Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Eek! (02/25/10)
TITLE: Full Moon Rising
By Loren T. Lowery
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Certain his superiors were out to destroy the world, he confronted the senior officers at one of their meetings in the conference room. Unfortunately, along with being meek, Harold had yet to learn the difference between valor and good judgment.
Consequently, he was laughed out of the room and within the hour, he was presented his final paycheck by a snickering clerk from the Payroll Department.
At this moment, he was driving home, stuck in 5 o’clock traffic. It was mid-summer in Phoenix. Having just moved from Alaska, where air conditioning was an option not a necessity, he had his windows down.
The tip of the arrow for his radiator’s temperature gauge was waggling in frantic tics causing Harold to tap on it in a futile attempt to alter its upward course. Moments later, a hiss of steam erupted from under the hood and his car slowed from a crawl to hiccuping creep.
A car’s horn blared behind him. In glancing into his rear-view mirror, he noticed a change in his reflection. His eyes, once a watery gray, seemed to have taken on a strange yellow tinge.
His car, having just enough oomph to edge its way off the freeway, veered onto the graveled berm where it stopped dead, spouting steam like the chimney from Nuclear Reactor Plant.
Commuters whizzed by, nary glancing in his direction, except possibly for a few guffaws and hand gestures at his situation. Subtly this reminded him of how he was treated earlier at his workplace and how he’d like to vindicate himself.
Harold once again glanced into his mirror. Startled afresh to see his eyes were now a deeper yellow and he his face seeming to have dark shadows all over it.
He felt his face to find it covered with coarse hair, not unlike what one might feel when petting a wire-haired terrier or possible a wolf. Not that Harold had ever petted the latter, but he imagined it would pretty much feel that way.
Daring to look again, he noticed his teeth seemed to be bucked – as if they were too big for his mouth. He squinted, to get a better look and in doing so his lips curled up exposing his teeth, which had grown canine – top jaw over bottom. On either side, two razor-sharp teeth extended downward in a balanced, ominous fang-like fashion.
His nostrils seemed to have extended as well; and he drew a deep breath only to be aghast at the smell. He didn’t quite remember what he had for lunch, but he knew it had to have been more thoroughly cooked than to leave the raw odor he was currently sensing. After a few moments, however, he found the smell to be quite nice – pleasant in fact.
He then noticed his hands. They had they grown hair, like what was on his face. They also stretched lengthwise in a sinewy manner with long black nails, curling inward with an uncanny resemblance to claws.
A toothy grin crossed his whiskered face, which, with the fangs, better resembled a sneer. Sensing no longer a need for a car, he leapt through its window, landing on all fours to charge back to the office just as a full moon began to rise on the horizon.
Back at the 30th floor windowed conference room, the senior officers were admiring the panoramic view of the moon over Phoenix. Chortling and chuckling over the chump they’d made of Harold while hiding their nefarious plans to destroy the world, they toasted themselves with champagne.
But their revelry was short-lived - as were they. Harold burst through the door, hunched and snarling. Teeth bared, claws rapidly clicking across the marbled floor, breath fouling the air, he attacked.
Later, the police couldn’t explain the ripped and severed bodies flung across the room, but secondary witnesses testified that above the victims screams a vicious howl could be heard.
Soon afterward, the company was closed. Experimental compounds, it seems, were inexplicably compromised with a coarse hair-like substance. Labs, too, were taking on a strange putrid smell and no reason could be made for the sound of clicking nails across the floors, nor for the satiated howls coming through the vents.
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