THE NIGHT WAS DARK
by L. Storm
It was the other night, on Halloween, when it happened. It was dark and the humidity was higher than normal at this time of year. It was also a few degrees warmer than usual.
Peter had left work two hours earlier, telling his boss that there was a matter of emergency involving his wife and newborn baby. Presently he exited an establishment serving alcohol next to women’s bare bosoms, a place called Hootsville, where he had a tab at the bar. His jacket was wrinkled and his necktie askew, the fly in his pants a tiny bit undone yet noticeably so, as he headed homeward on automatic pilot.
Peter didn’t look in the direction he was walking, so he didn’t see the unusual thing that happened, just fifteen or so meters ahead. He was looking down on his mobile device as he attempted to unlock the screen for the third time. If he had looked he would have seen a man being eaten whole by something that at first glance registered as another human. It was not a human. It was a something else. Its jaw had dropped to the ground in no time and giant, sharp teeth had folded out of the mouth and grabbed the victim, scooping him up . As quickly as the face had unfolded, it snapped back into its original shape.The only visible difference to the predator now was a protruding, oblong belly.
Peter, getting closer by the step, was still struggling with his phone.
“Fuckin’ shit, fuckin’ phone shit fuck!” he said at an easily audible level.
“Shit locking… I don’t ah, fuckin’ piece of useless shit -“ He gave up and stuck the item in a pocket.
Then he noticed the predator.
“Well, helloooo there.”
It looked at him with red, empty eyes. The peroxide blond hair had been rolled up to Marilyn Monroe curls earlier in the day. Its fuchsia thigh length sateen dress glistened in the overhead streetlight and it attempted to cover up greasy, burgundy stains with a midnight blue polyester wrap. Peter gazed slowly at it from the top of the curls, down to the translucent platform shoes, and said:
“Look, you’re telling it all wrong, mate.”
The predator didn’t respond.
“I ain’t talking to her, I’m talking to you! You’re telling this all wrong, mate!”
Peter was confused.
“Nah, mate, I’m not confused, it’s you who’s confused.”
Ah, what. Are you talking to me?
“Yeah I am! And you got the wrong end of the bargain on this one, mate, but don’t worry, I’m gonna fix it. Like Jimmy!”
Peter laughed a laugh that could make an emotionless AI troubled and make its networks curdle. The Narrator took a moment to regroup.
“Nah, don’t bother, I’ll tell me own story, guv.”
All right. I see. So how do you think it should be told?
“Well, it’s like this, innit:
THE NIGHT WAS HOT
by Peter Jones
Peter had gotten ‘imself out of a boring meeting by telling his boss that his ol’ ball ’n’ chain had some issues with the baby, which might or might not be Peter’s, who knows, right? Anyways, so I says, “Probably nothing serious, probably just gas, yeah? But it is better to be sure, right? So I better go.”
Now, I wasn’t lying! The missus did send a text saying to meet them at the A&E, so I figured they’d be safe there, yeah, so I dropped by some friends of mine on the way. For a business chat. Totally business, I could even take the costs of it off my taxes, I’m confident of it, but anyways.
So I left the place after Trixie started doing me head in, and it really should be the other way around, innit? Get it? Anyway, I took off and was about to text the missus to tell her the meeting was FINALLY over and I was on me way.
That’s when I saw ‘er. She was standing by the wall at the curb and she was smoking. I don’t normally like smokers but this was a totally scrumptious hot tottie, a right fancy bird, so I thought I’d let it go this once. I could tell she’d been standing there all night, with all the cigarette ends on the ground by her, just waiting for a stud. Like me!
So I put a little swagger in me legs and I walk up to her. Smooth. I look her deep in an eye and I say:
“How’s it, Darlin’?”
She sort of -looks right through me, the red rings in her iris giving my reflection in them this amazingly romantic sheen. That’s when I know she’s dead keen. So I move closer. And I ask her a thing that the tarts like to hear:
“How you feelin’, Love?”
Her voice is sort of raspy and husky. And there’s a faint rattle in there. Must be the smoking. It's pretty sexy. She says:
“All right, all right, slow down, Love! I know I’m all you’ve been looking for but I ain’t that easy!”
See, I like to treat ‘em mean to keep ‘em keen, yeah? Really get them going! I says:
“I’ll warm you up all right, don’t you worry!”
I run a mitt over her hair, it feels like the softest plastic. Her eyes seem to grow larger, so I know she’s game.
That voice is a thing to get used to, I’ll admit, so I plan to play some really loud AC/DC when we finally get down to business.
“Oh, you’re starving? Wanna go for a bite first, eh?”
Now I’m starting to wonder about a couple of things. Is that sateen dress of cotton or silk? Because silk comes off way more easily, and considering the “dinner” I took, that is a point to consider. I decide to examine this matter more closely.
I stretch out my hand, both hands actually (I’ve forgotten which hand is the best for feeling fabric most accurately), at a level just below her shoulders. Hands cupped and ready, I was just about to reach for her when I suddenly… I.. Wait a minute. What large teeth you have?
And what enormous eyes you have!
Wait, what’s that going on with your jaws there, is this a trick? Am I on the telly? Is Beedle about? I’ll sign a waiver!
Look, I’m not sure about this, Darling, You seem… hungry and I’m not really that into ladies who lunch, know what I mean? Get a bit thick in the bones? Yeah? Ehm, so, ah, I’m going to go now and oh sweet Jeeesus how do you do that with your teeth, how is it OW! OW! NO! NOOOOO! NO MEANS NO, YOU SKANK! OWW! HELP! MANEATER! OW! ARRRGH!
OW! OWFM! FMMM! MMMMM!”
There was some more muffled yelling inside the predators throat and belly, slowly trailing off into silence.
And then he was done.
Peter had been swiftly digested and soon would be pulped in the predator’s innards, to a repugnant substance not unlike his personality. At the very least he did get to narrate his own life, but suffice to say he could have done with honing his listening skills, and utilising some critical thinking, don’t you think? Were someone to divulge details of present danger as you were walking straight toward it, would you not stop and think about it? Hm? Alter your course?
One should want to make better choices than Peter.
The memory of Peter had already started to fade for the predator. It straightened its dress and wig, smeared a brand new dark red stain better into the fabric, and waited for the next body to keep it warm. In this spot there would be plenty more people like Peter, of a certain odious personality, which was exactly the type it was going for.
Peter’s wife and child however, lived happily ever after.
And that, is The End. Good night.