Writer’s Digest Weekly Writing Prompt, 2/23/16

Prompt By: Brian A. Klems | February 23, 2016

You are an expert at capturing alligators—they call you “The Alligator Whisperer.” Your work has helped scientists gather extensive information on the life of alligators and you are hailed as a hero in the scientific community. Everything is going great until one day the alligators start hunting you. What do you do?

Warning: This story has strong language and some disturbing imagery.

‘Shit!  Shit!  Shit!’ Harold thought as he hobbled as quickly as he could toward the Cold Turkey Convenience Store.  He was tired, dehydrated, had a twisted ankle, and was hearing voices.  To make it worse, it was night.

“Crush!”  One voice said.

“Kill!”  Another responded.

“Meat!”  Came yet another.

Harold gritted his teeth and did his best to move faster.  The voices were getting louder.  They were getting closer.  He was running out of time.

Inside the Cold Turkey, Ralph was leaning on the wall next to the scratch-off tickets.  His green vest was pristine, the store’s golden letters embroidered over his left breast.  Below that was his nametag, covered in grease after months of him swearing he would clean it.  His friend and trusty co-worker, Jay, was leaning against the front counter, arms folded next to the register.

“Yeah, man,” Ralph said, staring contemplatively at the hotdogs turning on the warmer.  “Darcy’s a bad-ass.  I mean, who gets to be a total dick and still gets the girl at the end?”

“Nah,” Jay said, shaking his head.  “It’s more of a statement of Elizabeth’s character, if anything.  She doesn’t even like the dude until she finds out he’s rich.”

“Money talks,” Ralph smirked, scratching the back of his head.  Jay snorted and shook his.

The unlocked-side of the banged open and in walked a very scared, hurt and tired Harold.  Both of the clerks jolted.  Jay gave Harold a weary look and white knuckled the front counter, his thumb hovering over the silent alarm.  Ralph casually leaned forward, hand resting on the butt of a baseball bat.

Harold flipped the lock on the door and closed the blinds. He thought, ‘How the fuck did this go so wrong?  Why would the gators wait so long?  Why now?’  He stood at the door, breathing hard, body tense, staring at nothing.

“Excuse me, sir!”  Jay said.  “We don’t close until 2 and it’s only 8.  It’s even still too early for a robbery, if you ask me.”  He smirked and looked at Ralph, who responded with a scolding look and a disappointed shake of his head.

“Yeah,” Harold quickly contemplated and nodded.  “This is a robbery!”  He reached inside his vest and pulled out his buck-knife.  Jay pushed the silent alarm.

“The problem here, sir,” Ralph said, pulling out the bat, “is that celebrities like you already have a ton of money.  I don’t think Harold ‘Wrangler’ Jacobs is having a hard time supplying for his family, or feeding some heavy drug-addiction.  I don’t think this is really a robbery.”

“Damn!”  Jay exclaimed, making Ralph and Harold jump.  “You’re the gator whisperer dude!  From TV!”

Harold licked his lips, panicking at being recognized.  He lifted his knife, Ralph his bat.  Sweat was streaming down Harold’s face, his eyes were wide with fear and adrenaline.

“Listen to me,” Harold growled.  “This is going to sound bat-shit.  There was a gator rescue tonight.  Three twelve-footers got into a retirement community’s pond.  Happens all the time.  Something happened and they- they’re coming for me!”

“The gators?”  Ralph asked, dropping his arms.  He then jumped and screamed as there was a loud bang against the front door.  There came a stronger bang that shook the blinds.

Harold walked over to the door and peaked through the blinds.  There, eye to eye with him, was an alligator’s face.

“Meat!”  It screamed in Harold’s head.

Harold jumped back and opened the blinds just in time to see the alligator get on his hind legs and fall toward the door.  Harold swore under his breath and moved out of the way as the gator came crashing down, breaking the glass.  Both clerks screamed and jumped on the back counter, against the wall.

The alligator thrashed, growling and snapping.  Harold hit a piece of metal and the gator stopped moving for a moment.

“Meat!  Meat!”  The gator screamed in Harold’s head.  It flipped itself right-side up and seemed to hiss victorious.

“Meat!” it exclaimed as it rushed Harold.

Harold dove out of the way, down a small aisle, canned goods.  The started turning, slowed by the lack of space.  When its back was turned to him, Harold thought a prayer, took his buck knife in his teeth and leapt on its back.  The gator thrashed hard, Harold barely managing to pin its jaws shut.

“Meat!” It screamed at Harold, emitting loud growls.

Harold started wrestling the gator, trying to get it on its belly.  This is what he did.  It was what made him famous.  Of course he was known for saving gators.  Not this one.

“Thrash!”  He suddenly heard another voice.

“Destroy!”  Came another.

He finally pinned the meat-gator and, after a second’s hesitation, stuck his knife in its brain.  A guttural cry rang out in his head and then came the actual sounds of two more gators growling.

Ralph was shaking as two more gators came in through what was the front door.  One seemed interested in him and Jay and the other prowled toward Harold.

The one interested in the clerks stopped and opened its jaws wide, hissing menacingly, its tail thrashing.  Ralph hugged his knees and kept his eyes on the gator.  It leapt and bounced off the front counter, but still managed to to almost tip it over.  Ralph looked away for a second to see the baseball lying on the floor.  It was too far away.

“Destroy!” the gator hissed in Harold’s mind.

“Thrash!” Said the other.  Harold was sure it was preoccupied with the clerks.  He hoped he could get to that one in time.

In killing the meat-gator, he had knocked over the canned goods shelves, leaving more space.  Harold swallowed and ran.  The destroy-gator took chase.

Harold knocked over shelves and threw things at the gator.  Part of him knew he was pissing the cold-blooded killing-machine off while actually succeeding at slowing it down.  Then he tripped.

Thrash-gator leapt at the counter again, snapping at the air.  It was pushing the front counter closer to the two clerks, as well as over.  All both clerks could think to do was stare.  There was a loud crack as the twelve-foot long alligator leapt again and completely flattened the counter.  Then came Harold’s scream.

Destroy-gator had his lower left leg in its jaws.  The pain was unbearable; Harold knew he was going to pass out.  The gator thrashed and disconnected Harold’s knee.  Harold yowled and passed out.  The gator then tore his left leg  off at the knee and started swallowing.

Thrash-gator was getting ready to leap again.  Then there came a high pitched whistle from the doorway.  It worked, whoever it was, the gator looked at the doorway.  The two clerks did too.

Standing in the doorway was a police officer with a double-barreled shot-gun.  “Come here, you son of a bitch,” she muttered and cocked her gun.  There was a crack and the alligator attacking Harold fell over dead.  The shot-gun officer’s partner shot from the police car, right through destroy-gator’s mouth.

“Come on!”  She then yelled.  Thrash-gator hissed and charged.  It opened its mouth as it got ready to attack her legs and she pulled the trigger against its head.

It was over.  Ralph threw up.

The other officer ran in with a first-aid kit and started tending to Harold.  He also called it in to the precinct.  The shot-gun officer turned to check on the two clerks.

“How’re you two doing?” She asked.

“F-fine,” Ralph managed, then turned to throw up again.  Jay nodded that he was fine too.

The shot-gun officer went and got the two clerks waters from the cooler, trying to not kill herself on the mess.  Ralph looked worse for ware, pale and clammy.

“I actually have a question,” Jay started when the officer returned.  “What do you think of Darcy?”

“Jane Austin’s Darcy?”  The shot-gun officer asked rhetorically, with a small smile.  “He’s a douche.”

Prompt is from www.writersdigest.com.   This is my first fictional story in a while.  If you enjoyed, please like.  Also, feel free to comment.  And thanks!

 

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