Blackwood Theater

A chilling sort of awful
A strange kind of place
A howling in the distance
A twisted, crooked face

The shadows past the moonlight
The step upon the stair
The monster in the closet
The risk you shouldn’t dare

Where prayers are never answered
Where luck is always bad
Where dreams fall into nightmares
Where visions drive you mad

Prepare, for hope is fading
Prepare, for time is near
Prepare, to hear a story
Prepare, to face your fear…

Welcome, friends. I’m Romulus Blackwood, and this is…BLACKWOOD THEATER
I certainly hope you enjoy your stay.

Most days are forgettable, and this one was almost no exception. Jorgensen had injured, or tweaked, his back at work. The boxes were a bit too heavy around four o’clock. At any rate, when he stumbled home, dinner was cold and somewhat tasteless. His wife went to bed early. The baseball team he followed lost in the tenth inning.

It was a Friday, which meant nothing anyway, but at least there was no pressure for tomorrow. However, it was the one day where Jorgensen allowed himself a smoke. Plain cigarettes, not that green crap. Eleven, maybe half past that, he clicked off the tube and ventured outside. Early summer, not so bad. Breezy, calm, quiet. Drawing his chair to the far corner of the porch, he switched off the lights and sat there in the dark. A flame flickered and smoke filled the air. This was what his day had come to at the end.

Well, almost the end. There were still some minutes left to be run off. It was in that span, right before midnight, when what happened, happened. Jorgensen was on his second smoke when he heard a sort of grumbling coming from his right, four or five houses down, causing him to lean over for a look. There was almost a full moon, so he could see fairly well in the darkness, and it was apparent that there was indeed something there.

And I mean, not something, but a thing.

Crawling.

On his neighbor’s lawn.

It was, what? Maybe two feet long. Looked sort of like a mutant Dachshund. But it couldn’t have been a dog, since no dog moved that way. A mix between a crawl and a drag. It didn’t have legs but flippers, and a tail which was spiked on the end. Every second or so it stopped and glowed a hazy orange, its body transparent for that particular instant. But worse was that as it oozed along like a slug, it finally came to rest on the gas pipes of each house. They ran across the lawns leading out to the street, and were buried several feet down, as is typical. However, whenever the monstrosity came to a new house, it gave that orange pulsation with a twitch. When this occurred the gas line below suddenly pushed upward, and then the creature would bite the pipe in two! Jorgensen watched all this in astonishment until he realized that the beast was now next door and would soon be advancing onto his property. It would probably destroy his own gas fixtures, and he simply couldn’t allow such a terrible act.

Jorgensen had a little air pistol, which his wife hated and continuously tried to get rid of. However, he had hidden it cleverly and constantly, moving it around to avoid her female detection. By sheer coincidence the weapon in question was now resting in the old watering can just behind his current seat. As the devilish beast made its way onto Jorgensen’s lawn he reached down and secured the valuable weapon. Applying a few pumps, he gave quick aim as the bizarre creature halted and made ready to glow like a firefly. Before it could perform its mystic ritual, the marksman managed to shoot it right in the middle of its eye.

Bull’s-eye.

There was no real thought on what would occur if he did this, as Jorgensen had chosen action rather than reflection. It was probably the right move, of course, but the result was intense and overwhelmingly shocking. Upon being shot, the beastie reared up on its appendages, gave a screech and levitated seven or eight feet into the air. It convulsed in the manner of a dying man, the head spinning in every direction like a runaway top. The creature then separated into four segments before evaporating with a final cry. Jorgensen waited for the coast to be completely clear, then edged his way out into the street for a closer look.

Yup. It was gone.

A sense of glory washed over the man, whose back suddenly felt as if he was only 25 years of age. He was convinced his deed had saved the day, for the animal in question must of certainly been on a malevolent quest. Jorgensen even fancied waking his wife to inform her of his grand sharpshooting, or perhaps he’d celebrate with a cheese sandwich, but all of that drained away when he looked skyward, catching something else moving in the dull moonlight.

A…not sure what to call it. This small figure hopping from rooftop to rooftop.

It was biting through all the electrical cables.

And it was headed toward Jorgensen’s house…

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