My life was slowly being displaced to my dreams, as the answer to my every question seemed no further than the space between my ears, and to acquire those answers was merely a matter of sleeping. And, as if assuring my eventual relocation to the looney bin, was my growing indifference with the ever-present signs of the terrible thing that eternally gargled a particular clan of serial killing, monster-making, apocalypse-preparing, crazies. Still, I had somehow managed to place all the supernatural overtures to my little crusade into a revelation-proof box, shielding me from the grossest implications of my most recent experiences. No small task, for sure.
The shack wasn’t too terribly difficult to find, and for all the reasons you can probably guess, at this point. What was more surprising was that I was even able to get there, lost as it was to some of the harshest places a forest can offer. This didn’t surprise me much, as the guy that once lived here was probably as much animal as he was man. I had first-hand knowledge on that score, even if that insight only came from a dream. A particularly nasty, nasty dream, at that.
The thing was never much of a structure to begin with, and time had remade it into little more than lean-to of old, rotten wood. But while the thing was crude, the underlying skill to its construction was apparent by the fact that it still stood at all.
As I looked at the condition of the shack's interior, I knew I was in for a rough night. And something more than my imagination was painting a picture of events that might have taken place within. More than anything, I was keenly aware of something that scared the living shit out of me—this is where she met the giant. I might even have been standing in the exact spot where evil reproduced itself, where a witch recruited a monster to her cause. But there was an interlocking set of events missing. I needed to know them. More than I wanted to run out of the freaking cold and shitty woods. More than I wanted a Pulitzer…More than I wanted a goddamned drink.
I was hoping to find something that might make my night a little easier, namely, a time-soaked and yellowed journal, filled with the Satanic musings of a deformed, giant madman. But life doesn’t always imitate art. At least, it didn’t in this case. In fact, the only evidence that a human being had been here at all was the presence of rusted nails in some of the wood, which could have easily been mistaken for a natural deposit of broken branches.
A day never passed more ridiculously slow. Sure, I could have tried to snooze the story from the day, but I knew that wouldn’t work. Evil things don’t work properly in the sun. No, this was going to happen at night, if it was going to happen at all.
Finally, after what seemed like several days later, the sun began to go out, leaving me to the protection of my snub-nosed pistol and flashlight.
I initially thought that my quest had its angels (wishful thinking, I know) looking out for me, assuring me that no random act of nature, or man, for that matter, could interrupt my journey. As things turned out, I was forced to seriously reconsider that notion.
Around about midnight, I heard something in the woods, something big. I took out my gun. And as the noises grew louder and bigger, the smaller the gun in my hand began to feel.
There wasn’t much of a moon that night, but I still managed to make out a shape lumbering through the woods. Yeah, it was a bear. And whether it was huge or not, to me, in the dark nowhere of the woods, it seemed miles tall. I silently trained my gun on the thing, hoping I wouldn’t have to see if my little sidearm was a match for a huge-ass bear.
It turns out I’m not a mountain cat, and so, when I tried to reposition myself in the darkness, to get a better shot at the monster...I fell directly onto my favorite head. To say I simply ‘fell’ would be putting it pretty mildly—I rammed my goddamned head into a rock so hard I’m surprised the bear didn’t feel it. But while the monster may not have felt my pain, it definitely heard my stupidity. In seconds, the thing was on top of me. And yeah, I may have pissed myself a little bit. But, thankfully, I was already on my way out—my head injury was putting me under…At least I wouldn’t have to be awake while I was being eaten alive.
I’d like to say that what happened next was the product of getting my bell rung, but as I said before—I was getting used to the presence of the huge, undead dog.
A growl from between worlds joined a chorus of evil laughter as something slammed into the bear, knocking it away from me. Then came the sounds of monsters colliding. (Angels, my ass. But, despite myself, I was grateful for the save.)
Then the world disappeared…and a new, older world opened up.
I was moving through the snow, carrying something hot and wet. When my huge, gnarled hand reached out to open the shack’s door, I realized that I was seeing things from the perspective of the monstrous man from my last dream. Once inside, the man laid something in front of the fire. Then, I saw a horribly mangled baby, fresh from the mouths of ravenous wolves. I thought it was the embellishment of the dream when I saw the ruined thing take a breath, almost defiantly. Its eyes shone black in the firelight of the shack, looking like the eyes of a shark. This seemed to please the man, as I could feel pride welling in his chest.
The dream jumped ahead in time, apparently quite a few years, as the next scene, still from the gnarled man’s point of view, revealed the baby, all grown up. The baby was now a man, if that word can really be applied to the thing that stalked out from beneath the cover of the woods, huge logs stacked higher and heavier than any man should be able to bear upon his shoulders. His face was demonic. There was just enough torn apart flesh clinging to his face to allow his expressions to be recognizable, and there wasn’t so much as an ear or a nose to break the continuity of the endless scars running every-which-way all over his head. The man-thing’s size was also astounding. Christ, he must have been all of nine-feet-tall if he was an inch. And his physique was massive and toned, and it didn’t look at all like the ungainly, even fragile looking, persons I’d seen (mostly on TV) that suffered from gigantism.
The sun was on its last legs when the man roared at the giant.
“Is that all ya' brung me?! Ya' been gone all day, and that’s all you’ve got to show fer it?!” The older man’s leathery, open hand fell across the giant’s face. The giant winced more out of obligation than actual pain. And what once struck me as a huge hand, now seemed tiny against the background of the monster. The deformed man’s eyes practically burned through his father, and I’ve never seen someone look more pissed off. I thought the smaller man was done for, but instead of ripping his father to pieces with his bare hands, the giant just nodded, and then strode away, carrying half the forest with him.
In the next instant, the scene changed. I was walking through darkness and an intense downpour, heading towards a hollow in the thickets. When I was inside the hollow…there were bodies everywhere, all of them mutilated, and all of them hanging from the branches of the few trees that occupied the place. I looked to the other side of the killing field and glimpsed the giant. He was holding an axe that was almost as big as he was. He was glaring at me with those ugly eyes of his. Then, the few remaining patches of skin on his face conspired to make a smile.
Although it was only a dream, I’m pretty sure that I pissed myself…again.
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