One Down by Brett Matthew West
Did You See That? contest entry
Artwork by lillyxxmayxx at FanArtReview.com
"Did you see that?" Tony asked bewildered.
Manic, Jeremy replied, "Hope for the best and expect the worst!"
Frightened shadows lingered overhead as eerie sounds grew louder. Danger lurked. Gnarled hickory branches lashed out in anger as two scared rabbits bounded down the leaf-covered trail.
"OUCH!" Tony exclaimed in agony as one scourged his cheek. He wiped the blood away from the laceration and kept running.
Crunches echoed underneath their tightly tied Reeboks. Imitating Richard Petty in the Daytona 500, they picked their feet up and put them down with rapid regularity. Little choices made a big difference. Jeremy stumbled. He quickly caught his balance. Stride for stride, he stayed with his companion.
Tony glanced over his shoulder He questioned if his twenty-twenty vision deceived him? The look of pandemonium on Jeremy's sunburned face confirmed the truth. He trembled. Trepidation was never a good omen.
"We know better than to go into McWhorter's Woods, especially when it's dark," Tony lamented. He regretted having snuck out of the house against his father's insistence.
"If we'd only listened instead of playing Dare," Jeremy responded between deep breaths, "we wouldn't be in so much trouble."
Somber, Tony confessed, "My dad's gonna murderize me for disobeying him. For sure! I see the woodshed in my future."
"Mine, too," Jeremy agreed. He knew that was the least of their worries.
The pack of hellhounds snarled hot on the heels of the prey they hunted. Tony noticed the guardians of the supernatural possessed mangled, raisin-black coats.
"Can you smell their stink breath?" He asked. In a haste, he called over to Jeremy and proclaimed, "Those aren't puppies to pet. Run, or we're gonna be dog food!"
The malevolent glow of the beasts' red eyes flamed.
"Get a load of those huge fangs," Jeremy responded.
Razor-sharp claws, yearned to shred tender flesh. The miscreants knew the local folklore. Legends attributed the sightings of these hideous monsters to certain death. Out of the corner of his saucer-sized eye, Tony observed the savages raced on a carpet of mist. Their pulses bolted, the draconian minions' thin bodies left paw prints on rocks, but not on the soft ground.
Spooked, Tony replied, "We can't let those ghouls circle around us. We gotta keep moving."
"Our only hope is to get home as fast as we can!" Jeremy reiterated.
The dwarfish rapscallions recalled what Mordecai, the leprechaun, told them. All afternoon the three compadres frolicked in a magical world of Shamrock and Straw. Tony won the delightful game that saw them pick up shamrocks by inhaling them onto a plastic drinking straw. He wondered if Mordecai had let him win.
A known comedian, Jeremy's favorite pastime was the Pot of Gold Drama Game. Enlightened, they took turns pantomiming what they'd buy if they found a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. He also liked the four-leaf clovers Mordecai gave them.
The leprechaun's bullion caught Tony's attention. He'd never seen a pot with so many shiny coins before. Not a thief, Tony couldn't resist the temptation of the forbidden treasure. No longer would his family be downtrodden.
"All I wanted was that new X-Box at Wally World," Tony reflected. The warm and fuzzies he knew the unit would provide settled over him. "If Mordecai hadn't turned his head, I wouldn't have flashed that ingot at you."
"You wouldn't think Mordecai would miss one small token," Jeremy responded.
In a hushed tone Tony had whispered, "Finders, keepers," and stuffed the nugget deep inside the pocket of his shirt. Jeremy had chuckled because he too had devised a means to pilfer a keepsake of his own.
The ferocious, baying hounds trapped the wayward tots in a thicket of thistles and closed in. Sharp pricklies from the spiny vegetation pierced their backs. Startled by the fitful nightmare that disturbed his slumber, Tony sprang out of bed soaked with sweat. A blood-curdling scream emitted, "NO!"
Tony contemplated why he gobbled chocolate chip ice cream before he went to bed, and promised he never would again. Sternly, he chided himself, "Good way to have a nightmare, dweeb."
He fumbled for his shirt on the back of the chair. Hysteric, he reached into the pocket and removed his prized trinket. Elated, he held the gold high in the air and padded his bare feet to the dresser.
The leprechaun marionette his favorite toy, Tony placed the coin next to Mordecai and boasted, "Look what I got."
Mordecai bared his incissors and leaped off the dresser. He buried his canines deep in Tony's throat. They crumpled to the floor.
"Little boys shouldn't steal that which does not belong to them," Mordecai warned as he flopped out the door. "One down. One to go."
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Brett Matthew West
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