Shorts:The Park

The Park by Kevan Thurstans

It was a typical autumn evening, cold and damp. Heading home after work at about five O'clock, I was cutting through the park as usual. The clocks had been turned back so it was getting dark early. The cold and damp was creating a low mist which hung in wisps around the park. Every so often the path was dotted with a yellow glow of an old sodium street lamp, with a surrounding blanket of shadows and darkness. Old and crooked oak trees formed strange and menacing shadows against the glow of the distant town lights.

I entered the gates from the west side of the park and turned left following the gravel path, the park appeared empty. Looking across the cricket lawn I was not able to see another single soul. Crunching under my feet, gravel skipped and scattered as I walked, cutting through the silence of the park. My presence seemed to awaken something, as a chattering came from the large bush on the edge of the path when I passed. I hoped that it was just a squirrel, but since it was dark I wasn't able to convince myself fully. So I took a deep breath and continued on my way following the curving path, around the cricket lawn and down into the ornamental gardens.

As I walked, I heard the odd unearthly squeal from the bushes which seem to occur more and more the further I ventured into the gardens. I've heard this park is an 'Other-side' hot spot and being this close to Halloween, activity was probably at its highest. A rustling to my left gave me a start, but I soon resumed my composure and continued my walk albeit slightly faster.

The Other-side is a pandimensional region, probably an alternative universe, from which beings of pure energy exist. These creatures have no form as we understand, but when they enter our universe via some hot spot they have the ability to find a solid form. We are not sure where they get the forms from but believe it might be from the darkest and deepest recesses of the nearest minds. No-one has ever been through a hot spot into the Othe-side and it is thought that we could never go back the other way, still who would want to try. We also wonder why they always try to get through and why they always seem to attack. Are they attracted to life or light, is it some form of jealousy or is there some controlling mind or force hoping to take this universe over. Whatever the answer it is a serious problem and we have been set up to combat this problem and find a way to stop it.

As I approached the small wooden bridge, which spans the stream connecting the two ponds, I heard a large splash. With another splash and a whoosh the biggest tentacle I have ever seen thrusted out of the left hand pond and slumped across the bridge, its pitted and scarred skin glistened in the pale yellow light of the nearest lamp. An eye the size of the moon peeked out of the water and blinked at me. This was not good, the 'Other-side' gateway was larger than previously thought. Normally I would expect small creatures to hunt near any breach, but nothing this big. This was a guardian, a keeper of a gateway. Some despicable creature that stops us getting in, but allows them out.

Slender ends of other tentacles slithered onto the bridge as well, feeling their way across to seek out my legs and ankles. I ran towards the first large tentacle, dodging the others, feeling for the tazer in my left hand pocket of my jacket. Pulling it out I thrust the end of the tazer into the wet flesh of the Guardian, pulling the trigger. A buzzing flash of electricity and the whiff of burning flesh, the creature cried a deep ugly scream which rattled my very bones. The dark creature drew its tentacle back into the water as I jumped back out of the way. The eye stared at me accusingly before sinking back to its dark depths from whence it came. I then ran across the bridge and made some distance between the pond and myself.

Breathing heavily I continued along the westerly path which leads out of the gardens. Running along the south of the path is a small wood, dark and foreboding in the evening. The lamps are sparsely set apart along this route with their limited light creating small pools amongst the shadowy path. There seemed to be more rustling than I normally hear from the woodland and I thought I saw movement in amongst the undergrowth. Suddenly there was a diabolical scream, something prehistoric, a sound I had never heard before. I froze as a rustling got closer and closer from deep within the woods. There was the shadow of a four legged creature moving towards me. When the dark beast reached the edge of the woods, it leaped into the air heading straight for me. I reached into my pocket for my tazer, remembering that it was only good for one go. With an almost instinctive reflex I rolled to the left. The creature landed heavily on the spot where I was standing, it stumbled then rolled over and turned to face me. Panting heavily this dog like creature stared at me. It only seemed like a dog in shape, but its size was more comparable to that of a bear, but with lean muscular rear legs and powerful thick forelegs. Its face was long almost bat like, with four canine like fangs overhanging its bottom lip. Drool was running down its chin and the eyes almost seem to glow yellow in the moonlight. I took a step to the left and immediately the beast growled a warning. I slowly moved my right hand into my back pocket, feeling for a small vial. With a flick I threw the vial at the creature, with which a bit of luck and some skill the vial hit the animal on its back. The holy water within splashed then steamed, the beast screamed its primordial howl as the liquid spread across its fur. It was a chance that paid off, holy water tended to burn most of the evil creatures from the Other-side. The lupine animal had a change of heart and ran back into the woods, probably back to its Other-side lair, with any luck.

The area was getting too dangerous for one man, so I cut my losses and ran until I reached the residential road to where the path lead. The light from the houses along the road was a welcoming sight after that experience. My car was parked just along the main road where this road lead to. Within a few minutes I had reached my car and was speeding along toward the main bypass. I needed to report back to base and update everyone on the activity I had witnessed. The department could not sit back with such a danger present in such a public place.


Issue 0.3