'Goddamit Billy! Shut your damn dog up!' Ted felt the alcohol fuel his anger and impatience and lurched to his feet from the couch where he had been sitting watching the game.

     His head swam with the sudden movement as he staggered to shout up the stairs, 'Billy! I'm trying to watch the game, boy!'

     No answer came from the boy in his room.

     Instead Marcy called out from the kitchen where she was preparing dinner, 'He's probably got his headphones in.'

     'Goddamit!' Ted lurched towards the back screen door, almost taking it off its hinges as he swung it open with a bang. It was dark outside but he could clearly see Billy's Pit Bull barking its head off at something. 

     'Max! Shut the hell up!' He slurred in a drunken roar. Max ignored him and kept barking furiously towards the corner of the house. The clatter of his garbage can tipping over made Ted realise that Max was going off at something just out of sight around the corner where the bin was... Something was obviously getting into his bin,  'Damn raccoon! Get it boy! What are you waiting for!'

     Max continued to bark. Even through the alcohol hazing his brain Ted realised Max's bark had more than a tinge of fear in it. Maybe it was a bear! 

     Picking up Billy's baseball bat from where it lay near the step, Ted lurched towards the corner shouting 'Goddam bear! Git gone bear!'

     He stepped around the corner, arms raised high into the air to scare it off but what he saw froze him in his tracks.

     At first his brain refused to process what he was seeing. Instead of the waist-high black bear he expected... standing there, one massive hand holding the can lid like a puny shield in its giant fist was the dark silhouette of a monster! 

     Its pointed ears... ‘POINTED EARS?’, his mind screamed... were almost touching the eaves and suddenly Ted felt very small and vulnerable. The baseball bat was like a toothpick to this thing and felt utterly useless in his hand. Instantly sober he felt his stomach drop and a wave of fear like he had never felt even in Iraq swept over him. 

     He couldn't move even if he wanted to as his neck craned up, eyes squinting in an effort to make out a face in the giant shadow towering over him. The light from his back porch ended in a sharp line at the corner of his house, clothing the monstrous figure in darkness backlit by the street light beyond. A stench worse than any skunk washed over him as the shadow took a single long step TOWARDS him! 

     Distantly his mind screamed at his legs to move. To RUN! 

     But they refused to obey. Instead, they weakened, threatening to buckle under him. A huge, hairy head lowered towards him and in slow motion a monster from the movies became visible as a long muzzle passed into the light spilling past the corner of  his house. 

     The light lit up long, white canines, exposed by wrinkled lips pulled back into a ferocious snarl. They were followed by a face from the depths of his nightmares. Long, dirty hair spilled from a jaw wider than his shoulders, then the boulder-sized skull came into view. Through the frantic screaming of his mind, Ted was dimly aware of what looked like mange. Then the light hit its eyes, and Ted felt his bladder let go. Locking his own eyes into an unbreakable, terrified stare, were deep red coals that burned with a demonic rage from the depths of the deepest, darkest hell. 

     Distantly he was aware of a burned flesh and hair stench, adding to the impression of a demon from hell.    Time slowed to a glacial pace as the vision of horror stopped only inches away from his face, its nose almost touching his own, and Ted felt, rather than heard the low growl that vibrated its lips and his soul. It pulled in a long, deep breath, almost tasting him rather than smelling him, before a hot, putrid blast of expelled wind blew the comb-over off his sweating brow. From a million miles away Ted felt his bowels empty their contents into his pants, causing the creature to pull back in disgust at the sudden smell. Then those impossibly huge jaws opened wide, exposing the largest teeth Ted had ever seen and it roared at him, dousing him in great droops of saliva and phlegm. Ted’s eyes slammed closed in defence from the shower, finally granting some relief from the vision of absolute horror. He held them shut and waited for those horrible jaws to crunch down on his skull.

     A thousand miles away, he heard Macy in the house swear. 'What the hell? Ted!' 

     Death did not come and Ted forced open his eyes. The mad vision before him was gone, only the upturned, slowly rolling garbage bin hinting that it had ever been there. Ted tore his eyes from the empty darkness to glance towards the screen door where Macy suddenly appeared. Then desperately, he looked back and scanned the drive. On the opposite side a tree branch stopped moving and he finally accepted the fact it had gone.

     Ted became aware for the first time of a fist of pain clutching at his chest. Whimpering in pain and fear, he felt his knees finally give way and he collapsed to the ground, his ears still ringing from the monster’s roar. Macy's voice was miles away as she ran towards him screaming. 'Ted!'

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Another Sneak Peek of a chapter from Volume 2 of Sasquatch Sagas;

'A Burning World'...

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