[We at DWWP love to use writing prompts at our meetings. This story is based on the prompt “the monsters among us.”]
At night, he searched for his food. He emerged from the cave where he slept during the daylight hours, a dank cavern that just fit his massive body. After crawling out, he stretched his long limbs, each gnarled with muscle and as thick as the trunks of the nearby redwoods. He then would let out a massive roar that shook the branches for miles. Animals would be sent scurrying into their burrows or nests, their little heartbeats racing like the patter of rain. Thanks to his heightened senses, he could smell the release of their adrenal glands borne on the breeze, heightening the hunger that already rumbled in his hair-covered abdomen. It was time to feast.
The nearby meadow was his favorite place to hunt. A small doe or a fawn served nicely as an appetizer. A lost hiker or boy scout, however, was his favorite meal of choice. He sucked on their bones until every string of flesh was gone, then tossed them into the quarry behind his cave. Sometimes he saved a metatarsal to use as a toothpick.
Once, he saw a human walking through the woods, holding a black box over its face and pointing it at things. He thought that this must be some sort of weapon, but the box seemed to do nothing but make a click noise. The human would then pull the box away from its face and stare it for a moment, before continuing to walk and make it click at more objects like trees, or the sky. He lunged through the woods towards the human, roaring. He could run so fast that his feet barely touched the mossy forest floor. He could smell the urine that the human released into its clothing. He caught up with the human in three easy strides, picked it up by one leg, then held onto its other leg and pulled it apart like a wishbone.
After that night, two more humans came to his forest. They arrived in a big box on wheels that had flashing lights on the top: bright red and blue lights that confused him. He didn’t understand how they took the light from the stars and the sun and changed their colors and captured it and put it on top of their wheeled boxes. He didn’t charge at them; instead he slipped back into the shadow to watch, to try and understand. After a day of wandering around his woods, making more clicks with more small boxes, the humans went away in their wheeled big box. By then he was starving and ate 3 deer, a wolverine, and a coyote in one night.
He thought of those memories when, one night, he came upon a large circle of humans. He had spotted their fire from a 100 yards away, then slowly stalked through the shadows to the perimeter. Despite his size, he was good at hiding. The thick black fur covering his body helped him blend into the night. The humans sat on logs around their fire, talking and laughing. One sat with an oddly-shaped piece of wood on its lap, and it plucked strings threaded across it. The strings made noise, and the human manipulated the sound of its voice to go along with the sound of the strings. He did not understand this behavior. The confusion gave him pause. Why would a human do this? Weren’t all living things meant to do only two things: to kill and to eat?
Staring now at this group of humans by the fire, he considered what to do. He wanted to see the box more closely. He wanted to understand why it made the sounds that it did. He didn’t want to scare them away. So he walked out of the shadows slowly. When he didn’t run, his footballs made more noise. He crushed full bushes with his feet, their twigs snapping like small necks. He was almost at the campfire when he heard a loud, sharp crack. All of the humans were staring at him. One pointed a strange black shape at him, its arm outstretched. He could smell a strange, foreign scent wafting from the object; it smelled like iron and fire. This was when he noticed the warmth in his chest. He looked down to see blood seeping from a hole that had been somehow made. The humans around the fire stared at him, their faces mirroring his horror. He fell to the forest floor like a redwood being sawed down.