One of my favorites from Nomar! A little humor mixed with horror.
Escape through Darkness
Three men ran into the woods as twilight seeped through pockets of wilderness. A bald, Latino cut ahead, pushing branches aside as if he knew where he was headed. Following closely behind, a brown-haired, Caucasian, motivated by the metallic pistol the third man, a fat African-American, held at his side.
"Hernando, wait up!" The chunky hoodlum wore baggy jeans, untied Nike sneakers, and a Polo shirt that could probably cover a baseball diamond when it rained. His dread-locks swung as he huffed and coughed, worked up some saliva, and spat on the ground.
The lead runner, Hernando, eased up and nodded in disgust. "Come on, fat boy!"
Unlike the heavy man, the Latino was lean and muscular. He wore tight-fitted charcoal-gray jeans and a blue tank-top. His light, bronzed skin glowed with moisture.
"We lost them, man," the fat one said between breaths.
"Look, Andre, we have to keep moving. It's going to be dark soon and we only have one flashlight," Hernando said.
"Uh, excuse me, fellas, but I vote to get out of these woods and back out on the road."
"Shut up, white boy!" Andre pointed his gun at the nervous man.
"Aw, shit!" Hernando grimaced.
"You told this fool our names."
"So did you."
"Uh, excuse me, but if it'll make any of you feel better, you can call me, Alex."
Alex's eyes opened wide when Andre walked over to him and pointed the gun at his head, "Who the hell gave you permission to speak." Andre raised the gun and made like if he was going to strike him, but didn't. Alex flinched, grateful for the lack of contact. Besides, he'd hate to get blood all over his pink Armani shirt.
"Come on, we have to keep moving," said Hernando.
"Nah, man, this is fine. We'll camp out here."
Branches rustled about nearby.
"Shush, did you hear that?" asked Hernando. They remained silent. They were surrounded by patches of greenery. The men stood on a clearing of dirt and scattered rocks, surrounded by thick trees. "If we keep moving, we'll find a way out of this dump."
"Screw that, man!" Andre leaned against a large tree. "I'm staying right here."
"Your friend is right, we should keep moving."
"When the fuck did I give you permission to speak?" Andre turned to Hernando and asked, "Do we need this sucker anymore?"
"He's our hostage. Hell yeah, we need him."
Once again, the men heard something that sounded like twigs snapping.
"I hope we don't run into it," Alex said.
"Run into what?" Hernando scanned his surroundings.
"The beast. They say it feeds at night, and only on living things."
Andre laughed, "Bullshit!"
Hernando joined him. Both men laughed while Alex hugged himself. Another twig snapped and Andre screamed. A huge snake hung from his backside.
"Get it off! Get it off!"
Hernando aimed his nine millimeter at Andre, "Hold still."
Andre's large brown eyes opened wide, "No! Get it off!"
Alex stood still enjoying the show. He hoped that one carjacker would shoot the other.
Andre managed to squeeze the snake so hard, that it loosened its grip. He threw it in disgust and it slithered away.
"This shit hurts, man! How bad is it?"
Hernando looked at the wound and cringed. Alex took a few steps closer, and glanced at the torn denim. All he could see was ripped jeans and some blood.
"What do we do now?" Andre's eyes watered.
Hernando shrugged, "Shit, how should I know?"
"Take off your pants," Alex said.
"What? Hell no!" Andre shook his head.
"I'm not too sure, but I think the snake was poisonous. If you want to live, do what I say."
Hernando nodded in agreement. Andre pulled down his pants.
"Take them off."
Hernando took off Andre's sneakers, and helped pull off the wide, baggy pants.
Twilight dwindled, and the night air brought a cool breeze. "Damn, I'm getting cold."
Alex crouched by Andre's back and examined the wound by sight. "Yep, it was poisonous."
"Shit, so suck it out!"
"Ha," Alex chuckled, and then he looked at his two kidnappers, "Oh, you're serious?"
Hernando aimed his gun at Alex's head, "Help my brother or I'll shoot you right here."
"We’re foster brothers. We grew up in a broken home. Judging by your Escalade, you wouldn't know anything about that."
Andre's lips were beginning to turn blue and he was soaked with perspiration.
Alex raised his arms slowly and faced Andre. "I've got good news, and I've got bad news. Which do you want first?"
"Give me the bad news."
"I can't suck out the poison, because then I'd be risking my life too."
"What's the good news?"
"There's a way to neutralize the poison."
Alex unzipped his fly, pulled out his manhood, and said, "Get on all fours big boy, this will only take a minute."
"Damn, you're a faggot? We got us a fucking queer!"
Alex raised his right index finger in the air, "Wait a minute, yes, I'm gay, but you misunderstood my intentions. I need to piss on the wound."
"Hell no! No white fairy is going to piss on my ass."
The previous pockets of light vanished under a moonless night. The men could only see silhouettes of each other. Hernando put away his gun in favor of the flashlight.
"Alright, Andre," Alex sighed, "Die then."
Andre cried when he saw Alex tuck it back in and said, "Wait! Hernando, you do it, man."
The breeze became a strong wind. The trees and branches bowed to the unseen forces of nature. Alex glanced at his surroundings, no longer concerned for the wounded brute that carjacked him. He sensed something out there in the woods, waiting, watching. "We have to hurry up, gentlemen. We have to get out of here."
Hernando saw the concern in Alex's dark eyes. He walked over to Andre and said, "Turn around and don't peek." He handed Alex the flashlight and muttered, "You too."
"I have seen one before, you know."
Hernando ignored Alex and urinated on Andre's wound. They gathered their composure, although, the hoodlums lost what dignity they had left. Alex led them through a trail, flashlight in hand. He paused and whispered, "Listen."
"To what? I don't hear anything," Hernando said.
"Exactly. How come we don't hear crickets, or frogs, or owls? The animals are quiet. There must be a predator on the loose."
"You mean like a wolf?" Andre's big eyes tried to focus behind the ominous shadows the flashlight cast.
"Worse." Alex smirked and continued his trek through familiar territory. He didn't volunteer that he and his dad used to hike in these woods. He knew that the trail would lead to a creek and his old cabin would still be there.
"Hey, white boy," Andre said.
"It's Alex, fat man."
"Whatever, what kind of a rich white man doesn't take care of a luxury vehicle?"
"My lover told me to get the alternator fixed, but I forgot."
Andre spat behind him in disgust. He held his ribs and said, "Hey, guys, give me a minute to catch my breath."
The two men didn't stop. They continued ahead without Andre.
"Alex," Hernando said in a low voice, "Thanks for saving my brother."
Alex smiled but since he was in front of Hernando, the Latino never saw it. He couldn't very well tell them that the snake wasn't poisonous. He was surprised that the boa attacked. They usually are afraid of humans. He almost chuckled, when all of a sudden, Andre screamed.
The two men froze. Hernando wanted to go back for Andre but Alex grabbed his shoulder. "Don't. He's dead."
"What? How do you know? We have to go back and see."
"We shouldn't. These woods are dangerous. The night creature roams."
Hernando pointed his gun at Alex, and ordered him to follow. They doubled back and found wet vegetation along their left side. A bloody Nike sneaker, still connected to an ankle, stood next to an arm torn from its socket.
"I don't care if you shoot me, but there's a cabin half a mile from here. There's a shotgun and we need it. Your damn pistol won't be enough. It didn't help your brother, so let's go."
Hernando shook but didn't argue. He dragged his feet until he managed to put his legs on automatic pilot. They sprinted through the darkness. Their hearts pounded as the wind picked up in intensity. Alex worried that it camouflaged the beast's movements.
When they reached the creek, Alex stopped and took in gobs of air, trying to catch his breath. Hernando did the same. A cabin stood a few yards away. The trees that surrounded it looked like the long talons of a creature of destruction. The more light hit the surrounding branches, the more the men noticed that the vegetation was dead.
"Death awaits," Alex muttered.
"What did you say?"
No sooner than Hernando asked the question, a shadow loomed across the field and stopped behind him. Blood squirted, spraying Alex across his face. Bone crunched under the grip of the beast, until Hernando collapsed in a heap.
He stood face to face with a black hairy creature, part man, part wolf. Its red pupils surrounded by yellow, adding to a menacing growl.
Alex took off his shirt which the wind carried away. The beast snarled. Alex removed his paints, his underwear, and his shoes. The lycanthrope calmed, its breathing more relaxed. It began to transform into a man before his eyes.
"I heard on the police scanner that you were carjacked."
"Yeah, I'm glad you put a cutoff switch in the Escalade. The dummies were easy prey."
"The fat one had enough meat to last me the night. This one's yours."
Naked, Alex began changing. He grunted as his pale skin filled with excess hair. His head contorted and his face widened. The clean-shaved image replaced by a rabid dog, complete with remarkable incisors. His arms elongated past his hairy knees, and sharp talons pushed through, replacing his nails.
At last, the dark beast stood over Hernando's corpse and tore off his head, holding it to the heavens like a trophy. Blood trickled down landing on his outstretched black tongue. His howls reminded the surrounding nocturnal creatures, that dangerous beasts lurked in the woods.