Poor Joe

Today’s Daily Prompt from The Daily Post – Creature


“Don’t go in there,” I whispered to Joe, a character in a horror movie I watched from the safety of my living room. He disregarded my warning. His hand instead searched the wall for the light switch. It clicked but no light erupted in the stairwell to the basement.

My skin prickled as the strange and creepy groan floated up the stairwell again. I leaned forward and rested my elbows on my knees. Blue light from the television bathed me in its eerie glow.  “Get out, you idiot,” I begged.  Joe, once again ignored me.

Armed with a flashlight, Joe descended the stairs. I grabbed a pillow from beside me, ready to cover my face should the need arise.

Joe stopped. He stood, where I guessed was mid-way down. His flashlight shone ahead of him, but he did not show us what he saw. His eyes registered something but it wasn’t fear. Perhaps he’d changed his mind. I hoped he had as another groan stood the hair up on the back of my neck.  He stepped down and continued his wayward trek. I flopped back on the couch, resigned that there was no help for Joe. If he wouldn’t listen to me he was on his own.

Moments later, I covered my face with the pillow. Joe’s blood-curdling scream was more than I could handle.  Poor Joe, I switched off the TV and turned on the lamp beside the couch. The yellow light warmed the dark room and chased away any remaining creepiness.

“Oh! Crap!” I glanced at my cell phone. Time had gotten away from me and Worcestershire, my brown tabby, was still outside.

I shook his favourite treats and shone the flashlight around the back yard. Trees, shrubs, rocks, everything caught in the beam but my cat. “Wooster!” I called. My call interrupted a nearby whippoorwill. It quieted and then continued its telltale song further away from the house.

Finally, after several minutes, Wooster cried back. I called again but instead of coming to my voice, he refused. He must have cornered a small mouse. It was the only thing that would keep him from running toward the sound of shaking cat treats.

“Come on, Wooster.” A clatter came from the direction of the shed, the place where Wooster loved to hunt. The old building harboured many a rodent, a hunting haven for my cat.

Small, yellow orbs glowed in the flashlight’s beam, all I could see of Wooster as the rest of his body lay hidden behind a small shrub growing up against the shed. “Come on, Wooster. It’s getting late.”

Unimpressed by my intrusion, Wooster hissed. Leaves on the shrub rattled as though a breeze blew through it. My flashlight flickered, and I hit the side of it. The light strengthened.

I reached down behind the shrub and pulled Wooster into my arms. He purred in my ear and head bumped my forehead. He’d forgiven my interruption of his hunt.

As I moved away from the shed another clang from inside caught my attention. “What do you have hiding in there?” I said to Worcestershire as he jumped from my arms. The noise had scared him and he ran back toward the house with a loud hiss. “Scaredy cat,” I called after him and laughed.

I pulled open the shed door and shone my light around the floor. A mouse skittered under a wood box and I jumped; my hand flew to my chest. “Shit!” I whispered.

My eyes followed the beam as it lit up the rest of the shed. The light trailed up the side walls, along the shelves, and then came to rest.

The beam trembled in my paralyzed hand. Caught in the light, large yellow eyes glowed and pointed teeth dripped with drool. Sharp claws cut short my blood-curdling scream as my mind tried to puzzle out the nature of the creature before me.

The flashlight fell to the ground. My fleeting thoughts flashed to Wooster as he’d tried to warn me with his hisses and cries. But I’d ignored him, and now I met my fate, just like poor Joe.



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