A Very Silly Short Story, Just Because.

31/07/2014 at 1:34 pm (Uncategorized)


I awoke with the sensations of a dry mouth and a full bladder. Both were competing for my attention. Fortunately, the glass on the bedside table dealt with one of the issues almost immediately. Giving thanks to my earlier foresight, I heaved my body out of bed to deal with my its other pressing task.

The light in the bathroom forced my eyes shut momentarily as I managed to use the toilet through blurred vision. With a click to turn off the bathroom light, I began to shove myself back into the bedroom.

A sound stopped my progress. A shuffling, snuffling noise to my right caused me to freeze. This noisy intruder was quite clearly in my living room. How they had managed to find a way into my flat was a mystery to me. The mystery deepened as it was clearly not a human sound, but that of an animal.

I pressed on to the living room and turned on the hall light. The block of light that spread into the room illuminated a momentary flicker of activity, which was far too quick for me to make out. It was clear that my eyes had provided further evidence that there was indeed something else in the flat with me.

My heart rate had already quickened before this alarming visual information and reached me. My heart beat harder still. Feeling perspiration break on my neck and forehead, I shivered. My feet were rooted to the spot as my mind battled over the decision to investigate further, or run into my bedroom and hide behind the security of its door.

If I did hide, what then? What would this – whoever or whatever it was – thing do? Cause damage and mess that I’d only need to clear up? Steal from me? It had to go out somehow, but was so unlike an unwelcome wasp, it seemed a futile thought to just let it leave of its own accord.

“Hello?” I spoke with a tremor. The snuffling, breathing and sounds of movement had stopped. It was either as nervous of me as I was of it, or it was waiting in the shadows to attack. I crept forward and moved my hand over the light switch tentatively.

I flicked the switch on and illuminated the whole room. My eyes scanned as much of the living room as quickly and as thoroughly as I could. My muscles tightened as I prepared for a dog or a cat to leap out at me.

There was nothing. Nothing that I could account for the peculiar foraging noises I had heard mere moments before.

Nothing seemed disturbed or upset. No furniture disturbed nor plants upended. However, an incongruity hooked my vision that my brain couldn’t interpret at first.
The edge of something pale. glistening wet, pulsed behind the far side of the sofa. It was only about half a foot off the ground. I was beginning to think it was indeed a dog, albeit a breed I was unfamiliar with.

I moved round to see more of it, but this peculiar edifice seemed to back away instinctively. I moved quickly to catch a better image, which I did, but my brain was unable to process what I was seeing.
My eyes met those of a small friesian cow.
Where my reaction was one of utter confusion, the tiny cow went into a blind frenzy. A black and white blur, it ran around the edge of the room, clumsily bashing into the furniture and knocking the coffee table a few inches to one side. It clattered past me on miniature hooves and out into the hall.

The wooden floor was proving an almost impossible surface for this extraordinary beast to negotiate. It turned awkwardly down the hall, lost its footing and tumbled unceremoniously into the front door on its side.

It lay there, stunned for a moment. I crept slowly over to it, not wishing to alarm this oddity further. Fortunately, it seemed unhurt as it struggled to get up, which it did so successfully.

“Hello,” I said again, trying to install some confidence and friendliness into my voice.

The tiny cow steadied itself on its legs and looked straight at me.

“Hello,” it answered in a softly-spoken, refined woman’s voice.

I realised after a few moments had passed that my face had been reflecting several unvoiced emotions, primarily switching between confusion and smiling.

“I’m sorry to cause you any inconvenience,” the cow said, although I was sure I could detect impatience or disapproval in her voice.

It took me a while for the questions to arrive on my side of the conversation and it was clear the cow was expecting them.

“Who are you?” I asked, losing some of my fleeting confidence.

“My name is Heek. I’ve been sent here to protect you.”

“Heek?” The cow nodded. “Heek. protect me from what? Why did you run like that?”

“Yes, that was terribly unprofessional of me. You’re not supposed to see me. You shouldn’t even know I’m here.”

“Right.” The more answers I heard, the less the situation made sense. “Okay, what are you protecting me from?”

“There are forces, primal, ancient, secreted in the dark. They prey upon… certain people.”

The pause was clearly loaded, and I couldn’t help but burst out, “Certain people? What people? Why me? What do you mean?”

“I will explain, Tom, I will explain.” Heek held up a hoof in what seemed like an attempt at placation.

“You know my name.”

“Of course. You’re my client.”

It was impossible to suppress my laughter at that statement, although I did suppress my comment of ‘that’s so cute.’ While this small cow had become adorable, it didn’t seem proper to condescend her. I felt ridiculous even mulling this over in my head.

“Don’t laugh. I’m here to save your life.” She was quite serious in her tone, which shut me up immediately. “As I was saying, there are… things out there, in the night. Dangerous things. They attack when their prey is at their most vulnerable, often in the hours before the morning. I’ve been assigned to you as you have been earmarked for such an attack.”

“But you’re…” There was no way I could say what I was going to say without seeming insulting.”

“A level two Paranormal Operative, yes.”

“No, I mean you’re a cow. A really little cow.”

“That doesn’t mean I can’t do my job, Tom. I’m fully conversant in a wide range of scriptures, incantations and spells. I was in the process of performing an incantation to make a protective shield around your home when you interrupted me.”

“You’re a magic cow!” I blurted, unthinking.

“Yes,” her eyes rolled, “I’m a magic cow.”

Turning her head to one side, Heek whispered, “Did you hear that?” I told her I didn’t. “It’s here.”

Also holding my voice under a whisper, I asked, “What is it?”

“Your killer.”

My blood ran cold. In that instant everything seemed very real. I believed completely that I was in danger. The temperature in the flat dropped leaving me feeling so cold, whereas before my t-shirt and pyjama shorts offered perfectly acceptable cover.

We both looked down the hallway, waiting for the mysterious killer to appear. I began to shake, feeling my joints switch between shuddering themselves loose or locking tightly in place.

On the corner of the hall that led to my bedroom, I noticed a black, smokey tendril snaking its way along the floor. Then another joined it, then another and another. They seemed to work independently of each other. The tips of the insubstantial tentacles rose slightly like a snake tasting the air.

The nervous sweat I’d felt before was nothing compared to the water that was now streaming from my pores, blurring my vision as it gathered over my eyelashes and into my eyes.

I jumped as Heek began to chant, closing her eyes and swaying from side to side.

“Kuranenek habigou starikan,” she spoke, the words seemingly filling the whole flat. “Oosinea fandrebon kooechiten spantachawae.”

The tendrils had now completely turned the corner and were facing us. They were pulling forward a much larger mass, which was becoming more and more exposed as the tendrils inched further.

I began to feel sick, beyond terror and confusion. The incongruity of the tiny cow speaking a strange incantation melted away as I knew that she was probably my only saviour at that moment.

Soon, the full horror of the thing revealed itself. Surrounded by an uncountable, ever-changing collection of writhing grey and black arms was a thick ball made up of the same smoke. I could barely smell it before, but the acrid stench was beginning to crawl into my nose and mouth, stinging my eyes.

Within the body I could see a face, a head within a smokey mass. The features were wizened, blackened and charred. I gagged.

I became aware of Heek’s chant changing. The words had become a constant stream of noise.

“Assamburganotarbenotragettisangobeep.” She repeated the last syllable again.

“Beep.”

Over and over she repeated the word ‘beep’. The smoke creature emitted a mournful howl as its tendrils recoiled as if to protect itself.

I looked over my shoulder to Heek. Her eyes flicked open and head butted me in the side and shouted, “Beep!”

I blinked.

Finding myself in near-darkness, I choked and spluttered, instinctively holding my chest. I struggled to breathe and, clawing at my face, realised I had a plastic mask strapped over my mouth and nose.

I could only see distorted silhouettes among flickering orange light. I could hear someone speaking. A woman’s voice.

“S’ok, you’re out of it now. We’re just going to get you to the hospital. You were lucky to get out of that fire.”

Fire? Where was Heek? What was happening? I attempted to speak, but it was muffled and broken because of the mask and my own throat, which felt like parchment.

With a burst of strength, I yanked the mask off. “Magic cow,” was all my brain could manage.

“I’ve been called worse I suppose,” said the woman as I began to realise she was in a green uniform. I was aware of a clunk and with a clatter I was pushed horizontally on a gurney into an ambulance.

“A fire?” I asked, pathetically.

“That’s right,” the woman replied. “Your whole building went up. I’m sorry, this is horrible for you. On the upside, everyone’s okay. Thanks to you.”

“What? I didn’t…”

“Come on now, everyone’s talking about it. You raised the alarm and woke up the whole block. They saw you. You saved everyone. Now you’re going to get a bit of looking after too.”

I remembered none of that. Just the horrible smoke monster and the tiny, magic cow.

“I’m going to give you something for the pain now,” the woman spoke, softly.

My eyesight began to darken, but I swore that, just for a moment, I could see Heek sitting on the end of the gurney, smiling.

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