Chance

Carrie Ann woke when Chance’s wet nose nudged her shoulder.

“Go away, Chance.”

Chance nudged her again, harder this time.

“Go lay down!” Carrie Ann snatched the blanket up over her face.

Chance wasn’t taking no for an answer and hopped up onto the bed, rooting his face in the covers.

“Okay, alright. Let’s go, but don’t take forever.”

Chance hopped off the bed, bolting down the hallway and onto the porch. Carrie Ann followed and when she reached the door, Chance was walking in tight circles, panting in anticipation.

She unlocked the deadbolt, barely opening the door before Chance raced into the backyard, disappearing into the woods surrounding the mountainside home. Crisp winter air bit at her skin and she pulled the door closed. She grabbed a blanket from the basket alongside the tattered couch that was left by the back door for Chance. Carrie Ann bundled up and waited for Chance to come back to the door.

The full moon illuminated the backyard, long shadows from the towering pines stretching through the open spaces while Carrie Ann stared through the window watching for Chance’s return. After twenty minutes, Carrie Ann resigned herself to the fact that Chance must have caught scent of something in the woods, and he wasn’t returning any time soon.

Carrie Ann went back to her bedroom and climbed into bed. She fell asleep within minutes and settled into an unnerving dream. She dreamt that she’d went down to the river with Chance and while they were there, it started raining. Not just an ordinary rain, but the type of intense summer rain that rumbled through the south most afternoons. They tried to run home but the river swelled quickly, washing out the trail. Carrie Ann climbed into a tree and as she climbed, she realized that Chance had been swept away in the torrent. She called his name over and over with no answer; he never came into sight.

A whimpering sound pulled her from the nightmare and she sat up, flinching when a bang came from the window in her room, followed by a scratching on the screen. She cleared the sleep from her eyes with the palms of her hands and went to the back door, grabbing the flashlight she kept on the window ledge of the porch. The moon had slipped from the sky leaving the backyard eerily quiet, masked in inky darkness.

Carrie Ann opened the door and stepped onto the patio, the cold concrete sending shivers twisting up her spine. “Chance!”

The flashlight’s beam swept across the backyard while a brisk wind raked through the naked trees. Goosebumps blossomed on her skin when the light reflected off a pair of eyes at the far end of the house. She swallowed hard, her eyes focusing on what she hoped was Chance.

“Chance? Come on, it’s okay.”

Chance stepped into the light, squinting in the harshness of it, his head hung low. As he got closer, Carrie Ann noticed a glistening wetness around his mouth. Chance reluctantly made his way even closer and lowered his shameful gaze to the ground.

A rustling came from the darkness and Carrie Ann swung the beam of light towards the corner of the patio before looking back to Chance.

“Chance? Did you find something out there?”

Chance looked up to Carrie Ann’s disappointed face, a smirk sneaking through his sheepish expression.

“Oh no. Not again.” She took a deep breath and knew she would spend the rest of the night cleaning up whatever mess Chance had gotten into. “Come on. Let’s go see what you got.”

Chance followed Carrie Ann to the corner of the house, she gagged when her light revealed a bloodied mess lying in the dirt. Carrie Ann swallowed the bile rising in the back of her throat and leaned closer, her eyes squinting trying to determine what exactly she was seeing.

The mangled mess writhed on the ground and Carrie Ann stepped back. Chance became excited, dancing around, screeching and squealing like a banshee before Carrie Ann smacked him on the head. Chance cowered and backed away.

“Where’d you find her, Chance?”

Chance looked up and pointed to the lights twinkling in the valley below.

The naked woman coughed and sputtered on the ground, a feeble arm reaching out toward Carrie Ann’s leg. Carrie Ann snatched her foot away and walked toward the shed not far from the back of the house while Chance remained hovering over his prize, wringing his bloodied hands in his Batman shirt.

A few minutes later, Carrie Ann returned with a wheelbarrow full of supplies: a shovel, an axe, and a large roll of trash bags. She rested the tools next to where the girl continued to struggle for her last remaining breath.

Grabbing the shovel, she turned and stood over Chance’s latest kill and fixed her gaze on the confused eyes of her older brother. Though he was nearly ten years older than her, his mind had never developed much more than that of an eight year old. She’d learned that scolding him did no good; he had no concept of right or wrong and her energy would be wasted, energy she’d need to dispose of this body like she’d done with the others.

A forced, sloppy cough escaped the girl’s twisted mouth as Carrie Ann raised the shovel over her head. She hesitated for a moment; the woman’s face somewhat reminded her of her mother’s before Carrie Ann had to put her and her father out of their misery after one of Chance’s episodes. Carrie Ann shook the vision of her mother from her mind and smiled before smashing the shovel into the center of the girl’s forehead, gore splattering onto the ground and spraying up into Carrie Ann’s face. Chance, unable to contain himself, erupted in a series of high-pitched shrieks and howls, dancing around the area.

Carrie Ann smashed the shovel into the girl’s head over and over until it had nearly flattened out. She rested the shovel against the side of the house, swiped the back of her hand across her face and stood watching her brother dance around the yard. Chance was a fucking mess, no doubt, but he was her mess and she loved him no matter what.

Carrie Ann couldn’t let Chance celebrate alone so she joined her brother, dancing hand in hand under a moonless winter sky.

~ Craig McGray

© Copyright 2015 Craig McGray. All Rights Reserved.

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About Craig McGray

I write horror and dark fiction because the whispering voices in my head tell me to. My mild mannered persona is the perfect disguise for the strange things hiding inside of me. Many of my horrific tales play themselves out in my mind's eye during the times of self-torture while training for triathlons. Proud member of Pen of the Damned www.penofthedamned.com When I'm not writing or torturing myself through exercise, I spend time with my wife and beautiful daughters. They are the key to my existence.

23 responses to “Chance”

  1. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    ‘Chance’ is a great, warped tale of familial love, Craig. I love the subtle yet somehow swift shift from the perception of Chance as a dog, to Chance as a human once he returns with his catch. Reading it a second time, it becomes obvious that every early description of his behavior in the story is presumed to be canine, but in the wording, it isn’t actually there – the reader interprets it that way because it’s expected behavior of one and not the other. Very well done! A fun, caring, and brutal tale. Excellent piece – loved it! 😀

    Like

  2. 2old2tap says :

    Excellent storytelling! Somehow I knew that Chance would be bringing “something” back. When it became clear Chance was not a big lumbering dog, I may have chuckled. Caught me by surprise, well done.

    Like

  3. Magenta Nero says :

    You are truly twisted. I should know better by now but your splatter fests always catch me off guard. I’m always very fond of your half human half beast characters. Loved the dance of madness under the moon! Great story Craig, I really enjoyed it.

    Like

  4. blazemcrob says :

    Great story, Craig! Yes, you had me believing Chance was a dog too. You had me until the Batman shirt. I guess you could say that Chance was a Dark Knight. Very Dark.

    Blaze

    Like

  5. Joseph Pinto says :

    I knew you left nothing to chance with your story this week, Craig 😉
    Thoroughly enjoyed ‘CHANCE’ – a fun, well crafted tale that demonstrates the lengths one will go for their family. Awesome job! 🙂

    Like

  6. Hunter Shea says :

    Fantastic twist, wonderfully demented. These are two siblings I never want to meet!

    Like

  7. theotherjamesherbert says :

    Maybe I’m exposing my ignorance of lunar phases, but I’m confused: if the back yard is illuminated by a “full moon,” then how can they be dancing under a “moonless” winter sky?

    Like

    • Craig McGray says :

      Thanks for reading. As far as the line you’re referring to, Carrie Ann had fallen asleep after letting Chance out, allowing time to pass, and went back later to find Chance. This line earlier in the story helps to clarify: “The moon had slipped from the sky leaving the backyard eerily quiet, masked in inky darkness.” Maybe you just missed the line. I hope it didn’t take away too much from the story for you and you still enjoyed it. Have a great Damned weekend.

      Like

  8. Thomas Brown says :

    Most unsettling, Craig, and equally enthralling. Loved the remoteness of the setting and the disturbing reveal!

    Like

  9. Zoe Hall says :

    Fantastically dark and sinister story of love between siblings. Love that with a batman t-shirt Chance goes from dog to human, great twist

    Like

    • Craig McGray says :

      Thanks for the kind words, Zoe! Glad you liked my twisted little story and thanks for reading. I thought about going with a Superman t-shirt for Chance, but Batman seemed to be a better fit 😉

      Like

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