Creating a Monster

Marty held his flashlight in one hand and his baseball bat in the other. He felt the sting of a splinter in his palm but ignored it. He had more pressing matters to attend to than a tiny piece of wood in his hand.

He stepped through the doorway and out onto the back porch. A cool breeze rolled across his face. A lone owl hooted from some unseen perch.

With bated breath, Marty nudged the door closed and trained his flashlight on it. He closed his eyes, too scared to look, and counted to five.

He opened his eyes.

The door looked as it always had: weathered, but unmarked. No blood, no weird writing, nothing.

"Thank God," he sighed.

It had been three days since the incident on the road. The dog he had accidentally killed still haunted him. The poor thing had shot into the street so fast he didn't have time to stop, and in an instant all that remained was a lifeless heap with a collar still wrapped around its neck. Its head impacted his front bumper with such force that there was a dent in the chrome.

Marty sighed as the depressing memories squirmed around inside his head. He felt so bad about the whole thing, but what could he have done? It wasn't his fault. But when he tried to explain that to the dog's owner (an unpleasant young boy who could have substituted for the great white shark in Jaws) the kid simply scowled at him. He then scooped up what was left of his pet and walked away into the night.

But before he disappeared into the brush on the side of the road he threw back a disturbing glance at his dog's killer. It was a look of undisputed evil, an expression that possessed a degree of cruelty beyond what any civilized human being would have.

Marty saw the boy mouth some words at him. He couldn't hear them but judging by the zeal with which they were said he guessed they weren't pleasant.

Then he was gone. Only a slight depression in the bushes showed that he had been there, and after few seconds that too vanished.

Marty stood next to his dented car, a disbelieving look of regret plastered across his sweaty face.

After pondering his next move he drove home and sunk into his bed with an empty stomach and the beginnings of a migraine.

The following day nothing out of the ordinary happened. He woke up, dressed for work, and said hello to his neighbors. He felt fine, and despite his somewhat paranoid state of mind, enjoyed his non-eventful day.

However, the next day things were different. His car wouldn't start, at work he got an electric shock from a shorted-out cord in his office, and he lost his wallet, even though he had put it right on his desk. He simply turned in his chair, swiveled back around, and it wasn't there anymore.

And the day after that was worse. A pipe in his basement burst, flooding the room with nearly a foot of water, he received a phone call in the morning that his cousin had been in a terrible car accident, and then he lost his job, his boss citing several expensive mistakes he made over the course of the last few months.

Marty sulked back home, depressed, frustrated, and above all: worried.

Did the incident with the dog have something to do with it?

He didn't think so, but the notion wouldn't leave his mind. It festered there like an open sore, demanding to be recognized.

Marty reached out and touched the door. It was his way of reassuring himself that it was in fact safe. Ever since he came across the markings on the side of his house he knew it had something to do with the accident. The weird symbols and words, some of which looked like nothing more than scribbles, were written just below his bedroom window. He might not have even noticed them if his next-door neighbor hadn't pointed them out to him.

Marty pulled his hand away from the door and looked at the tip of his fingers.

They were white.

Realizing that the paint on the door was still wet, Marty immediately began to wipe it away with the back of his hand.

The words and symbols were gradually revealed.

They painted over them. They tried to hide them so I wouldn't wipe them away.

He then noticed something else: tiny drops of white paint that trailed away from the porch and into the brush.

Deciding to face whatever threat was waiting for him, Marty steadied his nerves, took a deep breath, and strutted off his porch. He was angry now. He didn't deserve this. It was an accident. It wasn't his fault. His hands clenched into fists as he made his way into the bushes, baseball bat in hand.

The brush was dense and only marginally lit by moonlight. Marty tread on though. He had no choice. If he didn't face up to his tormentors his problems would only get worse.

He searched but found nothing. Fearing he'd become lost, he turned back, weary and frustrated.

Reaching the clearing of his property, Marty trudged up to his porch. He stared at the symbols and words poking through the paint on the door. They still made no sense to him: a series of wavy lines and unpronounceable words.

But they were there nonetheless.

Marty set his bat down and used his hand to smear as much of the markings as he could.

"Who did this?" he mumbled to himself.

And then as if answering his question a figure appeared at the tree line, cloaked in shadow and standing as if presenting themselves to him.

Marty whirled around when he heard the bushes rustle. He grabbed his flashlight and pointed it at the figure.

It was the boy who owned the dog. He was standing there, unflinching from the light shining in his face. He wore the same ominous expression as before, but this time it hid an underlying grin that occasionally manifested itself in the corners of his mouth.

Marty felt a cold shudder dance up and down his spine. "What do you want from me?" he shouted.

The boy continued staring at him.

"Leave me alone or I'll call the police!"

Still no response.

The boy raised one of his hands to reveal a paintbrush. It was still wet with paint, white paint, and he pointed it at the door.

Then he turned and disappeared into the brush.

Marty spun around and continued wiping away the markings on the door.

A distant howl arrested his actions. It sounded like a wolf but was far enough away not to alarm him too much.

"It's just some animal," he mumbled and continued working on the door.

For the most part though the markings remained, although Marty was able to smear them to an extent. He stepped back to see if it would be enough.

The growl told him it wouldn't be.

He turned and saw the impossible loping toward him.

His breath froze in his throat when he realized it was a dog, the same dog he had hit with his car. But now it was alive and angry, slowly creeping along like some rabid nightmare straight out of a horror story.

Although he didn't want to Marty pointed his flashlight at the beast.

The fur was caked with blood and dirt. Tufts of mangy hair occasionally poked out of the mess but were so laden with filth they didn't move. The gaping wound in its head, the result of colliding with Marty's car, leaked brain matter that resembled wet pudding. And the eyes, clouded-over orbs set deep within its scowling visage, burned with hatred for the person who had killed it.

Marty stepped back until he pressed against the door. He gripped the bat so tightly it hurt.

The dog inched closer, never taking its eyes off its prey. It didn't blink. It didn't breathe. It only did what it was instructed to do.

Marty swiveled around, flung the door open, and rolled into the house.

The dog rushed forward. Its mouth hung open in a mockery of excitement. Stale air whistled past its teeth.

Marty kicked the door shut with his foot just as the dog smashed into it. It held firm as it rattled in its frame. Slivers of wood fell to the ground. He stood up and brandished the bat like a gladiator in the ring. It provided little confidence but it was all he had.

He crawled down the hallway, always wary of the abuse the door was taking.

With a sickening thud the last barrier between him and the dog then fell in a shower of debris.

The door lay on the ground.

The dog stepped over it, golden spittle dribbling from its formidable mouth, and with lightning-quick speed, pounced on its cowering victim.

The boy watched the grisly spectacle from his vantage point in the brush. His dog was performing admirably, effectively snuffing out the life of the one who had killed it.

The boy looked at his watch. His time was limited. Soon his pet would turn on him. The spell only lasted so long, and then…

With a sense of urgency he closed his eyes and began to recite a powerful spell. It would no doubt be effective in restraining the dog long enough for him to properly dispose of it, but still he worried. If his pet somehow managed to resist then it would not only kill him but steadily gain immense power and slaughter at whim, not stopping until every living creature it encountered was dead. He had created a monster and now he had to destroy it.

The boy finished the spell and stood up. He was pleased. All he needed to do now was locate the dog and complete the job.

He turned to leave and immediately noticed something: a rancid, coppery odor that struck him in the face as if he had walked into a wall. He covered his nose and mouth with his hand and looked for the source of the smell.

It only took him a few seconds to see his dog, its face matted with blood and pieces of torn flesh, galloping toward him.