by "Splatter" Joe Solmo
Daria looked up into the night. Was that a scream? She turned to her boyfriend of three years. His face was illuminated by the dancing flames of their campfire. The look in his eyes told her that he had heard it too. His hand subconsciously went to his belt, where he had a knife attached in a sheath.
“It was probably coyotes,” Brandon said reassuring her. “Sometimes they can sound like babies yelling.”
“That was no coyote. Wasn’t there a car that passed by us a little while ago? Maybe something happened to them, we should check to see if they are ok,” Daria said.
“I’m sure it’s just a bunch of drunks having a good time. I haven’t heard anything since,” Brandon said looking back towards the old logging road that traveled its way around the small lake they were camping on. “We are in the woods, we are going to hear things we aren’t used too. That’s half the reason we came out here. To experience new things,” he said and smiled at her. “Need another beer?” he asked.
“No,” she said sullenly and stared into the darkness towards the sound she heard. She looked back at the flimsy tent and wondered what kind of protection it could actually offer if something did come into the camp tonight. It was her first time camping and she was having a hard time relaxing.
Brandon on the other hand grew up in the woods and had no problem enjoying the outdoors. It was fine during the day, but once the darkness started to settle in her anxiety started to rise. She knew somewhere inside that she was just being foolish, but he body wouldn’t listen to her.
The full moon’s light played off the trees and cast shadows just out of the firelight. She constantly found herself looking around thinking she saw movement. Brandon said she was just acting nervous her first time in the woods. He had told her that he had camped here before and knew the area well.
The fresh air was great, she had to admit, and the quiet was unbelievable. No hustle of the city, no loud cars cranking bass driving by, no fireworks, or gunshots, you never really could tell. It felt like they were the only people in the world, until that other car drove up the road.
Brandon said there were other spots to camp around the lake, but it wasn’t a well-known area. She had tried to fish earlier, but grew bored after about an hour of trying. Brandon laughed at her for being impatient.
She looked over at the folding table they had some of their supplies sitting on. Everything from pans and paper plates to utensils and even a tube of Pringles. The rest of the food had been packed away into a sealed container and put in the back of their SUV to keep the bears away.
She looked up as she thought she heard another scream. She turned back towards Brandon but he had fallen asleep in his camp chair. She stood and approached her boyfriend who was lightly snoring. IF tonight was any other drinking night then he would sleep soundly through the night. She undid his belt and pulled the knife and its holder off and slid it into the front of her shorts.
She grabbed a flashlight from the table and walked the little path up to the logging road. She looked both ways on the road, the dirt illuminated by the full moon through the gap in the trees above. There was no movement or sound coming from either direction.
She debated if she should check out the other camp. She wanted to make sure they were okay. It would give her piece of mind as well as making sure they were alright. She couldn’t bring herself to start walking down the road. She was afraid. She hated to admit it thought, even to herself. “I’m being silly,” she said out loud and turned back towards her camp. The fire looked inviting from this far out in the cool night.
She stumbled on a root as she entered the campsite and it awoke Brandon. He rose from his chair. “Are you ready for bed, babe?” he asked.
“Yeah,” She replied and poured the rest of her beer onto the fire to put it out.
“That’s a waste of beer,” Brandon said and unzipped his pants. He started to piss on the fire. Daria headed for the tent disgusted. “Hey babe, we should do it. It’d be fucking intense! Get it? Fucking in tents,” Brandon said and burst out laughing. He turned around and saw her slip inside the tent. “Ugh no sense of humor,” he said zipping up.
A few minutes later Brandon was snoring next to Daria, wrapped up in his sleeping bag. If only she was that lucky, she thought as she watched the faint light from the moon dance in the shadows cast by the leaves. Every time the breeze kicked up she thought it was something approaching her camp. There was no way she was going to sleep tonight.
She played with the idea of sleeping in the car, she might feel safer that way, as she looked at the knife she still carried. She slid her finger across the edge of the blade to see how sharp it was. A think trail of blood ran down her finger as she misjudged how hard to press. She stuck her finger into her mouth.
A howl erupted out in the night. She didn’t know wolves lived in these woods. She turned towards Brandon to see if he had heard it, but he was still snoring. She tried to place where the howl had come from, in her mind. She thought it came from the same area as the screams they thought she had heard earlier.
“It’s just my imagination,” she whispered and tried to close her eyes, but she was filled with nervous energy. She thought if Brandon was awake she would take him up on his earlier offer, just to have companionship at the moment. She thought about waking him up. She knew if she did he would be pissed.
Was that a twig snap? She sat up in the tent. It sounded really close to the tent. The hairs on her arms rose up and gave her goosebumps. She looked down at the knife and realized she was holding it as hard as she could. The handle was sticky where she had bled from the cut.
Okay, that time it was definitely close to the camp. She tapped Brandon on the shoulder. He could be as pissed as he wanted she needed him right now, but he didn’t stir. It was then that she saw the shadow pass over the tent. What the fuck was that? She wondered and poked Brandon harder.
The large shadow stopped near the flaps of the tent and she could hear a sniffing sound. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, it’s a bear,” she whispered and started to shake in fear. A low growl came from outside. A shadowy appendage rose in the darkness and she could see the claws of the beast.
She punched Brandon in the face and he woke up. “What the f...” he started to saw but she put her hand over her mouth and pointed to the tent entrance. His eyes grew huge as he saw the shape in the moonlight. The sniffing continued.
He reached down to his waist for the knife, but it wasn’t there. The shadow moved around to Daria’s side of the tent and she practically leapt on top of Brandon. She saw the thin fabric stretch as the animal pushed against it with its face, still sniffing. She looked down at her hand. “Oh shit,” she whispered and showed Brandon her bloody finger.
He took the knife from her and rolled his eyes. He pulled his pants on as a growl came from behind them. The tent shook from the animal probing it. He grabbed her and pointed towards the flap on the tent as he handed her the car keys.
She tried to protest, but he shook his head. Her heart pounded in her chest, but her limps felt heavy, almost frozen. She wasn’t sure she could make a run for it. The growling stopped and all was silent for a moment. The shadow moved off the tent into the woods. They could hear the footfalls of whatever it was.
Brandon made his way to the zipper on the tent and undid it slowly. “Now,” he said and opened the flap. She hesitated for just a moment and he pushed her out of the tent, following right behind her. She scanned the campsite for whatever it was, but didn’t see anything.
A great howl came from behind the tent and that made her move. She took off the short trail towards the car in the darkness. She heard Brandon behind her.
“Oh shit, oh shit,” he said and she turned around to see what he was talking about. A great black shape in the darkness charged after them and she ran to the car and yanked the door open. She turned her head towards Brandon and saw him fifteen feet from the car. The large black shape pounced with lightning speed and landed on his back, driving him to the ground.
“No!” she screamed and the beast looked up in her direction. Its yellow eyes glowed, reflecting the moonlight. She had never seen a bear up close before, but she knew instantly that it wasn’t a bear.
“Close the door,” Brandon called out to her from under the beast, which put a clawed hand down on the back of his head, driving his face into the ground. She yanked the door closed and plunged the key into the ignition. The engine roared to life and she turned on the headlights and threw the car into reverse. She lined the front of the car up with the camp so that she could see what was happening.
The beast, she didn’t know what else to call it stood on its hind legs, like a human. Its face had a snout, like a dogs and its body was covered in corded muscle and silvery black hair’s shining in the moonlight. She beeped the horn several times.
“Get the fuck off of him!” she yelled out at the…the...werewolf. There was no other way to describe it. It was a goddamn werewolf.
The beast roared and leapt onto the hood of the car with a metallic clang on impact. It’s snarling face a mere inch from the windshield. She watched as saliva dripped from its canines as long as he thumb. Tears streaked her face and she wiped her hand across her brow.
Behind the werewolf she could see Brandon getting to his knees in the headlights. She waved her hands around trying to keep the creature’s attention. Its yellow eyes darting back and forth watching her movements. Snarls escaped its mouth as it watch her.
A clawed hand, so much like a human’s pounded on the glass, making tiny cracks in the windshield. Brandon darted around towards the passenger side of the SUV. The movement caught the werewolf’s eye and with inhuman speed it dove on top of Brandon.
Daria watched as its clawed hand sunk into Brandon’s back like a hot knife through butter. Blood began to seep from the wounds as Brandon screamed out in pain. So much like the screams she had heard earlier. Frantic, she looked around the front seat looking for anything to help, but she came up empty.
“Go!” Brandon managed to say between screams. She didn’t want to leave him here. She put the car in gear and backed it up a little. The headlights illuminated a grisly scene in front of her. Brandon was lying face down, his back was covered in blood. The werewolf still had his claws embedded in her boyfriend’s back. She beeped the horn to get its attention.
“Fuck you Teen Wolf,” she said and floored it. The car struck the beast on the left hip spinning it around as the car drove across the narrow dirt logging road and struck a tree. Smoke rose from the dented hood in the headlights.
“Shit!” she said and looked in the rearview mirror. She saw Brandon lying there in the road, but she didn’t see the beast. Maybe she had taken it out? She tried to back the car up, but it was stuck. The tires spun in the ditch the front end had fallen into.
Brandon moved an arm. He was still alive! She had to help him. She craned her neck around but saw no sign of the monster. She opened the car door and raced to her boyfriend.
“Why didn’t you go?” he asked between gurgles as blood escaped his mouth. She lifted the blue flannel shirt he was wearing and saw the hole in his back. She had expected a few puncture wounds but this was a gaping hole.
“I’m not leaving you behind,” she said. “Can you get up?”
“No, just go,” he said. “I can’t feel my legs.”
She looked at his injury again and it suddenly became clear. The hole in his back was where his spine should have been. A good nine inches of it was missing. She heard a snarl behind her and she turned.
The beast was backlight from the crashed car. She looked at its clawed hand. It held Brandon’s spine. It approached her and swung it at her, striking her in the face with her boyfriend’s spine. She fell over backwards on the far side of Brandon, who screamed again.
The beast stood on top of him, and sniffed towards her. It was her blood and brought the beast to their campsite, she thought. It snarled at her and put one hairy, clawed finger on the back of her boyfriend’s neck, as if teasing her. The werewolf’s intelligence was apparent in its cruel eyes from this close.
“Please,” she begged, between sobs. “Please leave us alone.” The werewolf looked down at Brandon then back at her, as if deciding who it wanted more. “LEAVE HIM ALONE YOU SON OF A BITCH,” she yelled out and the werewolf sent her tumbling with a back hand slap.
She rolled into a pine tree and it knocked the wind out of her. She tried to get to her feet, but her body wouldn’t yet respond. She heard a wet snapping sound coming from the road and she winced, knowing it came from her boyfriend.
A moment later she could finally move. She stood unsteadily, using the tree to help her up. The werewolf had its back to her as it snacked on Brandon. Gnawing into his upper arm. Brandon wasn’t screaming anymore. He had to be dead, she thought.
She wiped her hair out of her face and took a step towards the monster. It didn’t seem to notice her yet. Two more steps and she watched in horror as the monster devoured the love of her life. Her fright started to fade, miraculously and a calm took over her. Cold and calculating, her mind thought of all the stories she heard about werewolves and how to kill them. There were no silver bullets or silver anything around for that matter. She wondered if fire would kill it, but the campfire had gone out and she doubted the werewolf would wait for her to start another.
Another step and she could smell the animal. She could smell Brandon’s blood on the beast as it huffed and growled in blood lusted ecstasy. A glint in the moonlight caught her eye and she couldn’t believe her luck. Just behind the beast, by Brandon’s feet was the knife. She Crouched carefully and grabbed it in her hand.
With a surge of courage she jumped on the creatures back, swinging the knife around and plunging it into its neck. A scream ruptured from the beast, she felt it reverberate through the werewolf’s body. It tried to stand, and she held on with everything she had.
As the beast thrashed around she heard ripping as the knife cut deeper into it. It swung its arms around trying to grab her but failed. It did manage to cut her legs and hips up with wild swings though. It stood at its full height and started to back up while trying to swing its head around to bite her. She put her free hand around the thing’s neck, under the jaw, but not before it nipped her. She screamed in pain and could see the blood pour from her forearm.
With a better grip she pulled the knife towards her, ripping into the werewolf’s flesh, carving her way around it. She could see a gap in its flesh. She pulled harder.
The beast backed its way into a tree, trying to crush her beneath its weight and the hard surface. She nearly lost her grip on the knife as it grew so slippery from the blood. It howled in pain and fell down to all fours.
Daria sat on its back pulling on its dog like ears to expose the throat better. She pictured what it looked like from down the road and smiled, thinking about someone finding her riding on the back of a werewolf. It was funny how the mind wanders at the weirdest times, she thought.
She reached around as far as she could and replanted the knife into the werewolf’s throat. Its frantic movements had begun to slow and she finally had some hope she might come out of this alive. The werewolf fell over on its side and she lost her grip. The knife was under the body.
Disgusted with even the thought of doing so, she wrapped her undamaged arm under the jaw of the beast and yanked upwards as hard as she could. Tissue ripped and gave way and the beast wasn’t fighting anymore. She adjusted and got a grip with both hands and yanked. She heard a loud pop and the head came loose. She fell over backwards, still clutching the severed head in her hands.
She dropped it and got to her feet. She stumbled around the body back to Brandon, but it was too late, he was dead. She wiped blood from her arm off on his flannel shirt and removed his belt for a tourniquet. She looked at the monster that had ruined her life in the light from the full moon and spit on it.
A few moments later she had started the fire up again and walked back to the road to grab the body of the monster to burn. When she arrived, there was no creature. A naked middle aged man’s severed head stared back at her as she dragged its body to the fire. She wasn’t taking any chances. The smell of the burning body was too much to bear and she headed back up to the road to see if she could get the car unstuck.
She tried to rock it out back and forth but it wasn’t going to budge. She gave up and looked down the logging road. It was about two miles to the highway. She could walk that and hope to hitch a ride back to the city.
She put one foot in front of the other and started out down the road. The winding path was illuminated from the full moon through the break in the trees above. After about three minutes she saw a fire and hope swelled up inside of her. There was another camper. She could hitch a ride with them and get out of here!
As she approached the site she could smell a sweet smell. It was nearly intoxicating. What was that? She thought. Was it s’mores? It was more enticing than anything she had smelled before. She approached the campsite slowly, peering through the trees at the campers within.
“Ow Thomas, that really hurt. Look I’m bleeding,” came a female voice from within.
“Sorry babe, I was only joking,” she heard a male voice call out. She licked her lips at the smell and was startled to find her canine teeth felt so much bigger. She felt something moving under her skin and watched in surprised horror as her nose grew into a snout.
“What was that noise?” Daria heard the woman say. It was hard to make it out with all the other forest sounds suddenly louder.
She stepped into the clearing, trying to calm the campers, but the woman scream surprised her.
“Werewolf!” the woman screamed and pointed at her, but she didn’t notice because she was focused on the woman’s wound…
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