To quote from the film 'Quills'...
Is it awfully violent?
Is it terribly erotic?
For those unfamiliar, this is a work of fanfiction based on (cough) Jeepers Creepers, a silly movie with a very sexy monster.
M/F, graphic sex, graphic violence, cannibalism, oral, bad language
Legal Mumbo-Jumbo: I do not own Jeepers Creepers 1 or 2, nor any characters from those films.
This story is dedicated to Vincent. 'Ere's to you, man
The Other Half
Copyright 2005 by Mary Harris [aka redplanetes]
The heat rose in nauseating waves from the pavement as an old red Chevy roared its way down the cracked asphalt of a two-lane country road. The windows were rolled all the way down, but Helen was still floundering in her own sweat. There's no escape, I'm in hell, she thought. A Repo Man cd was cranked as loud as it could go; it was a band-aid on a gaping wound. She tried to sing along to lift her spirits out of this midwestern purgatory. "I didn't get fucked and I didn't get kissed, I got so fucking pissed!" She sneered and mimicked Iggy's vocals. The song made her feel slightly less like driving the truck off a cliff, of which there were none on this flat-as-fuck wasteland.
"And I'm looking for the joke with a microsco, sco-, sco-, sco-..." The cd was skipping. Helen bit her tongue in anger. Not now! She punched the eject button viciously, and yanked the slowly emerging disc out. It slipped from her fingers and rolled to the floorboard under her feet. "Shit!" She bent down, keeping her eyes on the road, and felt around for the cd. Her fingers found it, but it continued to elude her grasp and slid aside. She finally managed to grab hold of it, and brought it up to her face as she straightened. Several fresh gouges now graced the cd. "Fuck. Shit. FUCKING hell."
"AAAAAARGHH!" She lost control of her temper and started pounding the disc against the dash, before flinging it out the open window. A tiny shred of remorse for littering added to her rage. She kept driving, hands clenched tight on the steering wheel, her angrily unblinking eyes fixed to the road ahead. The only sounds were the low rumble of the engine and the roar of the wind; she focused on them to calm down.
She eventually noticed the dark shape approaching from the distance. It was a big old truck, coming up fast on her tail. Well, at least it can pass me without even slowing down, she thought, but it made no move to go around as it neared at an alarming speed. The old monster pulled right up on her ass and laid on with a horn loud enough to wake the dead. Helen jumped; a twinge of jealousy flitted through her even as her nostrils flared in rage. "Don't you DARE, you asshole." She let her speed drop to encourage the dick to pass her, but he only revved up and pulled even closer, still pounding on the horn.
Helen was now pissed. "Die, fucker," she spat as she mashed on the brakes. In a heartbeat the two trucks collided. She hoped the driver of the dark truck would get the idea and back off, but on the contrary, it sped up even more and began nudging her forward, smashing into her bumper over and over.
This is WAR. She mashed the gas pedal to the floor, kicking in the four-barrel carburator. Slowly her Chevy pulled away from the dark hulk on her tail. When she judged the distance adequate, she yanked hard on the wheel and stomped on the brakes. The dark truck shot past her as she swerved out of its path and came squealing to a stop. Stars whirled in her vision, her heart pounded out a furious tarantella. She sat breathing hard and stared in red-eyed fury for a brief second, then watched in disbelief as the truck slammed on its brakes a short distance from her.
She studied it while they both sat motionless in the swirling dust. Huge, rusty, nondescript, and old. What a cool truck. Too bad he's such a psycho motherfucker. She noticed the liscence plate. BEATNGU. It looked fake, as if someone had made it in their workshed for a laugh.
After an interminable pause, BEATNGU pulled slowly away, and Helen blinked in vague disappointment as it roared into the distance. It finally vanished into the heat haze; she shook her head and wondered if things like this ever happened to anyone else. She sighed deeply and started back down the highway.
Half an hour later she leaned her forehead against the warm steel body of her truck. I give up. Two flats. It was just too much to deal with right now. She had one good spare, one flat one, and the chances of finding an open service station within ten miles were, she calculated, less than zero. It was just now sunset, and though walking down lonely country highways in the dark had been fun when she was a teenager, it definitely was not anymore. She decided to simply camp out in her truckbed for the night, and hitch a ride to BFE-ville in the morning.
Ah, treats. A half-full (always the optimist!) bottle of tequila, and a bar of dark chocolate. This is Paradise! She leaned back on her thick pile of blankets, sighed as the stars began to show and the air cooled. A mosquito landed on her arm. Well..., maybe just para-Paradise. In a peaceful haze she let go of the day's insanity and drifted off to sleep.
* * *
She was running down the highway in the dark after all, but with no sense of urgency. Her pace was effortless, the wind in her hair refreshing. Stars winked at her, laughed. Rich smells drifted past - sweet, green, earthy, woody. Mysterious, alluring. She was drawn to them, turned away from the pavement and bounded towards the dark trees.
* * *
A breath on her face, her neck. Something is here. Helen crawled out of sleep with that thought kicking her in the instincts. She dragged her eyes open, consciousness followed close behind. Blinking and snapping her head up, she caught a glimpse of cloudy eyes in a shadowy face, and feral teeth. The image was gone almost before she registered it.
That was not a dream. The cold realization of it crept over her scalp. Suddenly electrified, she leapt up, searching in the darkness for a figure, anything. Crickets and the breeze in the tall grass were her only companions. Then she noticed a shadow near some trees move. That's it, she thought with a surge of excitement. She felt for the knife at her side but kept her eyes fixed to the unnatural shadow, then pulled on her her shoes and jumped lightly to the ground. Her second step landed on a twig which snapped loudly. The shadow sped off into the trees, and Helen gave chase.
The hunt is on...
It was far too dark to make out anything but the looming tree trunks. She had to guess which way her quarry had headed between its betraying snaps and rustles from ahead. Still, she was drawn forward with magnetic intensity and could not have abandoned the chase even if she'd lost all sign.
Stumbling and charging on, she ran headlong into the outstretched arm. It wrapped around her neck and whipped her about before she could react. She felt sniffing breath on the back of her head, down the side of her neck. In ecstatic, galvanized rage she plunged the knife in her grasp over her shoulder and into her captor's face, once, twice. A deafening shriek, and the arm holding her threw her aside.
Helen lay sprawled on the uneven ground, and finally got a look at her opponent. Even in the dim starlight she saw that it was not a man. It was wearing a shabby duster and a big, floppy hat, but in the upturned face where her knife was planted askew, she could see that crowded mouthful of spiny teeth, and the milky eyes that rolled down towards her in surprise reflected the stars' glow like moonlight on fog. One ear dangled loose, her first stab's damage.
They stared at each other for half a second, then the creature began to laugh - a deep, earthy chuckle. It then reached up and yanked the knife from its cheek - she could hear the squeak as it let loose of the bone - and deftly threw the blade into the ground at her side. In shock she watched as it again raised its clawed hand and tore off its own injured ear, tossing it at her feet. With a triumphant growl it whirled and plunged again into the woods.
She was momentarily frozen with disbelief, and then a strange glee dawned in her. She leapt up, and grabbing her knife, trailed the cloaked figure once again. This time it seemed to have disappeared into the dark trees, so she stood completely still and held her breath. There, off to her left a bit, a tiny snap. She loped in that direction, woody twigs brushing her scalp, then repeated her motionless listening. The faint sounds came from further away each time, but she kept going.
I will find it. It's... everything I've been longing for.
Finally, the weak evidence of her target disappeared altogether. Helen stood rooted to the spot for minutes, barely breathing, and slowly turned her head to catch any slight noise, any shifting shadow, but there was nothing. Frustration began to set in, and then she felt the softest breath of cool air on her ankle. Slowly she stooped down, felt the tiny draft, and groping around on her hands and knees, came upon a low stone outcrop. Underneath the ledge was empty space... a cave.
It was the sort of cave you had to lay down and scoot into, but once inside, it widened out quickly. Stooping and wiping grit from her arm, she decided this was not the night to fall into a sinkhole in the dark. She fished for a lighter, and flicked it a couple of times, holding up the tiny flame to illuminate her surroundings. The ceiling remained low, but the rock-strewn floor sloped downwards, and appeared solid. Surprise, surprise! A slightly worn path led towards a dark passageway; a dusty tennis shoe lay beside the path, painfully out of place.
The inky smear of the passageway whispered a siren song in her head. Abandon fear, all ye who enter here... she paraphrased, and crouching towards the tunnel, Helen felt a burning peace, the pull of destiny in the darkness ahead. Her heart beat the soft, frantic tempo of the explorer, tempered by fatalistic calm. Smells began to reach her; through the butane-reek of the lighter she could make out earthy decomposition, damp stone, chemical fumes, and the sharp metallic reek of old blood. This is it, she thought with a somersault of the heart. A faint light from ahead brought her attention to a knife-point focus, and she let the lighter flame go out, waving it slowly to cool it before she slipped it carefully back in a pocket. Helen then crept silently into the world ahead.
[Music for Chapter 1: 'Repo Man' by Iggy Pop, '100 Games of Solitaire' by Concrete Blonde]
The tunnel made a sharp bend and widened out into a cavern, dimly lit by a distant lamp. The space was wide but not tall, and in the vague light, she began to make out familiar forms. Human shapes were all around; despite their lifelike poses they were still as statues. Bodies adorned the sloping ceiling of the cavern in an imaginative variety of poses and expressions. She turned slowly, gaping; the scale of the display was overwhelming, the effort downright impressive.
A lightning-flash thrill passed through her. Horrific as this was, it was also the most wonderous sight ever to pass before her eyes. What a work of single-minded passion, though the passion was cruel and the inspiration pain.
There was no sound in the cavern, no betrayal of company in the ghoulish museum. Helen strolled at her ease, feeling finally in her element. The supressed fury of living as a civilized social insect now had an answer, sprawled out in beautiful frozen agony. She approached one dusty corpse, sniffing it carefully. There was almost no odor to it, only the faintest chemical trace. She tapped it with her fingernail - it was petrified, hard as wood.
After a half-circuit of the cavern she nearly went sprawling headlong, tripping over a large bundle on the ground. "What the fu...," she grumbled, righting herself ungracefully. The bundle groaned. Helen kicked it; it groaned again, louder. She stared, watching it squirm slightly. Intrigued, she crouched over it and gingerly pulled some of the filthy canvas away. A pale bruised shoulder, then a straining neck, finally a gasping face was revealed. She studied the near-dead boy with unsympathetic curiosity. He never knew what was coming, thought the world was no deeper than french fries and backseat gropes. She flicked the canvas back over the softly moaning figure and straightened to continue her tour.
Two slow paces away, as she was studying the patchwork of bodies, a low growl rose that made the hairs on the back of her neck stiffen. Wildcat...bear...wolverine... raced through her head, before she reminded herself this was no animal's den. The source of the sound was hard to locate in the echoey cave; she stood fixed to the spot, tilting her head. There was a different shape in the mosaic of pain - grey, crouched, staring,...
At the moment their eyes met it leapt from the ceiling, hitting her squarely and pinning her to the ground. The air was knocked from her lungs and she gasped in shock, but recognized her night visitor at once. Inches from her face were the sneering mouthful of teeth, the grey unnatural skin, the piercing cloudy eyes. The deep bloodless wound under one eye didn't seem to pain it, nor did the torn gash where its ear used to be. The creature growled again, and began smelling her intently. It looked so cruel, so savage, but Helen's body trembled with a thrill as it seemed to drink deeply of her scent, chest filling and exhaling fully, over and over. She reached up an arm and felt the knobbly hide of the torso above her. As her hand passed down the creature's body, it gave a violent shudder, beginning at the shoulders and travelling down through its extremities. Its wings. The creature was still for a moment, as if caught in the rigor of electrocution. Their eyes met again, this time with a mutual shock of realization. We... are two of a kind.
After a long moment the creature continued its exploration of scent, as though drawn by an uncontrollable hunger. Helen writhed under this attention, it was so intimate and insistent. It continued to grasp her body, but no longer with predatory restraint - the clawed grip wandered and squeezed, from shoulder to arm, midriff to breast. Helen gasped and jerked - its boldness inflamed her. She grasped the roving head and yanked it back up to her own, diving up to devour that sharklike mouth. She met its strange dark lips, ran her tongue over the long sharp rows of teeth, hissing in pain as she was momentarily caught on the spiny points. The creature's tongue answered fiercely, deeply exploring her mouth, and then continuing over her chin, her neck. Can a human heart beat itself loose from the ribcage? she wondered frantically.
The sound of ripping fabric echoed feebly through the cavern as the creature freed its new object of fascination from clothing. Having your clothes ripped off really is ...oh, yeah... The singlemindedness of its intent was overpowering. It continued sampling the scent and taste, texture and shape of her body, growling softly. Helen ran her fingertips over its bony scalp, tense shoulders, and long white mane, drawing forth occasional shudders. A heat rising from between her legs drew its attention further down. The odor captured its interest with new urgency; with a groan it gripped her thighs and pulled them apart almost frantically. The gesture threw a bolt a lust through her, she raised her hips needily.
She bucked at the touch of the creature's mouth on her genitalia. This was no shy and fumbling boy with a tongue too easily fatigued. The creature delved into her with unrestrained fervor and an inhuman passion. It kneaded her thighs as it licked and sucked ravenously, sometimes gripping tightly, claws digging in. She felt the wave gathering from her extremities, and panted and gasped in the grip of mindless animal pleasure. The turmoil crashed into her brain, taking her whole body under in shudders of ecstasy. She could hear the echoes of her cries mingled with her strange lover's muffled growls.
She lay breathing shakily and still twitching in aftershocks as the creature slowed its sensual feast. Its tongue delved once more inside her, then began gently consoling the swollen lips outside. Helen felt for its shoulders and grasped at them, pulling the creature up to face her again. Its pale eyes were wide, mouth moist and grinning raptly. It smelled her flushed face again, breathing deeply, while Helen ran her hands down its powerful body, groping between its legs. She found some long coarse hair and, ...nothing else.
[Music for Chapter 2: 'You Sexy Thing' by Hot Chocolate]
Helen gaped in disbelief. What was I expecting, it's not human. The creature glanced down, smirked, and shrugged faintly. Then a mischievous light dawned in its eyes, and it rose, quickly glancing around the cavern floor. It strode across the room and crouched beside the bundled body Helen had tripped over earlier. The creature brusquely uncovered the still squirming figure and hunched down to smell the boy's crotch, while Helen watched in confusion.
It breathed in deeply, nosing around, but eventually threw the canvas back over the body in disgust. Then it seemed to change its mind, yanked the fabric aside again, and began feeling around for something. Helen couldn't see exactly what it was doing, but the sound of ripping skin was followed immediately by a high-pitched scream. The creature stuffed an ear in its mouth, then continued to tear at the feebly flailing body. The screams stopped short as her monster brought a bloody handful to its face, and she could hear a soft gulping sound.
As it licked the blood off its hands, a new ear seemed to form from the flat surface of its skull, and became more defined and developed. Unlike the boy's ear, this was not pink and fresh - it had regrown the same mottled dark grey as the rest of its body.
Finally it stood and strolled to a far bench, retrieved its battered coat and hat, turned back towards Helen. The creature held one fearsome hand out, palm down and fingers spread, while staring her in the eyes. She understood. It wanted her to wait, to stay. She nodded rapidly, eyes gleaming. Her friend turned and disappeared through the tunnel in a flapping swirl.
She sat, breathing still slowing, and began to feel the air's coolness again. Helen looked down at the remains of her clothes beneath her; there was nothing left whole enough to put back on. Yeah, the down side of having your clothes ripped off... She looked around, hoping for some sort of clothing lying around, but there was nothing obvious. At least I've still got my shoes, she mused as she stood and wandered around naked, searching more closely for something to bundle up in. Nothing, except the grubby, now blood-splashed canvas around the boy's corpse. No thanks. She frowned, eyes drifting up the walls. Still-life in bas-relief, stitched up at whimsy... Stitched up. Helen's eyes roved over the bodies. Many were sewn in some way, either assembled out of parts, or sewn together. There must be a needle and thread somewhere in here.
A worktable yielded a strong leatherworking needle and some tough twine. She perched on a high stool and repaired her jeans with wide stitches, just wanting them to hold together enough to stay on. Finished, she pulled them on and looked down. Frankenpants! The big frayed zig-zags were sewn up crudely, but they were serviceable. She did the same for her shirt, and dressed with relief. It was not as cold here as a deep cave would be, but still very uncomfortable to sit naked in.
Helen continued to sit at the worktable, chin in hands, waiting for the return of her companion. I wonder what it is... it's like an animal, but more so... like a man, but, ...well, not at all. Her mind drifted, and after a time she groggily set her head down on her arms, and slept.
* * *
A star-strewn sky filled her eyes. Never had they looked so huge, so luminous. Dark shapes of hills crouched on the horizon, visible only by the absence of stars. A fresh wind caressed her face, telling the secrets of the night. Joy flooded her heart, spilled out into her body, loosening it from the ground. She drifted weightless and let her will guide her over the treetops, over sleeping houses, towards the late-rising tallow moon. This, is my home. Memory of time, rolling back decades, centuries, millenia, aeons. Rivers of time. Water flowing away, hidden, forgotten, inevitably returning. She lay under the earth, sleeping. Waiting.
* * *
A muffled cry broke through her dream, which fell away like a sheet of satin. She sat up stiffly and took a deep breath, stretching. The creature burst from the dark tunnel embracing a struggling young man wearing a torn college varsity jacket. His eyes rolled with panic, and when he saw the tableau of the cavern ceiling, he moaned and lost strength in his legs. The creature hauled him over to Helen eagerly; she raised an eyebrow and examined the kid with uncertainty. He was built like a baseball player - compact torso, long powerful legs filling out his jeans. The creature held the boy in front of it, grabbed his jeans and ripped them roughly off, along with the briefs beneath.
Nice package! Helen lit up as she realized her creature was displaying the goods for approval. She smiled broadly and gave a nod. It immediately threw the boy to the ground and crouching down, savagely latched onto his crotch. A bloodcurdling scream filled the cavern. The creature's deadly jaws clamped down as it tugged, the flesh finally giving way. The bloody mouthful was swallowed whole, and the young man's head flopped aside in a dead faint.
She watched in open-mouthed fascination as her blood-spattered monster stood, and the meaty tool the boy had worn until recently began to form within the creature's white-haired crotch. Same shape, same impressive head, but changed to thestrange color and texture her monster's skin bore. Helen crowed with glee and looked up; in its eyes was reflected her own fiery triumph. It shrugged off its coat, hat already lost in the struggle, and stepped forward to reach eagerly for her stitched-up pants.
"No, no, no, I don't think so!" She stepped quickly back. "I worked hard on these." The creature blinked, seemed to study her re-sewn clothes as she removed them, then looked up at her with a smile of admiration. Helen laid the clothes aside, and spread her arms wide. "C'mere, sexy." she said, clutching her hands. It growled like a cat, rustling its wings, and grabbed her roughly to itself. She could feel the new organ pulsing, throbbing to life against her belly.
The grey creature inhaled her odor in rapt bliss, then shoved her back against the worktable, knocking the stool over. It picked her up by the shoulders and set her on the table's rough edge, then forced her legs apart, pressing its body against her. Its flesh was neither hot nor cool, it had the feel of a snake's skin. The monster explored her face, tasting, touching with curled lips, breathing in deeply. Helen became aware of the creature's smell; it had an odor of dry clay. A probing tongue under her earlobe made her jump. She ran her hands slowly down its bumpy, heavily muscled back. When she reached the asscheeks she gave them a squeeze, making the creature grunt and buck forwards more. Its stiff cock ground against her thigh, teasing forth the dew of her sex.
The monster grasped her hips and impaled her suddenly. It began humping her bestially, convulsing its body in raw lust. Helen sobbed with the agony of pleasure, and wrapped around the creature's body as though it was a life preserver and she a drowning castaway. It groaned and growled, bared its teeth, still churning into the dark, wet, hungry depths of her.
They mated furiously, clutching and panting. The creature thrust his head forward and bit down on her shoulder. "EEEEAHH!" she shrieked, but it bit again savagely, seemingly unaware. The convulsive tide of orgasm crashed into her, wracking her body and robbing her lungs of breath. She passed momentarily into a state of numb bliss, then slowly regained sensation and awareness. Her lover was still clamped onto her shoulder and belaboring her body with ecstatic intensity. Helen groped behind her on the table; hand finding a sharp object, she swung it down and plunged it into the hand grasping her and slightly piercing her own side. The monster jerked up howling, and its body tensed as it was assaulted by the throes of its own orgasm. They clung to each other, breathing raggedly and shuddering in the aftermath of their passion.
After a few minutes the creature raised its hand, pierced by an awl, and glanced at her. "Well you were hurting me!" she scowled, then the corners of her mouth twitched up and she laughed. It growled its earthy laugh, too, and yanked the awl out, tossing it back on the table. It gingerly prodded the bite wounds on her shoulder, peering curiously at the injury. "OW!" Helen barked. The grey monster lowered its head to the wounds, and looking her in the eye, licked the blood away. That has to be the sexiest apology I've ever gotten. "I won't heal as easily as you, though." Her lover sniffed at the area, then lifted her off the worktable.
She stood naked, feeling for splinters in her ass, and watched as the creature went over to a rickety wooden cabinet; inside were a variety of large glass bottles. It grabbed one and brought it over. She could smell the contents as the cap was unscrewed - alcohol. "Eeuhh, well, I guess..." she knitted her eyebrows. The creature held the bottle over the bites and splashed a little on at a time, letting it seep in as it traced cold trails down her body. She gritted her teeth against the powerful sting, wishing she had her tequila right about now. No, this sexy monster is way better than tequila, she mused. A wide grin travelled across her face as she regarded her newfound treasure.
Her monster put the bottle down on the table, then noticing the needle and thread, grabbed them and brought them up to her shoulder. Helen leapt back in angry disbelief before she noticed the creature shaking with silent laughter. It let loose with its throaty laugh, tossing the needle and thread over its shoulder, then replaced the bottle's cap and put it away in its cabinet. What a kidder. She couldn't help smiling at the joke while she dressed. She was pretty sticky by now, but there didn't seem to be any way of washing up, and she was getting chilly again.
Her companion returned to the body of the college boy, now dead from shock. It forced its claws between the ribs, cracking a few, finally grabbing hold of the heart. The bloody organ was pulled free with a tug, and shoved in the creature's mouth. It had to hold its head up to swallow the heart; Helen could see its throat convulsing, and heard the soft sounds of its efforts. Her stomach gurgled loudly, and she stifled a giggle.
The monster looked over at her, and smiled back. It returned to its worktable, retrieved a knife and cut a long piece of meat off the corpse, bringing it over to her. How sweet...heh. "Erm, I'm not sure..." She was hungry, but raw college boy? Still...
She took the offered meat, and with a "Thanks!" turned and made her way back to the dark tunnel, leaving her friend behind to finish his own meal. There was no scrap wood lying around in the cavern, and it would probably be a terrible smoky disaster to build a fire down there anyway. Helen emerged into the dark antechamber and stumbled crouching to the low crack of the cave entrance. She lay down and wriggled carefully outside, still grasping the bloody steak between thumb and forefinger.
Ah, fresh air. A low quarter moon had risen; the ghost of her dream brushed past her mind.
Helen felt around in the vicinity for dry wood. She didn't want to wander too far and get lost in the dark. A small pile gathered, she set the meat on the grass and used her knife to whittle off some shavings for tinder. She cupped one hand behind the curls to shield them from the breeze, and carefully ignited them with the lighter. As the flames grew and caught in earnest, she piled on small sticks, building the heat. At a soft sound from behind she turned, smiled to see her creature joining her. It watched intrigued as she fed the small fire, and skewered the piece of meat on a long stick while waiting for the fire to grow. When it was good and hot she propped the meat over it, humming as the bloody flesh sizzled and dripped into the flames. "Hmmmph." the creature growled.
"Hey, my first taste of human flesh ain't gonna be raw, ok?"
The meat smelled so good she didn't care whether it was done. Gingerly pulling a small piece of one end, she popped it in her mouth and savored the taste. Like pork crossed with rabbit. Could be worse, but could be better. Hunger seasoned her supper and she continued to eat the skewered meat with relish.
"Ee-euk." The grey monster shook its head and sat back on its heels.
Helen stared and blinked, speechless for a moment. "Can you speak?" Her companion frowned, not looking at her for a long minute, then turned to her and nodded once. "So... uhh, ...why don't you?" She was puzzled. The creature seemed to be trying to twist its mouth around, then its creaky, gravelly voice broke forth.
"Not... easy. Hurts." Even as these few words were forced out, she could see it wincing in the firelight as it bit its own tongue. "Well for god's sake don't bite it off!" she yelled before taking another bite of her steak. The monster slowly smirked. "Can get... another." Helen spit out her half-chewed mouthful and screamed with laughter, rolling back on the grass. It gestured to its mouth. "Not good for ...speech. Good for eating." She nudged it with an elbow and smirked. "I'll say." It laughed loudly.
Helen was quiet for a moment. "We seem to understand each other well enough, huh?" Her monster winked.
Afterward she sat licking the grease from her fingers, and probed her conscience. I just ate human flesh. She waited, but no big shock hit her. I don't feel bad about it. Don't really think there's anything so wrong about it. It was just food, not some forbidden evil. Well, and it can't be that different from hunted wild game - it has a chance, and the hunter has a chance.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the realization that her creature was right up close, glazed eyes staring wide at her. It pushed her over and crouched over her, seeming mesmerized. The monster took two deep breaths, and blinked rapidly. The wings on its back shuddered and whipped out, spreading fully. A branch was snapped off a nearby tree by the force, but the creature didn't notice. Helen was agog at the glory of its wings, the coiled power of its stance.
It suddenly grinned and gave a hearty growl to the air, and winking at her again, it leapt into the air. With a few huge flaps it was gone into the starry night sky. She lay back on the grass by her tiny fire, wishing her friend a good hunt. What an incredible night, she thought drowsily. Helen rolled to her side and sighed, then drifted into deep sleep.
* * *
The land lay spread out below like a patchwork quilt. Planted fields alternated with plowed bare earth; cycles each in their turn. A farm dog barked somewhere in the distance. The eye of the moon watched coldly. Stars streaked around the pole star with the speed of their journey. Generations went out to the fields, toiling, sweating, pushing their bodies into the soil to bring forth green crops. New generations sprang up and began the labor again, straining to live and die. A bird flew slowly across the churning fields, unconcerned. The soft breeze teased across the struggling crops. The shadow of a larger bird drifted over the simmering landscape. Where the shadow passed, crops seemed to become still; farmers and their children and grandchildren looked away so as not to see it.
[Music for Chapter 3: 'Hot Meat' by The Sugarcubes, 'Undulating Landscape' by Brian Lustmord and Robert Rich]
The sound of twigs snapping in the woods nearby woke her. She raised herself stiffly in the dim pre-dawn light and flinched at the soreness in her shoulder. The little fire was out and cold. Helen blinked hard and peered around. There. Her monster was stepping towards her from between the trees, a limp bundle over each shoulder. It nodded to her, then tossed the bodies in the low cave entrance and wriggled in behind them.
Helen lay back on the grass for a long time, reluctant to wake up quite yet. Curiosity and the desire to join her creature below won out, and she yawned off her sleepiness, slowly standing. She pulled her roughly stitched pants down and relieved herself over the ashes of the little fire. Only you... can prevent forest fires. She grabbed a clump of grass to use as toilet paper, but it wasn't very helpful. Yuck, I feel grubby.
She felt her way back down to the cavern, not bothering with the lighter. A stronger smell wafted towards her in the tunnel, the chemical odor she had noticed before. In the dimly lit cavern, she saw her friend sitting beside the remains of a body, mostly picked clean. The creature was pulling bones off and gnawing the cartilage from the ends, before tossing them in a pile. Her grey monster looked up and grinned a bloodstained smile, them held up a choice strip of meat, obviously saved for her. "Uhh, not yet, thanks." It pulled something else out from behind its back - a little camp stove. Helen gasped in surprise and delight. "What a sweetheart you are! Where did you find it?" The monster glanced down at the corpse, and she noticed the hiking boots still on the feet. "Ahh, a camper. Clever." She checked to see what size the boots were, but they were too big for her.
She strolled over to the worktable; apparently her friend had been busy. The table was moist with blood, and several stained knives and instruments were scattered about, used and then thrown aside haphazardly. A dented galvanized washtub stood near one end; the smell originated here. Helen peered inside. Skin, and a mostly whole head, bathing in a clear liquid. "Phew." She turned her head from the reek and continued walking around. Wonder if there's any water around here. I'd kill for a shower.
No sign of plumbing or water of any kind were in evidence, but she did notice that the lamp was wired to a car battery. Curiouser and curiouser... She walked back to where her creature sat, and flopped down beside it.
"Is there any water around? I feel like forty miles of rough road, and I'd really like to wash up." Her companion looked thoughtful for a moment as it nibbled on a tibia. Then a light glinted in its hazy eyes and it spoke again, sounding like a handful of rocks rubbing together. "We go." It rose, abandoning the skeletonized corpse, threw on its 'man' costume again and grabbed the camp stove, while Helen followed her friend out of the cavern.
The creature led her through the woods for a half-mile, and she noticed crows beginning to follow as they hiked through the early light. They alighted on trees as her monster passed, then tagged behind, keeping close. Hmm.
Finally they arrived at the end of a very old dirt road, and parked in the weedy ruts was the huge old hulk with the BEATNGU plates. A few crows were already settling onto it. Helen's mouth literally hung open, even while curling up at one side. "That's yours? That was YOU?" The creature bared its teeth proudly, reaching for the door handle. She let out a bark of laughter. "I should've known!" She climbed up into the dark cab, and the monster followed.
There was no passenger seat. Actually there was no driver's seat either, just a milk crate bolted to the floor. Her companion started the truck, which gave a satisfying throaty roar, and backed it down the abandoned road. Helen gave up trying to kneel after the first couple of bone-jarring potholes, and sat on the floor of the cab, casting sidelong glances at the ever-surprising creature driving. Driving. Whoa, this is just... so wild.
After a long, bumpy journey the truck pulled out onto the two-lane highway, and Helen was able to get more comfortable. She voiced her nagging question. "So... why did you get on my ass and try to run me off the road? You don't seem like the road-rage type." The grey monster tilted its head and grinned horribly, then its gravelly voice broke again. "To find food." She frowned, not understanding. "Show you." It turned its attention back to the road, searching for something on the horizon.
Minutes passed with only the roar of the engine and the fragile golden light of dawn. Then the creature stiffened, craning its neck, and Helen peered down the highway. Far away, maybe two miles ahead, a dark speck. The truck's engine was urged on, and they barrelled down on the unsuspecting vehicle. The distance was eaten up at an impressive rate; the car ahead was travelling the plodding speed of someone not fully awake. They'll be awake in a second, Helen thought with a wicked smile.
Suddenly the truck was right up on the sedan's tail, and the creature laid on with the deafening horn. The car jerked and swerved, writing its driver's panic in cursive squiggles down the pavement. Helen watched with amazement as her companion leaned forward, almost pressing its face into the air vents. It inhaled deeply, and its driving became very erratic as it paid less attention to the road. Comprehension began to dawn in her mind. It's smelling for their fear, like a cougar. The creature pounded on the horn again and rammed the car along the road, face still buried in the vents, Helen laughing so hard tears rolled down her face.
Eventually the smells seemed to satisfy her grey friend, and it let the terrified driver speed away. "So you sm...hah hahh... you smell to see if they are good to eat, huh?" she gasped, still chuckling, wiping tears away. It grinned and continued on, searching the road ahead for more cars. She sighed inwardly. This makes perfect sense somehow. Why did we ever think Mother Nature was old-fashioned?
After twenty minutes the truck pulled onto a rough, broken road, leading into the ruins of a community. Abandoned buildings sprouted from weedy fields like toadstools, their blank windows staring into vacant space in depair. At the end of another road rose the hulk of a factory, standing but decrepit. It was made of red brick in the turn-of-the-century style. Ornate iron columns were visible inside through tall, arched windows. The truck approached the factory with practiced familiarity, trailing an anemic cloud of dust behind, and pulled around the far side. A delivery ramp led to a lower level, and the creature guided the truck down, slowed to a stop, and shut off the engine. The silence was immediate and jarring.
Helen followed her monster through a gloomy passageway illuminated only by weak daylight drifting in through layers of decaying structure. They emerged in an underground storeroom, instantly recognizeable as another hangout of her strange friend. Yep. Worktables, sinister weapons scattered around, a few bodies posed here and there, and that inarguable aura of a place you didn't want to accidentally stumble across. The creature pulled at her arm as it continued on into a dark hallway.
She couldn't see much, but soon they came to a room, recognizeable by the wider echoes of their footfalls. A crash of breaking glass, and Helen saw that they were in a bathroom. Her creature had punched out a painted-over cellar window at the top of the wall to let light in. It gestured to one side of the room, and she noticed a dark form draped with an old canvas tarp. The creature went to it and flipped the debris-strewn cloth off, revealing a fairly clean clawfoot bathtub. Oh lordy, Helen sighed. This IS Paradise. She watched as her knight in shining armor... well, tattered coat and hat, hauled on the faucet handles, but to no avail; they were irreversibly frozen with decades of rust. It turned its efforts to a water pipe against the wall, and was able to shift one of the cutoff valves open. Red, rust-tainted water spurted out, the pipe banging in complaint. The creature dragged the tub over to catch the water. After a couple of minutes the water cleared and Helen looked around for the stopper; finding it dangling behind the tub, she let it begin filling. The water was cool, but it would do. She stood to thank her monster, but it had already retreated to its workroom.
Helen lounged in the tepid water, soaking the sweat and grime away. A search had yielded an ancient bar of soap at a sink, but no amount of rubbing would produce suds from the dessicated cake. Just floating in the water felt like years falling away, and she was invigorated inside and out. She got out refreshed and renewed, and sat on the draining tub's edge until the air had dried her skin. The dirty clothes were not very pleasant to get back into, but there was no helping that.
She felt her way back into the workroom, where her creature, shed of its clothing, was busy stuffing a skin with dried grasses. It worked very attentively, filling out the skin to look like the body it had once covered. The skin was soft and had the faint odor of the preserving chemical, but must have been rinsed since its soak. Every so often the monster stopped and made a few more stitches up the back to hold the stuffing in. She recognized the look of rapt concentration that her companion's face wore; an artist's love for its work.
She was starting to feel hungry again, and made her way back to the truck to retrieve the camp stove. When she returned, her creature glanced at the stove in her hand, and reaching for its coat, pulled the chunk of meat it had saved from a pocket. She smiled thankfully and took it, then searched for something to skewer the steak with. A piece of heavy-gauge wire lying on a bench was just right. Helen sat the little stove on a table against the wall and started priming the gas, hoping she remembered how to light one of these.
Her meal roasted and eaten with gusto, she explored the room. It differed from the cavern in as many ways as it resembled that place. There were more work benches and cabinets; the whole effect was very industrial-looking. Many of the tables and some implements appeared to have been salvaged from the factory above. Helen's attention was grabbed by something that normally would not seem incongruous... a messy stack of open newspapers and magazines spilled over the edge of a table. She looked more closely. Some were folded open as people do when they read articles. A thought crept into her mind.
"Can you read?" she asked, turning. Her creature looked up at her intently, then nodded. Helen's heart jumped. "Can you write?" she asked quietly, breathless. The monster smiled slowly, tilted its head back and forth. "Some." She let out a yelp of joy, and looked around eagerly for something to use as a tablet. In a side passage she found a dark-painted panel from a shattered wood door, and she bounded back through the room to the ramp, on up to the weedy grounds. A quick hunt turned up a piece of limestone that would serve for chalk. Returning to the workroom, she couldn't supress her grin as she sat on a stool, watching her friend finish its project. It was just stitching the last of the skin together, and after gazing up and down to check its work, it carried the body over to a wall and hung it carefully from a hook to dry.
The creature returned to sit at the table near Helen. She slid the makeshift chalkboard towards it, and said, "Who are you?" The creature's face fell; it blinked and stared at the tablet, then back at her, and shook its head. "...You don't even have a name?" It looked puzzled and shook its head again. She was stymied; this was not working as she'd hoped. "Emmm, ok. What are you?" The monster took the stone clumsily in its claws and slowly scratched out words on the board.
Its handwriting was barely legible. "Hmm. You don't know exactly what you are?" It wiped off its previous words and wrote again.
Helen was stunned. "Well... that's what we call ourselves." The creature wrote more.
She wasn't sure if it meant it had no ancestors, or had no name for what it was. Or both. "Do you mean you are the only one... like you?" The monster shrugged, blinked. Apparently it didn't know and didn't care.
Helen's mind reeled. This was either a philosophical joke or a metaphysical oubliette. After a minute, she asked the only question that she could wrap her brain around. "Why don't you eat me?" Her creature laughed creakily, scrawled out an answer.
She frowned and tried to understand.
Helen struggled to make sense of it.
- it wrote. Comprehension suddenly dawned. "Ohhh, ho ho -o!" she chuckled and grinned.
The grey monster seemed to become restless, and lost interest in the conversation. Its wings were twitching and it paced quickly around the large room, gathering weapons. Coat, workpants, and hat were donned, and it turned back to her. The creature started to attempt speech again, then thought better of it, and scribbled hastily on the board. She read it as her friend left without further pause.
After a few seconds she heard the truck roar to life and retreat up the ramp, fading away as it sped down the road.
The room seemed appallingly quiet and still with her friend gone. The only movement was a swirl of dust motes twinkling in a tiny shaft of sunlight. Helen decided to go for a walk.
She found her way into the factory's main floor, and wandered slowly through the vast spaces strewn with dusty, crumbling machinery. Huge chunks of the roof were missing, through which blue sky shone, and a few crows nested in the steel girders. She tripped on a pipe, startling one of the birds into flight; a couple of feathers drifted slowly down through the stale air. A metal staircase led to upper levels, and though Helen was curious, she didn't like the look of all the rust and decay, and stayed on the ground floor.
The truck growled back down the ramp at dusk and creaked to a halt. The creature heard music drifting faintly through the factory; a tinny, old-fashioned song. It opened the back of its truck and hauled out two bodies; one very dead, missing its head, and the other in a deep swoon. It threw the live one over its shoulder and dragged the other one by a leg down to its workroom.
"...is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo? Yes, yes, track twenty-nine!" Helen was singing along to the music, which was coming from an antique Victrola; there were 78's scattered around it. She saw her friend and lit up, dancing over to check out the afternoon's find, but yelled out when she saw the monster's face. It looked like it had been shot through the jaw at point-blank range by a twelve-gauge. A powdery residue dribbled from the ragged hole.
"Holy shit! you...uhnn..." As it attemped a smile and shrugged, she realized that it had lost its tongue in the shotgun injury. The creature glanced down at the headless man. She kicked the body viciously. The creature let the leg drop, then held up the limp unconscious man, mimicking a drunken dance, while Helen bent over with laughter. It tossed the man onto the worktable, and returned to the truck to bring in more bodies in various states of disassembly. When all were dumped inside, it walked over to inspect the record player. It was a crank-type, with a beautiful brass megaphone.
"I found it in an office, looked like the boss's. It was shoved in a closet under a bunch of crap. Look at all these cool tunes!"
The creature began humming as it threw off its clothing and rummaged through its menu choices. One man was already half-eaten, and it sat beside her and finished. Helen was mildly astonished at the speed with which it could eat; the body was reduced to bones in minutes. She noticed that her friend's mutilated face was already healing. The monster moved on to another corpse, this one missing an arm. Soon it was missing everything else. The pile of bodies became a heap of grey-white bones as the records played on.
The grey creature held the severed head from the first body and scooped out fingerfuls of brain, sucking its fingers as it came and sat near Helen. She was at the worktable, poking the unconscious man. It held out a clump to her, and after a momentary hesitation, she picked up the morsel and sampled it. She chewed slowly and swallowed. "Not bad. Needs garlic." Her friend laughed and finished scraping out the skull, then set the head on the table and returned to choose another entree. The record ended and she went to change it again.
"Ahh, a hit from 1939." She began singing along. "I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain." The creature glanced over to see that Helen had picked up the head and stuck her hand inside to make a sort of macabre puppet, moving its jaw along with the words. "And my head I'd be scratchin' while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain." The monster roared with laughter, which sounded like a major rockfall in the echoing space. Helen had a hard time keeping a straight enough face to continue the song. "I would not be just a nuthin', my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain. I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had... a brain." The music finally ended, and she dropped the head, bursting into guffaws.
She was given another huge piece of flesh, and this time she attemped to eat it raw, but still found it too chewy and strange. She lit the camp stove again, and soon was feasting alongside her companion. Afterward she stood by the table and sorted through the thick records, picking out a few she recognized. Helen didn't notice the sounds of eating grow quiet, and the feel of breath on the back of her neck made her heart jump. The barest touch of spiny teeth followed, just brushing the skin. She shivered as an erotic shock shot up through her. Clawed hands gripped her arms and the creature pressed its strange body against her back. The stiffening cock against her ass was urgent, demanding. She exhaled, ground herself back into it, heart pounding wildly.
There was no saving her pants this time - the need was too immediate for undressing. The creature yanked the distressed fabric away and mounted her without hesitation. She groaned, blinking with lust, as she lost the strength in her legs. Helen bent forward over the table, coming face to face with the whimpering, waking man. Her monster fucked her slowly, nose still buried under her hair, breathing her scent. Its stolen cockhead plowed deeply inside, milking her until she felt her own juices running down her leg. She moaned and ground her teeth, arched her back.
The man on the table was coming around, and focused with horror at the scene directly in his face - a winged demon screwing a woman from behind. Suddenly the woman shot out a hand and grabbed his arm, threw it over her shoulder. Overcome with terror, he was too weak to move, and watched in slow motion as the demon chomped down on his wrist.
She heard the screams from a distance, and bit down on her own lip as the numbing euphoria swept over her shuddering body. Little death, oh yess. At that moment her monster inhaled deeply and moaned, then began pounding into her furiously. Seconds later the sounds of bones crunching and screaming ceased; a severed wrist flopped down off her shoulder, spurting blood everywhere as the creature swallowed the hand. The monster growled and shook with its own paroxysm.
The creature lay over her for some time, lost in some realm of scent, occasionally thrusting into her. She convulsed a second, gentler time, before the smell of hot blood running over the table brought her lover around. It raised her up with it, then led her, stumbling and pleasure-weak, to a huge tick bag full of dried straw. She sank down onto it and curled up; she didn't even care that her whole torso was smeared with blood. It was the softest bed she'd ever lain in, and exhaustion took hold, dragging her into sleep.
* * *
She bounded between trees, making no sound. The scrambling, stumbling man ahead left a musky trail of fear, irresistable. She felt nothing but love for her prey, she wanted it so badly, it was beautiful, its terror a joy. Her heart brimmed with laughter, the night shone in her glinting eyes. She lifted her face to the star-crowded heavens, each tiny light another fleeing, calling soul. Like stars in the sky, my food. Countless. Beautiful.
[Music for Chapter 5: 'Chattanooga Choo-Choo' by Glenn Miller With Tex Beneke, 'If I Only Had A Brain' as sung by Harry Connick, Jr., 'The Passion Of Lovers' by Bauhaus]
It was a long, refreshing sleep. Helen rose slowly back to awareness, slowly blinking as her eyes tried to focus. A few shafts of faint daylight again streamed across the room. Wow, I finally got a night's rest. She stretched and lounged, enjoying the cushy comfort of her straw tick bed. The sounds of eating drifted across the room, and she turned to see her creature working through a new pile of bodies. It must have been out hunting all night, she thought, counting the corpses. Curiosity nudged her mind.
"You don't sleep, do you?" The creature looked up from its meal, swallowing a long, glistening muscle. It tilted its head slightly, then rose and hunted for the makeshift chalkboard. Sucking its claws clean, it grasped the white rock again and hunched near Helen, writing.
She read it and reread it, but shook her head, unsure. Though she could read the words, so much of what it wrote was incomprehensible. The grey monster took the tablet back, clearing it with a forearm, and scratched out more as it wiped blood from its spattered face.
While lune... moon! gives ...light, "While you can see moonlight?" It nodded, crunching on a ribbone. She thought for a minute, chewing her lip. "So for twenty-something days you're awake and can eat, and then... you sleep until the next generation of food, er, people, has matured?" The creature beamed, then returned to its meal.
Helen thought quickly. The moon was well past full now. There must be about five or six days left before the moon became a sliver and then disappeared. She wondered about this fantastic creature. Its feeding cycle is linked to its food's life cycle.
She yawned and got up, casting a sad look at the crumpled heap of her pants, far beyond repair. I don't want to go around with just a blood-crusty shirt on... But her friend was already bringing her a gift - the lower half of woman's body, complete with jeans. She smiled, chuckling, and began pulling the pants off the corpse. They were a bit roomy, but much cleaner than her own had been. Now, I've got to wash all this blood off. She headed for the bathtub to clean up.
Ten minutes later, her shirt rinsed and hung over a pipe to dry, Helen was back at the worktable. Her monster had finally finished its huge meal, and was preparing another skin. She watched in silent fascination as a body was carefully flayed, a scalpel-sharp blade deftly separating skin from flesh. It left the head attached by the skin of the neck, but chopped the back of the skull off with a hatchet and removed the brain. The creature gently gathered up the skin and took it to a stainless steel shop sink against the wall, dumped it in, and poured the contents of two brown gallon bottles over it. Pungent chemical fumes drifted through the room.
Her companion returned to the worktable and picked up the brain, offering it to Helen for her breakfast. Well, it really wasn't too bad, if a bit bland. She used her knife to slice off bite-sized pieces and spear them. As she ate, her creature made short work of the skinned corpse.
"What's with the bodies?" she mumbled through a mouthful, while the monster gnawed bones clean. It wrote on the board.
Chewed brain sprayed from her mouth as she choked laughing. The creature was still writing.
"Taxidermy... - it's taxidermy!" She cocked her head. "How old are you?" The monster thought for a long while, then scrawled on the plank.
Helen grew cold. 400 generations. That was... around ten thousand years. It was beyond comprehension. She couldn't speak; the weight of so much age sitting next to her was appalling. The sound of chalk clicking and scratching brought her back.
The creature mused, cloudy eyes staring into the distance as a faint smile slid across its face. It wiped the board and wrote more.
Helen was still trying to grasp the sudden change in her view of this creature. It is so old. It does seem like a god... It has affected my dreams, too. What if... She took a deep breath. No, it was not a god, it was just something she didn't and may never fully understand. Besides, it was only awake for about three months out of every century. She looked at the new message, and the weight was lifted from her heart.
Helen laughed and cranked the Victrola up, chose a record from the pile. "Jeepers creepers, where'd you get those peepers? Jeepers creepers, where'd you get those eyes?" She sang along and her friend bared its teeth in a wide grin of delight.
After the song was over the grey monster began gathering its clothing and weapons again. It had scavenged a shirt, workpants, and a pair of heavy boots from one of its stockier victims. The creature loaded its truck with rope, some chains, and a handful of old sheets, then it did something unexpected; it gathered up the pile of records, balanced then on top of the player, and hauled it off to the truck. Helen was stupefied. It returned and gestured with its head toward the ramp. "Yeah I wanna come!" She ran to the bathroom to retrieve her damp shirt, grabbed the chalkboard and camp stove, and joined the monster on its way out.
They drove down country highways for hours, occasionally terrorizing other drivers in her creature's hunt for food. It was a picky eater, she understood now; only a few of the people it came across smelled edible. She wondered vaguely why it stayed in such a sparsely populated area. It must have a good reason. It seemed to accumulate knowledge during its awake time, keeping what was useful and discarding the rest.
In the midafternoon her friend scented something off the road, and pulled over. It climbed out of the truck and disappeared into some trees at the far edge of a field. Ten minutes later it reappeared, dragging the unconscious forms of a teenage boy and girl, one in each hand. It threw them into the back of the truck and climbed in after, moving and shifting around for several more minutes. Her monster returned to the cab sucking blood from its claws, and flashed her a grin before peeling out onto the highway again.
We must have driven two hundred miles by now, Helen thought, impressed by her creature's tenacity. It bullied one more driver, and a short time afterward turned onto a short dirt track leading to an abandoned church. The monster backed up to a large corrugated culvert pipe sticking out at an angle from the ground. She watched in the side mirror as it unloaded each body, now tied securely in dirty, bloodstained sheets, then tossed them down the pipe. It must have another 'workshop' here. Helen noticed the crows hanging about thickly here, too. "Nevermore!" she called out; they just turned their black heads sideways to stare at her.
Her creature jumped back into the truck and sped fishtailing onto the highway. Something had grabbed its intense interest. A driver they had just harrassed was going to get it again. She had never seen the monster so agitated; it was very riled about something. The other driver became so terrified he actually crashed through a fence and into a meadow. Helen chuckled, but her companion was craning its neck to look back; it milky eyes glinted with passion.
Half an hour later they arrived at a dilapidated refinery, driving through a giant storm sewer pipe to emerge inside the fenced perimeter. The creature pulled the truck up behind a haphazardly parked gas tanker, and began refuelling. Must be nice. When the truck's tanks were full, they pulled further into the refinery, finally stopping outside a low building. As she got out, Helen again watched the crows gathering, perching expectantly on pipes and catwalks in the vicinity. "This is surreal. There are crows following you everywhere." The monster glanced around, and gestured for the chalkboard, sitting on its haunches to write.
"Like me?" she asked, staring and smirking slightly. "Am I your pet?" The creature just tilted its head, leering.
Inside, the building was a labyrinth of decaying industrial equipment, an endless series of dank hallways and factory rooms. They came to a group of inner rooms that were more habitable; there were the ubiquitous worktables and tools, but only a couple of preserved bodies. This must be a very recent haunt. Well, and that would make sense, this place probably only shut down fifteen or twenty years ago.
The creature left Helen to explore the rooms, and went back outside. It returned a few minutes later carrying the Victrola, with the stack of records balanced on top, and set them on a small table. The monster looked preoccupied, and scrawled quickly on the tablet:
It was so eager it didn't even finish the phrase, but she understood, called out a farewell as it swept out.
The recently hijacked space definitely could be made more comfortable. First, music. She cranked up the record player and put on a disk. In the bottom of a cabinet she discovered several cases of emergency candles, and set about lighting as many as possible, sticking them down with wax. Hey, it's Phantom Of The Opera meets Flint, Michigan. She nosed around in the adjoining rooms, was rewarded with a stack of musty, but clean, army blankets. The record finished playing, and she replaced it. "Last night I saw upon the stair, a little man who wasn't there, he wasn't there again today, oh how I wish he'd go away..."
[Music for Chapter 6: 'Jeepers Creepers' as sung by Chris Chandler, 'Movin' Right Along' by Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear, 'The Little Man Who Wasn't There' by Glenn Miller/Tex Beneke]
Helen lay stretched on a worktable, mouth open, snoring faintly. The only sound was a distant drip-drip of rain from the leaking roof. A strangled cry echoed into the room, waking her with a start. Ahh, it's back. Tonight's hunt had taken much longer than before, and she had wavered between boredom, irritation, and concern.
Her monster burst into the room, holding tightly to a struggling young man, another college boy. Terror had written madness all over the kid's face. He caught sight of Helen, bewildered for a moment, then began begging for help. She frowned, raised her eyebrows, and shrugged. The creature brought a bony fist down on the boy's head, sending him crumpling to the floor.
She noticed that her friend no longer had its costume, but before she could ask, it spoke in its deep, grinding voice. "Get truck. Back soon," before flashing her a triumphant leer and dashing out. Helen raised her eyebrows in surprise. A voice again. A tongue again. She cranked up the tunes; a party was in order.
Sure enough, ten minutes later it came in with two armfuls of cop. One was headless. The next trip in, her creature brought two more corpses, and the head tucked under its chin. It threw the bodies in a heap, and picked up the unconscious boy to inspect again. It stuck its nose in the boy's face; for a moment Helen thought it was just going to chow down. The kid started groaning as he returned to consciousness.
It would be better if you stayed gone, she thought, but as the boy began to open his eyes, the creature became frantic with excitement, and it plunged the sharp claws of one hand right into the guy's face. In a heartbeat the eyeball was eaten, and as agonized wails resonated through the room, her monster plucked out and devoured the other eye. Without a moment's rest it picked up an axe from the table and swung it down on the boy's skull. The cries ceased immediately, the echoes died out moments later, while the record played on.
Helen gazed at her creature. It had begun blinking rapidly, and turned to look at her. Its eyes were dark brown now. It beamed proudly, then removed the boy's brain with a twist of one clawed hand and stuffed it in its jaws. She stared hungrily, leaning closer, and her monster cut a little portion of meat off the guy's back for her. She looked at the pinkish-red thing for a moment, then figured it might taste better if she ate it fresh, rather than waiting. Her instinct turned out to be correct, it was actually kind of ...savory.
The monster ate ravenously, as usual, and gnawing on the last of the bones, it picked up the cop's gaping head and brought it over to Helen. It pried open the mouth, displaying the torn roots of the tongue, then smiled and stuck out its stolen prize. Helen brayed with laughter, pointed her finger at the head and scowled. "You have the right to remain silent!" The creature chuckled along, tossing the head back over its shoulder.
The creature grabbed her, pressing right up in her face. Its wide, dark eyes roved over her, literally seeing her with new eyes. She ran her hands across its rough, dark body; it looked subtly, indefineably different. The monster pushed her down onto a bench, pawed at her pants. Time for dessert. She quickly struggled out of her clothes while the creature buried its face in the skin of her belly, between her breasts, growling quietly. It began prying her thighs apart, when Helen said, "Whoa, whoa, hold on there. A cop's tongue? I dunno..." with a look of distaste. The creature gaped at her, dumbfounded, then she lost her straight face and burst out laughing. "Kidding!" It grinned wickedly, thrust its face into her groin like a stiking cobra. She gasped and cried out; the heartstopping pleasure was like being hit by a huge, soft bus.
It crouched over the bench, grasped her hips in its claws, brought her lower body up to its face like a child eating a melon. Helen twitched and writhed, no longer able to control her own body; it was the creature's to bend and manipulate. Her mewls and groans echoed through the room; her fingernails scraped on the rough wood. The orgasm struck her like a meteor; she felt the burning fragments scorching their way through her taughtly arched body. The monster's appetite was frightening; it demanded more from her. Its tongue plunged deeply, probing, caressing, attacking. Helen didn't have the strength or the will to fight, and gave her body up to its master.
The creature finally let up when it had driven her to exhaustion. It set her down, licking the moisture from its face as it leered happily. "Ohhh, my hero," Helen sighed and giggled. It bent over her head, breathing deeply, slowly, as though the breath of life flowed from her. The monster then drew its tongue languidly across her flushed cheek.
Lust radiated from its body in trembling waves. Helen slid her hand down its body to the hairy groin, nearly jerked away when she touched the rigid organ; it was rock-hard and standing pressed almost against the creature's belly. A tremor passed down its taut body at her touch, its eyes rolled back in their sockets for a moment. It gave a strange growl and pounced, shoving deep into her.
She was instantly caught up in the violence of its passion. A tense energy filled her; Helen felt like she was being electrocuted, but deliciously so. She clutched at her monster's heaving body, meeting its motions with her own. It thrust savagely, shoving her whole body along the bench. No quarter was given; Helen could barely get enough air in her lungs to moan.
A creaking, splintering sound was abruptly followed by the crashing collapse of the bench. Their tangled bodies were thrown tumbling to the floor; the impact only fueled their frenzy. Helen lay astride the convulsing, groaning creature; then it threw her off balance and wrestled her aside, pinned her down. The monster crouched between her splayed legs, bucking mercilessly, as she grasped and clawed at its body. She raised her head up, inhaling the creature's earthy scent, biting at the muscles moving beneath its knobbly grey skin.
The grey monster raised itself upright, jaws chomping. It bit convulsively down as it lifted and turned its head; still thrusting, it began biting down on its own tongue. The creature howled with pain, but seemed unable to stop the reflexive motion. Helen was swept under by a storm of ecstasy, even as she watched a dark fluid splatter from the monster's mouth. The creature's howls were mixed with groans of pleasure as the turmoil crashed into it. It lowered its head, shaking all over from effort, and breathed in her scent. A few drops of the dark liquid fell onto her chest as she lay panting and blinking. After a moment, she touched the drips, brought her fingertips to her nose. It smelled like rich mud. The monster spat something from its mouth - the ragged remains of the tongue, then smirked at her, laughed. It lifted her up and set her gently on a table, brushing the dirt from her.
She lay crumpled on the bench, feeling deboned and utterly relaxed. Her companion busied itself with some project, and after a time she mustered the energy to dress and watch. It was preparing another body for stuffing, rinsing the skin after the chemical soak, kneading and scrubbing carefully. When the skin was thoroughly rinsed, the creature brought it to a table and began patting it dry with rags. Helen watched for hours as the creature concentrated, stuffing, shaping, sewing. Her eyes began to droop, and she dragged herself to the pile of blankets she'd laid out, asleep almost before her head settled on the makeshift pillow.
* * *
The landscape undulated like a lazy ocean, soft hills rose and fell, forests sprang from the grasslands, retreated again. People ebbed and flowed, sometimes abundant, sometimes scarce, but always the same. They fought hunger, disease, each other. They changed color, language, habits; remained wilfully ignorant, certain of superiority. Unwilling to see anything that suggested otherwise. Innocent. Delicious.
* * *
She awoke hours later. She had slept fitfully despite the fairly cushy blankets; disorientation disturbed her sleeping consciousness. She rubbed her eyes and staggered into the main room, found her monster sitting at a bench, totally absorbed in carving a piece of bone. She quietly approached and watched from a stool nearby. The creature had skill, patience, and the focus that takes an artist to the realm of creation.
When it had finished with its carving, it straightened, looked up at her, baring its cruel teeth in satisfaction. It reached across the bench, and picked up a piece of polished metal shaped like a crescent moon, with a short rectangular bar sprouting from the concave face. The creature fitted the tang into its newly-made bone handle, and inserted copper pins, then tapped them flat with a small hammer. It held up the finished weapon for Helen to see.
"An ulu...! It's beautiful!" The carving on the handle depicted a female figure riding on the back of a winged, taloned monster, claws spread in the rapture of the hunt. Helen was speechless. She lifted her eyes to her creature and smiled, blinked. It gestured to the bench, for her to sit by it and join in.
For the next few days she learned how to make weapons, not only functional and deadly, but artistic and whimsical. She learned how to cut out the metal for a blade by punching the shape from old leaf springs, using a cold chisel and a two-pound hammer. Her first few efforts were clumsy and misshapen, but she kept at it until the raw form emerged. The creature showed her a room where an industrial grinder still functioned, which was useful for shaping the rough edges of the blade.
The monster also taught her how to carve pieces of bone into handles and various tools. Her favorite was a set of long darts, fletched with crow feathers, weighted with lead wire in the core. Each dart was about eight inches long, and could be blown from a hollowed bone tube or a piece of pipe. They were so delicate, elegant, and lethal. She took to wearing a couple in her hair, pushed through a knot at the back of her head.
The darts were also the easiest to make; bone, she quickly discovered, was a difficult and unforgiving material to work with. It splintered easily, and was much harder than wood. Her creature was a patient instructor, though, and they spent endless hours hunched together over her projects as she developed her skill. One time the monster brought an armload of its homemade weaponry to display. Knives, hatchets, axes, hooks, caltrops (seeing these, she narrowed her eyes, remembering her two flat tires, but it was all for the best, definitely), and a few she didn't recognize. Each was unique, crafted with care.
Her creature left every few hours, returning with more bodies. It set a few aside for stuffing, but most were consumed with frightening haste. In the ever shorter periods of time after its meals, while it seemed to be at ease, it would sit with her, watching her progress, sometimes scrawling on the tablet. Helen asked it about the 'workshops', the creature answered that it had many. This one was called the 'Tar Pits'. She was suprised; names for its lairs! It wrote that the cave was 'Womb With No View' , and when she recovered from laughing it wrote that the factory was 'Ex Machina' - Holy crap, she thought, it knows Latin... and the church was the 'House of Pain'. She tried to find the pun or double meaning in this name, but finally asked for an explaination. The creature wrote that the humans there had worshipped a torture. She understood; it meant the crucifixtion. Yes, House of Pain was appropriate.
One morning, Helen asked her creature a question that had been pestering her. "Why do you stay out here in the sticks? Wouldn't there be more food in a city? You wouldn't have to cover such a wide range..." The answer was scratched out.
"Hmm. I know what you mean." Suddenly, she spoke words without thinking. "You're part of the earth. You... you're made of the earth." The creature looked at her as if the statement was obvious, rhetorical. Helen knew it was true.
[Music for Chapter 7: 'Closer' as sung by Richard Cheese]
That afternoon her companion returned with a boy still breathing, though knocked unconscious by a blow to the head. Blood matted the kid's sun-bleached hair; dirt and corn leaves were caught in his work shirt and jeans. The monster dropped the boy's limp form to the floor, then plunged a hand right into the chest. Helen heard the ribs snapping, the flesh squelching. A heart was pulled out with a series of snaps as arteries gave way, and eaten still convulsing. The grey monster then lifted the boy's head up, smelling it intently. She watched with morbid fascination as it opened its mouth and appeared to french kiss the dead boy. "Whaa..." Helen didn't understand what it was doing, this was completely weird. After a moment it pulled away slightly, the boy's tongue in it's teeth, and she breathed a sigh of relief. It's just getting a new tongue, not indulging in necrophilia. The tongue stretched grotesquely out, finally tore free.
When her creature had finished swallowing, it hacked a strip of meat off, and held it out to her in a bloody hand. As she bit down on the warm, soft flesh, a sense of finally being herself fell into place.
In the late evening, the creature gestured for her to join it outside. She was glad to; the refinery was not a cheerful place, and she also knew time was running out. Soon her companion would sleep again, for another generation.
They emerged into the cool night air. The deep sea blue-green of twilight was sinking into the western horizon. The grey creature breathed deeply of the evening breeze, growling low, and grabbed her in one powerful arm. Her back was pressed tightly to its chest as it spread its great leathery wings, and burst into the sky. The earth fell away beneath them like a stone dropped in a pond.
The winged creature flapped and soared over the landscape, swimming through the air with ease. It's showing me its beloved home, the same country I cursed ignorantly just a few days ago. Scent of green pastures, alfalfa, sweet clover, damp rich smell of a meandering river hidden by trees. Manurey animal odors, horses, cattle. Pine trees exhuded a warm breath like Earl Grey tea . The ground rolled and spread away like a shadowy quilt while crickets and tree frogs sang to the night.
After a time the monster turned and began to follow a dark ribbon stretching in a line below; a country highway. It was half an hour before the lights of a car appeared, and the creature dove towards the road. It tossed a caltrop onto the pavement directly in front of the car, but the vehicle passed on unscathed. Unfazed, the creature swooped down, grabbed the spiky device, and tried again. This time there was a bang and a brief screech of slamming brakes. Ahh, a hit - a palpable hit. Helen's heart beat faster.
Her companion made a wide circle over the stopped car, waited for the driver to emerge and begin changing the tire. Helen craned her neck to see; sure enough, a man got out swearing loudly, holding a flashlight. The monster continued to circle, biding its time. It wanted the man's adrenaline down, his body tired from effort.
When the man was nearly finished putting the spare on, her creature quietly settled to the road fifty yards from the car. It looked her in the eye, jerked its head toward the man. Helen nodded, then sprinted off to the headlights in the distance. As she neared the car she slowed to a walk, feigning exhaustion, and pulled her knife out, hiding it by her leg.
"Hey...hey, mister." she called out breathlessly when the car was thirty feet away. "Boy am I glad to see you." The man dropped a lugnut, cursed, and felt for it before turning his flashlight into the darkness. "Hey, what are you doing out here, missy?"
"I've been walking for miles! I broke down and I don't know anything about cars and I got scared that no one ever used this road and I started walking and it got dark and-" "Yeah, ok honey, you're safe now." Yeah, but you're not. Honey. She had come within arm's length of the man. "Oh my gosh, I was so scared," she breathed, and swung her knife into the man's neck.
He made clicking, gurgling noises, staggering in place. His eyes rolled up in their sockets, and he toppled over, smacking heavily into the pavement.
Helen heard a shush of wings and her monster was beside her, cruel face aglow with triuphant pride. She pulled her blade free, and roughly hacked a large chunk of shoulder, offering it to her friend. Their eyes met. The creature nudged her playfully with a bony knuckle, and took the meat.
The creature ate the body where it lay, and flew the skeleton into a nearby clump of trees, hanging it among some high branches like a morbid Christmas ornament. Her creature swooped back to the car and walked towards her. Its mouth and hands were smeared with blood, eyes gleaming with an inner fire. Helen's heart beat furiously. She knew that fire - it burned in her, too.
It grabbed her up again, streaking straight up into the air, and she felt the delicious stiffness against her ass. The flight was brief; it descended again into the tall grass and let her tumble to the earth. The creature crouched over her, growling, breathing, almost laughing for joy. Fuck the clothes, she thought as it ripped them away, wanting its second feast laid bare. Violent tremors traveled over its skin as she stroked the strange texture of its body. It forced its way between her legs, pushed slowly inside her. The monster rocked its hips with agonizing calculation, watching Helen's reactions, stroking her, playing her like a cello. She reached up to touch its chest, but it took her wrist and pressed it firmly to the ground. Never when it had taken her savagely had the creature seemed so intimidating, or so overpoweringly erotic. Her body burned, her mind melted away.
She felt the creature lower its head, felt the brush of teeth as its jaws opened on her throat. I'm about to die. She saw the Milky Way winding across the inky night. The wave of shudders enveloped her, she tensed and gasped, falling away from her own skin. The monster's jaw convulsed almost imperceptibly as it growled and heaved to its own fulfillment.
The teeth remained around her neck as they lay panting, returning to the cool night. Finally the creature lifted its head, pulled her up to sit. She laughed; it looked like the cat that got the canary. She was amazed to be still living and breathing, but didn't question it. She felt more alive right at this moment than she had in her whole life.
A quick feel of her clothing told her it was pointless. Helen looked up; her monster was gesturing for her to follow it back to the car. A short walk through the tall grass, and she found the creature tightening the last lugnut on the spare. It got in the driver's side and patted the passenger seat. Thank god it's not vinyl, she thought, parking her naked ass, and the car squealed away. The bloodstain on the road will just look like a roadkill smear. It doesn't miss anything.
The creature drove for hours, occasionally turning down different roads. It turned on the radio and fiddled around for some decent music, but the selection was worse than pathetic. Helen opened the glovebox, hoping the man had at least had some taste in tunes; she pulled a handful of cd's out and read the titles aloud. "Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits," she made a gagging sound and tossed it on the floor. "Neil Diamond, Velvet Gloves and Spit... what - the - fuuuck...?" She dropped it and read the next couple. "What a surprise! Neil Diamond, Touching You Touching Me. Neil Diamond, Love at the Greek. You know, I'm beginning to wish that guy had died more painfully..."
They finally arrived at a dirt road that led to an abandoned gravel pit. Overgrown weeds obscured the rim, and Helen didn't even see the dropoff until they were right up on it. She understood at once why they had come here, and got out, standing well back, as the creature pushed the car over the edge. Moments later the crumpling thud drifted up. She inched cautiously to the edge, peered over. There were at least a dozen vehicles piled in the shadowy depths below.
The monster lifted her up again, and the night air washed over her like a waterfall as they flew over the treetops. The flight was not long, but she was becoming chilly by the time they descended to a familiar clearing. Helen saw a slim moon rising as she crouched down to slide into the cave entrance.
Once inside, her companion went to a dusty steamer trunk and rifled through the junk inside, finally holding up a huge terrycloth bathrobe. The grass stains and mud down one side and the crusty brown bloodstain on one lapel were easily ignored next to the fuzzy warmth she could wrap in. The creature dug some more, found another old coat for itself, and with a smile it hurried out again, to hunt.
Helen puttered with tools on the worktable. A small chunk of bone was whittled and carved, eventually becoming a landscape in miniature. Before she finished, the sounds of a body being dragged in told her the monster was back.
She watched it eat, but didn't have an appetite yet. A new question was nagging her, but she didn't have the chalkboard anymore. A search of the work bench turned up a thick carpenter's pencil, and under a pile of bloodstained sheets she found a few pages of newspaper. It'll have to do. She gathered them up and brought them to the creature, which sat pulling bones apart.
"How much time do you have left? she asked, holding out the pencil. The grey monster scrawled letters in a margin.
Helen was stunned. So soon. And it needed to eat constantly now. She was quiet for a moment, thinking. "Are you sad that you're the only one? Alone?" She knew she might not be around when it woke again, life was full of the unexpected. The creature laughed, then wrote again on a fresh page.
Helen pondered this. This creature was so unique, so perfect. It knew its purpose, rejoiced in it.
The monster was right, humans were weak compared to other animals, yet had risen to dominate the earth. Or so they imagined.
Her creature crouched before her, leaned into her face, breathing in her scent for a time. It rose and pocketed some small weapons, then turned, grinning broadly at her before rushing out again.
It never returned.
Helen waited all the next day, hoping it would show up, but as the hours crawled by, she knew it wouldn't be back. Famished, she left the cave before dawn, still wrapped in the oversized bathrobe, and trudged through the woods in the general direction of her truck. She was sure it would still be there, surely no one would steal a beater with two flats on a country road. The flash of faded red in the growing light eased her worries, no one had even messed with it, other than a squirrel or two. Dammit, though, I still have two flat ti...
Her mouth hung open in disbelief, a smile crept over her face. The tires had been replaced. They looked like wheels from two different vehicles, but they were the right size. Her flats had been tossed in the bed. What a darlin', she laughed to the morning air. As she walked around the back of her truck, she saw that the BEATNGU plate had been wired over her own. Helen grinned broadly, nodding.
She found some fresh clothes and dressed, certain that this stretch of road was as private as private got. In minutes she was devouring a candy bar and speeding down the asphalt, away from the rising sun.
* * * * *
"Aunt Helen, show me how to hold it again." The little girl held out her knife and whetstone. The woman took girl's hands gently between her own, forming them into the proper shape, then began the circular motion of sharpening. "Always this direction, to match the grain in the steel." She let the girl take over the grinding, watched carefully as the first clumsy movements became smoother and more confident. "Keep the angle just so... that's right." Quiet pride shone in her eyes.
The two were silent for a time, as the girl perfected her skills. Finally, she opened her mouth, seeming unsure for a moment how to word her question. "Aunt Helen...?"
"Yes, sweetie?" She met the girl's big brown eyes.
"Do you think everybody has a perfect match, ...a true love that they just have to find?" The girl spoke confidently, as though the question had been nagging her for some time, but then lowered her head. Helen was mildly surprised. A question like this from a seven year old girl! Well, I really shouldn't be so surprised, she's a sharp one. "Well, yes, I do believe that."
"But you didn't find yours, I guess...?" Helen could see the girl was vaguely worried, concerned that some people missed their other half in the crowded world.
"No, actually. I did find my one true perfect guy." She smiled broadly, reminiscing to the time twelve years earlier, when she had spent a few days in heaven. Goosebumps rose as her body recalled the touch of dark grey hide, the grin of her predatory lover.
"Why aren't you married then?" The girl seemed to consider this a completely novel idea.
"He had to go away for a long time, somewhere I couldn't follow. He'll be back someday..." Helen tried to word it so the girl could understand how she felt. "I'm a little sad that we can't be together all the time, but it was worth it to just find each other." She sighed, remembering the concentrated bliss of those days. "It was enough to last me."
"Will I ever get to meet him?" the girl asked, her eyes glinted with hope. Her Aunt Helen's Guy. He must be so cool!
Helen tilted her head, silent for a moment. "Tell you what. He'll be back around the time you turn eighteen. You drive out to see me then, and I'll introduce you to him. Ok?" The girl beamed, and nodded rapidly. "Yeah!"
"I think you'll like him." She tried to hide her smirk as she stood. "Now, let's go make us some sandwiches. I've got some of that good roast left. Would you like that?"
The girl bounded off towards the kitchen, pigtails flying. "Yup! You make the best roast ever!"
[Music for Chapter 8: 'The Killing Moon' by Echo and The Bunnymen, 'Crunchy Granola Suite' by Neil Diamond, 'We'll Meet Again' by Benny Goodman and Peggy Lee]
A/N: I found out something interesting a few days after completing this story. In some versions of Greek mythology, Helen was one of the daughters of Nemesis, the goddess of vengence (she personified the disaster that awaited those suffering from the pride of hubris).
Appropriate, I think.
I named my protagonist/alter ego Helen after the main character in a short story I began in college. It was based on part of the Norse pantheon, specifically Loki - god of mischief and death, his daughter Hel - queen of the underworld, and his sons the Fenriswolf and the Midgard Serpent. That story is far from complete, but hey, maybe it'll be done before Ragnarok comes.
There were inconsistencies between the first and second movies, one of which was that the moon was full as the Creeper winged Darry away, and four days later it was a crescent. For the sake of this story, I'll assume that Trish was seeing a full moon because she was hysterical. ...or something. Another inconsistency was that in the first movie he only wants the occasional body part, but in the second is not picky, and takes everyone he can get his claws on, though he has favorites. So there are some things we just don't know about the Creeper's eating habits, and I'm not going to try to explain them here.
Hope you enjoyed the story.
If you want more, the novel-length sequel is in progress.
is the ongoing saga of our favorite monster, Helen, and her niece Mena.
The Other Half and illustrations Copyright 2005 by Mary Harris [aka redplanetes]
~plagarists will be flayed alive~