by Levi James Baldwin III
Look what I found Liz said as she happily plucked something shiny and round from the street. Michael couldn’t make out what the object was, he just wished she would stop picking up junk off the streets. “baby how many times do I have to tell you every piece of junk on the street isn’t a treasure. Leaning in close to Michael to avoid the frosty November breeze, Liz puts one hand in Michael’s pocket. “Hey you hear me? ….. an get outta my pocket!”.. Snatching her hand away quickly to avoid Michael’s swatting hand. Liz chose to ignore the question and instead talk about the weather. Anything was better than another conversation about her “junk” collecting.Do you think it’s going to snow soon? Liz asks while reaching across for Michael’s hand. I don’t know, I think it’ll snow by Christmas though. Really? Liz exclaimed excitedly, curly brown locks bouncing with each foot fall. Her hazel eyes gave off a beauty of innocence that betrayed her twenty-five years. Something about their ability to catch light just right making it look as if her pupils were mixed with gold dust. Yes ... and if you can get the time off work we can go sledding this weekend at mount Arazat.
Just as Liz began to answer Michael’s face took on a look of seeing a ghost, be fore he began running and dragging her along.What what is it…Liz screamed trying to turn and see what was chasing them. Managing to yank her coat sleeve from Michael’s grasp for a split second to peer behind them. She sees the enormous dog running up the street towards them. Fear knocked all the wind out Liz as if she had been physically struck. Once again being towed along her mind couldn’t register what it had witnessed. A dog no wolf… no bear… demon. …no..no… Shrieking a ear piercing scream Liz redoubles her efforts to run. Matching Michael’s speed step for step. With every a flash of those enormous teeth and glowing red eyes Liz efforts redouble.
Hearing the Scratching sound of the wolfhounds nails on the concrete told Michael it was only a few feet away. The door was just two feet in front of him. Never a religious man he found more faith in the three seconds it took to make to his door than most clergymen learn in a lifetime in service to the church. Jamming the key into the door then shoving Liz roughly in before slamming it behind him. The lock had barely clicked shut before a head the size of a grizzly bears smashed through the bottom panel. Five inch fangs of glistening white death gnashed violently at Michael’s hand which had barely missed being bitten.Go…Go..Go.. Michael yelled while shoving Liz up the stairs for their second floor. Hearing the splintering of wood michael knows they have less than a minute before death on all four is knocking at their door. Unlocking the door and relocking it behind them. Michael runs into the kitchen yanking one drawer out after another searching for a bigger knife. Liz stands as if dumbstruck watching Michael, tears streaming down her once smooth olive skin. Now mottled with runny eyeliner and wet tears. she resembled more of a depressed mime than a dance instructor. Liz open the double doors to the balcony and wait for me there, Michael said while jamming a butcher knife in his pocket.
Leaving her in the kitchen Michael ran through the house grabbing sheets off beds and curtains off windows. He hears the downstairs neighbors death screams followed by sounds of crabshells being crushed and flesh being torn.
Trembling with fear, Michael wiped the trickle of cold sweat out his eye knowing he has no time to be scared. Death had a pet, and his pet was loose and very, very, hungry. Tying the last of the sheet and curtains into a makeshift rope. He quickly headed to the back of the house to meet Liz on the balcony. You want me to what… are you crazy? Liz asked as she backed away from Michael’s grasp. Listen to me! That thing is on its way up the stairs as we speak. I just heard it make lunch out of Mr. Forouk and guess whose next for dinner. Now once it gets to that door there’s nothing we can do to stop it. So you either go now or die, cuz once I go down I’m cutting the rope. I think that creature tracked us to our place by scent. There’s no other way it would know what apartment to come for, So are you going or not? “Ye…yeah…okay… just hurry up behind me okay” Liz said sounding scared and defeated. Yes! okay now get the rope around your leg like this, Michael displayed while throwing the rope over the railing. Badoom!! The door rocked on it’s hinges as if hit by a battering ram. The sturdy cedar sounding more like balsam wood under the ferocious onslaught. Now when you get to the ground run to a tram and head for downtown. With all the traffic maybe that thing won’t be able to get you.. Get me ? Liz wailed, losing her attempt at calm. You’re coming right? “ BaDoom” Please say you’re coming… please don’t leave me alone. Crying great racking sobs Liz barely noticed Michael shaking her shoulders briskly.
Listen to me.. I will follow once your safe. “ BADoom…crack” but I can’t do that if you don’t go NOW! Seeing the look of stark terror in her eyes Michael lowers his voice. Baby, I know your scared but you have to trust me this is the only way. Quickly helping her over the railing, “ BADOOM… CRUNCH” the door explodes in a shower of cedar mulch as her feet touch ground. With no time to waste Michael leaps over the railing slowing his decent only enough not to break his legs.
Hitting the ground at a bad angle, Michael feels the muscles tear in his ankle and falls painfully. Rolling over on his back looking up at his third floor balcony. Michael sees the shiny ruby red eyes of death glaring down at him in the darkness. Even in the gloom of the overhanging Cyprus trees Michael could feel those glowing eyes piercing stare locked on him.Quickly hobbling across the yard, Michael glanced back once while perched on top the fence. Liz was nowhere in sight .. and neither was the beast. The train stop was only five minutes from their home which was one of the appeals of their move. Breaking his neck to make it to the train poised there for departure, Michael hoped Liz had made it on a train to town. Slamming his hands in between the doors as the closed on his arms. Michael forced his way into the train with not a moment to spare. Seeing Liz cowering in the corner of the rear car Michael quickly rushed over and hugged her. “oh God I never thought we’d make it out of there”. When I didn’t see you I hoped you had escaped, I didn’t’ see that thing when I hopped the fence so maybe it’s gone,” Michael said between gasps for breath.
While talking Michael stares absently out the window trying to figure out what had just happened. All of a sudden Liz grips his arm in a hold that feels like it’s going to break his arm. Quickly looking down at her he sees her eyes wide with fear staring at something out the back window of the tram. He didn’t need to walk to the window to see what it was that had her shaking so violently in his arms. Reaching in his pocket for the butcher knife he grabbed from the kitchen as a last resort Michael starts heading for the rear. Instead of finding the smooth wooden handle of the space age chef butcher’s knife. Michael feels something smooth and round. Quickly dislodging the object from his pocket. Michael examines it for a moment and ponders how it had arrived there. Staring at the gold and emerald colored ball, it resembled a tiny soccer ball made of silk and lace. The texture of the cloth was so smooth Michael wanted to take his gloves off to touch it. Just as he began tugging on his glove to remove it, he heard a loud scream followed by a chorus of screams come from the rear of the train. Instantly regaining his senses and looking at the ball with new understanding ,
Michael quickly rushed to the rear of the train. Breakdancing to avoid the stream of oncoming bodies trying to escape towards the front . At the rear window he looked out into the darkness and for a brief second his brown eyes and the beasts crimson met. Michael could see the longing he once had mistaken as hunger glowering from the depths of those vermilion orbs. Then with one swift whip of his arm, he tossed the ball onto the tracks and quickly went in search of Liz. Liz lead the assault on the entrance cars so had safely managed to get the very first seat by the doors. Taking a seat beside her and resting his head on her shoulder. Michael let out a deep sign and said “it’s over,”. Still shaking slightly Liz wraps her hands inside Michael’s. “How do you know? Maybe it’s still hungry? We thought it was gone before.. and it came back. And it keeps coming back .. saying that Liz started to cry again softly.Wiping away the tear rolling down her stained cheek, Michael repeats himself. “it’s over and I know it’s over cuz it has what it was looking for. So close your eyes and rest, cuz your barely keeping them open as it is. Liz had began to snore softly as michael was saying this to her. “And baby, one more thing”. Hmmm… Liz sighed barely conscious, wanting to succumb to sleeps seductive call. “ No more street treasures … EVER…okay”. With a muffled “uhm-huhm”… Liz began snoring quietly beside Michael as the train inched along toward town.