The Town That Changed

My entry into Finish The Story Contest - WEEK #24. As always, it was challenging and fun.

The Town That Changed

@calluna Part

Change blew in on the air that morning, whispering through a sleeping town. An eerie quiet rested along the main road, early commuters not yet disturbing the grey dawn. A wisp of waning moon, brushed pink with the gentle glow of the coming sun, hung low in the ombre sky.

A subtle shift rocked the heavy foliage of scattered trees, rippling between the houses. The cool silence of night still clung to the shadows. A lone ginger cat stalked between the sentinels of bins guarding the curbs. It paused, hair bristling along it’s back as it sensed a disturbance rushing past.

A lone mournful howl echoed in the streets, erupting into a sorrowful symphony as others took up the canine call.
Not a single harsh bark interrupted the lament that awoke the town that morning.

Back doors opened onto gardens, not quite the same. Concerned residents in an array of dressing gowns, coats and slippers, padded outside to find the same, inexplicable sight.



Theo hadn’t been home in months. He had told his mum he was getting clean. It was a lie. He hadn’t been clean in years.

The dark country road snaked before him, a twisting river of retreating night. She had insisted he came home for the wedding. Theo couldn’t stand her boyfriend, but his mum had half chewed his ear off over it, and he couldn’t deny, he owed her this.

He swore under his breath. The rising itch was dancing across his skin. The hard edge cutting inside him. He needed another hit. He had been driving since 1am, he loaded up before he set off, but the ragged scraping of the comedown was consuming.

He glanced at the road, he hadn’t passed another car in hours, and he knew these twisting roads.

One hand on the wheel, he fumbled through the bag on the passenger seat. He couldn’t face that c*nt sober, Aunt Hazel would help.



His skin flushed with the intense bliss coursing through his veins as he approached the sleeping streets.

Dawn was pushing towards the horizon, her soft pink glow catching the clipped moon.

Theo was speeding when he got to the town. He heard the hair-raising call of neighbourhood dogs, raising their cry as one.

Then he saw it. The change. He couldn’t look away. He didn’t see the tree.

My Part

Theo awoke. His face was buried in the half-inflated airbag. He sits back in his seat. Rapidly blinking, he turns his head from side to side in an attempt to figure out where he was. The darkness of the night concealed almost everything, except for the porch lights off in the distance, which looked like twinkling stars.

His memory of where he was comes trickling back in. Mum ... wedding. Home? He looks out the driver side window and sees the outline of a barn, a familiar site. Old Baley's place. Mum's home is more than a mile away from here.

He began to feel the un-tolerable itch. He guessed it must have been out a couple of days of being unconscious. Where is the ambulance? The hospital? The town's people? Why would they leave me here? Before answering those questions, he would turn to Aunt Hazel.

Turning around to grab his backpack from the back seat, he sees all of his belongings missing. He sees both back doors ajar. Getting out, he frantically circles around the car. "Oh! Come on! Say you didn't take my medicine." Some of his belongings litter the ground. Like a trail of breadcrumbs, they lead into the back of Ms. Janken's Yard.

A howl cuts through the chirping crickets.

Theo feels the back of his neck hairs stand up. His legs tremble underneath him making it feel like he is standing on marbles. He grabs his at his chest as he feels the tightening grip of his chest muscles. His heart pounds at an alarming rate. I need a HIT!

The low growl behind him stirs him into action. Bolting for the back door of Ms. Janken's house, he hears the steps closing in on him. Hopping over the fence leading into Mr. Janken's backyard, he lands on the ground face to face with her rottweiler. Teeth showing and drool oozing out of its mouth, it snaps at Theo, almost taking his face off. The chain the dog is restricted to keeps that from happening.

Hurrying back to his feet, Theo's arm spasms, causing him to fall back down snapping a finger on his left hand. Blood squirts out. He yells out in pain. Theo feels the creature's energy intensify as it inches its way closer. He gets up and runs. Only fifty yards away.

A toy truck hidden by the darkness makes him lose his footing. He reaches out to break his fall, further damaging his broken finger. It hangs on only by the skin. Laying on his back, he screams through his choked up throat, "Somebody help me!"

One more hit and I'm good to go. This is all in my mind. He rolls over to his side. In front of him, he sees a head poking up from the ground. Terrified, he reaches out and touches it. The head topples over. Where is the BODY?!?

Theo's heart skips a few beats when he feels himself getting violently dragged backward by the leg. He claws at the ground with both hands. Fingernails break off. When the creature leaps over the fence, Theo is hoisted into the air. Landing takes all of the wind out of him, preventing him crying out once more for help.

Theo's release from this world came shortly after.

The End

finish the story.jpg

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Tools:

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Ongoing Contests

  • @mctiller twenty-four hour short story - You gotta be quick to get this one posted in time. He posts the contest on Sunday (usually) and ends it about 48 hours later. This contest has a 2000 word limit.

  • @bananafish Finish the Story Contest - The contest begins on Wednesday (usually) and end 5 days later. This contest will test your write skills with something a little different each week. Pletty of time to write something around the 500 word mark.

  • @kristyglas Random Games - Yes, random. She will put this contest out on Thursdays (usually) and end it after post pay out (usually). This is challenging because you don't know what you are going to get.

  • @steemmonsters Steem Monsters Common Card Fantasy Story Contest! - Coming out roughly every week. If you enjoy card games like Magic, Yugio, and others like it, you might like this game. Write a fictional tale about the card they present in the contest and your entry just might be the one they choose to showcase.

  • @calluna Tell A Story To Me, And Win 5 SBD! Writing Contest - Kind of random when it comes out but don't worry. You will have two weeks to complete your work of art from the given prompt. Have fun!

  • @vdux Haiku - These are coming out every couple days or so. If you stuggle with rhymes, no worries. Haikus don't have to rhyme. All you need to make a haiku is five syllable on the first, seven syllables in the second line, and again back to five syllable for the last line. So easy it makes me think I'm being super product. LOL

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As a follower of @followforupvotes this post has been randomly selected and upvoted! Enjoy your upvote and have a great day!

You are being super productive! Thank you for mentioning my humble contest...you're the best!

lol Your welcome

Wow...literally blow by blow. I could feel every one. Each step, each gory detail--very effective.

Good. That came across as intended. 8-)

Great suspence building, great climax. I liked the head poking up moment, it was unexpected and the perfect element for giving a gloomy direction to the story. Was it his mother's head?

8-) I actually thought it might be Ms. Janken's head. I was thinking that Theo's mum's house was a mile away and he was going to have to go through town to get there. And the I saw a 750 word count with lots more on the way. I began to edit down and ended up with this.

Gosh you make me really wish I had tried to convince @f3nix to up he word count for this one. A brilliant build of suspense and tension, keeping the unknown as just that, for a climatic ending. A very good ending here!

It may have gotten to two thousand words if you did that. 🤨

I wanted to get into creature, but it just didn’t happen. I did a little research on Aunt Hazel, leaving me with plenty of material.

Upping the world count... blasphemy! :-P

What can we sacrifice to you @bananafish ? 8-)

I'm conservative, I'd opt for a couple of virgins during an eclipse 🤔

If I'm finding those, I'm keeping them! lol

I'll stick to the word count. No problem.

Finish the Story Contest - week # 25 is waiting for you, brave storyteller!