by David O’Boyle Copyright 2021 Transient Visitors: Month 1 of 12, a Collection of Very Tiny Tales.
Clemens looked at the DVD in his hand. Finally, he thought, finally he’d convinced Ivo to watch Raid of the Zombie-Mummies II. They’d seen the original together last summer. That debacle had convinced Clemens his best friend was done with the genre. What a difference a year can make.
Still, old habits die hard. As soon as Ivo conceded to watching Raid of the Zombie Mummies II, Clemens had to test his nerve.
He did so when the film climaxed. In the movie scene, a zombie-mummy lay in wait behind the door of a child’s upstairs bedroom. Right as the child ran frantic into his room to escape pursuers on the main floor, the zombie-mummy popped out. When this happened, Clemens grabbed Ivo’s shoulder and screamed. Equal parts embarrassed by his terrified reaction and annoyed at Clemens for causing it, Ivo told him to leave. Unlike countless other weekend nights, Clemens would not be crashing on the couch. Sleep would have to wait until he finished the long walk home.
Besides the occasional moonbeam reflecting off the barbed wire fence, one side of Eustis Street was pitch black. Only locals like Clemens knew what the fence surrounded: a small airport for aviation hobbyists. Only locals like Clemens also knew where to find the holes in the fence. Committing them to memory was key for quicker treks across town.
The other side of Eustis Street was also blanketed in blackness, but it was a suburban blackness, not an abysmal one, meaning it received some illumination from spotty streetlights, and the occasional flashing television. Cartoon Network played on one particularly massive plasma screen on the second floor of a nearby house.
This caught Clemens’s attention.
It caught something else’s too.
That something was thin, maybe twelve feet tall. When it stretched its torso out like an accordion, it doubled in size, making it tall enough to lean against the balcony above the portico and watch the show flat-footed from the ground. Considering the clarity of the screen from Clemens’s spot on the street, it didn’t seem like the thing needed a better view. But apparently that’s what it wanted. Efforts to scale the balcony above the portico began with hoisting the left side of its body up and over the balustrade. This went easy enough. Attempts to do the same with the right side of its body were less effective. Five unsuccessful tries later, it dismounted back onto the front lawn with both feet.
Which is when their eyes met.
From its first lunge toward him, Clemens knew he couldn’t outrun it. Sliding through the next opening in the old airport fence and finding cover was his only option.
Forty-five minutes and many mosquito bites later, Clemens lifted the evergreen hedge off his head and deemed the coast clear. Despite dropping Revenge of the Zombie Mummies II during the scramble, he declared his retreat a victory. Finding the DVD could wait until tomorrow. Tonight, he’d have to focus on apologizing to Ivo. Present circumstances made the long journey home up Eustis Street, or back down for that matter, too dangerous.
Better to get off the street. Better to navigate through the airport. Clemens knew if he stayed due north, he’d eventually reach the airport administrative cabin. Ivo’s house was just east of there.
All went according to plan until Clemens reached the airport administrative cabin and turned toward his friend’s house. From his new eastern vantage point, he noticed a light on in the administrative cabin that was earlier obscured from view.
Someone was inside.
No, something was inside.
His something. All twelve feet of it. Curled up in a rocking chair. Watching television.
This time though, the images on the screen were not animated. Perhaps its developing taste demanded a drama. Clemens moved in for a closer look. When he did, he saw a kid on the screen running upstairs away from a band of zombie-mummies on the main floor. Horror, then, not drama. Clemens’s type of horror.
So, the thing had taken his DVD. And by its body language, it was pretty scared of its contents. Maybe even more scared than Ivo.
Clemens couldn’t resist. Right as the kid on screen closed the door, revealing the zombie-mummy waiting behind it, Clemens banged on the window and screamed. Then he ran back to Ivo’s house, unsure of whether he was fueled by laughter, or terror, or both.
What he was sure of, however, was that nothing in that old airport had ever been as terrified as that thing, whatever it was.