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 #7. 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 drove on reflex alone, the scenery passing by in a green blur. The roads were terrible, even when he got off the mountain, the asphalt riddled with pot holes and massive puddles. He gripped the steering wheel tightly, knuckles white as Killen’s dried blood flaked off his skin. He had one focus, a repetitive ‘get to the hospital’ running as a mantra through his mind.
He wasn’t sure how he got to the one story hospital without an accident. The only laws he had obeyed were the red lights, knowing arriving on a gurney wouldn’t help Killen or Brody.
He parked at the far end of the parking lot, managing to parallel park the trailer and truck in record time. He got out, taking great care to vent frustrations by slamming the truck door. His fingers itched for a cigarette, wanting to pull the calming nicotine into his lungs, smoking one after the other until his lips cracked and fingers were stained. He hadn’t lit up in months due to his mother’s begging, but right now the urge was so strong he could taste it. He inhaled then exhaled forcefully through his teeth, counting backwards until the craving passed.
The rain had started up again, light and misting, by the time he passed through the sliding glass doors his shirt was clinging to his body. A nurse looked up when he approached the desk, and it took him a few moments to get his brain and mouth in sync enough to ask where Killen was.
“Are you family?” She peered at him over the rim of her glasses that were too big for her face.
Jackson gripped the edge of the counter, the lie already past his lips before he could stop it, “Yes.”
“I’m assuming you’re his brother too?” a pencil thin eyebrow arched as she typed something into the computer.
“Yeah, something like that.” He reached for a tissue to wipe the blood from his fingers, and the smear of red from the countertop.
“I really shouldn’t let either of you back there, but I’ll allow it.” She pushed her chair back and got to her feet. She walked around the counter and motioned for Jackson to follow her. The hospital was brightly lit, the florescent lights casting halos against the brilliantly waxed floor. His shoes squeaked and squelched and he was sure that there was a trail of water behind him. He followed the nurse through the halls, getting lost in the labyrinth of hallways. He lost count of the double doors and turns, and eventually they entered a corridor that was dead silent.
“He’s in surgery. You both will receive updates when necessary.” She opened a door. “Your other brother is in there.” She rolled her eyes, making it clear that no one would see through their lies.
“Thanks,” Jackson muttered, walked past her and waited for the door to click shut. The waiting room was cold, done in muted shades of beige, with a dying houseplant in the corner. A television was mounted on the wall, muted as a political representative screamed about something.
Brody was slumped in a chair, head tipped back resting against the wall. He didn’t open his eyes when Jackson flopped into a chair next to him. On the other side a half eaten bagel sat in a cardboard to-go container.
“Want the rest?” Brody pointed at the bagel. “The nurse brought it in. Managed a bit before I threw it back up.”
“I’m not eating that.” Jackson said. “I can’t eat that. Can’t eat right now.” He continued to scrub at his fingers with the stolen wad of tissues, growling in frustration when they balled up on his skin.
“They got him stable in the ambulance.” Brody muttered. “The rangers were weird as hell though. They kept asking if we had seen anything and if we were certain it was a cougar.” He peered at Jackson, eyes half lidded. “I swear at one point they thought we did it.”
“What?” Jackson looked up from the shredded tissue. “How the hell could we have managed that?”
“I know.” Brody shifted his weight and sat up in the chair properly. “The paramedics confirmed that it was a large cat though.”
“Campsite was trashed when I got back to it.” Jackson said, “Speaking of weird rangers, she acted like it was normal.”
“The fuck?” Brody rubbed at his eyes. “How much are we in the hole?”
“The equipment is fine.” Jackson said. He got up and tossed the half eaten bagel and his tissues into the trash. “The thumb drives are gone. All of them.” He hesitated, back to Brody, “Do you think they’re hiding something? The rangers.”
“What would they be hiding, Jackson? Besides the fact that there’s hungry freaking cougar roaming the woods.”
“I don’t know,” Jackson muttered. “The ranger was just really off.”
“What do you mean?”
“She didn’t seem too surprised that our camp was trashed.” Jackson said sitting back next to him. “Plus when she was with me everything kind of went quiet. Like before Killen was attacked.”
“That’s just adrenaline.” Brody said. “You were focused on Killen, and your anger at the camp. It‘s just a reaction to shut everything out.”
“I heard the radio in the truck though.” Jackson said. “Selective hearing isn’t a response to adrenaline. Hyper awareness is, it’s part of the flight or fight response. Why would you go deaf when you’re threatened?”
“I don’t know. Maybe you were blocking things out. That happens in traumatic situations.” Brody said. “The paramedics didn’t think anything was weird. They figured the silence was because of the cat stalking us.”
“So why did it go quiet with the ranger?”
“You’re imagining things.” Brody said. “Can we please get off the ranger. How are you going to cover the thumb drives disappearing. That was all of our research.”
“Everything should be backed up. It was scheduled to dump and save on the hard drive.”
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