den, complete with stuffed animal heads, antique rifles and paintings of Victorian hunters in the prime of their sport.
“This looks more promising,” Sean said, ushering Skye inside. “Those sofas look kind of inviting.”
“Yeah, too inviting,” Skye replied. “The rest of the house is a jumble of old wrecked furniture and there is a dead guy in the living room… but this room looks almost clean. Don’t you think that’s weird?”
Sean shrugged and poked at one of the stuffed beavers mounted over the mantle.
“Maybe this room is just better sealed,” he said. “These are kind of cool!”
“Gaia, give me strength,” Skye muttered, walking around the room. “Sean, there isn’t even any dust on the furniture!”
“Maybe the guy out front was the homeowner and only recently got whacked,” Sean said in a teasing voice. “Look, I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation. But for now, why don’t we enjoy the night?”
Grudgingly Skye sat next to Sean and snuggled up beside him. She’d only known him a few short weeks but they had grown close in that time and she considered him as much her boyfriend as he did her his girlfriend. After a few minutes she stretched up to kiss him. Just as her lips brushed his he turned his head away in surprise.
“What was that?” He asked.
“What was what?” Skye asked, half turning to face the window.
“I saw someone outside the window,” Sean said, standing but being careful not to dump Skye onto the floor. “A large man in a hood or something.”
Skye frowned and stood, approaching the window, her hand dropping to the knife at her hip. Her green eyes were reflected in the frosted glass as she looked out into the darkness. She saw nothing but trees and the nearly hidden full moon.
“Are you sure you saw something outside?” She asked.
“Positive,” Sean replied, moving to stand next to the blonde teen. He shined the flashlight into the darkness, trying to make out anything more than the trees. He saw nothing more than what Skye’s sensitive eyes had picked out in the darkness. He had just turned to look up at his girlfriend when the window exploded inward and a figure appeared. A hugely muscular man, his chest a network of poorly stitched scars, his arms mighty thews that would be the envy of any Mr. Universe. Uneven blue eyes peered out through a hood made of black leather stitched with what looked like piano wire. A snarl came from behind the hood and the man pulled the axe he’d just swung back through the shattered window.
Sean grabbed Skye and pulled her away from the window. He pushed her towards the hallway door and reached out to grab a box of old shotgun shells and one of the antique shotguns. He then joined Skye in the hallway.
“Do you even know how to use that thing?” Skye asked, her knife drawn.
By way of answer Sean broke open the weapon’s breach, pushed in two shells and snapped the weapon shut in a smooth motion.
“I guess so,” Skye answered herself.
“Come on, let’s go!” Sean said, walking towards the front door.
Skye kicked off her shoes and followed, wincing at the loss of her favorite pair of Louboutins. Dad was going to be annoyed, to say the least. The young couple had just reached the door when a crack appeared along with the head of the massive axe and the face of the huge man outside. Sean squeezed one of the shotgun’s triggers, blowing a hole in the door and, presumably in the man beyond.
Not slowing, Sean kicked the door outward and started through, shotgun at the ready. There was no sign of the axe wielding maniac.
“Come on, Skye, let’s get out of here,” he said over his shoulder.
Skye ran outside, knife at the ready, her eyes searching the darkness. Her keen senses detected a few drops of blood on the crazily leaning porch, but not enough for a close-range shotgun blast.
“Be careful, Sean,” Skye cautioned. “He’s out here somewhere.”
Sean nodded and backed his way towards the Mustang, his eyes searching the gloom for any hint of the nut that would threaten him and his girl.
Skye did the same, saying a silent prayer to Gaia to enhance her naturally keen senses and turn the moonlight into more than just a hint of silver. Soon, the sight of the owl graced her, but still she could not detect the strange man. All she could see were the oddly leaning trees… all she could hear was the deathly silence that had followed them since they first got out of the car. The sensation made the hair stand on the back of her neck.
She glanced over her shoulder and saw that Sean was almost at Bluie’s rear bumper. She turned and started moving faster, ignoring the pain in her bare feet as she stepped on broken glass and sharp rocks. She was slipping Bluie’s key over her head when the huge man appeared seemingly from nowhere almost right on top of Sean. The startled young man fired the shotgun at point-blank range. The blast should have cut the axe-wielding maniac in half but it seemed to simply irritate him. Sean took a step back and screamed “Skye, get out of here!” and squeezed the second trigger again. Much to his surprise, nothing happened and he realized he’d forgotten to reload the first barrel.
The axe-wielder smiled behind his mask and raised his axe. Sean raised the shotgun over his head in hopes of deflecting the blow, but the shotgun simply shattered like so much wire and kindling as the axe came down. It did nothing to keep the axe from neatly slicing Sean in half.
Skye screamed and slid to a halt, falling on her butt as she watched Sean’s pieces fall to the ground. The large man pulled the axe out of the ground and turned towards the terrified young woman. His eyes glowed with malevolent glee as he approached her, spinning the axe in his hands, making the blade hum.
The young blonde was frightened for but a moment before the anger started to take over. That was the third boyfriend she’d lost in the last year. She snarled and threw the cold blade she still clutched in her right hand. It caught the maniac in the eye, eliciting a scream of pain and anger. Skye took the opportunity to regain her feet and run back into the house. She reached the hunter’s den and grabbed two boxes of shotgun shells and a hunting knife from a display case. Her keen ears still detected the maniac’s screams outside and they were getting closer. She repressed a shiver and turned to run up the stairs and onto the second floor of the house. As she suspected, the bathroom was near the top of the stairs. She slid through the door and slammed it behind her. She locked it and wedged a piece of the shattered roof under the knob. She only hoped it would buy her some time.
It was the work of but a moment to unscrew the nozzle off an old 70’s hairdryer. She used the knife handle like a hammer, ignoring the pain in her hand as the blade sliced her fingers. She then cut open all one-hundred shotgun shells and emptied them into the six inch piece of metal tubing she’d made. She was just crimping the end with the knife when the first axe blow shook the door.
“Keep it down out there, some of us are trying to work,” Skye muttered.
When the end was mostly crimped, she tore a piece off of the rotting shower curtain and twisted it into a fuse which she laced into the end of the powder-filled tube.
Behind her, the door rattled and started to cave in. Skye stood and used the knife to smash out what was left of the window. When the door crashed open, Skye was already on the roof and inching her way towards the crushed eave. Behind her, the figure roared in annoyance and threw his axe. Skye lay flat and held her breath, wincing as the axe flew over her, missing her by inches and burying itself in the yard beyond.
The young woman slipped down the rest of the roof and jumped to the ground. Her feet screamed in agony but she continued towards the Mustang. She tried hard not to look at the bloody mess that had been Sean as she popped the trunk and retrieved her prized bow. She slung the bow over her shoulder and grabbed her quiver. She selected a hunting arrow and then pulled the bands from her hair. Behind her, the axe wielder was pulling his weapon from the yard and inspecting the blade. Skye didn’t turn until she’d attached the bomb to her arrow. When she did turn it was to watch the crazed brute pull the knife from his eye and begin his slow, ponderous approach like the serial killer in a bad horror movie.
Skye calmly lit a Lucky Strike cigarette and then the fuse on her bomb as she watched him approach, her green eyes glittering with anger. She backed away slowly and unslung her bow, judging the distance between the man with the axe, her prized Mustang and Sean’s remains.
She strung the arrow and aimed at the giant as he approached, her eyes narrowing.
“That was my favorite boyfriend, you bastard!” She growled.
She let the arrow fly and watched as it lodged itself deep in the axe-man’s chest. He dropped his axe and pawed at the arrow in puzzlement, holding up the end of the burning fuse like he’d never seen fire before. Skye curled into a ball and opened her mouth wide, her hands over her ears. A moment later the bomb exploded, taking the huge man with it.
When the echoes had stopped, Skye turned. The giant was… around. Generally lying about the place. Skye walked to what was left of the head, which still wore the leather hood. She couldn’t bear to peel back the hood. Instead she simply dropped her cigarette into the staring blue eye and watched it steam.
What seemed like hours later, it began to rain. Skye stopped staring at what was left of the hooded man and walked over to wear Sean lay in the mud. She knelt and took his hand in hers. She knew that life had long since left the body, that his soul had moved on, but she held his hand anyway. She needed to.
To be continued?