The Creepers of McCall’s Ridge
The creepers reached for Ernie, their rotting arms wobbling in the still evening air. For a split second he froze and stared at their hands. The five creepers were covered in gore from the meal that they were making out the dead soldier that lay next to the road but their fingernails were what stood out to Ernie; yellow in color but they seemed to glow in the dying light of the day. Ernie broke himself from his trance and began to run past the creepers towards the last place he had seen his brother. The military vehicle was smoldering now. The rubber from the tires was completely burned to gooey black masses under rims that sat on the ground. Ernie frantically sprinted around the vehicle calling out his brother’s name but only succeeded in calling in more creepers from their dinner of soldiers next to the truck.
Ernie peered along the road, the same direction the soldiers had approached from the lake and could hear the rubble of more military vehicles coming. He ran deeper into the woods while the creepers began to divert their attention to the sound of the approaching vehicles. He slid on the soft pine needles as if he was sliding into home plate and then lay still under the relative concealment of a fallen pine tree. Ernie watched as three armored Hummers slowed to a stop next to the smoking truck and several soldiers in mixed uniforms began to unload. Each man began to take aim at separate creepers and took quick head shots to dispatch the closest threats first and then began to move outwards. Ernie’s stomach began to toss around as he watched more and more creepers emerge from the wood line and make their way towards the soldiers. Several stepped within feet of his hiding position, moaning, and dragging their feet as they slowly made their way to a quick death at the hands of the skilled killers.
These men seemed different than the ones him and his brother had faced near the lake and more recently after the blast he had created. The shooting stopped and several of the soldiers began to simply walk around with long bladed knives and stab their slow moving attackers in the tops of their heads and then moving on to the next slow moving target. Ernie was mesmerized by their efficiency in killing. These boys are good, he thought to himself. The passenger side door on the second Hummer opened and a man in a crisp looking uniform stepped out with a stubby cigar protruding from his mouth. His white hair was cut closely to the skin on the sides with it forming into an extreme flat top. Ernie watched as the man slowly scanned the area around him, turning his head slowly revealing two wicked scars that streaked across his right eye and down his right cheek. Ernie shivered as he stared at the man whom resembled the cliché of every military officer he had ever seen in a bad action movie.
“Get out the oracle.” The officer said in a voice that sounded like sandpaper.
“Roger that, sir.” An obedient soldier said as he walked to the back of the rear Hummer and dropped a metal tail gate. “Let’s go dummy! Get up!”
Ernie turned his head sharply to the left as he lay in the dirt to try and see the ‘oracle.’ The Hummer shook violently and the soldier stepped back and pointed his rifle into the vehicle. He began to shout warnings into the truck until the shaking stopped and whatever was inside began to comply. Ernie watched as the rear of the truck stooped then shot back up as a huge beast leapt from the rear truck and landed with a thud to the muddy road. Ernie couldn’t breathe. His breath was caught in his throat as he stared at the shackled, hairy beast standing in front of the soldier. It slowly stood to its full height, which had to have been eight feet by Ernie’s estimates, and turned to walk to the officer only after glaring threateningly at the soldier pointing his rifle at him.
As the beast walked, Ernie took in all its features; its large slopping forehead, red eyes, long shaggy brown hair, bare chest, and large feet…big feet…BIGFOOT? Ernie’s heart pounded in his chest as he stared at the beast that he had heard so many stories about but had never believed was true. So many folks from the hills had believed that it was real and had claimed to have seen or have had heard its calls in the middle of the night but Ernie had just written them off as folklore or old hills tales. Now he was staring right at the hairy beast as it walked in heavy shackles to classic action figure officer. It stopped walking and stared at the man as if he would tear him apart if his hands weren’t chained securely to his stomach.
“Where are they, Oliver?”
Oliver? Ernie wanted to laugh out loud. Bigfoot’s name was Oliver?
Oliver looked in Ernie’s direction and said in a squeaky voice, “Under that fallen tree.”
Ernie would have broken out laughing at the response if it wouldn’t have been for the shock that Bigfoot had spoken or that all of the soldiers were now pointing their weapons in his direction.