Helper

Stephen W. Griffin By Stephen W. Griffin, 23rd Feb 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

This was actually something I wrote a while ago, but it's the first most easily accessible piece I've got to put up here. This is a short story horror, which gets a little gruesome towards the end, and may contain the occasional piece of profanity. It isn't my aim to be vulgar, but to be true to what I'm writing. In this poor sap's shoes, you'd probably have a choice set of words to say as well.

Helper, by Stephen W. Griffin, aka Duncreek

Stupid bus. And yes, it does occur to me that I am the one who was late, in case you were wondering. That rundown tin can on wheels has a schedule, and no need to wait for little old me. However one does have a right to be irritated, I believe, when forced to walk all the way home on a cold, oh so bitter cold, November afternoon. My hands were numb, dead weights on my arms end. A light drip of snot was forming too. Oh joy. The day couldn’t get worse, not really.
“Standing here wallowing in self pity won’t get me home any faster, moron,” I declared. Why did I say that out loud, no one is even here? Oh well.
My home is only a few miles from the stop, so I could definitely get there, but I’d be sore for it. It’d take a while too. The distance wasn’t what bothered me. The sun hung low in the sky, and was dropping steadily. The area between here, a commuter parking lot where the bus stopped about three times a day, and my home has always been real scarcely populated. The thought of walking along in the dark for miles with no one even knowing where I happened to be was… unpleasant.
There were houses in the area, but only a few. Half were abandoned, the other half were occupied by some real… special… varieties of rural. I didn’t know which was scarier, the rundown old homes with pitch black windows hiding god only knows what and shutters flapping in the wind, or the thought of getting run down by Billy-Ray and “one-tooth” Cletus chasing any passersby off with shotguns.
It was a damnably boring walk too. There was nothing around. No grass to speak of seemed to grow anywhere. There was just scattered weeds and a few dead trees, still seeming to make their feeble attempt to reach the unforgiving sky. They were like the hands of a beggar, only these hands belonged to the land, and it was begging for rain. There had been just over a year's worth of drought, although for some reason this tiny patch of land seemed to take it harder than the rest of the region.
It was really starting to get dark, as I passed a house with some lights on inside. With my earlier observations about the inhabitants of these parts in mind, I made sure to pass it at a …quicker… pace. No need to risk some paranoid loon trying to keep me from robbing him. Because really, I mean look at those gutters practically falling off the edge of his roof. He actually has gutters. Way better than the other places I’ve passed so far. Definitely the place to rob around here. Yeah right. Even if I were the type to steal stuff, which I’m not, I wouldn’t even bother with any of the places around here. The only reason you’d live out here was if you couldn’t afford to live elsewhere. It was harsh, but true.
Still, it was nice to know people were even here. The empty stretches were awful. I don’t think it’s good for your mental health to be so alone. Not just in the sense that there are no people, but also because there wasn’t much of anything. No animals, no bugs, no plants. Like being on a strange barren planet.
I passed a few empty homes, and finally made up my mind that those were the ones that scared me the most. They were always falling apart, broken and abandoned. The roofs were missing about two thirds of their shingles, and the paint, if there ever had been any, was all faded away. One had several large holes in it’s roof, spots where the wood must have rotted and collapsed. The strange thing about them was that they always had furniture in them still, clearly visible through the windows. Sometimes there would be stuff out in the yard. I saw a bike, and even went to see if it was worth taking. Obviously no one was around to own it, and I could use a faster means of transportation. But then the whole thing was rusted beyond all usefulness.
What caused this stuff to get left behind? I could never blame anyone for leaving this dump, but you’d think they’d take their things with them. And even if they didn’t, I’m sure the neighbors wouldn’t pass a chance to salvage this stuff. Admittedly, what I could see with the little light left to me through the windows, which were all always broken it seemed, looked scratched up, as if an animal had gotten to it.
And it was out of one of these houses that I saw a flicker of eyes. My heart beat fast, but it seemed as if I couldn’t move worth a damn. Somewhere in the back of my mind it amused me that my response to danger is to stop moving. Real useful. Maybe I could step it up a notch, huh? Move on to wetting myself. At least then the stink might drive it away. Moron. Whatever it was that had looked at me, it was moving around. I could hear the wood creak. Oh, it’s probably big. There had been coyotes in the area, although lately those had started to disappear. None sighted in months. Usually there were a few menacing some poor dog that sleeps outside or something, and you’d hear about it.
So it must be a coyote. They don’t attack people, do they? I may have heard some stories of small children getting attacked by coyotes, but adult humans were off the menu. Not that I wasn’t still afraid. It probably was hungry. Not much to eat around here. It might be desperate. I’m sure if I were a starving coyote my miserable personage would look delicious right about now. Mmmmm… me.
Great, now I’ve lost it, I’m contemplating what I’d taste like to a wild animal.

Just as it seemed I might actually follow through with Disaster Response Plan B: Operation PP, the animal gracefully leaped out of a window. It was a cat. Way to go big boy, you almost lost it because of a cat. Oooh, scary kitten is gonna eat you. Moron. But then I paused to take in the size of the cat. It was huge. About as large as a cocker spaniel, but fat. For a moment I started to go back into panic mode, thinking it was a mountain lion. From what mountain, I don’t know, but there was no way a house cat could be this big. But as it walked, no, paraded towards me, I saw that it was indeed a cat. And like any cat, it seemed quite full of itself, and ready to show off how he moved. He was a dark midnight black, almost invisible with the now starry sky’s lighting. The fur wasn’t a mess, as you’d expect, given where it just came from. It was such a dark, pure black that it seemed to absorb the light, like a black hole. Not a single hair on its body was a touch lighter than the rest. It made me think of old stories. You know, the ones where there is some warty old witch with a black cat familiar. This beast of a feline could fill the role easy.
He (this cat might not be a he, I wouldn’t know, but this thing has a very masculine presence to it, so I’ll say he) walked up and sat in front of me. It was looking me up and down, cocking its head this way and that. It’s examining me…The look it gave me when it was done was all too human. He was smirking. Yeah, I know, it’s a cat. Cats don’t smirk. They have the kind of personality that expresses everything with different forms of indifference. Not heartless smiles directed at stranded individuals such as myself. But this cat smirked, and it looked like it knew just what I was thinking.
I started walking again.
He followed. “Well you’re a creepy lil’ fella,” I said, my voice cracking a bit, “What are you doing following me?” Of course, the cat didn’t respond. It was a cat. But I’m pretty sure it gave me another of those vicious smirks. Not that I felt like looking. I was afraid to imagine what I’d see if I turned. Snarling fangs, claws drawn and ready to pounce… no, there was no need to dwell on what the cat’s facial expression was. It’s just a cat, chill, why am I even talking to it, stupid thing wouldn’t understand, even if it could respond. “It’s this road that has me on edge you know. If I saw you in daylight this would be different. But I’m tired, in a really sketchy place, and it’s just a little too much. I mean it’s so bad that here I am, talking to a cat. Ha ha. What do you have to say to that?” God I feel crazy.
“MEEEOW!” the sound that left the cat was horrendous, sounding like a screech of pain. Nasty sounding cat. Didn’t even sound lie a cat. It was as if some one were screaming. The kind of sound I kept expecting to hear from one of the abandoned houses, only here it was coming from this fuzz ball. It did it again. That was an unnatural noise.
“Shut up stupid cat, you’re creeping me out!” I demanded. And if that wasn’t enough, it looks like there may actually be rain. Fitting when I considered how the rest of the day had gone.
It looked like quite the storm too. The wind was picking up, and the clouds were gathering up with enough mass that they looked as if they planned to make up for the past drought and then some. And to think I said to a friend earlier today that it’d be nice if we got some rain. How well timed. Hopefully it would wait till I was close enough home before it started raining.
Drip. Drip. Dripdripdripdripdripdropdripdripdropdripdropdropdrop.
Nope. No such luck.This is certainly not my day.
As soon as the first drop hit the cat had bolted into what looked like yet another abandoned home, letting out a new, but equally demented noise. I knew that there was a lot of vacant places out here, but this is a lot for how short a distance I’ve gone. The rain was getting worse fast. It wasn’t freezing, but I knew there was no way I’d make it in that temperature soaking wet for as far as I had left to go. No choice to it, fuzz ball wait for me, I'm coming too.
This home was somehow worse. It had no door in the doorway, and two empty windows on the front. It looked like a face. If it had been a monster face that looked as if the door were a mouth trying to eat me, I’d have shrugged it off easily enough. I’ve been laughing at the local housing for hours. But it was a face in pain. The wood under the windows was scratched up, to look like tears, and the door looked like a mouth frozen mid-scream. It was almost too much. The stupid house isn’t going to kill me, but if I sit around much longer the hypothermia is. Move, moron.
By the time I got under the overhang the rain was coming down in sheets. It was hard to distinguish at first from the rain pelting the roof, but sure enough I heard a crack of thunder. No way I was getting home in this. Guess I stay here till things clear up. How freaking wonderful.
Entering was tricky. It was pitch black, with only the occasional flash of lightning to provide light. From what I could see I was in a living room. There was even a TV on a table along one wall. The place reeked. It smelled like something had curled up and died, rotted, and then invited all of it’s corpse friends to come over and rot with it. I guess this is Fuzz Ball’s house. I made my way over to a couch and sat down. The seat had been ripped to shreds, and the couch reeked of decay, but there wasn’t much choice in seating. Maybe the rain would be better. And then lightning struck and thunder shook the tiny house.
It was then that I saw two sets of yellow eyes staring at me.
When did they get here?! Neither was Fuzz Ball though. These were just ordinary cats. Ordinary cat’s who kept staring at me with their unblinking eyes. Lightning struck, and I saw at least four more cats. The other two had moved closer. Lightning struck again, and I could feel my stomach try and climb up my throat. The room was crawling in cats. I couldn’t count how many, but it was enough that the whole floor seemed to be alive. But none of them made a sound. Right… ok… this is just where they live… they’re cats. Cats like to be pet. I can pet the kitty cats, right. That’ll prove that this is OK.
And defying my own instinct to run, I picked one up, put it on my lap, and began to pet it. The cat didn’t make a sound, no hiss of protest, and no purr of enjoyment. But all of the other cats stopped moving. Is this good or bad? Lightning struck again, and the cat on my lap hopped off to stand with all the others. Only one cat was moving, but it was Him. Fuzz Ball. He towered over the other cats like he owned them, strolling right towards me. I could barely breathe. He walked up to me and pounced onto my lap.
Fuzz Ball weighed a ton, and he caused the springs of the couch, which had already been digging into my bottom and back, to go even further. I couldn’t help but look at Fuzz Ball’s eyes, see his face. I shouldn’t have. He was laughing. This wasn’t just perception, I could hear it. It was a horrifying honking “hwaw hwaw” sound.
And while I stared transfixed by this monster I called Fuzz Ball, the cats began to move in, swarming towards me, climbing onto the couch and onto my lap, piling up into a giant mass of fur. They reeked, and they didn’t help the spring situation.
In fact, the weight was too much. I could barely breathe, let alone move. It was warm. I could feel them all breathing on me, the air they exhaled moist against my skin. “WHAT THE HELL! ?GET OFF! GET OFF DAMN IT!” I yelled. I tried to move my arms, my legs, I tried to escape as best I could, but it was no good. And somehow, in all of this, Fuzz Ball had managed to still be on the top of the pile. Every cat was somehow involved in the pile, but it placed that black nightmare of a cat staring into my eyes. We were face to face. I wanted to scream defiance, but I couldn’t. Not with that cat looking at me. I whimpered and cringed. Now he purred.
“Now, now, don’t curse young man,” the voice was thin and wavering, suggesting it was that of an old woman. It came from behind me. It sounded genuinely like she was scolding me. “It’ll dirty your tongue it will.” She stepped in front of me, her arms crossed. She wore dark rags, with cobwebs seeming to be the only thing holding it all together. Her hair was in patches, with spots of baldness all over her scalp. The woman was so frail; it was a wonder she could stand. But she didn’t shake what so ever. She was standing comfortably. “Please apologize for the profanity young man. Well? Out with it!”
“Who are you?” I demanded, or at least tried to, but I couldn’t speak right, and it came out as a moan. Why was this happening to me?
“Why do you keep struggling against my precious babies? They’ve been oh so kind to me,” she crooned, “especially you my Helper.” This last was directed at Fuzz Ball, who replied with a low gurgling sound that came from his chest. Her Helper and “babies” were slowly crushing me. I was disoriented. I was crying. I wanted it to stop. The old hag continued, “Me a poor little old woman in no condition to go out into the world yet, they bring me what I need. Why, I would starve without them.”
“And on that note, I am quite hungry. Helper does a good job finding me food, but it’s getting scarce. The animals are all gone, and none of the locals will come out at night any more, or so Helper tells me. But even in these difficult times Helper can bring such a marvelous meal home to our little family. Thank you so much you dear,” stroking Helper, she drew a knife out from her rags as if they had been a proper sheath. I began to struggle harder, but gained nothing. And then my left hand was free, no cats covering it any more. But I hadn’t freed it. The cats had moved of their own volition.
“What are you doing?” my voice was hoarse as I begged for some explanation, something that would be ok.
“Preparing dinner silly,” the cat hag chuckled.
And the old woman began to cut at the back of my wrist, sawing away. I screamed as the knife slid back and forth, slicing through tendons and flesh. I could feel blood gushing out of the wound. It was dripping onto my leg. She cut down till she reached bone, at which point she took my hand and forearm in her hands, and bent. SNAP. The wrist broke, and she resumed cutting. I no longer noticed the cats that covered my body, or the springs in my back. My whole world was focused in on the steady back and forth of the blade as it worked its way through my arm. As my hand dangled from a tiny flap of flesh and skin, and blood poured out through the opened veins, the hag gave a tug and ripped my hand off with a tear. She held it up for me to see, a look of satisfaction on her face. It didn’t look real. I could not see the stump on my arm, but I could feel it. A cat was licking the wound with its course tongue.
“Off to the stove with this, the rest is yours,” she happily chimed, and as she walked out, easily as if it were light as day and not pitch black, the cat’s all as one began purring, a solid hum I could feel in my bones.
I started screaming again. I screamed as their claws dug in. I screamed as claws were followed by teeth. I screamed as teeth came away with flesh. I screamed and I screamed, and if I ever stopped I don’t know, but into the night, in a wave of cats, I vanished, screaming.
Screaming.

Tags

Duncreek, Helper, Horror, Monsters

Meet the author

author avatar Stephen W. Griffin
Hello, the name is Stephen and I write what would mostly be classed as horror for the entertainment. I wouldn't advice it for children, but it is fun stuff all the same.

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