Stormy Night

Dark and stormy night by Matt DuncanThe air was heavy with humidity as thick gray clouds hung in the sky threatening to burst any minute. Thunder could be heard in the distance and it was only a matter of time before the storm hit. The inclement weather was predicted to be so severe that many businesses and schools across almost all of the southern portion of the state had been closed. The meteorologists were calling the storm Hurricane Shawn and many towns near the coast had been ordered emergency evacuations.

Lotte wasn’t directly in the hurricane’s path; the county would receive at most a tropical storm. Many of the students at the university in the area opted to go home and spend the storm with their families since the school would be closed for three or four days. Mostly the out-of-state students and those who didn’t care to go home were left, having already stockpiled for the dining-hall-less days of non-stop rain.

The campus had an eerie silence to it as two boys, Cody and Andre, trekked from their dorm to the public gardens near the outside of campus. Cody wore a rain slicker and a pair of khaki shorts, the hairs on his legs erect from the chill of the wind. Andre wore an Adidas tracksuit and held an umbrella barely big enough to fit just him underneath it let alone him and his companion. And even if Cody could fit underneath, the height difference between the two would’ve left him wet anyway because he stood near five-ten and Andre stood at nearly six-five.

“Bruh, why we even botherin’ to walk all the way to the gardens? Like no one’s here?” Andre asked as the pair walked down the stairs leading to the road the garden was on.

“Cause we’re ‘bout to be stuck in the buildin’ for the next week and damn near all my people went home,” Cody grunted gently squeezing the pack of cigarillos in his pocket.

The duo passed the abandoned construction site on the outskirts of the garden and began to descend down the steep gravel hill that lead to the entrance. There were two sides to pick from: to the left was an Asian garden, a small pond, and a gazebo with benches scattered all around the area, to the right were hiking paths and benches and near one of the entrances there was rumored to be a dead body buried underneath a stone platform. They opted for the left side and took to a path that lead around the pond, past the gazebo and various other benches to a small platform hidden in the trees.

The boys huddled together and began to delve in their vices when the skies finally cracked with the booming of thunder and it began to pour. The pair swore and huddled underneath Andre’s small umbrella trying hard to keep their cigar from getting wet.

“Man, I told yo’ ass we should’a just stayed near the dorm,” Andre griped. “Put that shit out, lets walk back.” As he stood up lightning struck ten feet away, the shock of the impact knocking Andre back off of his feet.

“Oh shit!” Cody yelled dropping the contents of his hands onto the ground. He swore again and scooped them up as Andre collected himself off of the ground. “Dude, you okay?”

“Let’s get the hell outta’ here,” Andre grunted abandoning the now broken umbrella and steeling himself against the storm.

“Wait a second though. Let’s check out where it struck.”

“Oh hell nah bruh,” Andre grunted.

“Come on, lightning don’t strike the same place twice,” Cody prompted.

“Nah.” Andre shook his head and began trudging towards the exit to the gardens.

Cody rolled his eyes before he climbed over the railing of the platform and dropped down onto the rocks underneath, nearly slipping on the wet stone. He shuffled his way down the slope as careful as he could towards the charred ground. From where he was it, looked like lightening had struck one of the rocks, scorching the stone. As he crept closer he saw that not only had it been seared nearly black but it had been cracked, the jagged lines stretching all over the stone. He bent down and extended his hand with the intention to touch it but as soon as he got within an inch of the rock it inflated.

Cody fell flat on his butt and scrambled as best as he could up the rocks while the creature grew into the size of a warthog. What he thought to be cracks were some sort of armor like pelt that rose into spikes. The thing was more than black, it was void of color, that expanded in and out as the thing seemed to breathe. The thing opened what Cody assumed was its mouth and rows and rows of sharp white fangs appeared in the void. A heart stopping, blood wrenching, sound erupted from its throat as it stretched out its appendages: what could only be four legs and something else that Cody could not identify as he sat there paralyzed by fear, something warm trailing down his thigh. It was only when the thing turned its attention to him that he gained enough consciousness to scream.

Near the exit Andre froze when he heard the screams of the creature and his friend. Tentatively, against better judgement, Andre turned towards where he believed the noises had come from. When he did he saw Cody charging at him and what looked like a vacuum of nothingness save for rows of teeth chasing after him.

The next ten seconds for Andre felt like an eternity as he pivoted and sprinted towards the gate that was the exit to the garden. As he flew through the gate he kicked a random crowbar that had been left there by one of the construction workers. Without a second thought Andre picked it up and jammed it into the gate, locking it in place. For a brief second his eyes met with Cody’s who realized just then that he had sacrificed him to save himself, before he ran as fast as he could up the hill and away from the screams of anger and terror that erupted from the garden.

About the Author

Sierra Beeler is a junior English major at UNC Charlotte. An aspiring screenwriter, she hopes to one day entertain the masses with a book series turned television show she hopes will “put J.K Rowling to shame.” When not working on one of her many uncompleted projects, Sierra enjoys watching Hulu and crying over fictional characters.

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