Feeding Ground Pt2

FYI: this is a long post. You can read part 1 by clicking on the link:

https://storiesoforigen.wordpress.com/2019/11/20/forging-monsters-chapter-1-pt1/

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“Daniel look!” She was pointing toward a park. He looked in the direction she was pointing. A group of dogs was travelling through the park, noses to the ground. There were about ten of them, all different breeds. Dan rolled to a stop and stared at them. It was unusual to see a group of different breeds getting along like that. They were tracking something. As Dan and Molly watched, it occurred to them that this was the behavior of a pack. Then they noticed something even stranger–each dog was wearing a different colored collar and each had a leash attached, dragging through the leaves behind them. Why had they not gone home to their owners instead of forming a pack and hunting? Suddenly, the lead dog, full grown male Rottweiler raised his head and met Dan’s eyes through the car window. He stood there stiff legged, watching them. Two other dogs also raised their heads and flanked the lead dog, who seemed to be the Alpha–all three dogs watched the couple in the car. The three Rottweilers presented an intimidating picture. Dan decided to keep driving.

Daniel pulled into the driveway of a yellow clapboard house with roses growing along the left side of the house. He parked behind the vehicle in the driveway. “What are you doing?” Molly asked. “I’m going to knock on the door, see if anyone is home. Dan stepped out of the car and went up the steps to the front door. He opened the screen door and knocked on the wooden inner door.. He waited a minute. No answer. He pushed the little lighted doorbell. He heard the chimes echoed through the house but no one came to the door. He knocked one more time, a bit louder. No response.

Curious to see if he could hear a tv or radio, he leaned forward and put his ear up to the door. The door swung open. He looked back at Molly. She had gotten out of the car and was climbing the porch steps. “The front door must not have been latched” Dan explained. “People do that around here–leave their doors unlocked.” Molly raised an eyebrow at this; she had grown up in the East Village, in a neighborhood known as Alphabet City. Leaving doors unlocked was unheard of there. The wind kicked up and made the porch swing bang slightly against the window. Leaves skittered in mini cyclones on the porch. “Should I call out again….”Dan started to say, when the door slammed shut. Molly jumped at the loud bang.

“There is probably a window open somewhere in the house and the cross breeze blew the door shut, no big deal.” Dan said, laughing as he took Molly’s hand. “We should get out of here

though, before one of the neighbors thinks we are trespassing.” They jogged back to the car. “People are probably just working, and the kids are all inside their houses” Molly said. “Not

unusual. Those dogs could have come from anywhere, that’s not strange either. Let’s go find a restaurant, that toast I had at the diner wasn’t very filling.”

“As you wish” Dan quoted a line from The Princess Bride, Molly’s favorite movie. She smiled again at him showing off the dimples he loved so much. He was so glad they came on this trip.

They drove over to the Kountry Kitchen restaurant on Mill street. Dan was telling her how their steak was pretty good. It was going on 4pm, but when they pulled into the restaurant parking lot,

theirs was the only car. Molly started to feel a little uneasy again, despite her own words just a few minutes ago, explaining away the seemingly empty town. “This is their dinner crowd on a

Friday night?” Molly attempted to joke “The steak can’t be that special.” Dan didn’t laugh. “Stay here.” “Not bloody likely!” Molly jumped out at the same time. “I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that people need to stick together. And leave it running!” she said as Dan turned back to turn the car off. She scooted around the car and grabbed his arm. They crept up to the entrance. He held the door open and gestured grandly “After you my dear” this earned him a poke in the stomach. “Nice try–I am NOT going in there first.” They were both laughing now as Dan went in first. The door creaked slowly shut behind them. It was dark inside. The air conditioner wasn’t running–there was no hum of machines. Their laughter died.

“Hello?” Dan called out. No response.

They walked in a little farther, up to the pass through window between the kitchen and the dining room. The kitchen was dark and empty. “Dan this is too weird.” She turned and hurried back to the car. He followed slowly behind her and got back in the driver’s seat. He looked over at her, “Molly..I know it is kinda creepy, but I think there is a good story here..I mean, this  is the reason I am here..remember? To find out about the disappearances?” “Fine, then just take me back to a hotel or something, I don’t want to be part of this.” “Ok,” Dan said as he started the car.

“There is a Quality Inn in Newark, we will check in there tonight, and I will do some more investigating in the morning. You don’t have to come back here with me.” “Sounds good to me” She replied, looking out the window. He drove back down Mill street to Main street, and then turned back onto Route 21. The sun setting and there were no other cars on the road. The stretch of road was very dark, there were dense woods on both sides. Soon it was fully dark and the full moon rose. “I’d like to leave this place behind us, can you drive a little faster.” He picked it up to 55. Molly leaned over and fiddled with the radio dial. Still no other cars, but they surely would be once they turned out to Route 31, it was a busier road. Dan was thinking about the story he planned to write, silently coming up with ideas. He didn’t see the eyes shining through the trees until it was too late.  A dark shape leaped out from the treeline and stopped directly in front of the car. Dan slammed on the brakes but they were still going pretty fast when they hit it. Dan smacked his head on the steering wheel. Molly was still leaning over looking for a radio station. At the impact her seat belt immediately tightened and cut into her painfully. She was flung forward against the seat belt at the sudden stop and the belt cut into her even more painfully. Her head bounced off the dash and then she was flung back in her seat. Dan had his head on the steering wheel, arms down at his sides and the horn was blaring. She pushed herself upright..oh geez, her chest hurt bad, and her head hurt. She undid her seatbelt, moving gingerly. She moved her arms and legs, testing to make sure nothing was broken. She patted Dan’s shoulder, and shook it gently until he opened his eyes and sat back in the seat. There was a cut across the bridge of his nose. “Are you ok?” she asked. “Yeah I think so. That must have been a deer I hit.” They looked out the windows. They were still on the outskirts of Marion, they hadn’t gotten far.

The car was still running, that was a good sign. He steered it to the shoulder and then parked so he could get out and see how bad the damage was.. Molly came and stood next to him, feeling discouraged, and wanting this trip to be over. All of a sudden the dogs they saw earlier came bounding out of the woods and straight toward the dead deer in the road. The lead rottweiler spotted the couple and charged. Not thinking, Dan and Molly ran for the woods, close by. The dog acted like he would chase them right into the woods, but he suddenly stopped right at the edge, and sniffed, snout in the air. Then he whipped around with a yelp, and ran back to join the others in their feast of deer.. “Hey…I see lights over there.” She pointed deeper into the woods. “I think there is a house over there, if the lights are on they must be home. Let’s go see if they will let us use their phone.”They had walked about 20 paces when the lights winked out. “Oh shoot, the lights went out, they must be going to bed, let’s hurry.” Molly exclaimed and broke into a run. Dan’s head still hurt, so he kept it to a slow jog. Even that was painful, so after about five minutes of this, and no house in sight, he stopped. “Geez, how far away is this house?” he grumbled. “I think we should head back to the car.” “Yeah, ok.” Molly agreed, “But I still want to know what those lights were.” Molly stood still, looking back toward where they had seen the lights. “Did you hear a baby crying?” Dan stopped and listened. “No, I don’t hear anything.” Molly stood still and listened. “I hear it…very faintly…coming from this way.” Without another word she started that direction again. Dan followed. Thankfully there was a full moon, so they were able to see where they were going. Molly broke into a jog, Dan didn’t try to keep up, and he quickly lost sight of her. He called her name “Molly, wait up…please!” “Dan! Over here! I found our baby!” She sounded excited. ‘Our baby?’ He thought. ‘What did she mean OUR baby?’

“Follow my voice sweetheart.” ‘Man, these woods go back a long way,’ he thought. He walked toward the place where Molly’s voice had come from and came to a ravine. “Help, Dan, I can’t

He leaned toward the ravine wall and kept his left hand on it as he slowly slid to the bottom. Wow, this was a deep ravine. “Hey, there’s no water at the bottom of this thing, I hope!” he hollered down to Molly. No answer. He got to the bottom and thankfully it was dry. It was darker down here, little moonlight filtered down. “Mol?” “Molly answer me!” She didn’t. He waited a moment for his eyes to adjust to the dimness, and then saw a narrow trail along the bottom of the ravine. He walked a little ways, searching for Molly but there was no sign of here. He stopped and looked around. The trail ended at the entrance of a large cave. It was tall enough for somebody eight or nine feet tall to stand upright with room to spare. He peeked in cautiously, a wild animal probably lived in there and he didn’t want it to see him, if it happened to be home. Way to the back of the cave he could see a small campfire…and Molly. 

She had her head turned to her right, looking at something that Dan couldn’t see from the entrance. Dan waved his arm. She saw the movement and looked toward him. She shook her head slightly and quickly glanced to her right and curled her arms around her knees again. He waved his arm again. She raised her eyes and looked his way. He waved toward himself, ‘C’mere!’ She again shook her head. Then her eyes got wider. She jumped up. “Dan! Oh no! Run!” It was too late. It swung a massive arm and clubbed him across  the back of the head. Molly ran out of the cave just seconds ahead of the one behind her. She flung herself out head first, frantically looking around for a weapon, cringing, expecting teeth to tear into her any moment. They were busy with Dan. Hopelessness gripped her. She looked around for a stick, or a rock, something, to save him. Ah! There! A hefty stick. She scrambled over and grabbed it, then rushed at the nearest creature.

Molly whacked the creature across the back as hard as she could with the branch. It threw its head back and howled in pain. Then, so fast it was a blur, it reached out and grabbed her with both hands. It swung her around in front of it and restrained her arms and her sides. Strangely, it did nothing else, just pinned her arms while she struggled uselessly. Now she could see what the other creature was doing. It held Dan’s head in a vise grip, huge hands on either side of his head…and it was….puking into Dan’s mouth? Disgusted and repulsed, she stared. What in the world was it doing? It reminded her of a mother bird feeding baby birds, Dan’s mouth was wide open, and the creature had his mouth inside Dan’s, regurgitating.

Then both creatures stood up, grabbed her and Dan and tossed them down near the back wall again. Dan sat up and scooted over next to her, looking nauseous. The creatures sat several feet away from them and watched them.  The creatures were tall, their faces were almost human in appearance, but they were covered with brown and yellow fur, like that of a tabby cat, only coarser and wilder looking. They were almost human looking in appearance, but they eyes were completely black, no pupil, no iris, just solid black. They smelled like rotting meat. 

Molly turned to Dan, but he was slumped over with his eyes closed. He looked deathly pale in the flickering firelight. She shook his shoulder, but he didn’t wake up. She stretched her legs out in front of her, and with some effort, he was dead weight, managed to pull his head and upper body onto her lap. He remained asleep. She leaned her head back against the cave wall, keeping one eye on the creatures. How were they going to get out of this? She started thinking…these creatures seemed to be nocturnal, and if so, they would sleep in the daytime. So much that didn’t make sense..why hadn’t the creatures killed them both? What had the male been doing to Dan? Nothing made sense. Were these creatures responsible to the missing people? Probably. 

How long until morning? She wondered. This was September, so the sun rose around 6:30 am, maybe? It was probably around 6pm now, so that gave them more or less 12 hours until morning. She closed her eyes. Best to rest then, and conserve energy for their escape. She was hoping that the creatures did not plan to kill them as a late night snack. The fact that she and Dan were still alive gave her hope. She must have dozed off..because the next thing she knew, she startled awake, aware of a horrible crick in her neck. Dan’s head and shoulders were no longer in her lap. The fire had gone out and there was no light this far back in the cave. She could see the entrance though, the moonlight shone outside. “Dan?” she said in an alarmed whisper.”I’m here next to you.” “Oh good.”she replied. “Are you ok?” She whispered. “I think so..I’m not sure.” “Does your head hurt still?” He was silent for a moment. “No…surprisingly.” It should after all that, but it doesn’t” “How do you feel?” She asked. “Hungry.” he responded. She smiled in the dark. Typical Dan, nothing diminished his appetite…not even. “Ugh..” she uttered, suddenly remembering what the creature had done to him. “You must be nauseous, after…whatever that thing was doing.”  “No, not really.” he stated, and did not elaborate. Something was wrong, something was…off..about him, but she couldn’t identify what it was.

 “You should try to sleep.” he said, and pulled her head down, displaying more strength than he usually did.

It seemed like only moments later Dan was shaking her awake. “Wake up. You have to leave.” 

She stood  up carefully and stretched. She crept quietly as she could toward the

entrance, stepping gingerly around piles of bones, trying not to make any noise. She got to the entrance and looked out. She turned back to the cave. “Dan?” she

whispered quietly. “Are you coming?” She heard movement from inside the cave and took a couple steps back, ready to run in case the creatures had woken up. Dan’s face appeared in the

entrance, and she took another couple steps back in shock and fear. His eyes were black, like the creatures. His expression changed to one of fierce anger. He crouched and charged at her, shoving her to the ground, gripping her upper arms, he leaned down and growled into her face “Go! Now!” He released her and jumped back in one motion. 

In the dim light his eyes looked even more ominous, they were solid black, like the eyes of the creatures.. He crouched with his hands resting on the ground, growling low in his throat. She turned and ran. Gasping for air she made it back to the car. The dogs and the deer carcass were gone. The car was still were they had left it, but it had been running all night and it was nearly out of gas. She managed to drive it to Palmyra before it ran out of gas completely and died. She walked the rest of the way, and after asking a few people for directions, was finally able to find the police station. She burst in to the police station all frantic, telling them a wild story about beasts in a cave and how they had turned her husband into one. They didn’t believe her. They loaded her in the back of a sheriff’s cruiser and took her to the psychiatric ward at Newark Hospital, One South. After two days there, she gave up trying to convince anyone. She knew they would not believe her. Then she started telling the doctors and nurses that she understood that it had been in her head. She and Dan had been held at gunpoint and Dan had been shot. There had never been any monsters. After a few more days of observation, they were convinced, and they were ready to release her. 

Molly had just gotten dressed and was sitting on the bed tying her shoes when the doctor walked in. He wasn’t the same doctor she had spoken to before. 

“Good morning, Molly. How are you feeling?” He sat near her on a chair. He smiled warmly at her. He looked younger than the other doctor, and he looked Italian, but he had blue eyes. He was rather good looking. 

“Well, I will be better when I can get out of here.”

He nodded and chuckled. “I’m sure…I’m sure. Listen, I’d like to give you a lift back to your parents house, maybe we can grab some coffee on the way.”

“No.. I can catch a cab…wait…how did you know I would be going to my parents?”

“Oh, I know many things.” He paused. “They were Wendigos.” He said quietly, glancing at the door as if he were afraid of being overheard.

“Excuse me?”

“The creatures you encountered in the forest. They are called Wendigos. I can tell you more…but not here.” He extended his hand, which she took. He had a warm, firm grip. “My name is Dr. Joseph Silva. I think we have a lot to talk about. I will be waiting for you out front. Black Mazda Miata. I really think we should get that cup of coffee.” He walked quietly out the door.

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So it looks like Molly is going to get some answers! Joseph Silva is a doctor, so he must be a good person… right?