We’re in something-country-Short Story challenge 20/2018





These country roads weren’t built for such a machine. The metallic beast roared past the empty verdant fields, and the winds swept through his hair. It was a beautiful, bright day, and the sky was a great blue expanse. His Mustang ’67 glistened in all it’s cherry red glory. He was going somewhere, but he didn’t know where yet. The monster he was in howled with mechanical hunger down the winding paths. Such a creature was better suited for the long highways of America, he always thought, where he could let lose, but the East Anglia countryside had a certain charm to it.

He drove until the sun began to die, black and orange streaking the sky. He had been driving for hours, desperate to escape something that he could barely even remember. The winds began to subside and his dark hair ceased to fly in the breeze, and the world was darker from behind his shaded glasses. He grit his teeth, felt an itching between them, a hunger flaring up from within, cravings and desires that needed to be sated. That which he was running from.

A cold sweat beaded from his forehead, and he had half a mind to return home, if that was even such a thing anymore. But his eyes were locked on the road ahead, and a great cloud of smoke that danced upon the asphalt ahead. The cloud swirled and twirled, and he was about to drive straight into it. The fields around him stretched on forever, the only landmark to be seen was an old windmill, dancing to it’s own rhythm. The smoke was all that occupied the road for miles, and it appeared to head straight for him.

He had two choices; stop and turn, or drive through the smoke. He did not cease his momentum. He grit his teeth once more and pressed down onto the pedal and his red beauty roared once more. The cloud was thick and it twisted with constant movement. Even from his great speed he could see it was no smoke, but something alive, something that existed in this world but never should have. It was no cloud, it was a swarm, a hive of something. A thousand creatures moving in synchronisation with one another, heading straight for him. He ground his teeth with a resounding crunch as the realisation hit him. The one thing he didn’t want to see today. Bats.

Hundreds of the jet black rodents, all as one, flew towards him like an arrow, their incessant cheeping suddenly overwhelming the sound of his Mustang. At this realisation he went to brake, to flee, but they were too fast. His car swerved, and the cloud hit him like a crashing wave. The creatures swarmed him, their wings fluttering and fangs bared. He roared as the great beast carried itself forward with reckless momentum, his hands up to defend his face from the unending bites and claws, his foot down hard on the brakes. The tires screeched, the bats screeched, and he felt his world drowned out by the high-pitched terrors. He could hold on no longer, his blood began to boil within his veins.

The cherry red beauty finally ground to a halt, smoke and dust lay in it’s wake behind it. The cloud of little monsters still raged above and all around, the landscape had transformed into an unending field of delicate wings and blood red eyes, and the constant screeching. He howled, a full, blood-hungry howl that echoed for miles into the upcoming night, drowning out the cloud of bats. He felt the blood pump through his arms and his muscles hardened. He swiped at the creatures and grabbed them with monstrous speed, ripping and tearing at them, their warm blood dripped all over his upholstery. He felt the change in his back and neck too, unholy strength had begun to consume him. He howled again, clawing and biting with nails and teeth, and the creatures began to fall and die all over his once clean seats, but there will still so many of them.

With a roar he leapt into the sky, and the bats diligently chased him, but he fell to the ground outside of the car like a comet, leaving a crack in the black road. He felt hot, burning, but the darkening sky bestowed a sheet of cold upon the empty fields. The column of bats roared into the sky, and pivoted towards him, but to his surprise did not envelop him, but screeched past his head and moved quickly forward. His eyes trailed the beasts, until he saw their new target, a figure, solitary in black, with a wicked smile across her face.

The bast screeched in unison, and in perfect harmony dived towards the woman’s hand where she caught them in her palm, and they ceased to be. The entire cloud disappeared within her hand, replaced by a black tattoo that encompassed the entirety of her palm, of a black bat. She began to chuckle slightly, then she laughed, and he felt the blood boil withing himself again.

“..Minerva..” He hissed. He should have known. She was a tall woman, standing at the same height as he. Her long black hair was tied up behind her, and her black coat flickered in the wind. Her eyes were a vibrant gold that seemed to sparkled, and her elongated incisors dripped with anticipation within her crooked smile.

“Jack! I’m so happy I could find you again..” Her voice was deep and husky, a betrayal of her youthful appearance. He could feel fire roaring through his arteries, he was suddenly so hot. So full of hate. His muscles hardened further, down his lower back and legs, the world opened up to his senses. Suddenly he could hear crickets 100 feet behind her, smell the dust from the old mill. His green eyes began to turn the colours of bricks, and he felt pain in his fingers, as the bones sharpened and elongated, jet black claws emerging. He roared again, half the man he was, now half the beast he most certainly became. He pushed his legs forward, and ran with the speed of a canine.

She smiled again, and held out her hand, allowing the bats to escape from within her. Another cloud, pointed like a spear rushed towards him. He snarled, and with his great black claws, wrenched through the animals, leaving a trail of broken wings and blood, and he was in front of her. Strong as he was, she was too fast. She danced through his swipes, with that same sneer upon her face. He clawed at her furiously, feverishly. She didn’t strike back, she just stepped behind herself, casually, playfully. He felt the anger take hold. He went to grab her with both claws, to tear apart the soft of her neck, but she laughed and ducked, spinning below him. He tried to turn, but she was too fast, and with a backhanded swipe, sent him spinning to the floor. He felt liquid drip into his mouth, the unmistakable smell of iron in his blood, and with his claws felt a scratch upon his cheek, but no pain, only pure, white hot hatred.

She chuckled again, blood dripping from her finger nails, and licked it up greedily, and began to stalk towards him. He let a growl emit and swung at her, but this time she caught it. Her nails dug into his chest like a dagger. That he felt, and blood burst from between his teeth, dripping down his chin. He tried to break free, but he was paralysed. She looked at him in disgust and sighed.

“Oh Jack…one day I’m going to cure the world of you, and everyone like you..” She looked at him, almost with sadness in her eyes. He had miscalculated, he should have given himself fully to the beast within. She yanked her nails out of the hole in his chest, and blood streamed down his chest and clothes. With her same bloodied hand she grabbed him by his throat and hoisted him into the air.

“But I can’t tonight..still, it was good to see you again..” She smiled cruelly, and launched him into the air, and he fell fifteen feet away from her, succumbing to the dirt below, full of pain and exhaustion. He felt the muscles soften and the fire within him began to die out. She licked at her fingers again, and stared at him with her golden eyes as her body crumbled and broke, the pieces turning into bats once more, that separated and darted into the night.

He crawled back to his cherry red beauty, and pulled himself over the door and into the passenger seat, his body burned and his muscles were battered. The car was a mess of flesh, sinew and blood from the swarm. He lay there, his breathing heavy and painful, as he saw a blinding light from behind him, as life found it’s way tot his desolate field. The truck stopped alongside him, and a man with a thick country accent called out to him.

“You alright there, mate?” The man said. Jack could barely hear him. All he thought about was the pale woman and her so-called cure. He’d give anything to tear her throat out. He turned his green eyes towards the man, who appeared startled. Maybe this guy will do, for now. He felt his blood began to boil within his veins.



Prompts used: bats/mustang/claws


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