This story is one of a number of stories I wrote as part of a writing experiment over on my other blog. The rules of the experiment was that I wrote a list of 20 “Starting Emotions” and 20 “Horror Sub-genres” and attempted to write a story based on the combination. This was the combo of Lazy and Monster.
It Came From Next Door
It was the sort of afternoon that was made for doing nothing. The grass was warm and comfortable, there was a nice breeze blowing and there was just enough clouds in the sky so the sun wasn’t shining right in your eyes. The distant hum of lawnmowers and the chirping of birds was a calming soundtrack for this moment of relaxation. The only thing that could make this moment perfect was a cold drink but the strenuous effort to get one would rob it of it’s perfection. I was content in just relaxing out in the garden. It was just so peaceful.
I must have nodded off because I closed my eyes for just a second and when I opened them the sky was a moody grey. That perfect balance had been shifted by an oncoming storm. A heavy raindrop struck me hard right between the eyes, quickly followed by half a dozen more. They soaked straight through my shirt as I pushed up off the ground. I struggled to get up on my feet, still lost in a post-nap daze. I ran up to the house but when I got to the door, I rummaged in my pockets for keys but they must have fallen out on the grass. I ran back to where I had been lying but after a few minutes of panicked searching, trying to dodge the raindrops with little success, I went back over to the house, shoes squelching with every step.
The overhang of the roof gave me a little shelter but the breeze had turned bitter cold and I was shivering in my wet clothes. I rummaged in my pockets again, just to check that I hadn’t missed my keys the first time. Definitely no keys. My wallet was there, but my phone was also missing. I swore under my breath and gave the door a kick. Even though I was pissed off I didn’t put much force into the kick but my toes stung a little when I struck the door. Did somebody take my phone when I was sleeping? It didn’t make sense for my phone to be gone but not my wallet. If they did take my keys too, were they in my house? I peered through the windows by the door and made my way around the house, peering in through every window. I couldn’t see anyone. I was going to have to phone the police to add to my frustrations, just in case whoever took my keys came back. If anyone took my keys. I felt like such an idiot.
My moment of self-loathing quickly faded when I remembered that I gave a key to my neighbour, Mrs Knowles. She was old and had apparently lived in the house next door forever. She would have probably forgotten where she had put it but the thought of searching for a lost key in a warm dry house was preferable to searching for one shivering in the rain. I squelched my way over to her door and knocked loudly. Her hearing wasn’t the best and neither was her top speed these days so it wasn’t too worrying when she didn’t answer the door immediately. I banged on the door again, just to make sure she heard it and waited impatiently for another minute. I began to suspect the worst, she was old, she could have fallen. It might just be her time. I really didn’t want to find a dead body today but the thought of her lying there while her cat, Freddy, nibbled away at her chilled me. I started my way around the side of the house, checking in through windows, tapping on the glass. I was about to enter her back garden when I saw a figure standing there with their back to me, their face up towards the rain clouds. I stepped back, something wasn’t right and something inside me knew I shouldn’t be seen.
I peered from around the corner at whoever was standing in Mrs Knowles’ garden. It wasn’t her, I could tell that immediately. The figure was stick thin and looking about five feet tall. It seemed to be naked, lean with muscle. The skin was an unnatural grey, glossy and slick. The rain was rolling straight off of it. It lacked certain human features, genitalia, hair, only three toes on each foot. The creature looked back towards the house. The facial features were minimal. Small black dots for eyes, spaced far apart. A long mouth with thin, almost non-existent lips ran just under the eyes. Small flaring nostrils sat in the middle, two pairs of them, one above the other. I ran my hands through my wet hair as I stared at this thing from my hiding spot. The grey creature hunched down in a stance, prone to pounce, and edged towards the french doors to Mrs Knowles’ kitchen which were open wide, the wind blowing the curtains around the edges. It moved slowly, it’s nostrils constantly sniffing and flaring. That was when I heard it.
It was faint over the sounds of the storm and the beast’s snuffling, a tiny bell was ringing and accompanied by the distinct tapping noise of claws on wooden flooring. I could feel my heart sink with dread as the mental image of whatever that thing in the garden was feasting on little Freddy. The bell rang a little closer and I saw a glimpse of white fur against the green grass. It was inches away from the monster. My heart caught in my throat as I saw Freddy close the gap and rub against the slick grey legs of the beast. He purred loudly. The creature looked down at Freddy, it’s long mouth open wide, baring three rows of sharp teeth. I froze, horrified in anticipation, eyes locked on Freddy. Freddy, however just meowed loudly and strutted off into the bushes. I pulled on my hair and sighed with relief. My hands shot up to my mouth. How loud was that sigh? My eyes darted around Mrs Knowles’ garden but I couldn’t see the creature. I edged closer to the corner of the wall but before I could peek round, that loud sniffing sound. It was right on the other side of the wall. I fell backwards and burst into a sprint. I rounded the corner towards my own house. On the ground, just off the path I caught sight of a bright blue dolphin keyring, jutting out from a patch of grass. My keys. I snatched them up without stopping, running passed the door to my house and instead to the car.
I pushed the button on my keys and scrambled into my car, hammering on the button to lock the doors behind me. I jammed the keys into the ignition when a thud on the passenger door shook the car. The keys fell down into the footwell and I flailed my arms trying to recover them. Another thud at the door made me look up. The grey face of the monster was pushed up right against the window. The skin around it’s little black dot eyes pulled back unveiling large round eyes with fiery orange irises that looked like windows into hell. My hand clasped around the keys and I quickly started up the engine. I looked over my shoulder to reverse out of the driveway, all clear except for Freddy darting across. I glanced once more out the passenger window. The creature had moved. I didn’t care where, I sunk the peddle to the floor and my car bolted out of driveway and I took off down the street. I heard a rattling noise come from under the car. I screamed and sharply turned the steering wheel, mounting the curb, hoping to knock the creature from under the car. I turned my head to see if it had fallen off and turned back just in time to see the back of a parked pick up. I must have blacked out for a second because the next thing I remember was a deflated air bag sitting in front of me, the firemen with big tools cutting away at the door and a sound from the boot that sounded like four nostrils sniffing.