The following story is by guest contributor Frederick Foote. Frederick has published on Short Fiction Break before. Check out his story Wind Song by clicking here, or his story Fight Night by clicking here.
Tripping along the deserted park path about 3:00 a.m., and I do mean tripping with alcohol addled feet, blurry eyes and a very good buzz. The best single malt liquor and home grown weed-
What was that? A noise from the playground set. Too late and too blustery for the randy teenagers. They should be busy at cozy copulation in back seats or rude rutting in dim hallways.
There it is again – aaaww just the breeze bumping the swings against the frame.
Yes, I’m still lord and master of all I survey. Onward to the charming disorder of my tiny rooms and – And that, that was not a swing… No, no like a growl… A mongrel on the loose. Some unsavory cur marking his territory.
“You mark over there my friend, and I shall march over here and our paths never need cross.”
That told him. I’m still the boss here.
I wish Nell… Well, she has her moods as we all do and – Holy shit! Something stirred in there, there in the shadow of the bushes, bigger than a fucking Great Dane. Shit!
No! It’s just the wind, the clouds, and the moon playing tricks on me. That’s all. Nothing else.
Shit, it’s only one-hundred yards through the park to the lane and five blocks home. I can do that.
One step at a time, now. No panic here. One, two, three and we’re moving again. Yes, yes, yes. Oh, man, I need to cut down on the partying and such. I just about scared myself sober.
Fuck! It’s there! Pacing me – there in the shadows. Shit! Aaww shit! I’m sweating like a river. I’m sweating a single malt river. I could bottle this sweat and get drunk again – Fuck! I’m babbling.
Shit. Alright, OK, OK. I can’t out run it. No way. And I got the river on my left. I’m more than half-way through this fucking park. No panic, no panic… A step at a time, one step at a time.
Look, it hasn’t charged me or attacked me. Shit, it could be as fearful of me as I’m frightened-
Fuck! That was a roar, like a fucking lion or something. I hope somebody heard that. Heard that and called 911. Shit, the Calvary could be on the way this very second. Yes indeed.
“Roar again you big ugly fucker. The louder the fucking better.”
Wow! That felt good. Is it moving toward me? Aww, shit! Shit! Move feet, fucking come on just one fucking baby step. Thank you! Thank you, Jesus! One more step.
Nellie, Nellie goddam you. I could have gone home with you.
One more step.
It’s keeping pace.
Nellie, I know I let you down.
One more fucking step.
I’ve been a real shit lately. I know.
Jesus Christ! That growl was too fucking close.
No! Oh fuck, oh fuck. I got to catch my breath.
One more step.
Nellie, Nellie I love you. Just think-
Think about the good times, OK, OK?
Fifty yards, about fifty yards and I’m out of this fucking park. I mean, this, this thing may not be able to leave the park, right? Like in the movies.
One more step
I need to call Danny. I need to do that- Fuck! I can call for help. Fuck yeah. What am I fucking thinking? Jesus Christ. Where’s the fucking phone? Got it. Now, 911. Yeah, just keep walking.
“Hello, hello –“ I’m on fucking hold on 911! Fuck me! Fuck me!
Call Nellie. “Nellie… pick up, come on pick up! Pick up you fucking fat tart. Please, please fucking answer your –“twenty-five yards – the bushes curve right into the path… I’m walking right into it. Fuck! Goddamn! There it is! Sitting in the shadows waiting.
Wait! Wait- “Hello, Hello, Nellie oh God, thank God. Nellie, I’m not drunk! Nellie, Nellie, no. No! Don’t hang up! You fucking fat cow! You…”
I can’t… Not one more step… I can’t… I just… Danny, I love you boy… The best thing that ever happened to me… I’m a shitty father, I know, but, but… I know… I know… I’m probably the worst thing in your life… I know that like with, with Nellie… Fuck.
“Come on! Come on! I’m ready. I’m fucking ready for you. Come on! What are you waiting for? I’m ready. I’ve always been ready.”
I fall to my knees. I can’t stop blubbering. It’s coming! It’s coming for to carry me home.
I squeeze my eyes tight shut. Fuck you God! Fuck all you motherfucker’s! I feel its breath, hot, meaty on my neck… Please, please, make it quick, make it quick. I feel its whiskers on my fucking ear. It’s almost over, almost over at last.
Something hot, liquid, Piss! Like out of a fucking fire hose. Stinking, fucking, foul-ass urine!
The school boys find me there in the morning huddled in a ball stinking of that thing’s piss and my own piss and shit.
One of the little turds kicks me. I stumble to my feet, scream at the boys and stagger toward home… Just five blocks to go, one fucking step at a time.