Destroy the Beast
by Wayne Haroutunian
I appeared atop a wooden structure at
night, in the middle of a desert-like valley. The valley was bordered
on all sides by sand-mountains beyond which I couldn't see.
Strangely, electric lamp posts stood at various positions and distances
both down in the valley and on the mountains, so that I could see the
surface of the land as clear as though it were daytime. Upon observing
my more immediate environment I could see that the wooden structure
upon which I stood was a five-story tower, each floor of which would
hold no more than ten people comfortably. On the floor, a small opening
yawned up at me. Through this opening I saw a narrow stairwell
descending to the lower floors. On a ledge before me sat a pair of
It was not long before I heard something which
paralyzed me such that I couldn't help but stand there and hear it: A
high-pitched, ear-piercing scream coming from some kind of animal or
beast, which filled the entire valley and then echoed for a few moments
until it died and left the valley in silence again.
I then heard the shouting of men and women coming
from below and the stomping of boots coming up the steps.
Out of the mouth in the floor erupted five men and
women, dressed in black and armed. One man carried a rocket launcher
and shoved it into my arms, yelling something to me at the same time. I
couldn’t understand what he or the others were saying—their voices were
The man who had given me the heavy weapon looked at
me again and pointed down the valley, towards the sand-mountains at the
far end, again shouting something incomprehensible. He then snatched up
the binoculars and looked through them at these same mountains.
The other four men and women looked also, straining
to see into the far distance.
That abominable howl cut through the world again,
again ear-piercing and distant, yet pervasive, and sounding like the
thing issuing it was either under unspeakable torment, or terribly
The men and women shouted even louder, their voices
still blurred. The man with the binoculars lowered them and shouted at
me, pointing first at the rocket launcher in my arms, then at the
distant mountains. Then he promptly looked through the binoculars again.
I looked at the others. They shouted at me, pointing
at the mountains.
I lifted the rocket launcher onto my right shoulder,
found the trigger with my finger and looked into the eye-cup. Through
the crosshairs I saw the mountains: empty and lifeless.
But then I spotted something. A dark shape came up
from behind the peak of one of the mountains and stood there, upright
on its hind legs.
I heard the man with the binoculars shout something.
The shrill, echoing scream filled the valley again.
Then the dark shape started running down the side of
the mountain, coming towards us.
The man with the binoculars shouted again, and the
others started bustling about behind me. They were shouting at me also,
and all I heard was blurred, muffled, loud chaos, and I could feel my
heart pounding, and I tried to hold the cross-hairs steady on the
coming black thing, but it was moving quickly...
In a daze I realized that at the rate at which it
approached, it would reach us in a few minutes even despite the
distance between us.
My attention was again taken by the shouting men and
women, and I came out of the daze only to find that I had lost sight of
the black thing in my viewfinder. Wildly, I swung the rocket launcher
left and right and up and down, trying to locate the beast...
I spotted it. It was now much nearer than before.
Running on all fours, it had the body of a man—though easily twice the
size, and unclothed and bronzed—yet not a man’s head.
...Its head was enormous and thick with brown hair
or fur. The amount of space occupied by its two eyes was at least half
of the thing’s face; they were each the size of an eating plate and
were each a pure, shadeless black: no pupils or irises—just black
saucers. The bottom half of its face was taken up by a full set of
dozens of long teeth, which were permanently exposed and lipless.
I was suddenly smacked on the back and shouted at.
In reaction, I pulled the trigger. The rocket issued
forth in a cloud of smoke and the backfire knocked me off my feet. One
of the men helped me back up and relieved me of the empty weapon. I
strained to see the valley through the smoke.
None of us could see a thing. The men and women had
An explosion occurred somewhere further down the
Then all was silent again. The smoke finally cleared
and I could see the electrified valley again.
However, I didn’t see the beast. The valley was
empty ... quiet.
The man with the binoculars raised them to his eyes.
All of us looked out into the valley.
I grabbed the rocket launcher, raised it onto my
shoulder again and used the eye-cup to see farther into the valley.
But before I could make out a thing, the loudest,
most deafening scream of all erupted from the ground five stories
I felt the entire wooden structure shaking as though
something large was scaling the side of it. In a blur, I saw one of the
women reach into a pocket at her side and pull out a grenade...
© 2014 Wayne Haroutunian
Haroutunian lives and writes in California. His fiction has appeared in
Sirens Call and he has received an Honorable Mention for an urban
sci-fi novelette in the Writers of the Future Awards. His Haiku poetry
is available on www.lulu.com. You can find his ebooks on Smashwords.
E-mail: Wayne Haroutunian
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