This story is by Terence Reynolds and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Simone is fine, and Max apologized. Can we not make this into a bigger deal than it is?” My husband, Bennett, says as he settles onto the couch next to me.
“That little monster bit our daughter. She had to get stitches, and we don’t know where that boy’s mouth has been. He could drink from the toilet, for all we know,” I state frankly.
“Don’t you think you’re overreacting a bit?”
“No, overreacting would be me going to school with her for the next month, sitting in the back of the class and shooting death glares in the little jerk’s direction.”
“You’ve considered doing just that, haven’t you?”
“Maybe,” I say refusing to meet his gaze.
“You’re crazy. You know that right?”
“When it comes to the well-being of our five-year-old, you damn right I am.”
“Come with me,” He replies taking me by the hand and leading me down the hall to Simone’s room.
She’s sound asleep. Half of her little body on the bed, the other half dangling off the side of it. I leave Bennett standing at the door, gently pick her up and place her back into the center. Her hands are balled into little fists, ready to pummel anyone who dares to disturb her sleep. I take the risk and pull apart the fingers on her left hand to get a good look at where Max bit her. It’s swollen, and several hairs have sprouted there.
“Were these hairs here earlier?” I ask Bennett.
“I’m sure they were,” He says walking over to us.
Bewilderment flashes across his face as he studies our daughter’s palm. He assures me that everything is okay before getting up and leaving the room. He returns with a set of tweezers and plucks the hairs from Simone’s hands. She groans and swings her right fist in his direction, catching him on the jaw.
“She gets her mean streak from you,” He says rubbing his jaw.
“Don’t tempt me. Simone’s fine, let’s go to bed.”
“I think I’m going to stay here awhile,” I tell him.
Two Nights Later
The security alarm jolts me awake. There are several loud bangs, glass breaking, and a blood-curdling scream erupts from somewhere in the house. Bennett and I are out of bed in an instant. I make a mad dash for Simone’s room, and he sprints off towards the front of the house. Simone’s bed is empty. I check underneath it and in her closet, but she isn’t there. Panic sets in as I run to check the bathroom, linen closet, and the guest bedroom to no avail.
Every possible worst-case scenario creeps into my mind. I try desperately to shake them away. It doesn’t work. I tiptoe up the hall as quietly as I can and find the living room in shambles. The front door is ajar, furniture is turned over, and the remnants of the glass coffee table litter the floor, but it’s the trail of blood leading into the kitchen that knocks the wind out of me.
I call out for Bennett and Simone, but no one replies. I follow the trail of blood through the kitchen and out to the garage. I push the door open and gasp. A man in a black mask lays mutilated on the floor of the garage and just off to the right of him is Bennett on his back with a small fur-covered monster in Doctor Mcstuffin pajamas mounting him. A baseball bat shoved in its mouth is the only thing keeping its bloodstained teeth from tearing into his neck.
“Don’t bite daddy, don’t bite daddy, don’t bite daddy,” Bennett chants over and over again.
His words don’t make sense. That mongrel isn’t our daughter. It can’t be. Can it?
The word rolls off my lips in a whisper, but the little monster hears it. It releases the bat and snarls in my direction. Fear overwhelms me, tears burn the back of my eyelids, and my bladder releases itself just as it lunges for me. It doesn’t make it. Bennett swings the bat with just enough force to stun it and regain its attention. It whimpers but is back on all fours in moments; it’s bloodlust focusing solely on Bennett once more.
“Get the car keys. We can trap her inside,” Bennett yells before running for his life.
I sprint into the kitchen, grab the keys, and press the button to unlock the car. I run back to the garage. Bennett is chanting again as the little monster chases him around the car.
“Now,” I scream.
He opens the door to the back seat of the car and climbs in. The monster is fresh on his heels. I close the door behind it. Bennett manages to get through to the other side and slams the door shut, causing the little monster’s body to hit it with a sickening thud. It is unphased, popping back up immediately, clawing at the door.
“Bennett, we have to find Simone,” I tell him.
“She’s in the back seat.” He says trying to catch his breath.
“That thing isn’t our daughter.”
“Yes, she is Rachel. Look at her. Those are Simone’s eyes. Those are Simone’s pajamas.”
I walk over to the car and stare into the back window. The little monster has worn itself out. It lies panting on the backseat. Half of its small body on the seat, the other half dangling off the side of it. Its tiny claws are balled into fists, ready to rip the throat out of anyone who dares get near it.
Fur now covers her mahogany skin. Blood stains the pajamas she begged me for but Bennett is right the little monster fighting sleep on the back seat is my daughter.
“How?” I shout still trying to wrap my mind around the fact my baby is a werewolf.
“The bite from Max combined with the fact there’s a full moon tonight, is my guess,” Bennett exclaims.
“Why are you so calm about this?”
“One of us has to be, we have a huge problem on our hands,” He says pointing toward the dead burglar. “He’s four times the size of Simone if he turns trapping him in the car won’t be an option,” He continues.
“How do we stop him from turning?”
The words were barely out of Bennett’s mouth when a scream from outside ripped through the night, followed in quick succession by a loud bang and the blaring of a car horn.
“Stay here,” Bennett says exiting the garage before I can stop him.
I pace the room a few times staring at the dead man, looking for any signs of movement. There aren’t any. Not yet, but I can’t risk it. I grab the power saw from under Bennett’s workbench and position myself near the dead burglar’s head. I choke down the bile rising in my throat, steady my trembling hand and begin to saw through what Simone left of the dead man’s neck. Blood, flesh, and tiny pieces of bone fly back at me, but within minutes I’ve severed the man’s head from his body. Bennett walks in moments later. A look of horror on his face.
“What? You said it was the only way to stop him from turning.” I tell him.
“It’s not that. I don’t think Simone’s the only kid Max bit at school?” He says.
“It’s kinda hard to explain. You kinda have to see it.”
We walk to the living room. Bennett has piled furniture against the front door, and as soon as he pulls back the drapes, I understand why. Little monsters are wreaking havoc in the neighborhood. There’s a car crashed into a light pole. Its driver slumps over the wheel, his body is being mutilated by a small fur-covered creature in pajamas. Our neighbor Grant runs frantically through the streets, chased by two other pajama-clad werewolves screaming at the top of his lungs.
“What are we going to do about our little monster?” Bennett asks as we stare out at the chaos.
“Love her; it’s all we can d,” I respond.