Monday, February 3, 2014

The Fog Creature

He blinked a few times and squeezed his eyes shut as he tried to clear the miasma that lingered from the night before. The heavy fog outside the deer blind that early morning rivaled that which engulfed his mind.


His hands tightened around the rifle, although it was unloaded and he’d brought no ammunition with him. This deer blind on his ranch was a place of solitude for him, a place to reflect and shed the after effects from the fraternity reunion the night before. He and his frat brothers still got together regularly and although several decades removed from college, they partied like they were still 18. He shook his head ruefully. He might just be getting too old for that.

He peered through the small rectangular opening on the north side of the blind, and although ten feet off the ground in this simple wooden box of a blind, could see nothing but the fog, that blasted fog everywhere. His head throbbed on both sides, with Jim Beam sledgehammering his left temple and Pearl Beer driving her pickax through the right.

He raised the rifle to his shoulder and steadied his gaze through the scope. A slight ripple in the fog just to the west made him instinctively hold his breath. He heard a slight rustling and then the distinctive, methodical pushing of branches that was a clear signal something was headed towards him.

He was not here to shoot this morning, just to watch, and now he wished he’d brought a camera, because he judged from the approaching sounds that this was a buck of size. It stopped near the blind, just outside of the small area clear of fog around the blind. He could hear it breathe, but what slowly penetrated his slow thought processes was this wasn’t the small controlled breaths of an unaware deer. These were heavier, deeper. Perhaps this wasn’t a deer at all, but a feral hog, or a javelina.

Whatever it was had noticed the blind. It scraped closer to the bottom posts and he caught a glimpse of fur. A light brownish gray, it was not a hog, javelina, or any other animal he’d ever seen in South Texas. It disappeared from his sight and was now directly under the blind.

An unearthly shriek that penetrated the thin plywood floor and into his very soul paralyzed him. The blind vibrated. This..this…thing, this creature, this fog being, was pulling on one of the support posts under him.

His rational mind fought for logic. Maybe he was having a hallucination, brought on by last night. Maybe this was not happening at all, and he was dreaming. Maybe…

A sudden jerk so hard that it made him drop his rifle confirmed his reality, though. He could not jump because that would throw him right into the grasp of…what? What was this?

A hard thump on the side of the blind loosed a panic inside him that oozed from his control. The thing was climbing up the blind. His breathing pushed out in audible yips and he almost cried as he prayed a long forgotten prayer. Another thump and it was now on the roof of the blind, pounding a staccato beat.

That piercing shriek came again, immediately followed by a sight he would never forget, one that seared so deeply it was probably all the way down in his DNA. There at the small opening was a red face, one so hideously red and ugly it didn’t seem real. The next happened so quickly it was hard to patch together the disjointed images. In the red were dark eyes, and then a mouth that screamed again, and teeth, fangs…

He tumbled headfirst out of the blind, landing on his side and rolling, not even caring he didn't have his rifle. He didn’t quit running until he got to his truck, jammed the keys into the ignition and floored the accelerator. He screeched to a stop at the small convenience store seven miles away. He was already sure of his course of action by the time he turned the engine off.

Two men in the store watched as the truck careened into the back corner of the parking lot. They raised their eyebrows as a disheveled man quickly jumped out of the truck and pulled two bottles of whiskey out of the cab of the truck, opened them, and poured them out onto the ground. They continued to watch as he opened beer can after beer can and poured all of those out onto the ground, as well.

The grizzled owner looked at the customer and shrugged. “To each his own, I guess…”

The customer shook his head as he handed the owner a flier. “That was just plain weird.” He laughed a little. “I do appreciate you posting this for me, though.”

The owner looked carefully at the picture on the flier, advertising a reward for the return of an escaped snow monkey from a nearby exotic game refuge. “Those things sure are ugly- those red faces and big teeth make ‘em look like something out of a horror movie.”


“They really are beautiful animals,” the customer replied, “but if you’ve never run into one before, it can be kind of startling to see for the first time.” 


86 comments:

  1. This is the best post I've read on a blog in a long long time.

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    1. Stephen: Thank you! It took me a bit to figure out how to write it~

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  2. Hi, Shelly! I remember far too many many morning afters, waking up in a fog, and wishing I hadn't partied so long and hard with my fraternity brothers Bud Weiser, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and John Barleycorn. Fortunately, I didn't have to come face to face with a snow monkey to get scared straight and swear off the stuff for good, although I remember seeing a similar image when I looked in the mirror on a few occasions.

    Thanks for another entertaining story, dear friend, and enjoy the rest of your week!

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    1. Shady: My relative in this story didn't tell this for a long time because he was afraid no one would believe him. Ha! Seeing a similar image in the mirror- not quite that bad, I'm sure! Have a terrific week in your sunny part of the world~

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    1. Jenny: It just about scared him into lifetime teetotaling!

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  4. I was expecting the chupacabra!!

    Pearl

    p.s. Got the book The Beautiful North Saturday (author's last name is Urrea) and I have been reading it like it's my full time job. :-) LOVE his writing. I can recommend it.

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    1. Pearl: I have another story with a chupacabra, but I just don't know if I can tell it. It is authentically eerie. And I am headed off to order the book- already salivating!

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  5. You've got it all here: mood, suspense, and humor. Fun read. I'm glad it wasn't something more sinister.

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    1. Theresa: If I had been in that deer blind, I would probably have had a heart attack. So glad it wasn't me-

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  6. I know there are as many stories to tell within my current and past circle of life, but I'd never be able to tell them like you tell yours!

    Another good one, Shelly! And the images are great.

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    1. Anita: I'd LOVE to hear some of your stories- you're a fine writer- really, I love to read other people's stories! And thank you~

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    2. Shelly, thank you for the compliment and for giving me something to think about. :)

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    3. Anita: I hope you do it- I know they would be terrific!

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  7. It seemed as though we needed some "Jaws" music in the background, it was so suspenseful. A sight like that would send me (totally sober) running.

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    1. Nonnie: I would not have waited around at all! The Jaws music still sends a tingle up my spine~

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  8. Dear Shelly, I'm sitting here with my mouth grinning and my eyes twinkling and . . . my jowls wobbling(!!!!!). What a story . . . as 'Nonnie" says, we need "some 'Jaws' music in the background." You built that suspense so well. And the man emptying his beer and whiskey bottles is a scene to be remembered! Peace.

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    1. Dee: Evidently, there is a small pack of these monkeys running loose in the brushland around his ranch. A few have escaped over the years and they've multiplied out there. I certainly wouldn't want to run into them on an early foggy morning! Thank you for sharing a smile with me, as this story does every time my relative tells it~

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  9. I was sure, before the describing of what he saw it was going to be a 'possum!! Nope...no siree. This was a good one Shelly. I've had events quite similar. But I still have to have a margarita now and then.

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    1. HOOTIN ANNIE: So far, my relative has stuck to that resolution, although he knows the truth of what it was. To me, a possum might even be worse!

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  10. From your reply to Shady, I see this is a true story! I was sure you had ventured into fiction today, and that the animal was going to be a Sasquatch kind of being. Well told, Shelly!

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    1. jenny_o: To hear my relative tell it is so much more elaborate, but I had to condense things down to fit here. And as Pearl mentioned, we have our own Sasquatch type legend down here, only smaller and more vicious, allegedly, in the chupacabra. I do have a story about a chupacabra incident, but I just don't know if I can tell it well enough, It is very eerie-

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    2. Ah! Now I understand.

      About the story, you'll never know until you try :) Seriously, I can't picture you having trouble telling a story well. I think it's easy, though, to underestimate the work that goes into a well-written piece, especially if one is not a writer himself or herself. I tend to think everything flows easily for other people, and it has made me discouraged with my own attempts. Anyway, a story like that NEEDS telling, Shelly!

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    3. jenny_o: I would dearly love to read your stories, my friend! And with me, some stories flow easily, and some don't. This one took a while in the "figuring out" part. Please, give it a try- your comments are always some of the best and I know you can write- think about it, OK?

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    4. You are so kind and encouraging! It helps to hear that not everything comes out right in the first draft. I'll try again and see how it goes!

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    5. jenny_o: Please, please post it so I can read it! I know it will be great~

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  11. I was scared! What a great writer.
    My story.
    I had been out (as a young adult) partying and was laying on my dad's couch...still in a fog. I felt something by my head. I sat up and there was this big huge spider. ok...but then it started hopping right at me!!! I screamed and ran and screamed. There was my dad...laughing and laughing...holding his toy spider...pumping the pump that made it jump. Never will forget that!

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    1. Christine: I would still be recovering from that! Spiders and I don't get along very well....

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  12. This post is so well written. You had me scared half to death. Excellent!

    Love,
    Janie

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  13. Perfect! I loved it. Excellent job, Shelly!

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    1. Carol: This happened close to your neck of the woods-

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  14. Oh Shelly you had me shaking in my new red boots:) I could not imagine what it was and I was afraid as the hungover guy. I think that was a good lesson. Great story. incredible lead in:) Hug B

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    1. Buttons: In our red boots, we are invincible! Kind of like a cape for a superhero, don't you think? And thank you, my friend~

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  15. This is a cute story. I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

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    1. Dawn: I'm so thankful it wasn't me in that blind trying to figure out what it was!

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  16. Very well done, Shelly; I wasn't sure what was going to be the "creature". Kept me entrhalled throughout!

    betty

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    1. Betty: Good! It took me a little while to figure out how to tell it since I had to condense it down. I would not want to meet any creature in the early morning fog!

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    1. Missed Periods: A hearse would have had to come get me...

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  18. I was on the edge of my seat. Not sure what I would have done....i was thinking let it pull down the blind, maybe it'll get knocked out in the process but then it started climbing. the. freakin'. blind, and I was all like, "Oh, well what now, smarty pants, huh? Couldn't just bring your bullets like a normal hunter, noooooo", and then I remembered it wasn't me stuck in the blind, so I was, like, "phew". Please Pleeeaaassse tell the chucpcabra story.

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    1. The Chicken's Consigliere: I've thought a number of times what I would have done. I think my best scenario is to never get up into the blind in the first place! And if I can figure out how to frame the chupacabra story, I will tell it. Weird and scary-

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  19. Congratulations Shelly! You are the winner of Alison Stuart post at Romance Reader. Please contact Alison via her website for your prize!

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    1. Nas: Yay!!! I will do just that- thank you!

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  20. Dearest Shelly;
    Your relative must have had a really scary time, my dear friend. Before reading the story just seeing the 2 pictures, I thought there must be Japanese monkey in America (haha, silly me). Oh, snow monkey in the picture really look like ours in north area and sometimes they enjoy local hot spring:-) I only have lovely impression with them from these images TV provides us p;) Wild one must be really dangerous, aren't they?
    Your writing is so great and literary and beautiful. I asked my husband if he knew the word "staccato beat". Guess what, he did, p;)
    Thanks for the anther great writing♡♡♡
    ps> At first, I went on reading without knowing the word "deer blind”, haha hard time following the story(*^_^*) Picture page gave me the idea p;)

    Sending you lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my dear friend in America, xoxo Miyako*

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    1. orchid Miyako: Oh, thank you, my dear friend, for sticking with it and reading through! I know it wasn't easy- and the snow monkey is from the ones from your beautiful country! I don't know how they ended up in Texas, but there is evidently now a group of them living in the wild here in South Texas. Good for your husband for knowing the staccato beat- he's a good musician! I hope all is well in your lovely home, my dear friend~ xo

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  21. Well that was my exercise for the day: my heart is pounding, my sides hurting from the virtual fall and roll... this was a great story.

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    1. Linda: I'm so glad it wasn't me who took that tumble out of the blind- I'd have broken my neck!

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  22. I love the way you set this up. And like Jenny, I thought you had entered the world of fiction too :) you wove an amazing tale here.

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    1. Optimistic Existentialist: It took me a while to figure out how to tell it, but the way my relative tells it is so much better and more elaborate- he will never forget it, that's for sure!

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  23. What a brilliant story! I couldn't see where it was going all the way through and then it came together perfectly at the end. Not a word wasted, but I could see it in my mind. You have real talent!

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    1. Jenny Woolf: It took me a little while to figure out how to frame it, but I've loved it since my relative told us about it and have itched to tell it since. Thank you!

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  24. Really? And here I was thinking chupacabra. Well done, Shelly.

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    1. vanilla: And evidently there's a band of these snow monkeys who roam in the wild in the brushland of southwest Texas, and they keep growing. I never want to encounter one, though!

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  25. That right there is officially the world's worst hangover. Incredible writing, as always!

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    1. Amy: And indeed, it scared him into teetotaling!

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  26. Love it. Loved this ending. I could see this guy pouring out all of his liquor after an experience like this. I wasn't expecting this ending. Like I've said before, you have a way with adding twists. :-)

    I used to want a squirrel monkey when I was little. I think monkeys are adorable, but yes, if you don't expect one and it's shrieking at you, they can be petrifying, as learned by your poor protagonist!

    You have raw talent for storytelling. Thank you for sharing your gift with us. Some lucky literary agent is going to help you share your gift with the world one day, my friend. I see it.

    BTW, I subscribed to your blog's email service, so I got an email alert this morning of your new post. Fingers crossed, I won't have any more issues seeing your new posts.

    Be well, and enjoy your week!

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    1. Janette Dolores: I'm so glad the email subscribing thing is working! I messed with the settings, but don't know that it changed anything. Thank you so much for persisting in it! And thank you for your very kind words. They are like gold to me, my friend.

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  27. I would've never guessed the red-faced creature to be a snow monkey! This was a terrific story!

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    1. Sherry: I would never have thought snow monkeys would be in South Texas!

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  28. What a post, I loved this post, thank you for it and I have never heard of a snow monkey

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    1. Jo-Anne: I think they are from Japan, and never would I have expected to find them all the way here!

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  29. OMGosh!! That was quite the twist! And I needed the picture to really have it hit home, despite watching endless nature programs I couldn't picture this breed. Great story!! :)

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    1. Rita: I am SOOOO glad it wasn't me in the blind!!!

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  30. I knew what snow monkeys are but it was still a surprise!

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    1. Lydia: I would never have expected a snow monkey in South Texas, but there is a wild group of them that is multiplying out here in the brush land~

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  31. Hahahaha!! Brilliant story and brilliant writing.
    I half expected it to be one of his 'hangover' buddies! Loved the description of his hangover.
    Really enjoyed this, thank you :-)

    xx Jazzy

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    1. jazzygal: It was the experience for him and I am so thankful it did not happen to me! And thank you, my friend~

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  32. I loved the whole thing and that ending was GREAT!
    Nice job Shelly!

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  33. I loved this!! I have the feeling that there is truth in your stories...is this your husband? Or brother?
    So funny though. I am thinking this is where those big foot stories come from!!

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    1. Jamie; It did happen and it is a relative, but it's not my husband or my brother. My husband doesn't drink at all, but he has been in many deer blinds!

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  34. Great story.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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  35. Oh, my! I thought it might be a wild boar! You are such a tremendous writer; you paint a picture with words!

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    1. Jeanette: Every time I hear him tell this story, I'm so thankful that's as real as it's going to get for me and that I don't have to experience it myself!

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  36. Oh my goodness! You had me holding my breath!

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    1. Stephanie: It was quite the spellbinder the first time I heard him tell it!

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  37. You had me holding my breath, my heart pounding! Thank you, Shelly, for another wonderful example of aerobic story-telling! You paint such a vivid picture! Absolutely terrific! I'm so glad to be back reading your blog once again!

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    1. Dr. Kathy: I'm so glad you are back!

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