I’ll cut right to the point. I’m a terrible father. I used to be a terrible husband too, but since the divorce I guess I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Now all I have to worry about is being a terrible dad. Of course, that’s assuming you or your sister still think of me as a parent. I wouldn’t blame either of you if you didn’t. I wasn’t around much when you guys were young and now I see you even less. I can’t even remember the last time I saw or spoke to your sister. Beth must hate me for what I did to the both of you. And for what I did to your mom.
I don’t want to waste your time, so I’ll try to keep it short. Don’t waste your life on things that aren’t important to you. The last few times I’ve seen you, I’ve seen a look in your eyes. It’s the “I don’t want to be here” look. Don’t worry, I’m not offended. To be honest, it’s the same look I see when I look at myself in the mirror. I just want you to be happy, and if that means you and me not spending time together, so be it. Don’t get me wrong, I like seeing you, but I can tell that it just doesn’t interest you. I completely understand. I wouldn’t want to spend time with me either. I’ve had 22 years to connect with you, and it hasn’t happened. That’s my fault, not yours.
I’m not sure if you’ll bother to read this letter or how it will even get to you. It’s taken me a while to get the courage to write this, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to drop it in a mail box. It’s sort of funny, actually. Most people don’t have the stones to do what I do for a living, but I’m too chicken shit to take a walk to the post office. That’s life for you, I guess.
I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I’ve lived a difficult life, but that’s my fault. We’re all responsible for the choices we make and now I have to deal with the consequences of those choices. Part of that is being a failure as a father and as a husband. But maybe the biggest consequence of my choices is being a failure as a human being. Maybe that’s why I gravitated towards the field I’m in. I’m a cop who fights real life monsters. I couldn’t handle being a human being so I spent my time dealing with things that are less than human.
I’d like to think I’ve done some good in my life, but I know that in order to do that good, I turned my back on what should have been most important to me. I’m sorry it took me so long to realize something that would have been obvious to most people. Unfortunately for you, your dad is one of the dumbest people around.
After this, you won’t hear from me again. But I want to leave you with one last thing. Please don’t make the same mistakes I have. You work so hard, but what good is it if you don’t have anyone to share it with? Love and family. I can tell you from experience that those are the things that are most important. In the end, work is just to pay the bills.
No matter what happens, and no matter what has happened, I want you to know I love you. I always have and I always will. I hope that if you read this, you’ll tell your sister and your mom that I love them too.
Again, don’t make the same mistakes I have. You’re too good a person to end up like me.
I love you so much.
Martin Weir stared at the letter he had written his son weeks earlier, but didn’t have the courage to send. He’d been sitting behind the wheel of his rusty silver sedan long enough for the air around him to be almost as cool as it was outside. As the warmth left his skin, the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Martin could hear the rain bouncing off the roof directly over his head, but it sounded as if it was a million miles away. As he continued to stare at the slightly crumpled sheets of paper in his calloused hands, his eyes relaxed to the point that all the words blurred together. He had been focusing on the line “No matter what happens, and no matter what has happened, I want you to know I love you.”
No matter what happens, indeed, Martin thought. He knew exactly what was going to happen that night. He was going to die.
Martin had wanted to kill himself for a while now, but he could never bring himself to do it. He’d thought about hanging himself, slitting his wrists, or poisoning himself. He even considered putting a bullet into his brain, but he didn’t think he had it in him to follow through on any of them. In Martin’s estimation, it would take effort and conviction to take his own life, and he was just too damned tired to have either. He also didn’t want his family to hate him any more than they already did. Martin believed that having a loser for a husband or a father was one thing, but having a loser for a husband or a father who offed himself was a stink you couldn’t just wash away. He decided he wouldn’t put his wife and kids through that. But it didn’t change the fact that he still wanted to be dead.
The air around Martin became so cold that it snapped him out of the fog in his mind and caused him to remember where he was and why he was there. Just before getting the call that led to Martin being parked in a piece of shit metal box in one of the worst neighbourhoods in the city, he was sitting at the foot of his bed in his bachelor apartment. With the sink full of dishes, walls full of roaches and empty bottles scattered around the room, the best term Martin could find to describe the place was sad. Most people would be sleeping at 3 o’clock in the morning, but, in Martin’s eyes, he was not most people. Most people didn’t stay up all night drinking by themselves, thinking about their job and what new hell it would bring the next day. And even if they did, they certainly weren’t thinking of a job like Martin’s. But it was that job that made him think that maybe there was another way out his life. A way that would make his family proud.
Martin tossed the letter onto the dashboard and reached into his jacket pocket to pull out his black leather wallet. He flipped it open to look at the shiny metal police badge that was hidden inside. Sergeant Martin Weir was the head of the Humanoid Sub-Creature Pacification Unit of the Palisades Police Department. The other officers on the force called it the Monster Squad. Martin wasn’t given the job because of his 20 years of exemplary service, or his ability to effectively manage people. In fact, there was only one other person in the HSCPU that he had to manage, and that person hadn’t been in the unit nearly as long as Martin. No, Martin was made head of the HSCPU because most people don’t want to spend any more time in the Monster Squad than they have to, and the few individuals who do want to be there usually die before the chance of a promotion comes up. Martin was lucky to have survived as long as he had. No one would blame him if that luck were to eventually run out.
Martin was off duty when the call came in, but Jeff Redding, the other member of the HSCPU, was already out on another call. Martin didn’t mind. It was better working than trying to live with himself. And there was always a chance that he could run into something that was worthy of giving him a good death.
Martin let out a loud sigh, and, without looking, reached up with one hand and pulled down a faded photograph from his brown-stained sun blocker. It was a rare picture of Martin’s family where everyone was smiling.
Beth looks about six, Martin thought, so that would make Marcus… three? Or four maybe? Martin couldn’t quite remember. He looked at his daughter and his son for a few seconds, but his gaze lingered on his ex-wife, Helena. He looked at her and took in every detail. He studied the long blond hair caressing Helena’s shoulders, the black turtleneck snuggling her neck, and the perfect white teeth peaking out of her perfect mouth. Martin thought about the time when the photograph he was holding was taken. He didn’t think that two people could be happier.
“That was a long time ago,” Martin whispered to himself.
A few years after the picture was taken, his wife gave him an ultimatum: Her or the job. At the time, Martin thought he had made the right choice. He thought that what he did was important. He thought that lives depended on him. Helena didn’t see it that way, and in the time since she served him with divorce papers, Martin began to see that she was right. He couldn’t make a difference. He couldn’t save the world from monsters.
Martin felt a shiver run through his chest. He raised his head from the photo in his hand and tried to look out the front windshield. The inside of the glass had fogged over, so he used the sleeve of his jacket to wipe away the condensation. He could see something standing about 15 feet in front of his car, but the rain was coming down so hard he couldn’t make out what it was. He strained his eyes, but it didn’t help. Martin tossed the photo next to the letter on the dashboard and listened to the THUNK sound his door made as he unlocked it. He intended to get out of his car, but as he reached for the handle the rain seemed to subside, and the thing that had been a fair distance away started to float towards him.
The little girl, who could be no more than eight years old by Martin’s estimation, was wearing a yellow pajama top and pink bottoms. She slowly made her way towards Martin’s car, her arms never leaving her sides and her legs remaining perfectly still. As she got closer, Martin could see the little girl’s mouth moving, but he couldn’t hear anything coming out. The rain had stopped and Martin found himself surrounded in silence. The child came closer and closer, her pink bottoms dragging along the wet concrete.
Martin had seen a lot of strange things in his life, but nothing like this. He couldn’t make sense of it. His gut told him to run, but he was too terrified to move. He watched in silent horror as the little girl made her way towards his car, her mouth still moving, her mouth still silent.
When the girl stopped at the front of the silver sedan, the air around Martin turned thick. A sick feeling crept inside his belly. He wanted to reach for the door handle, but didn’t for fear the slightest movement might make him wretch. Martin looked at the girl and wanted to ask her how she was doing this, but he didn’t dare open his mouth. He just stared at the little girl in her pajamas while his stomach churned and knotted.
After a long moment of Martin and the young girl looking into each others’ eyes, the child’s mouth stopped moving. It was shut, but Martin could hear her scream, “HELP ME!”
Martin’s eyes grew wide and his heart started pounding in his chest. He found the courage to move again, so he reached to open the car door, but was stopped by a flash of white light that blinded him, and an explosion of shattered glass that cut into his face.
Martin Weir shut his eyes and grabbed at the shards of glass that had dug themselves into his skin. After a few moments of clawing at glass that wasn’t there, he found that his heart had settled down to a normal pace and that the knots in his stomach had untied themselves. He looked out the windshield to see if the little girl in the yellow and pink pajamas was still standing in front of his car. When he saw that she was gone, Martin rested his head against the driver’s side window. He wondered for a moment if she was ever really there at all.
Must be nerves, he figured.
The sound made Martin’s entire body jump. He jerked his head to the left and saw Jeff Redding, the only other person who worked with him in the Humanoid Sub-Creature Pacification Unit, flashing a big toothy grin through the driver side window. Jeff knocked on the window again and motioned for his boss to roll down the window. Martin obliged and tried to smile. The rain was coming down hard again.
“Morning, or evening?” Jeff replied, as the rain streamed down his face. As usual, he had forgotten his umbrella. “You get any sleep lately? You look like hell.”
“I feel like hell,” Martin replied, “but that’s pretty much par for the course. What are you doing here? I thought you were working another sighting.”
“I was,” Jeff said, wiping the rain out of his eyes. “Stupid Norsehoof was seen down by the boardwalk.” He had raised his voice so Martin could hear him over the rain, which had started to pour down even harder, thundering off the roof of the car. “Thing must have been starving,” Jeff continued, “it was ripping through dumpsters and screaming its damned-fool head off. Wasn’t too hard to find.”
“You put it down?” asked Martin.
Jeff nodded. “For good. The lab says they know everything they need to about those ugly sons of bitches.”
“Good stuff,” Martin responded as he used his right hand to search for a pack of cigarettes in his glove box. The same hand slammed it shut when it didn’t find any. “So what brings you out in the middle of this piss storm?” he asked Jeff.
Jeff smiled as he continued to wipe the rain off of his face. “I got some more details on the HSC we got in there. I got a call that they couldn’t get through to you on your radio. Also, I like seeing your pretty face.”
Martin couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yeah, this stupid thing hasn’t been working right since the last time I punched it.”
“The radio or your face?” Jeff asked Martin with a smile.
Even though Martin spent most of his time thinking of ways to kill himself so he could be rid of his horrid life, he couldn’t help but laugh at the question. He was really going to miss Jeff.
“So what am I going to have to deal with tonight?” Martin asked with genuine interest, as he hoped whatever it was would be able to help him reach his goal of never going home again. Jeff handed him a file. It was so wet from the rain that it almost fell apart in Martin’s hands.
“It’s your favourite,” Jeff said, sarcasm dripping from every word.
Martin opened the file, carefully pulling the pages apart to make sure they didn’t rip. “Christ,” he said, “a goddamn Weregorilla.” Martin had dealt with a lot of Weregorillas over the years. He tried to remember what their technical name was, but it didn’t come to him. Weregorilla was just something that someone in the office thought up at some point. He was pretty sure that person was killed on the job. Martin thought that guy was a lucky bastard.
On average, Weregorrilas were about eight feet tall, and about half as wide. With brownish-grey leathery skin, tufts of scraggily hair coming out in no discernible pattern, and yellowed nine-inch nails protruding from their boney, varicose vein-riddled paws, they looked like something straight out of a nightmare. But the worst part, Martin thought, was their faces. He could deal with their sunken eyes, their huge foreheads and their snouts that looked like they had been bashed in by a baseball bat. What he couldn’t deal with was their green, ragged teeth, and the waterfall of drool that poured out of their mouths. Just the thought of their disgusting, putrid mugs made Martin want to gag. While Martin’s mind wandered, he didn’t notice Jeff get in the passenger seat.
“Christ, is it ever pissing out there,” Jeff said. Martin nodded as Jeff began listing off the things that his boss should remember to watch for when searching for the creature. Things like where they like to nest, and how they like to attack. Martin already knew everything he needed to know about these monsters, so he didn’t pay much mind to what Jeff was saying. Weregorillas liked to play with their prey, like a dog that catches a rabbit. It’ll kill the rabbit, but not without tossing it up in the air a few times first.
Martin briefly thought about putting things off for another night, for a time when his Jack Kevorkian wouldn’t be slightly more unstable than Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but that moment passed quickly.
No, Martin thought, this thing will definitely be up to the job. It’ll have the courage to do what I don’t. In this world, beggars can’t be choosers.
“Hey, Martin?” Jeff’s voice pierced Martin’s thoughts. Martin wasn’t sure how long Jeff had been saying his name.
“Yes?” Martin replied, trying to sound as though he had been paying attention the entire time.
“Are you feeling okay?” Jeff asked. “You don’t look so good. I mean, you never look good, but you look especially bad tonight. You want me to take care of-”
“No,” Martin interrupted, “I’ve got this.”
“Alright then,” Jeff nodded and pointed towards an entrance to a building across the street. “So I think we should head in over there by the trash bins, and-”
“No!” Martin interrupted again. “I said I’ve got this.”
“I don’t know, Martin. I mean, I know you can handle these things by yourself, but…”
“It’s okay, Jeff,” Martin said as calmly as he could. He found Jeff to be a bit of a worrier, so he was used to trying to alleviate his colleague’s concerns. He put his hand on Jeff’s shoulder as he continued, “you already had to deal with one freak tonight. Let me take care of this one. Go ahead and go home.”
“You sure?” Jeff asked.
Martin nodded. “Definitely. Everything’s going to be fine.”
Jeff had a look of concern on his face, but he forced a quick smile and opened the passenger door. He slid out and jogged quickly to his car, which was parked a few yards behind Martin’s. Martin watched through his review mirror as Jeff got into his vehicle, and pulled out into the street.
When Jeff was gone, Martin took the picture of his family off the dashboard to study again. He took one last look at his wife and his kids, memorizing every detail of their smiling faces. When he finished, he wrapped the photo in the letter to his son and wedged them both between the sun blocker and the roof of his car.
Someone will find them there, he thought hopefully.
Martin let out a loud cough and opened the car door. The rain was coming down even harder than when Jeff was there. Martin could barely see three feet in front of himself. He walked around to the trunk, keeping his left hand on the car to guide him. He felt the water rush over his fingers, like they were pebbles in a brook. When he reached the trunk, Martin slid the key in and turned it until he could feel it unlock. He opened the lid and started moving his empty liquor bottles around until he found what he was looking for.
Martin picked up the brown leather case and unsheathed his weapon. He studied the blade of his twelve inch Bowie knife starting at its tip, and continued down to its walnut handle. Over time, the varnish had worn off and the wood had become stained with the blood of countless freaks of nature. He wasn’t sure how many times this weapon had saved his life. His wife had bought him the knife when he first got the job in the HSCPU. Martin thought about when she had given it to him. She had said that every good hunter should have a good knife. He had no intention of using it that night, but the thought of having something his wife had given him made him feel better.
Martin sheathed his blade and attached it to his belt. He then reached down and picked up his flashlight and tucked it into his left jacket pocket. After a quick search for smokes failed, he cursed himself for not stopping beforehand to pick up a pack and slammed the trunk closed.
Martin hurried across the street towards the entranceway that Jeff had suggested. When he was part way there, Martin realized that he was walking with a sense of purpose for the first time in a long while. It almost made him feel good. Almost.
Martin tried to open the door, but it was locked. Martin chuckled to himself. It couldn’t be easy, could it, he thought. Martin had picked more than his share of locks, but he left his kit back in the car. He debated trying to kick the door in, but he really didn’t want a broken foot to slow him down once he got into the building. He wanted to get this done as quickly as possible.
Martin started to head back to his vehicle when the heavy rain suddenly stopped. But he realized very quickly that it hadn’t really stopped. It had just stopped making sound.
Martin found himself standing in silence. He could see the rain pounding the black wet pavement, and he could see it bouncing violently off of the roof of his car, but not a single sound was making it to his ears. He stood in the middle of the street for a few moments, looking around, wondering what was happening. The silence was soon interrupted by a faint whisper that seemed to rise up from the ground. At first it seemed to be coming from in front of him, but soon moved in behind. Martin turned around to try and hear it better, but the whisper kept moving all around him. Martin couldn’t make it out, but whatever it was he could sense a tremble in its tone. The sick feeling Martin had earlier crawled back into his gut. The whisper got louder and Martin could finally start to make some of it out.
“…aa baa black sheep, have you any wool?”
Martin listened while trying to keep the contents of his stomach down.
“…yes sir, yes sir, three bags full…”
The voice got louder and louder, as it whirled around him.
“…one for my master, one for my dame…”
Martin wheeled around, trying to find the source of the sound. It was becoming harder and harder to keep the bile from rising into his throat.
“…and one for the little boy who lives down the lane…”
“Who are you?” Martin tried calling to the voice, the taste of vomit covering his mouth.
“…baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?”
Martin found himself completely enveloped by the voice’s fear. He tried to speak to it again, retching between every word. “What… do… you… want?”
“…yes sir, yes sir, three bags full…”
Martin’s insides felt like they were going to explode. He sucked in a gulp of air and screamed, “WHERE ARE YOU!?”
The voice dissipated. Martin was about to bolt back to his car and drive home, but paused when the rain stopped. The tension in his chest and stomach melted away. Martin closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them again he was looking straight at a second story window in the building he was trying to get into. The little girl with the yellow pajama top was there, staring straight back at him. Her lips moved, but Martin heard nothing. He wanted to call to her, but the words wouldn’t come. He wanted to run into the building, but his legs wouldn’t carry him. The girl’s mouth opened wide. After a pause, Martin heard her scream, “HELP ME!”
Her cry pierced Martin’s skull, causing him to fall to his knees. He felt a million needles dig their way into his brain. He gripped his ears so tightly he thought he was going to crush his own skull.
No, not like this, Martin prayed. Please, not like this.
Martin was certain her scream was going to last forever. The needles were going to tear him to shreds. This is how he was going to die. Not heroically. Not in a way that would make his family proud. He was going to die lying in the middle of the street, with tears in his eyes. Alone and afraid.
Martin Weir clawed at his skull, hoping his fingers would find a way past the bone and brain so that he could dig out the burning pins that had been lodged there. The girl in the yellow and pink pajamas continued to cry out, and the pain in Martin’s head continued to push deeper and deeper.
In amongst the agony there was a brief moment when Martin was almost happy that he was going to die, lying in the middle of an empty street. Death was, after all, what he wanted. He would have preferred to leave this world in less crippling pain, but he thought it would soon be over. Martin figured that eventually his body would give in to the piercing sound of the young child’s screams that were ripping his insides to shreds. Then it would be over and he would finally be at peace.
Except his body didn’t give in. Martin tried feverishly to dig out the sound that was ripping him apart, but to no avail. It was too much. He couldn’t take it anymore. Martin soon realized that the pain would ever end. Not unless he took action.
Martin reached for the Bowie knife attached to his belt. He unsheathed the blade, brought it up to his temple, and began to push.
Then, without warning, it was over. The scream ended and the pain in Martin’s brain was gone. He returned his weapon to its holster and climbed back onto his feet. Once he was standing, Martin realized that his eyes were shut tight. When he opened them, he felt a stream of warm tears roll down his cheeks. He looked back up at the window to see if the little girl was still there, but she was gone.
Did that really just happen, he wondered, or am I just going crazy?
It took a few seconds for Martin to remember that he was on his way to find a Weregorilla before he almost stabbed himself in the head. He walked back to the building, and when he got to the door he remembered that it was locked. He shook his head and turned to head back to the car, but paused before taking a step. Martin decided to try to open it again. He turned the handle and found it opened without a problem.
Something is fucking with me, Martin thought. He stepped inside the building to begin his search for the monster that he hoped would kill him just as it started to rain again. Yeah, something is definitely fucking with me, he conceded. Hopefully I’ll be dead before I have to deal with that.
When he was inside the building, Martin pulled out his flashlight. He pressed the button, but nothing happened. He rapped the bulb a few times with his free hand until the light came on. The dim beam that appeared made it a little easier for Martin to see, but he still found himself squinting as he methodically scanned each room, looking for a sign of where the Weregorilla could be.
The wind picked up. Martin heard both the rain slamming against the dirty, paper thin windows of the building, and the air forcing its way through the cracks in the walls. With the noise echoing through the empty structure, Martin didn’t think he was going to be able to hear the monster skulking around, so he was forced to rely on his tired old eyes and a barely functioning flashlight.
Perhaps this is better, he thought. If I don’t see the beast coming, maybe it won’t hurt as much. Martin chuckled when the thought crossed his mind. Of course getting murdered by a mindless hell spawn is going to hurt.
When Martin realized that the Humanoid Sub-Creature he was looking for wasn’t on the ground floor, he began to search for an entrance to the basement. Weregorillas tended to nest below ground. That was fine with Martin. He thought that if he went downstairs he would be less likely to run into the girl that had made him want to scratch out his own brain. He had no interest in seeing her again.
It took a few minutes, but Martin eventually found the stairwell. He slowly made his way down the stairs, a creaking sound accompanying each step. The stench of death hit him as soon as he reached the basement. The smell was so strong that Martin felt himself about to gag, but he managed to keep the contents of his stomach down. Martin recalled that when he was a rookie this sort of thing would have had him throwing up all over his shoes. The ability to hold down half digested food was one of the perks of being in the job as long as he had. Also, with what he had already endured that day, dealing with the smell of rotting flesh was a minor annoyance.
Martin looked around his immediate vicinity and saw the remnants of what looked like seven dog carcasses and hundreds of tiny rodent bones strewn around the ground.
Any time now, he thought. Any time now and this will all be over.
Martin continued further into the basement, methodically scanning the rooms. After a few minutes of searching, his light clicked off. At that moment the sound of the rain crashing against the building seemed to disappear. It was eerily silent as Martin tapped the flashlight with his free hand. He hit it three times, but nothing happened. He shook it quickly, hoping that the batteries had not completely died, but again nothing happened.
God damn it, Martin thought as he hit the flashlight as hard as he could, not knowing whether it would turn on or shatter in his hands. Much to his surprise, the light came on and spread itself across the far wall.
That’s when he saw it.
It was hunched over, facing away from Martin. Its attention was fixated on something near the ground, so it didn’t notice the dim light that highlighted its massive, disgusting form. The light gleamed off of the beast’s oily tufts of hair and brown, leathery skin.
This is it, Martin thought. The moment of truth. Be the man you want to be, he almost said aloud. Don’t be afraid. It’ll be over soon.
Martin wanted to speak, but he didn’t know what to say. He was in the rare situation where he would be able to choose his final words. He thought about it for a moment, but came to the conclusion that he shouldn’t say anything. He decided it would be better if his last words were to Jeff, the man who would replace him as the Sergeant of the Humanoid Sub-Creature Pacification Unit. The man whose job it would be to find the creature that killed the previous Sergeant. He was sure it would be better that way.
Martin shook the flashlight at the monster until he got its attention. It stood up and faced him. This Weregorilla had the typical bashed-in nose and the mouth full of ragged green teeth that poured spit like a waterfall. But this one was bigger than usual, standing closer to 10 feet, by Martin’s estimation. This one also had red eyes, which Martin had never seen before.
The beast let out a low growl. Good, Martin thought, I’ve interrupted him. He’s super pissed. Maybe he’ll skip past tossing me in the air like a rag doll and get straight to killing me.
Martin guessed there was about 50 feet between them. Based on their average speed, Martin guessed that once the Weregorilla got going, it would reach him in about six seconds.
Six seconds will seem like an eternity, Martin thought, but when it’s over, I’ll never have to wait for anything again.
The creature took a step towards Martin. Martin immediately felt a sense of calm wash over him, as if slipping into a warm bath. As the Weregorilla took another step towards him, then a third and a fourth, Martin thought that he should close his eyes. He may have wanted to die, but he certainly didn’t want to watch it happen.
Just as he was about to shut the rest of the world out, and welcome the cold embrace of death, he saw something move behind the creature. At first he saw what appeared to be a scrap of yellow fabric floating behind the monster, but as the Weregorilla swayed, he saw it for what it really was.
She seemed smaller than she was when she floated towards his car. Even smaller than when he saw her in the window. She was sitting on the ground, her hair matted to her face with sweat, dried tears and blood. Her yellow and pink pajamas were muddied. Martin had trouble making it out, but it looked like she had numerous defensive wounds on her arms.
Even in the face of imminent death, this brave little girl still fights for her life, Martin thought. She deserves to live.
He was so fixated on the girl who was now looking straight at him, Martin almost forgot about the 800 pound monster that was bearing down on him. It was about three quarters of the way towards him and still picking up speed when Martin went for his knife. The Weregorilla let out a roar that filled the entire building as it pounced. Martin fell backwards, the monster on top of him. Martin’s head hit the cold damp concrete and he could feel the warmth of his own blood spreading across the back of his head. He thought it was over. He was going to get what he wanted, but still he failed. He had failed his wife, his kids, and now this little girl.
He didn’t know how long he was out, but Martin eventually opened his eyes. He gasped at the sight of ragged green teeth mere inches from his face. Martin gagged as pungent saliva dripped into his mouth. For a second, Martin wasn’t sure exactly what had happened. When he tried to move his hands he realized that they were still holding onto his knife, which was stuck deep into the Weregorilla’s chest.
“Lucky shot,” Martin chuckled to himself.
After failing to lift 800 pounds of dead monster weight off of his body, Martin awkwardly slid out from underneath the creature. Once free, he grabbed the back of his head to see how badly he was bleeding while he limped over to the little girl by the wall. He was still looking at his hand when he started talking to her.
“Hello, sweetheart. Are you…” Martin’s voice was caught in his throat. He found himself looking at a boy, about twelve years old, with tear stains on his cheeks, and dirt and blood on his white t-shirt and blue jeans. Martin did his best to compose himself before speaking again. “Are you okay?”
The boy nodded, still too afraid to speak.
Martin smiled as best he could. “It’s okay. Everything’s going to be fine.”
Martin wrapped his arms around the child and struggled to lift him up. He could feel the boy shivering in his arms. Martin headed towards the stairs to go up to the main level. As they were about to exit the building, Martin looked around to see if she was there. When the young girl with the yellow and pink pajamas didn’t reveal herself, he took the child he was holding out into the cold night to live another day.
It’s okay, Martin thought. Everything’s going to be fine.
Written by Chris Lackie
Edited by Sarah Lackie