Bart Jenkins saw movement from the right and stood frozen. He didn’t move a hair for fear his prey would detect his presence and scurry away. He turned his head toward the movement almost imperceptibly.
Then he saw a patch of brownish fur protruding from behind a tree about fifty yards away.
A young doe nibbled on a leaf, unaware that danger lurked nearby. Bart moved slowly behind a pine tree a few feet in front of him to hide the lifting of his rifle into a shooting position. He rested the end of the barrel on a small knot protruding from the tree at eye level and placed his eye to the scope. Lining up the animal’s heart, which was just below the shoulder in the crosshairs, he took a deep breath, let it out, and held it as he slowly pulled the trigger.
A red puff of blood colored the air around the creature’s shoulder just before the deer’s legs gave out, and it toppled to the ground.
When the hunter approached the doe, he saw its frightened eyes were open, and it’s body quivering with fear and the pain of its lethal injury. Blood pooled under its belly. With each beat of its heart, a small spurt of blood added to the pool forming on the ground.
Bart always hoped the animal would be dead when he reached the body, but apparently, this shot did not hit the spot where he had aimed.
Bart never liked to shoot an animal a second time when it was down, but in this case, he had no choice. He couldn’t let it suffer. He knew better than to get too close to a dying animal. Too many hunters had been badly injured or even killed when a wounded deer in its death throes struck at them with its hoofs.
Gor, the alien thing from deep space, had grimaced from the sudden repercussion when he heard the shot. In the blink of an eye, he felt a sensation of loss he had not felt since he’d left his parents on their dying planet to find another planet where he could live. He crash-landed in a spaceship in this very clearing.
He’d seen the human enter the forest with his thunder stick and knew it fired small missiles. However, since no humans had come to the forest for so many years, Gor hadn’t fully understood the danger the man presented when he first saw him.
But the instant Gor had heard the loud noise; he knew something terrible had happened. He could feel it in every fiber of his being. He moved like a panther through the underbrush, closer ever closer to the man beast. He’d smelled the stench of the red liquid on the wind. The reek of it hung in the leaves and sickened him. He’d smelled the stink of death many times, but this time, it had a peculiar burnt overtone that wafted from the direction of the interloper.
A light cloud of smoke hung in the air, and a deep, foreboding stillness had fallen over the forest. The skies seemed darker than Gor ever remembered. All the animals in the vicinity must have found a hole to crawl into or a thicket where they could hide. Nothing stirred, except the man beast advancing quickly through the trees with his thunder stick. For the first time since he’d come to Earth, he felt a vast, suffocating loneliness.
Gor had the ability to take on the color and the texture of his surroundings at will. His ability to camouflage himself and to become invisible to all the other creatures on Earth was the reason he had survived unscathed for so many years. He rarely needed to use his special power, but just before the human passed by him, he’d morphed his skin into a coat of green and brown that disappeared into the colors of the forest.
The hunter walked right by and didn’t have the slightest awareness he was there. Gor moved stealthily and silently a few feet behind him completely undetected.
And then, the alien saw his friend, Kali, lying motionless on the ground in a pool of the red liquid he suddenly remembered humans call blood. Her eyes were open; and her heart still beating, but he could see she was suffering and very afraid.
In the forest, Gor had seen many of his friends come to the end of their lives. Sometimes from sickness, sometimes at the hands of a predator who sought them out. Survival of the fittest was the law of nature. But, Kali’s death felt wrong somehow. The alien was angry and very sad he would never see his beautiful friend again. The fearsome hunter had an unfair advantage against his animal friends with his awesome thunder stick. They were at his mercy. He could violate their enchanted sanctuary and snuff out the life of any animal he chose any time he wanted.
As Gor watched the hunter standing over Kali’s body, a blind fury rose within him. He despised this human more than any other living thing. The brute had cold calculating eyes and a shaggy red beard. He could smell the man’s sweat and his sour breath, and his reek almost gagged him.
Gor watched in horror as the unfeeling bully fired another shot into Kali’s head. He watched him kneel down and slit Kali’s belly open with his sharp knife. The alien felt his loathing escalating into a maniacal frenzy as he watched Kali’s intestines slip through the long gash and fall out upon the ground.
Gor had seen wolves rip apart many of his friends over the years. He’d watched them feast on them as well. It always made him feel sad, but the wolves were his friends, too. He tried to protect all animals as best he could, but he could never take sides. Death was nothing personal, only survival. This was different. This was a travesty of justice and should not be allowed to continue.
The hunter tied a rope around Kali’s’ neck and dragged her unceremoniously through the woods to his truck.
* * *
Ten days later, another human came to the forest and hunted for three days. On the final day, he killed Moona, an elderly moose who was minding his own business, chewing on a piece of grass. A month later another human came, and then another. The peace and equilibrium of life that had been so heavenly for so long had changed, and it appeared it would never be the same again.
Several of his friends had been killed and more would follow. The animals were at the mercy of the hunters and were incapable of defending themselves. They chose to hide rather than to attack or retaliate against the man beast.
On Nebulus, Gor had been a warrior where a fang for a fang and a claw for a claw was the rule. On his planet, if something ate your offspring, you would eat theirs, and this would continue until there was no more offspring to eat on either side. He grew up in an environment Earthlings would call a dog-eat-dog world where no one took shit from anyone.
Gor had been blissfully happy, living among the animals in the woods since he landed on Earth in 1989. His spaceship had been damaged beyond repair when it crashed into the trees. He knew he would spend the rest of his days here. Before leaving his dying planet, Nebulus, he had studied the ways of the earthlings and knew he would always be an alien among them. He feared if he were captured, the humans would lock him away and study him for the rest of his life, as they would an experimental lab rat.
Although he possessed high intelligence, he looked more like an animal than a human in his natural state. Therefore, he decided to live in the forest with the animals that befriended him and offered him no threat. The inhabitants of Nebulus were vegetarians so he existed on the plants, foliage, and berries he found in the forest and never had a reason to harm animals to survive. He’d learned to love living on Earth in peace and harmony until that miserable day the hunter killed Kali. He had special gifts his animal friends did not have. It was up to him to teach this hunter and all the rest a lesson they would never forget.
* * *
A month later when another hunter came with his thunder stick, Gor watched him from afar. This human was not as adept a hunter as the others before him. He fired five shots over a period of four hours, two at a buck, two at a rabbit, and one at a squirrel. He was a miserable shot and didn’t come close to hitting anything. Consequently, Gor decided not to punish this pitiful excuse for a hunter since he had not harmed any of his animal friends.
* * *
A week passed before the first hunter with the red beard came again. His first shot picked a crow from a tree limb. Gor had never befriended a crow, but it saddened him to see the poor creature torn apart and fall to the ground.
This man’s aim was deadly, and during the course of the two days he hunted, he killed Ramba, a buck, and Munda and Gisel, two does. All three were Gor’s friends.
After the hunter disemboweled them, he dragged them one at a time to his truck. Gor followed each time and watched the hunter carefully. At the end of the second day, when red beard was leaving, the alien silently climbed into the bed of his truck and hid under a tarp.
When the hunter reached his home, Gor slipped from the back of the truck into some shrubbery along the side of the house under the cover of night. As the evening progressed, Gor watched the hunter and his family eating dinner at the kitchen table. The man had a wife and two small female offspring, who kept giggling in their highchairs. They all looked very happy.
Gor couldn’t tell if they were feasting on one of his three animal friends the hunter had taken from the forest over the two-day period. He’d seen the hunter take a cooler into the garage after he arrived home, but he didn’t know what was in it.
Gor listened to the man’s wife moving things about in the kitchen for about a half hour before the light went out in the garage. The man finally went inside the main house. Gor assumed the family had eaten something else that night since the wife had called the man to dinner shortly after he left the garage. Maybe, they were eating something the hunter had killed on a previous hunt.
The next morning, Gor watched the hunter, now dressed in a business suit, leave in an automobile right after sunrise. While it was still dark and very few lights on in the nearby houses, the alien tried all the windows and doors around the house. He found the final window he tried unlocked, and he crawled inside. Immediately, he smelled something cooking and heard the woman begging her offspring, who appeared to be twins, to eat their cereal.
All at once, she left the two little females in the kitchen and climbed the stairs to the second level. Gor quickly moved like a panther into the bright room that reeked with the smell of some kind of cooked meat. The two twins continued to goo and gurgle in their highchairs, which were close to a table set with several plates and pieces of tableware.
Gor heard the woman coming back down the stairs and wasted no time snapping the necks of her offspring. When she burst into the kitchen and saw him, and then what he had done, she screamed so loud it hurt his sensitive ears. Gor had misjudged how easily the first twin’s neck would break, and he had inadvertently wrenched her head completely off and placed it on the tray of her highchair. He exerted far less energy with the second one and simply let her body slump backwards in her chair with her head lolling to one side.
Gor couldn’t stand the pain in his ears caused by the mother’s earsplitting shrieks so he shoved his claw into her mouth, separated her jaw from her face with a mighty pull, and continued pulling it down her neck until the screaming stopped.
Her blood sprayed all over the beige table, the countertop, and the floor, as well as Gor’s green scaly body. The woman flailed the air wildly with her arms until she fell into a heap on the tile floor.
After the woman stopped moving, Gor wondered what would make the most horrific impression on the hunter when he returned home. He spent a considerable amount of time obsessing over how he should stage the three bodies to get the maximum effect he thought would dissuade other hunters from coming to his home in the woods.
Gor decided to hang the first little female by her feet from the foyer chandelier of the sixteen-foot ceiling.
Then he returned to the kitchen and placed the headless female’s body on a large serving dish in the center of the dining room table like a large turkey. He found some string, and after breaking a few bones, he tied the arms and legs together so they fit perfectly on the platter. He placed the head on a dinner plate and covered it with a large napkin.
What to do with the hunter’s wife? Finally, he decided to emulate what the hunter had done with his animal friend in the other room. First, he severed her head, and then chopped up sections of her arms, legs, and torso. After wrapping the pieces in freezer paper, he placed them in the freezer with the other wrapped pieces of his friends the hunter had cut up after eating dinner.
Afterward, he went to the basement to see what he could use for the project. He found just the right size piece of plywood under the workbench. Taking it back upstairs, he mounted the hunter’s wife’s head on it and attached it to the wall in the den. His mount didn’t look as professional as the ten-point buck hanging next to it, but he thought it would make a lasting impression on the hunter, particularly with her broken jaw hanging down on her neck. She truly looked hideous, in his opinion.
Gor admired his handiwork in each room for a while and was very pleased with the results. He scribbled out the following note and left it on the kitchen counter:
I killed and mutilated your woman and your offspring. Now you know how I felt when you slaughtered and butchered my three friends in my forest last week. Tell all the other hunters this is what will happen to their loved ones if they ever return to violate my home again.
* * *
Bart returned home from work that afternoon and saw the unspeakable horror Gor had left for him.
His first thought was to commit suicide. He went directly to his gun cabinet, withdrew his rifle, jacked a shell into the chamber, and placed the barrel in his mouth.
With his finger resting on the trigger, he started reciting the Lord’s Prayer as he looked up at his wife’s mutilated head mounted on the wall next to the ten-point buck he’d killed last year. The monster that did this fiendish act had placed a quarter in each of Abigail’s eye sockets.
He knew beyond a doubt, there couldn’t be anything in hell that could approach the horror of his wife’s face with the jaw torn away from her head and dangling on a portion of her severed neck. The appalling half grin of her upper row of teeth without the bottom row took his breath away. His lack of courage and fortitude to seek revenge on the monster who had committed this heinous act had become too much to bear. He could hear his poor wife’s gut-wrenching cry in his mind for him to grow some balls and deal with the fiend who had murdered her and their precious daughters.
His sobs gave way to a fit of rage he had not known could live inside him. He threw down his rifle and shook his fist at the picture of Jesus staring at him on the wall. How could there be a God in heaven who could allow this? He picked up the phone and called 9-1-1.
Fifteen minutes later, the sheriff and his deputies arrived on the scene with the rescue squad and the ME. One by one, his loved ones were removed in a body bag as Bart’s father and mother tried to console him as best they could. But nothing they could say could ease the pain he felt in his heart and in his soul.
The police had combed the forest all week where Bart had hunted the week before the murders and found no trace of a killer lurking in the woods. They continued to pursue other possible leads as to who could have perpetrated such a horrific act but were clueless on where to start. The cryptic note left by the killer was all they had to go on.
* * *
Days passed and the funeral broke Bart’s heart again. There could only be a closed casket for his wife due to her horrific facial injuries. This was far better for Bart to deal with emotionally than seeing his two little girls on display in their tiny caskets. It was the saddest and most heartrending experience of his life. He knew it would be branded in his memory until his dying day.
The next morning at sunrise, Bart decided since the police were getting nowhere, he would get this fiend named Gor’s attention himself. He thought he knew just the way to do it.
He kept reading the note over and over trying to make sense of it. The way it was worded was extremely bizarre. This depraved maniac said he killed and mutilated his wife and children because he had slaughtered and butchered three of his friends last week in his forest. The murderer said he wanted him to know how it felt and to tell all hunters to stay away from his forest or the same thing would happen to their families.
Bart had never killed a human being except during the conflict in Afghanistan years ago. He had only killed wild animals for sport like thousands of other hunters during hunting season. So, Gor, whoever he was, had sought revenge on him, not for killing three humans, but three animals. He remembered killing a buck, and two does the week the maniac had mentioned in the note. How could a human be friends with an animal? He could love them, but the term friends didn’t make sense unless Gor was an animal, and that couldn’t be. Could a warped human being look at life that way? It would take a real screwball, but the world was full of them.
Also, why did he say to keep out of his forest? Normal people understood ownership, but this weirdo didn’t seem to. Bart had purchased 5,000 acres of woodland to hunt three months ago. He wasn’t a trespasser; he was the owner. He was legally entitled to hunt on his land whenever he chose.
Bart didn’t understand where Gor was coming from. Had he escaped from an asylum and was running wild in the forest? Was he a modern-day Tarzan? A human living with wild beasts.
Whoever or whatever he was, Bart had not the slightest sympathy for him no matter how he got that way. He would follow him to the ends of the earth if need be and tear him limb from limb if he could get his hands on him. But thankfully, according to the note he left, that wouldn’t be necessary. The police had searched and found nothing, but Bart believed he was hiding in the very woods he owned. Did this misguided weirdo actually think he could get away with murdering Bart’s family without repercussions? Unbelievable!
* * *
A week later, Gor was munching on the succulent plant, listening to the birds and the locusts singing. A cool breeze whispered through the green mansions of his beautiful forest. No hunters had come since he had killed the last one’s family and left the warning. All was right with the world again. His woods were teeming with his many animal friends going about their daily routine to survive.
In the distance, Gor heard the whir of helicopter blades. In seconds ten choppers rushed into view, each with two large silver bombs hanging from its undercarriage. Gor stood in horror as the first copter dropped its payload.
Each bomb fell through the air and exploded in a wall of flame that incinerated a large section of the forest. Over a ten-minute period, the intensity of the fire burning out of control turned his world from green into a fiery inferno yielding only death and destruction. Everything beautiful around him was transforming into black, smoldering ashes. One after another, the other nine helicopters dropped their bombs until the entire forest as far as the eye could see was ablaze. An acid rain enveloped the area that no living thing could tolerate and stay alive.
Gor assumed all of his friends had been burned alive or suffocated from the fumes of the deadly incendiary substance. As he burrowed deeper and deeper to escape the wall of fire sweeping across his paradise above him, he realized his brutal attack on the hunter’s family had undoubtedly led to the utter destruction of everything he knew and loved.
Knowing it was his fault, he stopped burrowing. What was the point in living? His friends were dead; his paradise destroyed. He was an alien on a distant planet populated by earthlings who would never let him live among them in harmony.
He lay in the depths below the raging fire, and inhaling the acrid fumes seeping into the earth around him, he and stopped trying to stay alive. For the first time in his life, he gave up and let the black abyss envelop him.
* * *
Days later, he awoke in his earthen tomb, groggy but still alive. He knew there could be side effects that could kill him later but the fire had not reached him, and the fumes had not killed him as they had his animal friends.
He crawled out of the hole and saw the wasteland that had been his home. In the midst of the ashes, Gor saw a white post someone had driven into the ground among the rubble with a sign that read:
Gor, unless you are Superman, and I assume you are not, you are dead. I would spit on your grave if I could find it. If you did survive somehow, I am confident the Mark 77 bombs incinerated the majority, if not all, of your animal friends. I learned how to use this terrible stuff at Tora Bora in Afghanistan, and I had to call in some special favors to get it.
I wanted you to know how it feels to be solely responsible for your “friends” extremely unpleasant deaths.
Be aware, I own these woods. Not you. I can do anything here I want. If you are alive, get your sorry ass off my land. Find another rock to crawl under. You are trespassing, and if I find you, I will tear your heart out if you have one.
Bart Jenkins, owner.
Gor stood glaring at the words on the post. The hunter had retaliated the same as he would have under similar circumstances. How could he have thought otherwise? The anger he had felt when the hunter had murdered his friends had softened, even after their scorched bones lay strewn across the ruins of this vast wasteland.
Moving northward from a high hill, Gor could see the green of another forest far away, so, he headed toward it. After several hours of walking, he finally reached a road that separated acres and acres of blackened rubble from acres and acres of beautiful forest.
He saw a gate, and a road behind it leading into a lush wilderness. A sign on the gatehouse read:
Private property. No trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted. Bart Jenkins Owner.
Gor ignored the sign and easily hopped over the fence and disappeared into the undergrowth. He heard the familiar song of many birds and the intermittent animal sounds of all the species he’s known in his old homeland. He longed to make new friends, but somehow he didn’t want to start at that moment. It saddened him to know that Jenkins might eventually kill whoever he befriended when he came to hunt. Gor couldn’t bear to think of living in fear from this day forward.
Gor decided he would not tolerate such a life any longer. He knew where Jenkins lived. After all, he’d been there before.
* * *
Later that night, Bart sat in his den watching TV. He had an uncanny feeling, Gor was still alive and would be coming for him tonight. He had a submachine gun on his lap, and he knew how to use it.
If Gor survived the MK-77’s, he was either an extremely lucky son of a bitch and was not there when the bombs exploded, or he wasn’t human.
Earlier Bart had booby-trapped the yard with high explosives that would kill a T-Rex. This was his first line of defense. If the explosives didn’t work, he doubted the machine gun would matter. He would be up shit creek without a paddle.
After all, Bart didn’t happen to have any kryptonite.
This story is a sample from Scary Stories: A Collection of Horror-Volume 2
Samplee 13 complete stories on my Author’s Den site before you buy. Enjoy the horror if you dare… http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewshortstories_all.asp?Authorid=156135
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