Like the slow ooze of crude oil, it crept into his stomach; ice cold. Sat there, low and heavy, like he’d swallowed one of the sodden sand bags that had kept a primeval soup of leaves, cars, and the daily filth of other lives from his affluent, rural door in the floods last summer.
He welcomed back a reluctant friend in fear…shameful, most excruciating fear. The kind that warranted the clichéd cold sweat that soaked his collar. Rupert could feel himself start to shake, and tensed to avert the horror of it. Fine that he should be afraid…but that it should know him to be afraid? – Never!
All dripping yellow teeth and glowing eyes, it towered at him…an awful, yawning chasm in the corner of the rose garden, where it festered, and chased small things in torturous circles. Small things that could have been him.
Rupert had been told about things like this as a boy. The stuff of nightmares, that paralyses… The stuff that you never believed existed when your dad sat on the end of your bed at night and told you stories to make you afraid of the dark.
‘All boys should be afraid of something, son’…all boys had to live through fear, Rupert remembered. His Prep School headmaster had always agreed with his father when he said that…knarled old bastard…said it built a solid character. ‘Never trust a man who claims he isn’t afraid of something. He is dangerous, and a liar.’
Rupert could not lie, he had never felt less solid… His insides had putrefied to a thick liquid that he was certain was impending vomit. In the face of the beast before him, with its viscous claws exposed and flea-infested fur matted above a thrashing tail, he searched for any trace of the military focus his father had tried so desperately to breed into him by gene pool, by carrot, and by stick.
As Theseus to the Minotaur, armed with a shovel and a ball of garden twine, Rupert prepared to do battle. Courage…he remembered, is facing that which terrifies you. Even if it is so terrible you can barely bring yourself to look…
As he swallowed rising bile and acid in his throat, a great warrior took the shovel from Rupert’s hand, and brought it swiftly and decisively down upon the Minotaur’s head. There was no sound…it jerked…once, twice…death throes, and fell still…bleeding from the ear. Rupert pursed his lips to contain the acrid liquid as he gagged and vomited into his mouth.
Sarah scooped the dead mouse onto the shovel and dropped it into the compost heap.
“Little bastard…”, she spat. “It was after my seeds”.
Okay...maybe it's not quite 'horror' per say... ;)