Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two Wolves and a Stingray by Diana N. Robicheaux

     The classic, fully restored, cobalt blue, 1972 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray blew past the cop doing 75 in a 35 zone.  The driver knew the cruiser was there, he saw it a mile away, literally.  He laid on the horn, just in case the cop inside was asleep this late at night.  The cruiser sprang to life and barreled after them, lights flashing and sirens blaring.  But the driver of the Stingray wasn’t slowing down, no way.  He had a job to do and he was having too much fun.
     “Punch it!” Jordan shouted over the wind to his accelerator man, his younger brother Jason.  Jason pressed down on the accelerator.  The engine responded with a deep, throaty rumble and a rush of power.  The Stingray surged forward, pulling away from the pursuing police cruiser.
     Jordan was glad to have his brother along to work the pedals.  Shifting would have been impossible without the speed shifter.  Steering was hard enough and his legs would never reach the pedals.  Besides, he needed his feet in the seat so he could stick his head up through the open t-tops.
     “Woo-hoo!” Jordan cried gleefully.  He loved speed.  He loved the thrill of the chase, even if he was the one being pursued, and he loved the wind whipping through his hair.  Jordan and Justin both had a lot of hair.  In fact, everyone in their family had a lot of hair.
     “How long are we supposed to keep this up?” Jason shouted up at his brother.  He wasn’t having as much fun being stuck down in that cramped floorboard.  He was waiting for the big finale, when they stopped.  That would be fun.
     “I don’t know.  Dad said drive, so I’m driving!  I don’t think we’ve attracted enough attention yet.  We’re supposed to draw the cops out and keep them busy while they take care of that crazy loony in town.  I hope they corner her before she makes too much trouble for the rest of us.  I swear I don’t see why that ingrate Kyle would want a nut like Cassidy over our sweet little sister Jenny.”  Jordan gave the speed shifter a tap.  Man he loved this car, too bad it belonged to the ingrate Kyle.
     “You’re preaching to the choir.  What are we supposed to do when we stop?” Jason asked.
     “I don’t know.  Dad didn’t say.  It’s not like the cops can arrest us.”  Jordan laughed.  “I hear more sirens coming.  Push it to the floor, sit on it man!”
     Jason obediently pressed the narrow pedal down.  He almost had to sit on it, literally, to keep the speed up.  The brothers sped on mile after mile until the city was well behind them, collecting cop cars like baseball cards as they went.
     “Wooo!  There must be twenty cruisers behind us,” Jordan shouted with a measure of pride.  They were well into the country now, far away from the rest of the clan.  A row of red and blue flashing lights ahead signaled the end of the chase.  “Oh, shit!  Roadblock!  Showtime, little brother.  Let off the gas, I’ll tell you when to brake!”  Jordan kept his keen eyes on the line of state troopers ahead of them.
     Their speed began to drop rapidly.  In only a few seconds, they had slowed enough for Jason to apply the brakes.
     “Easy!” Jordan warned his brother.  “I have to down shift.”  He reached down for the shifter.  One handed steering was tricky, even for a second.  He struggled to keep control of the wheel.  The car swerved sharply as he corrected.
     “Watch it up there or you’ll kill us!” Jason yelped.
     “I’ve got it!” Jordan snapped.  He shoved the shifter into park.  “Okay, we’re stopped.  Now get up here quick!” 
     Jordan snatched the keys from the ignition and his brother took the passenger seat beside him.
     “I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they see us.” Jason snickered.
     “Just shut up, will you?  I don’t want some trigger happy yokel to shoot us,” Jordan hissed.
     “Should we buckle in?  We don’t want to get a ticket for not having our seat belts on.” Jason chuckled louder.  “I’ll do yours if you do mine.”
     “Quiet!  And try to look innocent.”  Jordan dropped the keys under him and slunk down in the seat.  His brother did the same.  The two of them sat silently waiting as the police ordered them from the car.  Of course, they didn’t move.  State troopers and local deputies edged cautiously toward the car, surrounding it with their weapons drawn.
     “Get out of the car with your hands in the air!  Do it now!” one of the deputies shouted.  The rest of them hung back shining their lights into the car, right on the two brothers.  “What the hell?  Where’s the driver?”  The bewildered deputy stepped closer, searching the interior of the car with his flashlight.  There was no room for anyone to hide in that car.  Was this somebody’s warped idea of a joke?
     The two brothers sat silently laughing to themselves at the confusion they were causing.
     “There’s nobody here!” the deputy shouted.  “Just two of the biggest damned dogs I’ve ever seen.”
     “What?”  Two more deputies ran up to the Stingray.  Flashlight beams illuminated the car inside and out, and under, but they found only the two brothers.
     “Is this some kind of a joke?” Deputy One asked.
     “No shit, Sherlock!  The driver must have jumped out and let the car coast.  Where’s the keys?”  Deputy Two leaned into the car to check the ignition.  He shoved his armpit in Jordan’s nose and elbowed him in the ribs.  Jordan let out a huff, but didn’t move.  “The keys are gone!”
    “Get out of there, you idiot!  Those aren’t dogs, they’re wolves!  Call animal control.” Deputy Three hissed.  “And get out there and tell the others to search for that driver, unless you think the wolves were driving.”
     The Deputies retreated from the car.  One called for a tow truck and Animal Control.
     “Animal Control?  Oh, man.  I do not want to spend the night in the pound.” Jason whined.
     “Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again,” Jordan agreed. 
     The two wolf brothers waited patiently.  Most of the cruisers began to pull away in search of the phantom driver.
     “Hey, look.  They’re leaving.” Jason sighed. 
     “Sure, you heard them.  Wolves can’t drive a car, right?” Jordan chuckled.  “Get ready.”
     All but one of the cruisers drove away and only two deputies remained, Deputies Two and Three.
     “Hee, hee.”  Jason snickered.  “I wish I could see their faces when we drive away.”  He hopped into the floorboard and waited for his brother’s instructions.
     Jordan held the key in his teeth and carefully slid it into the ignition.  He had hands when he started it the last time.  This was going to be a trick.  He cocked his head to the side and turned the key.  The engine roared to life.  The two deputies snapped to attention and ran toward the car.
     “Clutch!” Jordan shouted.  Jason obediently shoved a paw on the clutch.  Jordan shoved the shifter into first gear.  The cops were almost on them.  “Gas and don’t choke it!”  Jason eased off the clutch and stepped on the gas.  The car leapt forward.  Jordan laid on the horn as they blew past the cops.
     “Out of the way!” he shouted as they sped off into the night. 
     The two deputies dove to the pavement and rolled out of the way of the car.  They watched it speed away with a howling werewolf at the wheel.  Deputy Two was the first to his feet.
     “Should we call this in?” he asked Deputy Three.
     Deputy Three stood up and dusted off his hat.  “And say what?  A pair of wolves just drove off in a suped up Stingray Corvette?  Were you dropped on your head as a child?  I didn’t see nothin’ and neither did you.”


Monday, October 25, 2010


Welcome to my new writer's corner.  Here you will find original short stories written by me and excerpts from some of my unpublished novels.  In honor of the Halloween season, I'm starting things off with a short tale of terror about a family camping where they shouldn't have been.  Enjoy!

Teddy Bear's Picnic: A Short Tale of Terror by Diana N. Robicheaux

  (A word of warning:  Teddy Bear's Picnic is a short horror story.  If you're squeamish, this story may not be for you.  If you're brave enough, read on and enjoy.)


   “If you go out in the woods today you’re in for a big surprise.”   My voice was barely a whisper.  I was too afraid to be louder but I had to hear someone’s voice, even if it was only my own.  I was so utterly alone, except for Basil.  
   “If you go out in the woods today, you better go in disguise.”  I sang and stroked Basil’s brown, curly fur.  I looked down into his shining, black eyes.  He smiled up at me, as he always had.  “For every bear that ever there was, la, la te-da, whatever, because today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.”
    That stupid song played over and over in my head as I stumbled through the dark woods clutching Basil to my chest.  I could never remember all the words to that song.  Mom knew them all by heart.  She was teaching it to my little brother, Jake, earlier today.  This was his first camping trip.  Now they were gone.  I was the only one left, just me and Basil.
    Dad gave Basil to me when I was three years old.  I passed him down to Jake when he was born.  I was twelve then and didn’t think I needed a teddy bear anymore.  I was too old for that little kid stuff.  I’m sixteen now and I couldn’t hold on to him tight enough.  Basil was missing an arm now.  His stuffing was falling out as I squeezed his fluffy body.  I pushed the stuffing back into the hole where his arm had been.  I couldn’t get the image of Jake’s little hand clutching Basil’s arm and screaming as he was dragged up a tree into the darkness by some…thing.
    It had ripped open our tent.  I heard the nylon fabric tear and screams from everyone around me.  The tent came down and for a moment I was trapped under it in total darkness.  I thought I would suffocate, but I fought my way free.  I could still hear Jake screaming and I could see movement in the dim light of what was left of our campfire.  I ran for him, but I tripped over something and landed on my back at the base of a tree.  I looked up and saw Jake’s face disappear.  Basil tumbled back down the tree and landed on my head.  He was missing an arm, the one Jake had been holding.  As I rolled over onto my knees, I felt a hand brush my arm.  I had tripped over my mother’s body.  She was dead and I was kneeling in a pool of her blood.
    I heard the thud of a body against metal and my Dad scream then there was no sound at all.  I clutched Basil and ran away as fast as I could.  The path was so dark, but at least I had a little light.  My cell phone had a video feature and the light stayed on if I used it.  It was useless for anything else.  There were no bars in these stupid woods.  I felt like screaming “can you hear me now!” at the top of my lungs, but I didn’t know what attacked us, or where it went.  Now I was stumbling through the woods alone with only Basil for company and the sound of my own voice to drown out the screams in my head.

    So I sang.  “For every bear that ever there was…”

    I hiked through the woods for what seemed like hours.  I had no idea where I was.  We had passed a bunch of campsites with other campers on the way in, but Dad wanted somewhere private and secluded.  He used the G.P.S to find the campsite.  It wasn’t even on the map the park ranger gave us.  Even if I knew where the Cherokee was, Dad had the keys and he was gone too.  So I kept walking and singing.  “Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.”
    I heard something up ahead.  Voices!  People, real people, other campers!  If their phones worked, they could call for help.  And I had to warn them that there was something out here before it got them too.
    “Help!  Help!”  I screamed and ran toward the voices.  “Help me!  I’m over here!”  The sound of the voices was getting louder.  They were laughing.  How could they be laughing?  Couldn’t they hear me?
    “Sarah!  Sarah!  Over here!  Bring your brother, your Dad found the perfect spot.”  I stopped in my tracks.  That was Mom’s voice.
    “Hey, Jakey!  What do you think of this spot?  Do you like it?”  That was my dad’s voice.
    Something was glowing in the grass.  I followed the light and picked up the video camera.  It was replaying the footage I shot when we arrived at our campsite earlier that day.  I was back where I started.  I’d been walking in a circle.
    “Yeah!  It’s cool, Daddy!”  Jake’s sweet voice tore at my heart.
    My knees buckled and I sank to the ground next to what was left of our tent.  I put the camera down and pushed it away.  I buried my face in Basil’s fur to muffle the sound of my own screams.  I had to get a hold of myself.  I shut my eyes so I didn’t have to see them, but the camera kept replaying the sound of my family’s voices.
    “Vroom, vroom!  Jakey’s an airplane!”
    “Richard, stop that!  You might drop him.”
    “Sounds like Mommy’s a grumpy bear, Jakey.”
    “Rick, are you sure there’s not any bears around here?  The park ranger said not to leave the designated areas because this is foraging season or something.”
    “It’s fine, Alley.  Would I put my family in danger?”
    I felt hopeless.  Then I remembered Mom had a spare set of keys in her purse.  The G.P.S was in the Cherokee, if I could get the keys, I could use the G.P.S to get me out of there.  I frantically searched for my mom’s purse with only the light from my cell phone’s video camera.  I found it and dumped the contents on the ground.  I had the keys, Mom’s cell phone and Basil.  I slung the camera strap over my shoulder and ran for the Cherokee.  The play button was jammed.  I couldn’t make it stop.  I should have left it but I couldn’t, it was all I had left of my family.  The camera kept playing.  Jake was crying.
    “No, no, Jakey.  It’s okay, I’m sure there are no bears out here.”  My own voice played back on the camcorder.  “Mom, how’s that song go?  I can never remember it.”
    I was almost to the Cherokee.  Mom’s cell phone jingled.  A text message came through from Grandma.  It had a signal.  I dialed 911.  There was a crash right behind me.  Something hit me in the back and sent me flying forward.  The camera hit the ground.  It rolled away and so did my phone.  I screamed as the huge beast grabbed my leg and began to drag me face down through the dirt.   
    “911, what is your emergency?”  The operator’s voice came through my mom’s phone.
    “Help me!” I screamed.
    The raging animal shook me back and forth.  Mom’s cell phone flew out of my hand.  I screamed again as sharp teeth sunk into my back.  Pain shot through my body a moment before I lost all feeling and went limp.  It was dragging me again.  More dark shapes moved in the shadows around me.  What were they?  They couldn’t be bears.  It dragged me past the video camera and my phone.  I was still clinging to Basil’s leg, my deadened fingers had locked, unable to let go.
    Stuffing streamed out of the hole where his arm had been.  Chunks of red covered the ground.  The trailing bits of flesh and blood soaked stuffing were indistinguishable as it dragged me onto the big rocks around the campsite.  The dark shapes surrounded me.  I felt cold.  My fingers opened and let go of Basil. I watched him fall and tumble end over end down the rocks landing next to the video camera.  Over the groans and wet, smacking sounds of whatever had me, the last thing I heard was my mother’s voice singing to Jake.

    “Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic!”