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At Your Own Peril – Horror Short Fiction

February 12, 2016

“Enter at your own peril”
Prompt Suggestion from Michael @ Morpethroad



At Your Own Peril

From the outside, it just looked like another abandoned building. The entrance gate had three signs posted: Private Property, Keep Out, and Enter at Your Own Peril. Something told me the owner didn’t want anyone in there. It didn’t matter what the signs said, all that mattered was what washed up on the beach across the sound.

“How can there possibly be a laboratory in that heap?” Agent Michaels asked as we walked onto the porch.

“No clue, but that’s what the locals said,” I replied as I looked into a crusted-over window. “I can’t see a thing.”

Michaels rang the doorbell and we waited. After a few minutes, the door opened. Inside stood a blond woman in a white medical coat. She could have passed for a model if she’d chosen a different profession.

“Can I help you?”

“Sorry to bother you, ma’am,” I said as I help up my badge.”Agent Carter and this is Agent Michaels, FBI. We need to ask you some questions.”

The blond looked over her shoulder and then back at us. Her left eye twitched and she frowned. “Now isn’t really a good time.”

“We could come back with a warrant,” Michaels insisted.

She let out a deep sigh and stepped aside to let us in. “Very well, but please wait here in the foyer while I get Dr. Peters.”

As we waited, I looked around at the paintings and sculptures that adorned the room. The floor held a thread-bare Persian rug. The walls needed a paint job. It looked more like a former prominent estate than a laboratory.

“Hello, my name is Dr. Peters. How can I help you gentlemen?”

The doctor interrupted my explorations and thoughts. He was an elderly man, around sixty-five or seventy. Grey hair and beard. Tiny lenses rested upon his nose.

“This creature washed up on the shore across the sound,” I said as I held up a picture. “The locals say that you do animal testing here. This wouldn’t be one of yours, would it?”

The doctor glanced at the photograph and cleared his throat. “We do private clinical trials for a chemical company. None of my creatures, as you call them, are missing.”

“Mind if we have a look around?” Michaels asked as he started to walk from the foyer into another room.

The doctor hurried over to the entrance of the other room and blocked the doorway. “I most certainly do mind. My work is sensitive and private,” the doctor said, stressing the private part. “Since you don’t have a warrant, I really must get back to work. I will show you out.”

As the doctor motioned toward the front entrance, a scream rang out, followed by another longer one. The doctor’s face went pale. He shifted his eyes from us and glanced through the doorway. Then darted off into the other room. We followed him, pursuing him through a series of doorways and corridors. Another scream and a booming shrill hit us as we entered the large laboratory filled with cages, tables and vials scattered across the room.

“Helena?” the doctor cried out. She was no where to be seen.

I glanced around the room and noticed a broken window on the far left corner. I tapped Michaels on the back and pointed. We headed over to it. I noticed the blood splatters immediately on the floor and on the broken glass of the shattered window. Then I heard the lock and load of a shotgun. Michaels and I turned around to see the doctor holding one in his hands.

“It’s a dart gun,” the doctor insisted. “He has escaped. I must go after him!” Before we could say anything, the doctor ran out of the lab.

We followed the doctor out into the wooded area behind the building where we picked up the bloody trail leading deep into the woods. A scream rang out, then another loud shrill. We ran, following the sounds until we came to a clearing. Helena’s body had been discarded along a patch of wildflowers. Her eyes were rolled back into her head. Her neck was twisted in an unnatural direction. One of her legs was bent backwards behind her lifeless body. We could just barely make out a large form racing off into another section of woods. The doctor dropped to his knees and wept.

“What the hell is that thing?” Michaels yelled as he raised his gun and aimed at the creature. The shot rang out, but hit a tree in the distance.

“No, no. Don’t kill him!” the doctor cried. “He’s my life’s work!”

I grabbed the dart gun from the doctor’s hands and took off running in the direction the creature had fled. I heard the rushing of the sound and saw the creature headed toward the edge of a cliff. I stopped, aimed the gun and fired. By then, the doctor and Michaels had caught up with me. We raced up the hill to the cliff’s edge and there it laid, unconscious. Half man, half beast. Some kind of mutated creature.

“He’s my son,” the doctor wailed as he reached out and touched its furry hand. He looked up at us. “The one you found across the sound was his mate.”

©February 2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.

(880 words)

  1. Ooooh! See, now you got me reading your stories 🙂

    • Yay! And I am so glad you are 🙂 I will give you a warning though… the Valentine story tomorrow will be particularly disturbing.. you may want to skip it 😉

      • Thanks for the warning! On Valentine’s Day 😦

      • Yeah.. sorry, but I just have to do it… can’t have a horror month in February without disturbing such a sacred day for lovers 😉

      • You’re forgiven – you’re a horror fiction sort of person anyway 🙂

      • *laughs* I write other things.. but I do love writing horror.. mostly to test my own threshold though and put myself beyond my comfort zones. Thank you for hanging in there with me

      • I have seen some of your other stuff too. Perhaps I should dip a toe in to writing horror to stretch myself too ?! Better read more of it first 🙂

      • It will definitely take you out of your comfort zone.. and not all horror is blood and guts.. it is ghost stories, and scary stories with twists, etc. It has definitely been a challenge to write some of these… like that clown one *shivers* I still hate clowns!

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