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Predator

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Okay, folks, this is gonna sound very weird, but it’s just what happened to me. I just don’t really know what I should do, probably no one can tell me what to do - this is just really wearing me down, and I don’t think I can carry on much longer.

My name is Richard Talsey, and I live in a small suburb (sorry, folks, not gonna tell you where). I’m 72 years old, I lived a happy life and I still try to make the most of it. My wife died half a year ago, my son made a career selling costumes and I have three wonderful grandchildren. I kind of thought that I mastered most of what life would put up against me - seems I was wrong.

It all started about a week ago, on the weekend. After my wife had died - god bless her - I found that the house we had bought was just too large for me to life in alone, so I decided to move to a smaller apartment that would suit my needs better (less cleaning, less fear of burglars...) I managed to contact a guy downtown who dealt with real estate, and I was able to get myself a good deal. I was supposed to move there next week, but right now, I’m not sure... I just don’t know anymore what is about to happen.

As I said - I was about to get ready to move, so I finally got an excuse to tidy up the attic. I’m not very attached to physical keepsakes anymore, so the mess up there was more because of my laziness than anything else. I had gotten rid of most of my wife’s belongings in the months after her death - some went to my son, my grandchildren wanted some souvenirs, the rest was mostly just sold or thrown away - so it wasn’t THAT much to sort out, mainly old furniture, some old finger paintings from when my son was three years old, some stuff from my grandchildren, old newspapers, stuff like that.

I figured it couldn’t hurt try to make some cash out of that (and I had nothing better to do that weekend), so I registered for the garage sale that’s being held in my neighbourhood once every two months and sorted out the stuff I wanted to sell after calling my family to ask if they wanted to keep anything. They said they were fine, so on Sunday morning I just threw most of the things and set up the old garden table in front of my house.

I think I shouldn’t have. I wish I hadn’t.

I still remember it vividly - it was a bright, sunny day and I thought to myself “What a wonderful day this is gonna be.” I lazily sat in a garden chair, enjoying the sun, having some hot dogs, just living the life. I noticed I still hadn’t come around to removing the “For Sale!” sign in my front lawn, and that I probably should get rid of it before people called me about it.

My house is situated a little off the main road, so not too many people came around to buy stuff, but I still was able to get rid of most of the furniture, some old paintings and most of the toys of my grandchildren. Granted, it wasn’t as busy as on the main roads, but I was able to sit in the sun - so what’s not to like?

I should have known this was too good to be true.

It was about 4 PM. when the other shoe dropped. I was just watching a blackbird trying to wrestle a worm out of the ground, when suddenly a chill run down my back. I’m not a superstitious person, but I still looked over my shoulder, it just felt like a bad omen or something. And that’s when I saw him.

A guy, about 18 years old, harmless appearance, average looking slowly drove up to my house. There was nothing special about him, but I can’t put my finger on it - there was just something about him that put me on edge, something in his eye - it seemed as he was being followed, he seemed hunted, some nervous twinkle in his eye.

Cautiously, he watched his surroundings as he stopped the car and got out and for a second I thought he was just making sure the coast was clear to mug me - but the street wasn’t THAT empty and I know my neighbours would have come to help right away, so I forced myself to smile and greeted him.

He wouldn’t answer, just stare at me with eyes wide open, with a slight air of disgust on his face. I noticed he stared at my blind eye (I suffered from a cataract a few years ago) with open revulsion and remember thinking to myself how rude this was. After a few awkward seconds of silence I swallowed my hurt feelings, cleared my throat, forced myself to smile again and asked him how I could help him.

As I started to speak, he flinched, like I just awoke him from some weird kind of trance or something, hastily looked over his shoulder and mumbled something about “old video games”. I remembered my grandson used to own a Nintendo, so I got up, told him I'd be right back and hurried to the garage, as I didn’t really trust him being alone with my stand.

I picked up the box of games (the console had already been sold) and went back outside, half expecting to see him making off with some of my stuff - but instead he was just gazing at the finger paintings of my son with a moony glaze over his eyes. I started to feel really uncomfortable with this guy pawing paintings of my son, and I started to suspect he was on some kind of drug.

He didn’t notice me until I made it all the way back to the table and cleared my throat. I hadn’t thought he had spaced out that much, but the kid just let out a shriek, jumped and snarled at me like an animal. I instinctively shifted backwards a bit as the snarl slowly mutated into a giggle, which then boiled up into a loud, maniacal laughter while he eyed me with some kind of creepy curiosity that made me feel VERY uncomfortable.

After he ran out of air, he kept standing there, slightly bent over as if he was just getting ready to lunge at me, heavily breathing. The twinkle of madness in his eyes had intensified, I think, maybe it was just my nerves - but this kid just had something on him, I don’t know. My instincts told me to just run, to get into the house and lock the doors and just not care what happened to my stuff.

I wish I had done that. I wanted to do it - but I just couldn’t move, paralyzed of fear, while he was standing there, just staring at me, without ever blinking, a crooked smile frozen on his face.

Again, a few awkward seconds passed until I nervously reached into the box, pulled out the next best thing that i found and handed it over to him.

I prayed he didn’t notice my hand was shaking in terror.

With a hasty movement, he snatched the game out of my hand and inspected it, turning it again and again in his hands as if he found something special. About half a minute, maybe a minute passed while he was eagerly inspecting every edge of the game I just handed him - I still don’t know which one it was - until he suddenly froze, his head flipped around to face me and his stare pierced into my heart.

“How much?”, he snarled again, and something about his voice made my instincts boil up again and it took all my willpower to not just run away until I could not run anymore. At this moment, I would have done everything to get as far away as I could, and I had the terrible feeling that I’d better make him happy with the price.

I collected what was left of my courage, licked over my dry lips, smiled nervously and told him he could have it if he wanted to, that it was just something my grandson left here and I didn’t need it anymore - I don’t recall anymore what exactly I said, I just wanted to finally get him to drive away, far away from me. For a short, endless moment he just stood there, staring at me, then his smile got a little broader and he nodded. “Gooood”, he said, at least I think what it was, it was more like a growling noise with the “oo” pulled into length, it lasted about ten seconds, if not longer.

“Thank you.” He nodded again and turned towards his car, and I felt like a giant weight just got lifted off my shoulders. I forced myself to smile and said something about the lines of “Well, have fun with the game... g’bye, man...”, but he completely ignored me, got into his car and made off. I watched his car go down the whole street, where it turned and vanished around a corner, but something stayed behind - the sun just didn’t feel as warm anymore, the birds had stopped singing and I felt a weird feeling of nausea building inside of me.

This evening, I burned all of the finger paintings of my son. They felt tainted, smirched in some twisted kind of way and I couldn’t even stand seeing them anymore let alone touch them. As they burned into ash, I felt like a part of my past burst into flames, but it felt relieving - as if I had traded a part of my memories for being rescued from a greater evil.

If only I knew this was only the beginning.

That night, I had a dream. I dreamt of the creepy guy standing in front of my bed, staring at me with his lunatic gaze, just staring at me, letting out a light snarl every time he would breathe out, while I just couldn’t move a muscle. And while I was just lying there, his face would come closer, become bigger, until his madness-ridden eyes filled up my entire field of vision, and then his snarling started forming words: “I suffer because of you.”

I awoke shaking in terror and started searching furiously for the light switch of my nightstand, knocking over my bottle of water and the telephone in the progress. When I finally flicked the switch, it took me several minutes to realize it had just been a dream. It felt all too real, and I got no sleep for the rest of the night.

The next day, I called my son, Thomas, about the incident. He laughed at first, but he soon realized I was dead serious and agreed to come over to see me, but I couldn’t handle sitting in the house, so we drove downtown and took a stroll in the park while I told him in detail what happened. After I finished, he remained silent for a while we strolled through the tree-edged pathways. “Well, dad”, he finally said, “I think... I don’t know what to think. But he’s gone now, isn’t he?”

I think the situation really got to him. I have never been a person to be scared easily, I never was superstitious and I think this might have been the first time he ever saw me this shaken up. I pretended to feel better and told him that it helped me getting the story off my chest, but I didn’t. There was something that kept sticking to me since I met that guy, some sinister, unquiet essence that I couldn’t get off no matter how hard I tried. I caught myself watching over my shoulder frequently, always fearing to see him sneaking up to me, snarling in his inhuman voice, staring at me with his unsettling eyes...

That night, I tried not to fall asleep. I put myself in front of the television, made myself a thermos can full of coffee and one with black tea and turned on the lights in the whole house. Nevertheless, at about 3 a.m., I started to notice how I kept dozing off, and I finally decided to give in to the temptation and just sleep on the couch, with the lights on.

I woke up half an hour later, screaming. I didn’t remember much of the dream I had, but the animal guy was in there, banging onto my door, and when I didn’t open, he crushed it open, but he had fangs and claws, and when he snarled at me, his eyes would glow in a faint yellow tone... I remembered running through a dark forest, then I felt something hitting my back, me falling down, and then - nothing.

Shivering, I checked the windows. Nothing seemed wrong - it was dark and silent outside, the street lights and the moon lit up the street just enough to see that no one was out there, when suddenly a noise came from up above. Immediately I froze, listening into the silence. Then I heard it again - a faint thudding noise, as if something - or someone - was on the roof.

I was too scared to go check it out, but the sound resumed for about half an hour before it stopped. I managed to get another two or three hours of sleep before the sun set, and I couldn’t get myself to sleep after that, so I made new coffee and showered for half an hour - but even that was not enough to get rid of the haunting feeling that just stuck to me like a barnacle. Afterwards, I forced myself to eat some breakfast and decided to take a walk again to take my mind of stuff, telling myself that I’d be moving soon and will never have to see him again.

It worked. For the first time since I met the kid, I was able to relax a bit, just doing some of the stuff old men my age are compelled to do - feeding some ducks, strolling around aimlessly, having a hot chocolate in a street cafe. The suspense of the encounter started to finally fall off my chest and I was able to unwind, and I felt genuinely relieved when I returned to my house at about 5 p.m. I just drove up the drive as my neighbour, Tyler, waved to me and walked over to my car. I noticed he looked a little nervous.

“Hey, Tyler”, I greeted him. “How are ya?” - “Hi, Richard...” I was not mistaken - Tyler WAS nervous. “Umm, have you been expecting visitors...? Like, a young guy?”

My blood froze.

“There was a young guy, about 18 I guess, ringing your bell earlier. He was also there yesterday, furiously ringing when you were at the park, and today he rang my bell and started asking questions about your family... Do you know who I mean?” I could only force myself to nod faintly, and all the blood must have rushed from my head. “Richard... are you okay?”, Tyler asked me. I only faintly remember him helping me out of the car and into the house. I could have been mistaken, but I could have sworn there was a faint stench in the air as I walked up to my door. A stench of wild animal. A predator’s smell.

My memories do not clear up until about an hour later. Tyler was still with me, I remember him giving me a glass of water. Finally, he was able to tell me what happened. The predator kid came back. He furiously rang the bell, then he knocked on my door. Just like in my dream. He tried to break the door open, but left, went around the house and looked for an entry point. I can only thank god I remembered to lock all the windows, the thought of coming back and him being in my house still haunts me at night.

Finally, the predator kid started to harass my neighbours. He went up to Tyler who had just been mowing his lawn, and Tyler described him just as I remembered the guy - just even more down-and-out. He seems to have had giant bags under his eyes, unkempt hair and a wild, hunting look in his eyes, and he wanted to know things about my family. More specifically, about my grandson.

Tyler was quick on the uptake, always had been, and so he apparently made up some cover-up story about me having no family and my grandson being related to someone else and having died years ago. At this point, I was too terrified to even think and I interrupted Tyler, hurried over to the phone and called my grandson. He was the one who once owned the game I gave to the predator kid. The thought of my grandson being tracked down by him gave me the chills.

He didn’t pick up.

That night, I had another nightmare. I was standing in front of some kind of stone altar, in the middle of the forest. I could see the full moon shining through the leaves, but it was blood red and seemed unnatural and... evil. I can’t put my finger on it, but there was something in the air, something weird, something wrong, and it terrified me to the core.

As I looked around, suddenly I heard a noise behind me. I jerked around, just to see a shadow vanish in the corner of my eye. Then it was silent again. Suddenly something hit me in the back of my head, and I spun around again - and there he was, the predator kid, sitting atop the stone altar. He was now entirely inhuman, but I still know it was him, from the eerie, mad glow in his eyes, even though his skin had been replaced by ruffled, oily fur and his face was a parody of a human’s features wildly mixed with an animal’s snout and large, pointy, yellow teeth dripping with splittle. As he watched me, his facial feature’s slowly turned, mutated, changed, until there was my grandson staring back at me with an expression of fear and agony, propped up on the monstrous body of the unnatural beast. I awoke, shaking in terror again.

After a few seconds of listening anxiously into the darkness, I heard the thumping again. It was here. It was on my roof. For a second, I hesitated, but this had all gotten far too real for me - my grandson was in danger, and for him I would confront the abomination. I would kill it.

Without turning the light, I got dressed as fast and as silent as I could and grabbed the revolver I always keep in my nightstand. I’m not the trigger happy type, and I never had to use it before - hell, I haven’t even fired it for years, and I could only hope that it wouldn’t quit working just now. Cautiously, I climbed the stairs to the second floor, and up the stairs to the attic. My heart pounding, I put my ear against the door. I heard a faint scratching. Someone, no - something was in there. And I knew what it was.

I took a deep breath. I just wished I had thought of taking a flashlight with me, but as it was I had to take it in the dark, but fortunately the full moon was still out and my eyes had already adapted to the darkness - and my attic had large windows. One second passed, two, another deep breath, a short moment of hesitation - then I burst the door open and pulled the gun.

A shadow lunged at me, something heavy threw me backwards and I felt sharp teeth dig into my forearm. Panicking, I fired a shot into the air, and suddenly, the weight was gone and a large, furry shadow scurried through the attic, always cautious to remain in the dark and then jumping out of a window.

It was broken. Someone smashed it open from the outside and I didn’t notice.

The creature had been inside my house all along.

That was yesterday. I moved out of my house with my gun and told my son and grandchildren to go somewhere safe. To not go outside at night. To not speak to strangers. I spend the day following that incident doing research, Tyler, clever, smart Tyler jotted down the license place of that guy’s car. I was able to track him down. I know where the creature lives. And I will confront it.

I spent last night in a hotel room outside of town. I had nightmares again, the creature tormented my grandson again. I will not tolerate this anymore. I will end this, once and for all, for my family, for their future. As I'm writing this, I have my loaded gun next to me and nothing to lose. I do not know how I drew its attention, why it chose me or how my grandson plays into it. Maybe it picked up his smell from the game. Maybe it wants to taunt me by killing my family before it finishes me. Maybe I'm just slowly turning mad. I surely hope so, because if I am, there is no way my family could be hurt.

I will make sure my family doesn’t get hurt. I will email this summary of my last day’s to my grandson - he’s old enough and he has a right to know what might await him if I fail. I will drive to his apartment this afternoon, leave here at about four. That means I will confront the vile beast about twenty minutes later. If my grandson does not hear anything from me after seven PM., he will know that I failed and spread this file to whomever it may concern.

Thomas, I have always loved you and you are my pride. I could not have wished for a better son. And my grandchildren - I love all of you dearly. I wish I could have been a better gramps for you, but I fear we won’t have too much time together left. I love all of you. Please hold my memory dear.

I love you dearly.

Richard

_________

My grandfather emailed this file to me two days ago. We haven’t heard of him ever since. In his house, we found one of the roof windows smashed, and on the inside, we found traces of blood and animal feces. The police said it was a marten. I don’t know about that.

I asked around, and the college said they knew nothing about an older man on the campus. I don’t know what happened. I just hope he’s okay. So far, I haven’t had any strange encounters, but I had a dream last night. I was on a clearing in the forest, and I started to grow fur, and I howled at the moon and then... I don’t know. This is probably just all too much.

I haven’t told my siblings, Rosa and Matt, of this. Neither does dad know, besides the talk he had with gramps on the second day. I don’t want to drag them into this. I kind of have a feeling that this is something I have to deal with, but it was gramps’ last wish to publish his story, so here you go.

If you know anything about this or have any idea what could have happened, please feel free to drop me a line. I just hope I’ll be alright.

-Ben

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