Category Archives for "Supernatural"

The Witch and the Jurassic Wolf

Get out, get out,” the butcher yelled as he flung the side door so wide the wood cracked. Hugging their children tight, the crowd streamed out to their cars like marbles pouring from a jar. In their rush, they knocked over the Indian Chief.

As the cycle fell toward me, I hopped back into the pantry slamming the door—but not in time. My toes crushed as I pulled in with fear and adrenalin.

Taller, but no gutsier in my thirties than I had been in my teens, I hoped that this golden-hued, mega-heavy motorcycle might act as an obstruction between the witch and me.

Paralyzed in fear, I gawked through the vent. The installers had misplaced the vent slats at the top of the door instead of at the bottom, and backwards, too. I peeked across the dining room. It looked like a brawl between the Cutlery Queen and a prehistoric, bipedal throw-back was on.

An enormous gray tail deftly descended to the floor sweeping the motorcycle smack dab against the pantry door. Pinned in and trapped, I felt strangely safe in this storeroom with the Indian Chief now blocking me from the witch. Eight feet away, I could see what looked like a dinosaur with a Malamute snout, scaly wolf ears and wagging tail.

I’d seen a version of this mammoth in its purer dinosaur form in Life Magazine’s feature about a shark-toothed lizard. This impressive Allosaurus was at the top of its food chain.

The ancient reptile’s serrated, clawed teeth descended with each huff. The dinosaur’s head rammed the ceiling. A high beam cracked.

A gray and white tail rubbed against the vents. Unable to resist the chance to feel real dinosaur skin, I awkwardly crammed two fingers through the vent-holes. An intense crystal-blue eye met my gaze. A gentle lick brushed my fingers.

Machete is that you?

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Wii-Fit Plus

I’d been overweight so long that it felt like it was just the shape I was meant to be.  But then, a few months ago,  my friend Rachel gave me her old Wii-Fit device, complete with balance board.  I’ve never been into computer games but even I know that the Wii is no longer fashionable, and there’s much more up-to-date technology to help people exercise, but the thing was, Rachel herself had lost so much weight that I thought it was worth a shot.

Rachel was, if anything, even fatter than me when we met at a Weightwatchers’ meeting a few years back.  I join every January when they waive the joining fee – and I usually drop out by mid February.  But that year we managed to keep each other motivated until well into the summer before we both finally gave up and called in at the chippy on the way home from one of the meetings.  Neither of us ever went back.

But then, in the last few months of last year, Rachel started losing weight.   I mean really losing weight – not just the few pounds now and then which we normally achieved.  It was miraculous.  She was about half her previous weight by Christmas, and she looked great at the New Year’s Eve party we both went to.  She was wearing a sparkly dress that showed off her new slender body perfectly.  I’d never seen anyone lose excess flab so quickly.  She didn’t even have lots of loose skin, like people who’ve lost lots of fat often end up with. She just looked gorgeous and slim and sexy.  I was dead jealous.

Beside the buffet table, where I was just grabbing myself some sausage rolls and a piece of black forest gateau, I asked her what her secret was, but she just smiled and tapped the side of her nose mysteriously.

As the new year wore on, however, I didn’t see her for months – it was almost as if she was avoiding me, and when I spoke to mutual friends they told me she was doing the same to them.

‘Maybe she’s met a man,’ suggested one, with a knowing smile.  And perhaps that was it.  Falling in love can make people drop their friends, at least for a while.  It’s happened to me before with other friends. Or maybe she no longer wanted to associate herself with fatties like me – she’d moved on to the beautiful people?   Maybe, once the glamour wore off, she’d start seeing her old friends again, and if not, well, she’d’ve lost more than a bit of excess fat, wouldn’t she?

Still, I had to admit, I did miss her.  She’d always been up for a laugh – and it was nice having someone who was facing the same struggle with her weight as I was.  Though that wasn’t true any more, of course.

I have to admit  I was really curious to know what had helped her transform from chubster to hottie so quickly.

Anyway, a few weeks before Halloween, on my birthday, she turned up on my doorstep wearing a long grey coat that looked too big for her, and a pashmina over her head.  It was quite chilly but this seemed a bit over-the-top to me. I mean, it’s not as if we live in Alaska.  Her face – what I could see of it – looked thin and drawn, and there were dark shadows beneath her eyes.  Her cheekbones were very prominent and her lips were pale and dry.  She looked like she had the flu.

‘You asked what my secret was,’ she said, standing on the doorstep. ‘And it’s this.’  She placed the Wii console and balance board on the floor at my feet and handed me two bags of accessories: remote controls, nunchuks, discs.  I had to put the chocolate hobnob I was holding into my pocket so I could take the bags.

‘What is it?’ I asked her.  ‘Are you coming in for a cuppa?’

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95 South

Avery drove down the highway, his arm out the window and bouncing at the mercy of a seventy-five mile an hour wind. He’d survived the onslaught of twelve-hour days and long work-weekends that gathered until April 15th, when they disappeared as darkness does before the dawn. After the deadline, his office turned into a ghost town. Many of the CPAs took vacation, and Avery was no different. Halfway between Richmond and the North Carolina border, all he could think about was the next few days of drinking, eating, and relaxing at his friend Rick’s house. The dashboard clock ticked closer to midnight, and a classic Nineties rock tune strained the speakers.

He ripped his gaze from the hypnotic flash of the white stripes in the center of the road when a single light appeared, as if from a faraway distance, and quickly grew brighter. At first he thought it might be a plane, then a helicopter as it moved closer. And then the light fell from its perch and dropped down into the trees a few miles ahead. The sound of his tires hitting the rumble strips, matching the rushing of his heart, caused him to veer back on the road. Wide-eyed, he looked all around, expecting another car to smash into him, but he was alone.

He turned off the radio and flicked his eyes at the clock again. He decelerated but the ‘happy vacation’ cold six-pack and wine bottle on the passenger seat caught his attention. He hit the gas. Half a mile passed, Avery fidgeting the whole way. He looked at the clock again. “Ah, screw it,” he said.

Avery pulled over at his best guess of where the aircraft fell. He turned his hazards on and pulled out his cell as a truck barreled past. He put the phone down. How come no one else has stopped? he thought to himself. Someone had to have seen it.

He stepped out of his Benz and walked toward the edge of the grass. The full moon lit up a good portion of the periphery of the forest, enough to see thick, hanging branches flush with leaves, but any deeper and all he could see was darkness. No light from a potential fire. Then it dawned on him that he hadn’t heard a sound, either. He imagined the embarrassment of calling nine-one-one and having a cop come out and find nothing. “Been drinking, sir?” Damn it. I must be certain first. I know I saw something.

He returned to his car and pulled out a multi-tool specialty knife and a flashlight from his glove compartment. He had gotten great use out of the knife, one of the best birthday presents he had ever been given. He turned around and aimed for the trees, his car beeping twice as he locked it.

Branches, leaves, and twigs whipped at his lower legs. The crunch beneath his feet reminded him briefly of playing in numerous childhood tree houses. He looked back at his flashing hazards every ten seconds to keep a sense of direction, until the forest swallowed them up. He made a concerted effort not to veer off track, and took mental notes of specific root shapes to use as markers for his return. Just as fear began to spark terrible thoughts of getting lost, a light appeared ahead of him.

There we go! I knew I saw something, he thought.

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The Last Hexereiter

The man in brown rode into the tiny village to the sound of cheers. But there was no one in sight. Where did the voices come from? And why weren’t the villagers tending their farms and livestock?

He found the answers in the middle of the settlement. A crowd of men, women and children in rough clothing filled the village square. He estimated maybe sixty souls in all. It seemed like everyone had taken the day off from their never-ending labors. Something in front of them had captured their attention; but for a few curious children and a couple of youths his approach had gone largely unnoticed. The rider craned his head, seeing a thicket of wooden staves raised before the people,

Not staves. Muskets.

A voice, clear and ringing, cut through the air.

“This I promise you: today the Haferdämonen meet their end!”

Wild applause and full-throated yells filled the world. Slowly, stiffly, the rider dismounted his chestnut mare. There was a time he could do that without his muscles threatening to lock up. Those days had gone with the last shades of black in his short gray hair. Standing on the animal’s left, he gently led it through the crowd, keeping his rifle and his messer far away from the horse’s questing muzzle.

“And who is this?”

The peasants turned to look at him. At his weathered buff coat made of the hides of monsters, the pair of huge pistols swinging from the horse’s saddle, the second pair of pistols peeking above his boot-tops, the rough sword and the time-worn rifle, and, as he drew closer, the amulet he wore around his neck.

“A Hexereiter!” a man whispered.

“It can’t be! Here, in this day and age?”

“Quick, hide the children! And your silver!”

This he heard, and more. The crowd parted before him, the women shielding their children, the menfolk shielding their women.

Through the gap he saw the soldiers. An entire company of foot infantry, resplendent in their immaculate green-white-yellow uniforms. They stared him down, their faces impassive. Their Kapitan, front and center, glared at the rider, and sniffed.

“Identify yourself,” the officer demanded.

“Johann Roger Werner,” the rider said. “And yourself?”

I am Kapitan Paul Heinrich Frank Welf Friedrich Eisenberg, Second Company, First Battalion, Twenty-Fifth Fusilier Regiment, in the service of Herzog Klein of Marenland.” He paused to breathe. “Are you a Hexereiter?”

Werner held out his amulet. It was a beast’s head impaled on a sword, beaten and rough and dull.

“Yes.”

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What Can Your Demon Do For You?

The candles flickered in the dull red light that filled the room. A cloaked figure danced in circles around the white, chalked pentagram on the floor. He muttered under his breath to the beat of a drum that was being played from a dusty gramophone.

Oriens splendor lucis aeternae,” he said.

The dust on the floor began to rise. The figure paused and raised his hands, his voice getting louder, “Et Lucifer justitae: veni. Et illumine sedentes in tenebris. Et umbra­ –.”

“HAROLD. ARE YOU CHANTING AGAIN?” The voice echoed up from below the floorboards.

Harold dropped his hood and sighed. He walked over to the door, careful not to upset the chalk pentagram on the floor. He opened the door as he heard a pair of footsteps climbing the stairs.

“Muuuuuum. I was almost finished.”

His mother stood at the top of the stairs. She had her hands on her hips and her lips were pressed tightly together.

“What have I told you about summoning demons inside the house? Go do your chanting in the hanger,” she said.

Harold tried hard not to roll his eyes. His mother was brandishing a wooden spoon from the kitchen covered in a dark red substance.

“But Dad’s working on the ridge,” Harold said.

His mother’s eyes narrowed sharply. She turned around to go back down the stairs as the smell of something burning became pungent.

“I don’t care. Just get out of the house.”

Harold huffed and went back into his room. He shut the door with precisely enough force to make the shudder reverberate around the entire house. A pile of books by the door fell over. Among them was titles like, A Practical Guide to Summoning, Pentagrams for Dummies and What can your demon do for you?

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