“Five minutes until we go live.”The bastard, the one they were supposed to address as ‘Master’ scowled at Gary. “Remember what I said. You two fuck this up and you’ll wish you were dead.”
Gary swallowed hard. He’d no doubt the words were meant exactly as they sounded. The man who’d imprisoned him and his mate, Max, six months ago had hurt them to make them submit, he’d hurt them just because he felt like it, and he’d tortured them for infractions of the rules, perceived or real.
“Is he ready?” The bastard brushed past Gary, pushing him so hard he almost crashed into the wall, and stopped to stare down the stairs.
“Shit!” He looked at Gary for a moment, a triumphant grin on his face. “When you’re good, you’re good. Go on, admit it. He looks so real I’d be afraid if I hadn’t bought the costume myself.”
Gary knew what was expected of him and approached the stairs before glancing down. “Yes Master. He does look good.”
Good didn’t begin to describe Max’s appearance. The pointed ears and snout lined with sharp teeth, made him appear fierce, dangerous, maybe even horrific. But no matter how bestial his face was, his arms were still all too human in appearance, if not in colour or skin texture.
“Now remember,” the bastard turned to Gary again. “When he reaches the top of the stairs you start hitting him.” He glared at Gary. “No pretending. You hit him with all you’ve got, and you don’t stop until he’s down and out. For real.”
The first time the bastard had shared his ‘brilliant idea’ for a live Halloween pod cast, it had been all Gary could do not to burst out crying. He couldn’t, wouldn’t beat his best friend and lover to a pulp. When their ‘Master’ had left them alone in their cell again, Max had taken Gary into his arms and reassured him. It had taken all night but eventually Gary had allowed himself to be persuaded. Now the moment had arrived doubt filled him again.
“Get in position.”
Gary stepped to the side of the stairway, turned his body exactly as he’d been instructed and raised the, thankfully blunt, axe up over his shoulder.
A bone curling growl emanated from the stairwell and seconds later a black blur flew past Gary. He blinked. No way. Max wasn’t capable of movements like that. Whatever black monster he was staring at, it wasn’t his boyfriend dressed up.
The creature landed on the floor midway between Gary at the stairs and the bastard and his camera. It turned its head to look at Gary, staring at him hard before inclining its snout.
Gary knew those eyes. He’d looked into them every day for the past ten months. His lips formed the word but no sound escaped his lips. “Max?”
The moment was over. Before Gary could blink the creature—Max?—switched its attention to the bastard again and jumped. It effortlessly bridged the four metres separating it from its intended victim. It ploughed into their captor, who appeared paralysed by fear, slamming him head first into the wall. When the man lay stretched out on the floor, clearly unconscious, the creature knelt on his chest, opened its jaw wide and bent forward.
Gary said the words without thinking and watched in wonder as the creature—no, it really was Max—looked over its shoulder at him.
A low growl escaped Max’s mouth before he lowered his gaze, jumped off the bastard’s chest and raised himself to his hind legs.
“Let’s go.” Gary held out his hand and led them to the door they hadn’t been allowed to walk out of for the past half year. “You scared the shit out of me.” He looked up at the black hairy face next to him. “I should have known you weren’t joking when you said you’re cursed.” He winked. “Seems to me sometimes curses are blessings.”
Yes, I did exceed the target word count by quite a bit, but when I ended up with a first draft exactly 666 words long for what is a Halloween flash, it was too perfect to mess with. In the end I did do some editing, but much to my delight I managed to keep the word count as it was. J
More Halloween flashes based on one or both of these photos can be found in the Monday Flash Fics group on Facebook.