Saturday, 22 August 2015


by Lyra Reyes

There was a prickling feeling along his spine.

Everything was quiet - no movement, no sound. Everything is as it should.

But there was a prickling feeling along his spine.

He picked up his rifle, comfortable with the weight. He has picked it up countless times in countless nights such as this, secure in his ability to wield it well, claiming comfort in the power it gives his hands.

Still, there was a prickling feeling along his spine.

A movement to his right caught his attention. His grip tightened around his rifle, the only outward appearance of concern he showed. Years of training gave him the control to stop the natural instinct to whirl toward the movement and to slowly face it instead.

A wildcat?

Squinting his eyes, he slowly inched toward it.

Fifty meter. Thirty meters. Twenty. Ten.

He smelled it before he saw it. That rotting, pungent scent he has become accustomed to smell. Now, he watched as it slowly stood up, red eyes staring at him, sharp claws curled.

He stared dispassionately at it. He spent five years knowing them. Standing eight feet tall, with a dark and sickly pallor to its wrinkled skin, this one's a kid still, he thought. Only about several months old and does not have the smarts, control, and motor skills of its elders. But dangerous. Highly dangerous for its speed and strength.

Creepers, they were called.

It opened its jaw, its sharp, black teeth glistening in the night, and screamed. A high keening sound. Right, he thought. The guards would hear that. I've trained them well enough to recognize that sound.

Still, he slowly pushed the button on the radio on his hip to call for reinforcements, then took a tentative step forward. He was raising his rifle when it lunged.

His rifle flew from his hands as he hit the ground. Arms flailing, he tried to get away from its snapping jaw, twisting and turning, his hands pushing away its head. Then pain. Hot, burning pain as its claws dug on his side.

He reared up and locked his legs around its torso, trapping its arms as it bucked and screamed. He wrapped his hands around its throat.

Please, God, let it die, was his thought. He can feel his strength ebbing. Blood was seeping through his side. His lungs burned at the effort of holding it down.

The creature seemed to sense this and bucked harder. His hands slipped and its jaw snapped close to his face. Mustering up his remaining strength, he wrapped his arm around its head and snapped its neck.

It stilled. He crawled away. His last thought before he passed out was that he lost too much blood.


He opened his eyes and saw darkness.

Fear bloomed in his heart as he remembered the pain. The screams. The deaths.

He recoiled as he felt movement beside him. A hand touched his hand. He lay still. Then the hand reached over and hugged him.

Then he remembered. That night was over. His men arrived. That was the beginning of the Creeper purge. It ended five years ago. No Creeper roamed the earth anymore. 

It was finished.

Everything was quiet - no movement, no sound. Everything is as it should.

Lying in bed, in his wife's warm embrace, he slept again. Dreamlessly, this time.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A Novel Thought

© Denis Fitzpatrick, 2015

Elijah d’Israeli, as he watched the road flow by the past two days, had been seriously pondering something entirely novel, a completely new thought: he should share a bottle of bourbon with his wife and daughter along for the ride. There were many pros to the thought: they both mightily deserved a party after travelling across Aus, Speaking on far flung street corners about a wailing Christ needing all of our help; it would bond all three of them even closer, maybe even becoming a solid anchor that they could all rely on in times of travelling trouble. Becoming intoxicated under the bright stars would also certainly be a notable life event, and if any of them have any niggling issues with the other(s) they can bring it up in a convivial atmosphere. Elijah could only see one con though - the cost. Fifty dollars for a bottle of the good drink was a lot of money for them and they had no way of getting any extra income.
     When Elijah finally accepted the fact that the pros outweighed the cons he was very surprised that his young daughter (and you know how young people love a party), was completely against it.
     ‘It’s called the demon drink for a reason,’ said Blanche, all of them on their way to Uluru, in the middle of Aus. The day had been roasting as usual, but the evening was quite pleasantly cool. ‘Here now, like I predicted, our Speaking Nights are being tainted. We’re not going to end up getting drunk every night and ranting on street corners, are we?’
     ‘You’re being too puritanical, Blanche,’ said her father. ‘Christ Himself shared wine at The Last Supper.’
     ‘That was completely different. But something tells me that the bourbon is going to become a habit, and you’ll end up doing nothing but embarrass me while I drag you both out from under a streetlight, ‘preaching’!
     ‘It’s not going to become a habit, dear,’ assured her mother. ‘I don’t think we could really afford it, could we, Eli?’
     ‘Not at all.’
     ‘That’s even worse. We’ll be beggared because of the drink.’
     ‘You’re worrying too much, dear,’ said her mother. ‘We aren’t going to fall to the demon drink. And, yes, I think a wee party would be nice. Who knows, we may even have one every now and then after being on the road awhile, finances permitting.’
     ‘Well, I’m not joining you,’ pouted Blanche.
     ‘Ah come on, Blanche. A wee nip won’t be the same without you. What if your mother and I promise, hand on heart, to not let the drink carry us too far away, tonight or any other night?’
     Blanche studied the motor home’s walls, considering.
     ‘Ok, but we’ll have to drink at night when it’s cooler. Let’s try to not get too wasted, shall we?’
     Elijah and Janette both proclaimed,


The party began well, with a bottleshop in some remote South Aus town selling two 750ml bottles of bourbon for only $65. Mind you they could only afford the extra $15 by deferring their Net connection for a month. That should be no problem however, easily worked around with the occasional free Wi-Fi.
     They had pulled into a nearby caravan park after getting the drink, all set to cook up a large dinner before the drinks. Night had just fallen and the sky was a Faberge brooch after brooch of twinkling, priceless stars, as they heartily ate their dinner. After the washing up the party began in earnest.
     Need we say that the mix of stars and strong drink was sublime? Even Blanche was surprised that she was having such a good time with her parents, the alcohol mixing even better with music. It was also nice for Blanche to see her parents dancing.
     Blanche was thus not too unduly surprised to find a black kitten sleeping by her feet the next afternoon when she awoke after the heavy festivities. The kitten’s furriness gently guided her into wakefulness, her feet unquestioningly nestling into it, and once she realised she was cuddling a small, warm ball of fur she slowly sat upright. She stared blearily at the kitten.
     Yep, definitely a kitten, black, with bright yellow eyes, almost demonic in their brightness. She plopped back onto her pillow trying to remember where the kitten had come from.
     She still had no idea when, a short while later, she showed up at the kitchen table, carrying the kitten.
     ‘I see you’ve found Luke,’ said her father, having a coffee at the table. Her mother must still be in bed.
     ‘The kitten.’
     ‘Where did he, or she, come from?’
     ‘Don’t know. He just walked out of the dark late last night and went straight up to you. He seemed drawn to you, fascinated by you. Probably because you’re most likely to look after him, young as you are, and thus sympathetic.’
     ‘Why is he named Luke?’
     ‘You named him. You said he was darker than the Devil, Lucifer, and thus Luke.’
     ‘Well, Lukey, we’ll have to get you some special food,’ said Blanche nuzzling the kitten.
     The novelty wore off soon though as Lukey kept following Blanche around, would sit just staring at her while she was reading or cleaning up, or attending to the motor home’s maintenance as per usual. It was very creepy and Blanche didn’t take long to vociferate her objections. She secretly thought it was indeed an agent of Satan, waiting to get underfoot and fatally trip her up. Her parents would be then left with no-one to protect them, no-one to tell them that they had begun preaching the dark side, counterpoint to the bright side of their travelling message.
     She soon told her parents this, after a week of being under Luke’s close scrutiny, begging them to let it loose unto some other home. They would just abandon it and head off, free of its ever watching eyes.
     ‘It’s an innocent creature, dear,’ said her mother. ‘It has no evil intent toward you.’
     ‘I’m not so sure. I can see deep cunning behind those cute eyes.’
      But her parents didn’t need much persuasion to let the animal go. One less mouth to feed. They took Luke amongst the trees that night and left her there, scurrying back to the motor home and leaving the park. No-one felt any guilt.
     At least they felt no guilt for the first five kilometres or so. And then Blanche voiced all their conscience: Luke needed them, Luke relied on them. There was no-one else to ensure his best interests. Luke had only them to rely on.
     So they drove back to the park and Blanche was greeted by the bounding bundle of relief when she stepped out to look for him.
     ‘Ah well, Lukey,’ she said, taking him up to nuzzle, ‘if you are a spy you’ve met your match in me. I’ll certainly have to watch you.’ Luke looked into her eyes, thoughtful.


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