What a scene, I thought to myself while surveying the front yard. Even considering the full moon, the night was unusually well lighted. With a fresh layer of snow, there was no need for vision-enhancing technology. Tossing the doctor's low light lenses into a toolbox, I dusted off the snow from atop the platform of my contraption. With a chunk of meat slathered in bait, I let the lure sit in the center of the containment. I had no idea how long it may be for the beast to show if it would show at all. According to the doctors’ notes, the creature was most active on full moons and most hungry just before midnight. It was just after 11 pm, if it failed to show tonight, I may have to wait another lunar cycle.
Flurries began to fall, adding a sparkling sheen to the already crystalline snow. A light breeze picked up and began to waft the smell of the bait directly at my face.
The smell was rancid. Somehow, the already pungent herbs had only grown more foul sitting atop the meat. Through my gagging, a faint sound came from the direction of the tree line. Remaining as still and quiet as possible, I titled my head so as to pick up the sound. It was as if something was trampling branches underfoot, something big. From the edge of the woods came a set of glowing, amber circles, moving about like fireflies in the night. The closer the glowing lights became, the louder the footsteps grew. Now just 30 yards away, the outline of the disturbance became visible.
Hulking, massive shoulders swayed with each step. A bellowing torrent of steamy breath exuded into the air, accompanied by beastly, frantic grunts. Glowing, nearly burning eyes darted about, scanning ahead with a maleficent squint.
This is it, I thought to myself. There’s no going back now.
Adrenaline began to course through my veins, causing my heart to pound in my ears. I felt overcome with the desire to flee! No, wait, to fight, no, to hide! Already taking shelter behind an evergreen bush, I nestled in even further until I could hardly see past the pointy, pine-scented needles. With panic taking hold, I checked to make sure both my pistol and paralysis gun were holstered by my waist.
It was now standing beside the platform, eagerly sniffing the air. For the first time, I had a clear look at the beast. It was tall, nearly 9 feet from head to toe, and big, its shoulder easily surpassing 2 feet in width. Covered in thick black hair, it resembled a Gorilla more than anything. Only this creature didn’t walk like an ape, it walked like a man. Completely erect, it stood on its trunk-like legs, muscles bulging in abundance. Its hide was covered in scars of varying shapes and lengths, a testament to the doctor’s countless attempts at subduing it.
With an excited huff, it looked in the direction of the bait, tentatively walking closer until it was standing part ways on the platform.
Not yet, I mumbled under my breath, sweat building across my brow and turning my underarms into a swamp.
Crouching down, it picked up the hunk of meat, sniffing it intently.
Now completely inside the enclosure, I took a deep breath and steeled my nerves for whatever may come next.
Now! Twisting the metal wheel that controlled the steam supply, I opened the latch and let it flow free.
As the gate shut, the monster let out a shocked grunt, turning around and placing its hands against the enclosure. Shaking it forcefully, it tried to escape, growling unnaturally as the arm began to spin. I scampered out of the bush, revealing my presence to the beast. This was something I wanted to see unobstructed.
Its gaze intensified once I stepped into the open, a rage growing on its humanoid face. With the arm now spinning with force, the monster’s hair began to puff out from the electric energy that was building. Looking ever more enraged, the creature tried smashing through the metal bars, howling and screaming with every blow.
It’s too late for that my grotesque friend. Accept your fate.
Like a meteorite lighting up the dark, a ball of electricity formed within the cage, turning the monster into an unfortunate conduit. Twitching and shrieking, it jerked about as the volatile energy roasted its flesh, singing and igniting sections of its furry hide. Like a dead frog being reanimated with live cables, its arms smashed against the cage, denting, and bending the bars like they were made of cheap plywood. The longer it went on, the more my conscience began to prick me. I felt like a cruel, over-eager student who had gone past all moral sense in his pursuit of knowledge. Had this been a sheep, a dog, or some other animal, would there be any justification for what I was doing?
Its skin now giving off a horrendous smelling smoke, I sealed the steam pipe shut and let the machine die down. The creature stood motionless as the mechanical arm ground to a halt, its sinister purpose having been fulfilled. Leaning forward, it doubled over, slamming into the other side of the enclosure until it came to rest on the floor.
Cautiously moving closer, I grabbed a long stick from under the snow and began to poke at the beast, hoping beyond hope it was down for the count. The only movement the monster was making was the rising and falling of its chest as it took in heavy, guttural breaths. After a few more firm jabs with the pole, I grabbed a syringe and put my hands through the bars. Gently, I pressed the needle into its arm, tensing and jerking in my efforts to break its skin. Now that the needle was through, I extracted a quantity of blood which I then secured inside a lockbox and stowed inside the lab.
What now? I thought aloud, staring at the gargantuan creature lying motionless before my eyes. I suppose I should inform Miss Diana.
Heading into the study, I locked the door and tapped out a message. Thankfully, I got a swift response. I was about to confirm her message when a horrendous sound pierced into my eardrums. Grabbing the rifle from the fireplace, I rushed outside to see the monster back on its feet, its immensely powerful arms prying the metal bars apart.
Without thinking, I turned the steam wheel once more, hoping it would incapacitate it like before. Before the mechanical arm could begin to spin, the beats reached through the opening it had made and ripped the arm clean off, throwing it on the ground like a toy.
“Good heavens,” I cried out, my voice cracking with fear.
Looking directly into my eyes, the monster took in a breath and let out the most heart-rending, blood-curdling, spine-tingling roar I had ever heard. So loud was its cry that birds swarmed from the trees and wolves cried out in response, a wild warning to all in the vicinity to run and hide.
Grabbing my paralysis pistol, I aimed at the beast, unloading needle after needle into its massive body. Some bounced off, its muscular form providing ample protection from ballistics. A few managed to stick, sending a massive dose of chemical sedatives into its ancient blood. In little time, the creature began to calm down, swaying and rocking as the formula went to work. I let out a sigh as I hid behind a crate full of metal components. I had the rifle aimed at the cage in case the mixture failed to work, my shaking fingers poised on the trigger.
A minute went by, then two, then three, until I had begun to calm down. It seemed the sedative had worked. While I was unsure how much time it bought, it would seem I could relax for a second. The sound of horses neighing brought added relief as it meant Miss Diana was close by. Stepping out of the carriage with pomp and splendor, she pranced over to the cage. “This is the creature?” She asked with a contorted look. “It looks nothing like I imagined.”
“Thank you for arriving so quickly my lady. I have no idea how long it will remain sedated.”
“In that case, we had better get a move on.” Waving her hands in the air, she motioned for two of her attendants to hook the enclosure to the back of the carriage. “We should be able to take it from here. I’ll have it moved to a more secure location for study.”
I nodded, taking steadier breaths now that it seemed the worst was over. “And what of our deal Miss Dupont?”
She looked at me with apathetic eyes. Her lips formed into a faint smirk as she stared me down. “I am a lady of my word. Come by tomorrow and I’ll let you do whatever you wish to the beast. However, your research will aid me first and foremost am I understood?”
“Yes, my lady, completely.”
“The creatures secured Miss Diana.” One of her attendants called out from the carriage.
As she walked back, she stopped and turned to face me. “I do hope this will be the start of a long, prosperous partnership, Mister Taylor. You have a brilliant mind. I would hate to see it go to waste.”
I nearly blushed. A lady like Miss Diana complimented me? She must have truly meant it.
Before she could make it back to the carriage, a horrifying scream shattered the night's peace. Miss Diana and I had both instinctively pulled out a weapon. I, my rifle, and her an intricately decorated six-shooter.
“What’s going on back there!” She asked in a commanding tone. There was no response.
As we stepped closer, something hit the ground with a bone-cracking thud. In the white powder lay the body of Miss Diana’s carriage driver.
The sound of metal being warped and twisted continued, the grunts of the creature echoing through the air.
“It’s getting free!” I shouted to Miss Diana, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her along as I retreated to the lab.
Gunshots fired off as her other assistant squared off against the monster. Like before, a gurgling scream was quickly followed by swift silence.
Now back in the lab, I pulled back the curtain and peered outside, desperately scanning the yard. The silhouette of the creature shuffled into view; a body being dragged by its hand. Flinging its arm out with minimal effort, it sent the body flying into the lab. Wood splintered from the impact, leaving a gash in the windowsill of Doctor Winston’s Bedroom.
“What are we supposed to do?” Miss Diana whispered, her pistol cocked and ready.
“The only thing we can do,” I replied, taking a stance with the rifle and pointing it at the monster.
Round after round was spent as we both unloaded our payloads. The monster recoiled at the barrage of bullets flowing into its hide. Zigzagging, the beast attempted to evade our fire, ducking in and out of sight as it took cover behind the piles of mechanical scrap littering the yard.
Shell casings clinked as they struck the ground. Miss Diana had already reloaded her revolver, her capable gunmanship only adding to the air of mystery that followed her like a cloud. With shaking hands, I too reloaded my rifle, jamming round after round into the ammo slot and pulling the bolt back.
We could hear the beast as it roared about, kicking up snow with every step. I wasn’t sure what it was doing, but I knew I didn’t like it. An explosion hit the lab like a cannon shot ripping into a ship's hull. Lodged into the side of the fireplace was a rock the size of a soccer ball. Another hole was torn through the structure, followed by another until an almost steady stream of rocks came crashing through the building.
Miss Diana began to scream as she lay flat on the floor, chunks of wood and debris showering over the both of us. Crawling across the floor, I made my way to her and covered her head with my arms.
“What do we do?” She shouted, her strong, authoritative voice giving way to fear.
Pointing to the basement door, I said, “Move that way, to the sublevel!”
Swimming through the shattered remains of the lab's northern wall, we reached the door. Motioning for her to go first, I followed behind and slammed it shut. The lights flickered much dimmer than usual, a side effect of the waning steam supply. Barricading the door at the bottom of the stairs with a bookcase, we took a breath and simultaneously let out an exacerbated sigh.
“W-what happened out there?” she cried, taking a seat near the back wall.
Securing all the entry points in the room, I said, “The beast got loose.”
“My attendants…it, it killed my attendants.”
“And us too if we don’t think of a way out of this,” I warned while peering through the basement window. It only showed the side of the house, leaving the front and back unsupervised. It mattered little. Heavy feet slamming into the wooden floors above revealed the creature’s presence. It was inside, and it would only be a matter of time before it found us.
The wooden rafters creaked and groaned under the weight of the beast. They were not designed to hold such massive weight. Dust fell from the ceiling as it walked through the first floor, objects clattering as they shattered against the oak paneling. With loud, labored breaths, the monster smelled the air. It knew we were here; it just didn’t know where.”
Miss Diana began to whimper, her hand shaking as she used it to cover her mouth. She inched further back into the corner of the room. She appeared quite desperate to hide away. As her back met the wall, her shoulder bumped into the edge of a wooden stool, knocking it over and causing a glass beaker to shatter against the stone floor.
“Ruh?” The beast grunted inquisitively. With our location now compromised, it began to walk toward the basement door.
Miss Diana was becoming frantic, her eyes giving way to tears. With her revolver aimed at the door, she looked as though she was making her last stand.
The beast began to jiggle the doorknob, struggling to understand why the handle wouldn’t turn. It seemed that while it understood how to open them, it was yet to master the concept of locks. Again, it mattered little. Letting out a frustrated grunt, the creature sent the door flying down the stairs and crashed into the next. I attempted to open the basement window, but it had no latch and was reinforced by two metal bars.
The secret room!
With the beast now forcing its way down the stairwell, I grabbed Miss Diana’s arm, along with the lockbox containing its blood, and kicked down the door to the doctor’s private room. Pulling the mechanism that activated the shelf, I led her inside and sealed it shut. Just as the shelf closed, the sound of the basement door exploding reverberated through the sub-level, causing the both of us to wince.
Glass, furniture, support beams, and shelves, all were being torn apart as the creature tore through the room. A strong odor started to seep through the vents, it smelled of alcohol and sulfur. Crashing through the doorway and out into the hall, it let out manic grunts as it squeezed and shimmied forwards. Miss Diana was inspecting the interior of the room, pulling on every object she could find in a frantic attempt to find another corridor through which to escape. I was busy peaking through a small crack that allowed me to see into the previous room. Once more, the door to the room we were hiding behind was torn down, an eruption of wooden splinters shooting out from the impact.
Now inside the doctor’s taxidermy workshop, the beast began to tear the place apart. Oddly, it seemed like it knew where it was, what this place was. Perhaps after all the doctors failed attempts, it had obtained a special hatred for the sights and smells contained within the building. Despite being just beyond the shelf, it looked like the monster had too many conflicting smells to sort through for it to locate us, an advantage that was lost by the loud clanking noise now filling the entire basement. Turning around, I saw Miss Diana at the back wall with a sconce that had been turned upside-down in her hand. Above us, the roof was being lifted, snow trickling down as the ceiling parted. It now made sense how the doctor has managed to place this massive cage within such a small room, he merely had to slide it in.
Miss Diana clamored up to the top of the cage. With an impressive leap, she cleared the gap and called out for me to do the same. Now atop the cage, I attempted the same jump but was less successful.
“Ooph!” I wheezed as my ribs slammed into the edge of the wall. Gripping my coat, Miss Diana assisted me up.
“Thank you, my lady. I’m not sure I could have made that on my own.”
“Yes, that’s all well and good but what are we to do about this? We couldn’t hope to outrun such a creature!”
She was right. There was no way we could both get away, not with it in such an enraged state. Handing her the lockbox, I said, “Here, take this.”
Gripping it hesitantly, she asked, “What is it?”
“Inside that case is a sample of the creature’s blood. If I don’t make it back, make sure it’s put to good use.”
She stood there in confusion until the sound of the beast breaking through the bookshelf snapped her back to reality.
She took off into the night, sprinting along the roadway that led to town. Peering over the ledge, I watched as the beast slammed its shoulders into the entryway.
“A bit too big, eh old chump?”
It let out a deafening roar in reply.
Removing the pistol from behind my back, I aimed it at the creature’s face. “Looks like you spilled something all over the floor. Smells flammable.”
Aiming just to the right of its head, I let off a round.
Bang! The bullet struck a compressed cylinder of gas, setting off a chain reaction. A fire swelled through the basement, bathing the monster in a torrent of flames. What happened next was unexpected.
As the fire spread, a small explosion ripped through the basement, followed by another, then a larger one, until eventually, the entire lab exploded. A shockwave slammed into me, pushing me back and singeing my eyebrows. Now weakened by the blast, the lab collapsed, drowning the beast in a molten pile of slag and rubble.
“And that,” I huffed, “settles that.”
I hadn’t taken more than a few steps back before the ruined remains of the lab began to move. A giant hand burst to the surface, followed by another. With my jaw agape, I stared on as the creature pulled itself to the surface. Its hair was gone, completely burned off. All that remained was its scorched skin, ash, and soot coating it like a blanket. Now as naked as a mole, its form was disturbingly human, like an ape that had been put on a stretching rack and pulled until its spine came loose.
“Graargle!” it cried out in a warped tone, the heat of the air having likely burned its lungs and vocal cords.
“Good heavens! What will it take for you to die!” I pointed the pistol at its chest and unleashed everything.
Kapow!Kapow!Kapow! The pistol fired each round in rapid succession, sending a volley of metal into the beast's charred hide. Some went in, tearing holes through its unnaturally resilient skin while others bounced off, ricocheting through the yard and colliding into metallic components.
When once clipped emptied, I loaded another. Kapow!Kapow!Kapow! Reload. Kapow!Kapow!Kapow! Click, click, click.
The entire time I was firing, it was inching closer, the raw hatred in its eyes driving it forward. Only when the last clip had been emptied did it halt its advance. Blood now ran like a river from the countless bullet wounds dotting its body, drenching the snow and forming into a crimson puddle.
My compassion for the creature was matched only by my fear. Had I the option, I would have ensured it could never have gotten out in the first place. Slinging the rifle from behind my back, I cocked the bolt and brought the barrel to the creature’s head.
“Your suffering ends now. I-I’m sorry.”
Just before I could pull the trigger, the beast lurched forward, knocking the rifle from my hands and holding me off the ground. With its hands squeezing my waist, I could feel my ribs pressing against my lungs and my heart struggling to beat.
“P-please d-don’t k-k-kill…” I tried to plead for my life but there was no point. Staring into my eyes, its glowing irises said the words it couldn’t. I was dead, that much was certain.
Blacking out, my vision faded, the last thing I would ever see being the hideous face of this inhuman creature. I had accepted my fate when a loud crack echoed through the air, causing the beast to groan in pain and weaken its hold. Running forward with a revolver in each hand, was Miss Diana, her coat flapping in the wind as she bounded across the yard.
With the accuracy of a master marksman, she cocked and fired, pelting the monster's back until it was as shredded as the front. Dropping me to the ground, it turned its attention to her, crawling forwards as it struggled to stand erect.
“Oh no you don’t!” I shouted, picking my gun out from under the snow and emptying all but one round of my clip. The rifle rounds went in deep, causing the beast to give off pained grunts. Moving in close, I loaded the last round and lodged it directly into the monster’s skull. It slumped over, its mighty arms collapsing beneath its mountain-like chest as it let out its final breath.
Falling to the ground, I let out an unhinged chuckle that soon evolved into full-on hysterics.
Leaning over, Miss Diana asked, “What’s so funny? Your lab is destroyed, your test subject dead, and your use to me is fading. What could you possibly find funny about this situation?”
Titling my head until our eyes were locked, I replied, “Everything.” ns22.214.171.124da2