The Lame Thing, by Lesa Pascavis Smith
“You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).
“Mom,” Amber yelled. “Where are you?”
“In the kitchen,” Sherry Jackson said. “What is the matter? You look like you’ve just seen a –.”
Amber shook her head violently, bursting into tears. “Don’t say it!”
Sherry pulled her close and began praying aloud. “Heavenly Father, we ask for you to cover Amber with your protection. Keep her safe. Guard her from evil and surround her with your impenetrable shield of security. Amen.”
Matthew Jackson was standing in the kitchen doorway staring at the two women. His right hand was over his heart and his face was pale.
“Dad,” Amber whispered.
“They’re back, aren’t they?” Matthew said taking his cell phone from his pocket. “I’ll call Father Tobias.”
“Wait!” Amber braced herself against the kitchen counter for support. “It’s not like before.”
Sherry offered her daughter a glass of water. “Drink this and when you’re ready, tell us what happened.”
Amber took a sip and then drew in a deep breath. “Megan and I were coming home from the movie. We were just about to the S-curve above Dickenson’s farm when I saw something.” She closed her eyes and took in another gulp of air. “Or someone, walking alone along the side of the road. I slowed down and tried to move over to avoid hitting them, but just when I did; it ran toward us and crashed into my side of the car.”
“You didn’t say you hit someone!” Matthew said. “I’m calling the police.”
“No, it wasn’t a person.” Amber covered her face with her hands then let them slide down her cheeks pulling her skin with them making her look much older than nineteen. “At least, I don’t think it was.” Amber jabbed at her tears with a napkin. “It was an animal-like thing. When it ran toward the car, it was on all fours. But, when it attacked, it stood up on its back legs like a person.” She paused to take another drink. “It thing looked right into my window. Its eyes were human, like looking into yours or my own, and then . . . “
“Then,” her father said, his phone still in his hand.
“Then, I heard it. At first, it growled, like a dog or something, but high pitched. Then it spoke to me. It said ‘I am a mist that appeared but for a little time. Find me.’ After that, it disappeared.”
Matthew took a drink of Amber’s water. “Where did it go?”
“I don’t know. It just vanished.”
“Did Megan see it?” Sherry said.
With tears in her eyes, Amber whispered, “No.”
Matthew nodded to his wife. “Father Tobias.”
“Wait! I keep telling you this is different. I did not see or hear spirits tonight. This time it was an animal. Just because Megan did not see it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. She was so busy texting Tim that she barely looked up anyway.”
Matthew grabbed a flashlight from the cabinet and headed for the kitchen door.
“Dad, where are you going?”
“I’m going to check the car for damage.” He headed out into the night with his wife and daughter behind him.
Matthew shone the light around the driver’s side door of the car. The vehicle showed no signs of damage.
“Look,” Amber said bending down. “Right here.”
A tuft of silvery fur was wedged into the front bumper.
“Oh my goodness,” Sherry said. “Amber, you’ve hit a dog. That poor lame thing is out there somewhere.”
“It wasn’t a dog.” Amber pulled the hair from the bumper and examined it. “And, it spoke to me.”
“Honey, I think you thought it spoke to you because you were so upset that you had hit that poor dog. I am just so thankful you girls were not hurt.” Sherry embraced her daughter before turning to go into the house. “Come inside soon. This will seem better in the light of day.”
Amber examined the lock of hair, and then looked at her father. The look on his face was the same look six years ago when the spirits first began visiting her. Tonight, she had not seen a ghost, or, if you believed what Father Tobias told them, a demon.
“Dad, I know what I saw tonight. It was a werewolf!” Amber said.
“A walking, talking werewolf.” Matthew pounded the base of the dimming flashlight with his fist. “Amber, listen to me. We are not going down this road again. When you were thirteen, you were spiritually vulnerable and Satan tried to snare you. Now, you are older and know good from evil. And, you are certainly old enough to know there are no such things as werewolves.”
“You are only remembering the dark times.” Amber moved toward her father and put her hand in his. “Don’t you remember how we came together as a family?”
Matthew nodded. The stress of the spiritual attack on his daughter contributed to his heart attacking him. It was during his recovery that the family bond was strengthened.
“Well, I need my family now. Will you go with me to look for the werewol . . ., for what I hit? It was all alone and now, it may be hurt.”
Matthew gave up trying to revive the now dead flashlight. He tossed it on the ground by a shrub and removed his car keys from his pocket. “Let’s go. I’ll drive.”
The pair neared the curve where the incident had occurred.
“Dad, pull over.”
Amber, I don’t think that is a good idea.” He saw the look in his daughter’s eyes. Suddenly, she was a little girl again, determined to nail a back handspring.
Matthew turned the car around. The lights shined along the area were the creature was first spotted. They got out of the car and began scouring the scene for evidence.
Amber held up her hand. “Listen.”
I am a mist that appeared but for a little time. Find me.
“There it is again,” Amber said. “Did you hear it?”
Matthew shook his head.
“It came from up there.” She pointed to the thick blanket of fog along the hillside. “Come on.”
Matthew eyed the steep slope as his hand traveled to his heart once again.
“Better idea,” Amber said. “You stay here and watch for it and I’ll go up.”
“Good plan.” Matthew said. “Promise you’ll go just to the edge of the mist and come back if you don’t see anything.”
With a thumbs up to her father, Amber pulled herself toward the clearing several feet from the curve until she reached the place where the haze met the ground.
“Are you here?”
I am a mist, but only for a little time. Find me.
She looked below to the car lights burning their way through the murky night. Her father was down there, waiting for her, praying for her, wondering about her. She had promised to turn around when she reached the fog’s edge, but now, the voice was calling to her. With a deep breath, she whispered a prayer for safety before heading into the cloudy abyss.
“I’m here. Where are you?”
Beside you. In the mist, but only for a little time. Find me.
The voice came from the ground. Amber knelt and swam through the thickness with her hands until she felt it. Fur. The animal made a noise. It was not a growl, more like a moan. Through the haze, she could see the outline of its body. It was lying down on its side and was over five feet long. Four legs resembled that of a dog, but the back legs appeared longer and more muscular, like a man. She leaned in closer and saw the animals cognac colored eyes glowing through the mist.
Amber drew her hand away from the creature. “Are you hurt?”
I am. Find me.
“Are you a werewolf?”
Suddenly, the wind began to roar through the tops of the trees. The air grew colder and the fog thickened.
“I need to get back to my father.”
Your father is just like me, a mist that is only here for a little time. He will be gone soon. I need you now. You must find me.
“I bring back help. I promise.”
The instant Amber turned her back on the werewolf, it sprang to its feet and with a bone-chilling growl and leapt over her to the road below. Amber hurried down the hill, stumbling and tripping, knowing she could not reach her father before the werewolf did.
She got to the car and the beast was on the hood, howling. Its fang-like teeth made Amber’s knees buckle. She could see her father slumped over in the passenger’s side of the vehicle.
Amber ran to the driver’s side of the car and opened the door. On the seat beside Matthew were his nitroglycerin pills. The werewolf gnarled and lunged at her knocking her to the ground.
I told you, I need you to find me.
“Get off of me!” Amber used her elbow to jab the beast in his face. “My father needs me.”
The animal recoiled and Amber bolted toward the car, slamming the door and locking it behind her. The creature reared up on its back legs and hovered above the windshield. She started the engine and stomped on the gas sending the werewolf flying upon impact. In the rearview mirror, she watched as it lumbered up the hill with a limp.
Her mother and Father Tobias met Amber at the emergency room.
“Mrs. Jackson,” a woman said. “I’m Catherine Engle, a nurse here at mercy hospital. Your husband is in with the doctor’s now. Your daughter was hysterical when she brought him in, saying things about a werewolf and such. We’ve given her a sedative to calm her down.”
Sherry pulled back the bangs on Amber’s forehead and kissed her lightly. “Will she be alright?”
The nurse nodded. “Yes. She just needs some rest.”
Father Tobias volunteered to stay with Amber while Sherry went to Matthew. Once they were alone, he took out his bible and bowed his head in a silent prayer.
Amber opened her eyes. “I know what I saw is real, Father. It was a werewolf. Not a demon or a ghost.”
Father Tobias took her hand. “What you are dealing with again is spiritual warfare. Animals do not have souls. They cannot talk to you or be human in any way. Satan is a master of deception.”
“No, Father. You are wrong. There is a werewolf out there that needs help. He is alone and hurt.”
Suddenly, Catherine pulled back the curtain. “She is right, Father.”
Father Tobias and Amber looked at the nurse in stunned silence.
“He lives above the S-curve.” Catherine closed the shroud around them. “I know because he is my husband, Jason. He was killed in an accident at that very same spot a year ago. His car hit a wolf. When he got out to check on the animal, it was still alive and it attacked him.”
“I am so sorry for your loss,” Father Tobias said.
“The wolf at the S-curve has Jason’s spirit inside it. My husband is the one who needs to be found so he can finally be at peace.”
Amber sat up in the bed. “Then we need to go help him. Father, you must exorcise Jason’s spirit from the wolf.”
Without warning, the lights in the emergency room brightened and the air grew lighter. A tear slipped down Catherine’s cheek.
A doctor called to Catherine. “Nurse, we need you here. Paramedics are bringing in man who was in a car accident. He hit a wolf on Route 2.”
“Did the wolf live?” Father Tobias said.
The doctor shook his head. “The police found the animal dead in the woods above the S-curve.”
Author, Lesa Pascavis Smith, lives in Charleston, WV and is a member of WV Writer’s Inc. She gravitates toward the darker side of writing, focusing on speculative and horror. She enjoys weaving intrigue throughout her writing by using the supernatural and spiritual elements in her stories. Lesa’s favorite authors include Ted Dekker, Mike Dellosso, and of course, Stephen King.
Posted on December 28, 2012, in Issue 6: Big Bad Wolf in a Big Bad Universe and tagged e-zine, genre blender, horror, science fiction, short stories, The Were-Traveler, werewolves. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.