Sinister Countdown- Howl Creek


“Mac, are you seeing this?” Officer Gange’s voice held a note akin to exasperation as he hit the brakes and turned their battered Crown Victoria onto the soft shoulder of the road.

Officer McClarin Geroge, Mac to all who ever got to know him past getting a ticket, looked up from his laptop as his fellow officer pulled the patrol car onto the curb.

”Gange, what is this?” Mac groaned, feeling this particular graveyard shift sinking in behind his left eye even before it had really begun.

“Look!” Office Gange said, “just looked at this!”

Mac was reminded for a brief moment of his mother long ago as she had yelled at him and his brother playing with their toy cars across the kitchen floor.

Both his mother and Gange gesticulated the same way.

“Calm down kid,” Mac said raising a hand, “what is it-”

Mac stopped as he realized his partner was now halfway out of the car, even though the thing was in neutral.

“Gange! Gange get back here- ah yeah damn idiot.” He threw the car into neutral and threw a leg over the consol to stop the crown Victoria from rolling over his partner.

Outside Officer Gange’s uniform, belt and holster threw back bright glares of light causing Mac to flinch.

“Damn nuisance,” muttered Mac, finally opening his door. Night are rushed in rippling goose bumps across his skin.

His six foot frame filled the uniform, if not a little too tight in certain spots. Fifteen years on the job had worn him down into a more comfortable policeman and he liked it.

But that was to be expected way out here in the boonies. Howl Creek was a separate world away from the world. Secluded on the east side of a large string of buttes the thriving metropolis of 3,000 souls was all but forgotten by the rest of the great state of California. You couldn’t get any more desert rural if you’d tried.

To either end of the patrol car Avenue J stretched on for miles and miles. A distant glow on the horizon reminded travelers that civilization was only a half hour away. In reality it was an hour and a half, if you made it.

The older man walked up the gravel shoulder to where Officer Gange was standing. His partner said nothing. He was just staring at something beyond the lights of the patrol car.

“Now what is going on kid?” Mac called out as he walked toward Gange, “why did we risk giving our ride a few more scratches-”

The smell hit Mac first. Immediately his eyes stung and a spasmodic cough and gag griped his throat.

“-what- what is that?” Mac tried to ask, but gave another drive heave.

Officer Gange just stood there, mouth gaping open. Beyond him lay a twisted chain link fence. Something the size of a sedan looked to have crashed through the eight foot security fence. But the metal was shredded, by something.

That wasn’t even the worst of it. Again Mac was assaulted by a pungent smell of blood and . . . Something else. Before Gange a body lay all awkward angles and filleted wide open. The head was gone, and various internal viscera lay tangled in the ruined fence and dried tumble weeds.

“Call it in,” Mac said, “we’ve got to call this in.”

All Gange did was vomit all over the road. Beyond them further along the security fence lay a sprawling industrial complex. Mac finally registered the sounds of sirens and what could only be the screams of people.

He turned back to the police car, stumbling as his bad knee gave out. Intense shivers ripples across his body and he felt bile rise in his throat.

An ear splitting howl raised in the night, shaking officer Gange from his stupor. Mac look back as he pulled open his door, ready to order the younger man back into the cab. But Gange started shrieking, like a kid. Mac watched dumbfounded as his fellow office pulled out his side arm and disappeared behind a shaggy leaping form.

Beneath Mac’s hand the car door shook. He looked up to see a visage straight from hell leered out of the dark. Red and blue lights flashed across a quivering muzzle. Tangled teeth smiled. Behind him bones cracked and flesh tore.

Mac tried to scream but he was already dead.

-M.E. InkOwl


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