Welcome to my weekly Wednesday Brief flash fiction entry! This is just a free piece of flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of a prompt. I’m part of a wonderful group of flashers 😉 and I’ll have a link to a site where you can read other stories, after my piece.
This week is Radio Static Transmission #3. Jackson Meyer is a 22 year old monster hunter. Blogger and home video extraordinaire, he’s convinced that there are creatures that walk alongside humans. Through his various hunts, adventures and interviews, he finds that he’s right. He’s always been right–there is something that stalks in the shadows. It’s coming for him, and it’s not happy.
Jackson didn’t bother sticking around camp much longer. He figured the muffled conversation coming from the van would only last so long before both men gave into their wants. He made a mental note to call one of his usual hookups once they got back to civilization.
Monster hunting. Then ass. In that order, no matter what.
He tromped along a trail, his combat boots holding up against the slick muddy downhill slope. Pine branches, heavy with rain hung down, droplets falling as the wind cut up the path. He’d have to change again once he went back.
He inhaled deeply, tasting the clean, damp air on the back of his tongue. Despite tossing his cookies all night, he felt pretty damn good. Probably a combination of the altitude and the outdoors. No noise, no constant press of crowds, no demands. Just the mountain air, and the constant splat of raindrops against his gear. The trail bottomed out about two miles out, filtering out to a wide clearing. He started across it the rain soaked ground clinging to the soles of his boots with every step.
Halfway through the clearing, he stopped. It was quiet on the side of the mountain, but the quiet came from the lack of human presence. They could still hear birds, bugs and animals. But now? Nothing. Silence pressed in around him like a heavy blanket. The spot between his shoulder blades itched, the hair on the back of his neck rising.
Something was out there.
Unease slid into his gut, made it’s home there with his already unsteady stomach. He turned, slowly in a circle, arms wide, making himself seem bigger than he should be. It was too early in the season for bears–the rangers on the way in hadn’t mentioned any sightings.
The creature they were tracking was nocturnal. He had wanted to scope the clearing for paths, and the possibility of moving base camp. He breathed in, and out, focusing on that, and slowing his heart rate. Hyper aware, he strained to hear something–anything, movement, calls. Instead the quiet grew around him, ever expansive.
Feeling stupid, he yelled. The sound of a human voice scared off most of the larger predators. He coughed, cleared his throat and listened. Still nothing. He yelled again, and again, screaming until he was nearly hoarse.
His chest heaved as he panted for breath, turned once more in a circle. His back was to the far end of the clearing when his heart dropped from his chest. A loud crack cut through the air, the sound of something heavy crashing to the ground. A second crash followed the first. Jackson turned, feeling as though his heart was going to pound out of his chest. His feet started moving, heading toward the sounds coming from the woods. He hoisted a camera up, taking the lens cap off, shooting pictures as he walked.
Another loud crash came from the woods, and he started to walk faster. Looped the camera around his neck, clicking on the walkie talkie. “Jackson to base, I’m picking up a lot of noise in the woods. Two and a half miles east of base camp.”
“Rodger that.” It took a few moments, but Brody responded, his voice thick and lazy. “Keep us updated.”
“I’m heading into the woods, the clearing’s soaked through, we won’t be able to move camp.” Jackson said, shifting the walkie just enough that he could lift the camera again and start rapid firing shooting pictures.
He ducked on instinct as something flew out of the woods in his direction. “What the hell?”
“What is it Jackson?” Brody sounded a little tinny and muffled.
“Nothing yet.” Jackson said. A large branch sailed into the clearing, landing just to the left of him. The branch was nearly two feet thick, a clean break on the end. “What the hell….” He said again.
He continued toward the opposite edge of the clearing fear, a cloying taste, coating his tongue. “Guys there’s a lot of activity going on down here. Get your asses to me.”
A pause, the radio crackling before Killen’s voice cut through the fuzz. “On our way. Brody will reach you first, brother.”
Silence pressed in around the clearing again, Jackson’s boots sinking deeply into the mud where grass met forest. He stayed still for the span of a few heart beats, which hammered in his ears. He strained his eyes against the dark of the woods, peering into the tree line. The birds were still silent. Whatever it was–was still there. One breath, then a second, willing himself to move forward. He was scared, palms sweating, every fiber of his being screaming at him to run. He hadn’t ever had this reaction to a disturbance before. He heard another loud crack, felt the rush of air as a branch flew toward him. And all went dark.
“Do you think he’s dead?” Killen’s voice was high pitched and too loud. Grated against Jackson’s ears, shooting pain through his already throbbing head.
“He’s not dead.” Brody, ever cool, ever calm, responded. Jackson could feel the man’s breath on his face, the press of warm fingers against his neck, checking for a pulse.
“He’s not moving!”
Jackson flinched as Killen’s voice rose another octave. “I’m fine, Kill.”
“Don’t move.” Brody pushed a hand in the center of Jackon’s chest holding him still. “You took a blow to the head.”
“How long was I out?”
“Probably fifteen minutes. When we got here you were breathing normally. Just not moving. I thought you said you could handle this.”
“I’m sorry I offended you, I should have lied.” Jackson muttered. “Any sign of what was making all the noise?”
“We didn’t look.” Killen cut in. “Was more worried about your dumb ass.” Jackson could hear him pacing. “You weren’t moving and you looked pale and dead and oh god I think I’m gonna barf bro.”
“Drama queen.” Jackson muttered.
“Fuck off bro.”
To be Continued.
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