My GPS beeped at me as we traveled down the highway. It had recalculated our route. "That's strange," I said, inquisitively.
"What is?" my girlfriend asked.
"I've never seen this route before." I had driven down this road a million times, never once did I see this street before. It jutted to the west, stabbing into what should have been a corn field, as suddenly and unexpectedly as a dagger in the night. Something wasn't right. Here in Iowa, cornfields are sacred ground. No farmer would sacrifice land for anything, let alone a road that cut straight through a cornfield.
Marcus poked his head lazily from the back. "Dude, we're already late. You want to get to the park in a semi-decent time, we'd better listen to the thing."
"Do you always do as your told?" I asked sarcastically. I tried to put my feelings aside as I applied the brakes, and turned slowly onto the unpaved road. I tried to push this feeling to the back of my mind, but it wouldn't pass. My girlfriend, Melissa, and Marcus were talking back and forth about something from their school, but this feeling was so overbearing I couldn't even pretend to hear it.
About a half-mile down the road, my car sputtered. I have an older car, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise. However, the electronics faltered as well. That never happens. The feeling got even worse. I felt my heart leap into my throat, my breathing became shallow, my panic and fear was palpable. The fear was not the kind of fear you get from a movie, or scary mask. It was the sort of fear you get when you're in trouble. When you know you're caught and there's no way out of it. The fog was getting thicker and the car wasn't even trying to turn over. "This isn't good."
"What the hell's the problem?" Marcus asked, trying to disguise the concern in his voice.
"Nothing's happening. The car isn't responding to anything I'm doing." I responded.
He sighed, "Well, yeah. Have you seen your car dude? This thing was the preferred method of travel for the dinosaurs. Washington rode it valiantly into battle, and somehow it was handed to you."
"Ha ha, jackass, now do we want to do something about this?" I asked, my uneasiness overtaking any form of decency I had.
"Why should I, it's your car."
"Well, you're the car guy anyway."
"Can we please just go? This fog is getting thicker." My girlfriend said, visibly shaken.
"Look, we're all worried about this. Marcus, can you please just see what's up with this thing?" I responded. He put his hand in a fist over his opened palm. "Seriously dude?" He nodded, and I sighed. "Alright, two out of three, go on three, not that shoot crap." He nodded again. My rock quickly demolished his scissors first. "Dude, always with the scissors."
"Shut up dude, two out of three." We tried it again.
His paper covered my rock. I let out a shallow breath. I breathed in deep again and held it as we hit the third round.
My scissors proved victorious over his paper.
"Dammit dude, really?" Marcus cursed, a little louder than I was expecting.
"Quit being a sissy." I responded, he opened his door and candidly opened the door. The creak almost echoed out through the emptiness. "Go for it, let me know when you need me to try."
"Kiss my ass," He responded, dejected. He slowly walked towards the front. I watched him walk and slowly scanned the outside. As I looked around there seemed to be shadows moving. The fog was just too thick to see what it could have truly been though. I assumed it was my eyes, playing a cruel trick on my already paranoid mind.
"Whoa." My girlfriend said, startling me, in my anxiety. I looked to her and she was staring out her window just as I was staring out mine. "Did you see that?" She asked. I just nodded slowly, unsure of what was happening. The shadows seemed to be moving around us now. Maybe getting closer? Were my eyes somehow adjusting to the fog? I rolled my window down to call to Marcus.
"Hey, dude," I called, "You OK out there?" He poked his head out from under the hood and flipped me off. "Cheeky monkey." The shadows were getting more clear now. Wait... it was just one shadow. Changing direction sporadically and moving faster than I thought was possible. Was it just the fog shifting around and getting more dense? "Dude, hurry it up. I'm freaking out here."
"Dude, kiss the darkest part of my-"
I would never hear the end of his sentence. It was punctuated my a sickening noise. A noise I could never have known until I'd seen it. Looking back on it, I can only describe it as a slicing noise. The noise of a sharp bone crossing across a windpipe. The sound of blood spraying from a fresh wound, showering my engine block in deep red blood. "What the hell was that?" I called out. No response. I looked at my girlfriend carefully. "I'll go check this out, that idiot probably dropped something on his foot or something." I kissed her and held her hand as I stepped out. I took a few timid steps to the front of the car. Then I saw it coming slowly into vision. His shoes. His pants. His shirt. A large red pool. His arms. His neck. His head, about three feet away from it. I shuddered and dropped to my knees. What the hell did this? The cut was sharp, slicing through the skin surgically. There was no tear, no cut. Just a sudden end. I saw the white stump of a vertebrae poking through the sea of red, a shark's fin, in a deathly vortex. His face, however, had the most pained expression I've ever seen. That face is burned into my mind still. I vomited right there, caking the ground in yellow, right next to the quickly reddening pool from Marcus's corpse.
My girlfriend poked her head out. "Honey? What is it?" I saw the shadow darting to the car. I didn't even have time to warn her before I heard her scream. Covered in my best friend's blood, I sat paralyzed in fear as she screamed as the window shattered. The scream lasted maybe two seconds, but it felt like it was an eternity before I heard the sickening slice again. Her scream was still barely audible, as she drowned in her own blood. I knew then. I need to move. Now. And then it was behind me.
I turned my back, instinctively wanting to see what the hell was happening. I've never regretted anything more than that simple, instinctual motion. Behind my was an array of teeth. Not sharp and filed, as you'd expect a monster's. Instead, not much different from my own. The similarities ended there though. The thing had no lips, to cover the teeth. Its nose was sharp and hooked, its eyes, yellow and enraged. They were about the size of baseballs. Its head oblong, and oval shaped.
Then I spotted it. The hand, darting towards me. Time stood still, allowing me to grasp the terror of what was happening. The three webbed fingers darting towards me. Well, I call them fingers. Each finger was an eight inch blade, composed of the most discolored bone I could possibly have imagined. Although they appeared yellow, and spotty, I knew if they made contact with anything on me, they would not break. The thing let out a shriek. The most piercing, frightening shriek I could have imagined. The shriek drew time back from the pause. And my mind screamed at me, move, now! Move or die, you fool!
I tried to dive to a side and simply fell over. I heard the sickle sharp blade, miss by no more than a half inch. I clambered back to my feet as the thing let out another foul screech. I broke into a dead sprint, desperation overpowering any other emotion as I ran back the way we came from. I could feel the thing's breath on my neck. I tripped, as my leg was pulled from me, landing on my stomach. As I rolled over, I saw the blade being plunged towards my neck. Desperately, I grabbed the beast's arm and tried to push it back. My adrenaline met its raw power. My strength quickly waned, as I pushed back. Despite my intense struggle, the blade was moving closer. The demonic face staring at me, teeth gnashing at the air, mere inches from my face. The thing drew back, trying for one final thrust into my neck.
As it drew back, I pushed my foot toward its face as hard as I could. I felt contact, and the thing yelped as my foot connected with its neck. As it drew back, I got back to my feet and ran again. I heard one final scream as I scrambled up, and ran. My sprint continued for what felt like hours. The screeching was getting farther and farther behind me now. Slowly, it subsided. But I couldn't stop. I felt much safer and the fog had relented slightly, but I had to be sure. My adrenaline fueled my sprint. Finally, I came across a split in the road, and I recognized it immediately. I had made it back. I glanced behind me.
"No. No." I stammered as I fell to my knees. The road was gone. It looked as it always had before. Except the spot where it had turned off, was now marked by something I had hoped to never see. Marcus, and Melissa. Their headless bodies, adorning my now thrashed car. Claw marks riddled it, cutting deep right though anything and everything, tires slashed, windows shattered. Blood poured through my shattered windshield, cascading onto my steering wheel. A short, inches long trail marked the location where the heads were left, both facing me. I dropped to my knees and vomited again. Then I heard it.
There was a sharp exhale behind me. I jerked my head around and dropped onto my back, inching away from the source of the sound, which appeared to be... nothing. For the first time in this whole experience, I cried. I cried for my girlfriend. I cried for my best friend. I cried for my own shattered psyche. After what felt like hours I heard the soft crunching of gravel. I can't imagine what the truck driver must have thought when he saw me. Hunched over in a pool of blood, holding the two cadavers as close to me as I could muster. Once he finally pried me away from the bodies he saw the full terror.
Years have passed now. But every time I am caught in the fog, my heart rate quickens, and I can swear I hear the screeching again. That terrible sound. The sounds of the harbinger of death. Even now I sit at my computer, clutching my shotgun. I don't think it'll really do much to this thing. But I need to try, what other choice is there? Let this be a testament to this beast and its abilities. Melissa and Marcus, I'm sorry. I should have listened to my gut, to all our instincts. And I am so sorry I ignored it. If this thing gets me, I will see you soon. I almost hope it does. I hope it ends the suffering, ends the terror. But only two things can. My death, or this thing's.