Monday, July 25, 2011

FICTION: Blug Blog by Derek Kohlbeck

Ages ago I buried my childhood in my mother’s shoe box. The contents of the box, as I could last remember it, contained a baseball card of Bob Gibson, polished stones, plastic green army men, and my sling shot. All day long I would practice with my sling shot, shooting the green standing army men or aluminum cans off the bribed wire fences. And when I became really good at hitting my target, I would ride my bike down to the old rock mill during the night after supper. My friend Clint Muller tagged along; he held the flashlight to the steel rafter, so I could spot and shoot the perched pigeons on the rafters. I saved these glass, cat-eye marbles; they were the best for killing pigeons. I must have killed a dozen every night. But one day I shot my sister in the face with a pine cone, and she told our father, who took it away. While he kept it for a couple of weeks my chores increased on the farm.

That was what I thought about as I drove, listening to the weather man on the radio:

“Today expect sun with a mix of clouds and temperatures dropping from fifty-seven degrees to forty eight.”

I parked on the shoulder of the road and walked across the beer-bottle strewn ditches. Among my supplies I packed, I brought a canteen of water, a knife, a couple cans of franks and beans, cookware, coffee, and a flint start. This was going to be a nice week: a relived experience. Most people dig through dusty photo albums to recover lost memories, but I had ducked through sparring branches, and batted away tacky cobwebs, just so that I could find mine. Somewhere, in this strip of forest, I buried his mother’s shoe box. Inside his lost memories waited.

My presents sent the forest in a frenzy of noises. The bleats, chirrups, buzzes, and chitters welcomed me back, and the wind, slithered under the oak‘s branches, causing the golden leaves to tremble off. It had been such a long time since I heard the forest chatter.

Over the years this place turned into a dumping ground. A 1962, baby green Ford galaxy sat on its axles. A natural flowering pot of shrubbery grew out of the front; the grid was wrenched outward, the roof dented, the chassis infected by decades of corrosion and lichens. Tires, car batteries, barrels, wires, mufflers, stripped steal all heaped together in a junkyard-forest stew.

This car once had four wheels that rolled down the road. My father told me stories about how he’d played chicken with his car, how my mother went on their first date in it. Like most teenagers, on their first date, they choose to see Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds. Whenever the movie got to the scary parts, my mother held on tight to my father. They never could recall much of the movie, but of course they were too busy making out.

In these woods I used to hunt for chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, and sparrows. After feeding the pigs, the first thing I’d do was fetch my red rider from my dad’s gun cabinet. He didn’t care; he sat down in his chair, sipping beer, watching the tube. Mom didn’t care either, as long as I didn’t hurt myself or anyone else.

“Boys will be boys,” she’d say.

The chipmunks, bold as any critter, would pop their head out of their holes to investigate the root fortresses of fallen trees. Many times I’d catch them with their red tails showing, and then, they zip into the ferns to another hole. By the end of the day I’d kill three or four, sometimes five or six if I stayed a little longer and the mosquitoes weren’t a bothersome.

Through the black mud I plodded, as the ground sucked my boots. Dead trees that jutted and corkscrewed, shaped limbs of tar creatures. Forest smells of sulfurous mud, skunk cabbage and mushroom decay spiced the air, and whenever I encounter these smells I breathed them deeper. I knew my seasonal allergies flared, but it was the smell of nature, of life and death. Soon I recognized a tree that was in the process of crumbling to mulch. Long ago I carved my name into the bark with my pocket knife. When I happened upon it, my name was still readable despite the strips of moss that carpeted the bark

Past all the black muck, I found a dry area to set camp for the night. I gathered branches and constructed a decent lean-to, and then I cut cedar sprigs for bedding. A fire needed to be started, so I erected a pyramid of twigs. One stroke with my knife against my flint spurned a small crackling fire. Insects also loved the warmth of the fire‘s radius. Some got too close, diving straight into the fire like little kamikazes. Some even dived into beans and frank; a little extra crunch wouldn’t hurt. It had been nice to lie down, eat something, and watch the fire. Nothing compared to being right here, right now. Off into the lake, which was a half mile from my family’s woods, the phantom sounds of loons, peepers, and owls carried away the twilight. Around midnight I heard a few pops of gun fire at night; it was probably Muller squeezing off a few rounds. I lay down on my cedar bed and closed my eyes to a waning fire. The ground moved or maybe the dark played tricks on my eyes.

I awake to a strong rich sound; it sounded like blug-blog. It was still night. The fire drew its last flame and the September air had a trace of autumn frost settling over the ground. I placed more cedar bedding and curled up; it did nothing for the cold. I knew I should have brought my sleeping bag before leaving the house. Instead of freezing my ass off, I decided to go do something about the fire and ventured out to find fire wood. That blugging-blogging continued. What the hell was that sound? At first I thought a frog, a bird, or an insect tried to call a mate, but to be honest I never heard any critter produce that sound. I didn’t want to go out any farther than five yards.

“Who’s out there?” I called

Eight yards from the campsite, the noise stopped, until I took another step forward, and then uproar of blugging-blogging stirred from nowhere, tickling the branches. A pattering of small, erratic feet surrounded me. Just foot falls of a rodent. This time the blugging-blogging was close enough, close enough for me to see, but each direction I twisted my head, I saw nothing, except the for skewed forest shapes. The blugging-blogging retreated back in the woods for the night. These sound horded my fascination, I needed to know, and the more I needed to know, the more I drifted away from camp. The fire became a faint flicker of a fire fly form where I stood. So I returned to my camp and sleep till morning.

Overhead the sun drove the blugging-blogging out of the forest. Know everything seemed normal. Washing my pot of beans, franks, and insects in the stream, I refilled my canteen. By the muddy river banks I discovered hand impressions. There I bent down and examined them. Whoever had such hands they certainty belonged to a monster, with long fingernails and stumpy digits. Instead of two hands there were three bunched together? They disappeared through the rocky lined stream, but on the other side, where Muller property laid, they continued into his woods.

Despite the orange no trespassing sign, I’m sure Clint wouldn’t mind if I took a look on his property. Last time I visited Clint we both got into an argument. He lost his father to cancer. I was at the funeral. Clint couldn’t leave his father’s casket, his hand clenched the side. As he broke down I hugged him. Life wouldn’t go on for Clint. Know he still lives in his father’s house alone, drunk. So many times I tried to convince him to sell the house and find an apartment, a new life. His excuse was that the landlord wouldn’t allow him to keep his guns.

I packed my dishware and found a way across the river: a mossy log that stretched fifteen feet across. My feet lightly step on the log, testing to see if it could support all hundred and ninety pounds of me. Growing up, I had no trouble crossing the river, but that was thirty years and seventy pounds ago. The log seemed to support my weight, yet I began to have second doubts when I reached the middle, which was the weakest point. A few miles down the stream, the mouth empty into wetland. That however required too much walking.

Step after step I balanced myself, placing little stress on the log. It wouldn’t be that terrible of a fall at least. The stream was only eight feet below me. If I fell the water would be cold to me, and I didn’t bring extra cloths. When I looked down I saw the trout chasing the minnows between the rocks, my knees went soften, and my brain became depleted of blood. Its somehow was deeper and blacker than I last recalled.

One day my Dad and I fly fished. He told me to be careful. So many times I crossed the stream effortlessly, but I lost my balance, falling into the watery swirls. My head bounced off the rocks, causing me to go unconscious. Dad, who cast his line out, heard the splash and dove in to save me. He carried me out to the muddy bank. If he hadn’t saved me I would have been crayfish food.

Only a few more feet, then I reached the end of the log. Keeping my attention on the other side, breathing heavily, I took one step towards the end. I didn’t let my mind or my feet slip. For the first time since the accident I successfully made it to the other side. The blood flowed down my legs like molten lead; I leaned against a tree to capture mouthfuls of piney air. Shortly but steadily I regained my ability to stand.

I tracked the hands prints ten yards out before they diminished near the dense ferns. Fifteen yards further I found a blot of sappy blood on wood violet. It looked fresh and trailed off in mottled splotches, so I pursued the blood through the daggering vegetation. At the end of the trail, hidden within the rushes, was the dead critter, mangled to the point of being identifiable. Whatever killed the poor thing chewed its head off to the spinal cord. The fur removed, the limbs distorted, the intestines stripped out of the anus. Not far from the body, a dirt mound covered the critter’s head—something had been saving it. Humans don’t do this sort of thing, unless they were insane, nor do I know of any other mammals that walk on three hands. So what did this? This had to be one of Clint’s pranks.

Clint and I hung his mother’s mannequin from a maple tree in his front yard. Whenever a car drove pass the house, Clint and I would throw down the mannequin, as it swung from the branch, causing cars to swerve.

“What is this,” Mr. Muller stood by the tree, looking up at us.

“What did I tell you about playing with your mother’s things, boy?!”

He smacked Clint across the face.

“Take it down right know or you’ll give you another!”

I don’t know why he kept it stashed away in his room, and I never dared ask him because the man was unapproachable. Beneath his worn-out ball cup, the shadows always screened his eyes. His stone face, carved out by years of hard work, never once cracked a smile. The mannequin looked real, almost too life-like. But every now and then he’d doll it up to make look like Mrs. Muller. Then he played their favorite record. The song flowed through the living room as they dance. Sometimes he even slept with the thing in his bed. She died from brain cancer, and it helped him cope.

The hand prints lead straight to Mr. Muller’s shed; a place Mr. Muller told Clint and I to stay away from. We never listened. This shed, after all these years, had endured our abuse. Here and there dents and pellet holes from a shotgun bedecked the aluminum structure. These marks were from our teenage foolishness. Back then we invited friends to drink and party. They usually brought the women and the case of Schlitz, while we provided the shed. We’d be up all night listening to truck radio. Her name, I can’t remember, but her face was natural and her hair was rolled into groovy tresses. She looked a lot like Farrah Fawcett but of course ever girl during that time looked like Farrah Fawcett. We fooled around, we kissed, we undressed, and well, it just happened.

The shed seemed less uninviting than I last remembered. Half of the front end had sunk into the ground. Boards nailed to the windows bowed back from the years of unsettling torture, crooked nails and mildew caulk patched up the siding, and broken glass remained fixed in the frame of windows like shark’s teeth. It was an antique, a picture snapped from a camera. Out of the punishment it looked dead, but it was alive. I listened to the openings within the dark holes, respiring for the outside air. A smell that was like onions pickling in urine breathed on me. The sent was so pungent that my eyes welled; I closed them as I neared closer to the shed.

The hand prints ended at the door. When I first open the screeching, sliding door, the spoiled smells fomented, and gathered in my lungs, causing me to cough. In the back--plastered to the wall by saliva bubbles--was Clint.

“Clint.” I said.

“You gotta get me out of here! That things is about to come back! He muffled.

“What thing?

“I don’t know what it is, just get me out of here.”

I touched the spit that held him; its alien substance was silky snot. As my fingers scrabbled at the convoluted jelly, the spit became adhesive, entangling my hands. It began to dry. No matter how hard I rubbed my hands the stuff wouldn’t come off.

“What is this shit?” I said, flicking it off my hand.

“I don’t know? Just get me out of it.” Clint said.

I scanned the shed for anything to cut him out. There were garden tools hooked hanging on nails. My first tool was the spade, but it did little to the crusty spit. I grabbed the next handy tool—a gardening fork. As I clawed into it with the gardening fork, the three prongs tore the spit. Once I freed Clint from the messy trap, he collapsed toward the floor. Spit cords still held him in place, so I cut at them, using my knife, and he hit the ground. His hair, his face, and his clothes, were drenched in fluids. He was a newborn child, weak yet restless, crawling back to his feet, wiping the spit from his eyes. I lifted him up and set him down beside the shed wall and brushed the clinging spit. With his eyes drawn wider, he looked up at me.

“What the fuck happened to you?” I asked

He placed his hands on my shoulder for support.

“ The house…” he breathed “We need to get to the house.”


“That thing.”

“What thing?”

“I don’t know what it is. I don’t know how to explain it. But I know that it came from the sky a few nights ago, just a green orb floating in the fog. I went out to see what it was, and I found my cows torn to meat shanks. And when it killed and ate all the cows, the fucking thing came for me. I tried and tried to kill the fucking thing. But I never got a decent shot on it.

Soon we heard it—the familiar blugging-blogging noise.

“Oh Shit! We got to get to the house and to my gun cabinet. The fucking thing knows your here!”

Clint hurried out of the shed, I followed him. I ran, and it wasn’t long before I wondered if this was a prank, but so far I have seen some pretty weird: the hand prints, the mauled rabbit, the spit. This couldn’t be a prank. Sure Clint played pranks; however, none of them lasted this long.

The forest seemed to be my enemy, slowing down our escape with walls of branches whacking us in the face and mud swamps sucking in our feet. I had tripped on some mossy tree roots, but Clint helped me back to my feet. Throughout the forest it called. Our lungs, heavy with anxiety and , . Ahead of us, the woods ended at the hard dirt fields. My mind whirled in the green madness. I didn’t know what to think.

“Come on!” Clint yelled.

Before he ran out of the woods he stopped.

“Oh shit! Turn around now!” he yelled, weaving his hands for me to go back into the forest.

Among the trees it cast an overcoming shadow, a shadow more hunger than it. And right behind him—as it shambled toward our direction—a giant’s size, snarled wig, that stood on three gorilla arms. There were no legs or feet, no face, no ears, no eyes, no lips; it had to be well over nine feet tall. Leaves, tree sap, spider webs and eggs, and dead insects were tied within its shaggy mass. The tree roots beneath the creature shivered at its hands and birds scattered from the tree canopy.

“Blug-blog, bulg-blog!“ It opened its oven size mouth.

Underneath its fingernails were forest soil, blood, and fur from the creature it slaughtered. A weave of sweaty air poured out its mouth. We felt the warmness of its breath reach our backs, and that made the creature feel much closer. Whatever it last ate, I could smell the curdled deadness, still decomposing inside the things roiling stomach. By the time we were forty yards away, the creature had halved the distance, striding an ostrich’s pace. There was no way we’d outrun this creature. Its muscular arms were bigger than our legs.

Its one hand stretched out to Clint, with biceps and triceps straining, slashing the air. Clint didn’t see the chipmunk hole beneath his feet. He stumbled to the ground, and the creature’s wrecking ball hands, swinging at his head, missed, and took a chuck of the tree trunk, spraying woodchips everywhere.

“I rolled my fucking ankle!” Clint winced.

I stopped and turned back. Alone with the creature, Clint scrambled backward up against a tree trunk.

“Get to the house! Go now!” Clint yelled.

Before I could do anything, the creature, with such amazing strength, grabbed a handful of his shirt and raised Clint up, scraping his back against the bark. I wanted to do something, yet what could I do. Throwing rocks or jabbing the thing with my pocket knife would do no good. Dead as he’d soon be, Clint flayed and kicked around in the creature’s mighty grip, hoping to slip free, but even if he did, he wouldn’t get too far on an injured ankle.

“I’m dead! Get to the fucking house!” he screamed

When I ran back to Clint, it lifted him above its hirsute head and racked his body. I stood still wanting to help but too death struck by the creature’s stupendous strength. His screams passed through the tingling branches that unsettled their leaves. The creatures slowly pulled Clint into two parts, legs and torso. His spinal cord snapped and the coiled intestines spilled out. A blood shower washed the forest litter off the creature’s gnarled fur. Then it took chunk out of his upper half. An explosion of slippery organs, fatty tissue, and muscle all hit the forest floor. Against its teeth I heard his rib bones being crunched and scrapped. This sound compelled me to fall on my knees and hands and vomit. Its tongue caught droplets of Clint’s warm blood, as it licked the edge of each fang. The creature, intoxicated by blood, picked up Clint’s legs, and like a wishbone, split them apart down the crotch. In two hands the creature carried both of Clint’s legs. For some reason it turned away and headed back to the forest, disappearing.

Wiping my mouth, I sprinted for the house. I just needed to get to a phone. Clint’s house had been four football fields away. I wanted to stop many times and catch my breath, but the creature could be anywhere. An unpleasant thought of the creature twirling my guts on a stick entered my mind, or perhaps it was the sick feeling burbling inside my stomach.

Passed the bony trees, I felt relieved to see the sky and the corn fields. Warmness settled on my face as I crossed into the fields. I slowed down, figuring I would be safe. Despite my easiness, there were miles of dried stalks. As I brushed through the rows of stalks, my clothes scraped the withered, bladed leafs. I paused for a moment, turned toward the noise, listening. Something heavy cashed a few feet from me, stirring the stocks. I leaned down, and there, stuck in the rutty soil, was one of Clint’s partly chewed legs, filed to a point like some spear. Off in the distance, maybe twenty or thirty yards, the creature scythed through the corn, using the other leg.

“Blug-blog, bulg-blog, bulg-blog, bulg blog!” The creature called, swinging the club-like leg.

At the sight of it I ran for the Client’s house. Row after row of drowning stocks slapped my face, slowing me down. The creature glided on two vascular arms; its enormous hands flattened the corn stocks. There didn’t seem to be any end. Shortly after the corn stocks faded, and I seen the white farm house beyond the background, with three windows that resembled a ghostly face. Only ten yards before I reached the door. I mustered all my leg power to thrust myself faster. I hurdled over the spilt rail fence and ran across the yard, not looking back.

I made it, though, when turning the door knob, the creature flung the leg, which shattered the screen door to glassy knifes, nearly stabbing my face. I shut and locked the door behind me. My face somehow, by a miracle, suffered a few cuts and scratches.

Outside the creature’s thunderous fist pounded an indentation the size of a basket ball into the door. Shock waves vibrated the walls of the house, knocking pictures frames down. These walls could not keep the creature from entering inside. I rushed to the kitchen, where Clint left the phone dangling from the cord. When I went for it, the creature’s arm blasted a hole in the wall, casting bits of gypsum and splinters. I fell backwards. Chalk clouds got in the mouth, eyes, and nostrils, as I spat it out along with my own blood. Its hand was close enough to unmask the skin off my face. A fingernail grazed my cheek. Saliva and Clint’s blood dripped off the things fingers. I strained my neck muscles to turn away, but this caused the creature to stretch its rippling arm further out. I pressed myself back against the kitchen cupboards and reached for the cutlery drawer above. Careful but quick, I grabbed for the first knife, which to my disappointment, was a small paring knife. Thrusting out at the hand multiply times, I ran the three inch blade through the center of palm.

“Borogggg!” it screeched at me.

Their hands withdraw from the hole, the knife still lodged in.

I placed the phone to my ear. Dead silence.

“Fuck!” I slammed it on the floor.

I glanced out the widow. The creature had been smarter than I expected. On the telephone poles soapy suds, as heavy as ice, anchored the phone lines to the road. There were dead morning doves strung from the telephone poles, coated in a sticky snot bubbles. Just before I could breath, glass shattered; I diverted upstairs to Clint‘s bedroom. Already the creature had found a way inside the house. It probably climbed up the gutter to a window upstairs.

Many of memorable trophies were mounted on the wall. We traveled everywhere, hunting turkey, coyote, moose, elk, deer, boar, bear, and almost anything. Clint spent much of his inherence from his father on guns and hunting trips. I was fortunate enough to have such an arsenal of weapons. In Clint’s gun cabinet he had rifles, muzzle loaders, and shotguns, but what I needed was something with bigger bang, something meaner.

On top of the liquor cabinet I spotted Clint’s, sliver plated 500 Smith and Wesson magnum revolver. It was his personal favorite. The sheer length of the barrel was intimated, but he and I practiced at the range numerous times. Clint always joked about the size of it. Its rubber grip confined nicely to my hand. A half bottle of jack was tipped over. My mouth was still dry from chalk dust and puke, so I took a swig to wash it down. For me this gun held a special memory of when Clint dropped a two thousand and three hundred pound buffalo at two hundred yards during our hunt in Montana. If it could kill a creature of that large than I’m confident it would knock the monster upstairs on its ass. When I flicked the cylinder open and looked down, two bullets, hallow points, were loaded in the chambers. He probably didn’t have enough time to empty all five shots. There was three other shell casing buried between the cushions of the sofa. Some of the bullets from the spilled box rolled off onto the carpet.

After loading the cartridge into the cylinder, I walked to the edge of the staircase, and looked upward through the sights, I waited. Nothing. So I took a few steps, thumb pulling back the hammer, arms extending out, hands choking up one the grip. And as I climbed the stair case midway, I paused from taking the next step. My hands shook, my heart skipped, my breath restrained. The sun poured out the widow and onto the plane step of the stairs, blinding me for a moment.

“Blog Blug! Blog blug!” it teased me.

I climbed the rest of the stairs. In the dark I saw that the creature had redecorated the hallway. It smeared blood and carved gashes on the wall. The lights did not respond when I flicked on the switch. Soon I realized why. The creature had stripped the light fixture out of the ceiling, leaving stiff, colored wires hanging. And as I continued down the hallway the sounds of running bathroom water told me the creatures had been up to no good. From the bathroom, the creature left a trail of squeezed shampoo bottles, unfolded towels, and torn pages out magazines. In the bathroom the creature seemed curious. Once I raised the 500 Smith and Wesson magnum, my curiosity delayed me from pulling the trigger. There it stood creature, finger painting symbols with its own shit. The creature, willing to put anything in its mouth, chewed on a bar of soap, but then repulsively spat the chunks out. The scent of aloe sweetened its breath. Next it playful flipped the bathroom light on and off. Somehow it was both enchanted and entertained by this and clapped its hands. The light flickered on and spilled out of the doorway, catching my shadow. This alerted the creature.

“Blog Blug?”

I backed a few feet away from the door, and again raised my weapon. Before it stepped into my sights, I pulled the trigger five times, empting the cylinder; the gun kicked back and an orange flare erupted out the muzzle. Four bullets found their target, only knocking it off balance, while one bullet smacked the back wall of the hallway

“Blog Blug!” it cried.

How the hell could it still be standing? I didn’t understand. I emptied four rounds into the thing. It should be cut apart.

Frustrated, I threw the gun at it, which did nothing except bounce off it body. What would it take? If not a 500 Smith and Wesson magnum, what could possibly kill it.

“Choke on it you son of bitch,” I yelled.

I had only agitated the thing. As it opened its foamy mouth, it heaved a long, stream of suds. I stumbled over something while backpedaling. The suds overshoot me and splashed the other end of the hallway. Back down the hallway I ran, into a room, where I knocked over Mrs. Muller. She had lost her hat and wig, but otherwise she still looked good for a mannequin. I didn’t have time to close the door behind me. It followed me. The door swing open, saliva dripped. So I threw records, lamps, picture frames, and just about anything I got my hands on. Of course whatever I threw either bounced off or the creature swallowed it. There was an old antique bottle of perfume with the atomizer bulb that belong to Mr. Mullerthis had been the last object I threw.

But when it swallowed the bottle of perfume, the inner walls of its body or head expanded, bubbled, and churned. That perfume didn’t sit well in the creature’s body or maybe it had eaten something else it wasn’t supposed to. The creature clasped its hands to its mouth, belching to relive the volcanic pressure inside it.


I couldn’t shield myself in time. Meaty hunks and soapy suds flew everywhere. The walls and the bed of the room, once white, were now coated in a dazzling red splatter. I cleaned the creature’s blood from my eyes. Surprised and yet disgusted, I looked over the room. Where the creature exploded there was its body, a steamy carcass that looked like half of humpty dumpty’s shell. All the woodland critters the creature ate, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, opossum, and raccoon, didn’t fully digest. Nothing could be distinguished among the animal parts.

Within the carnage I spotted Clint’s arm, mostly bone, and on the wrist, perfectly ticking away, was his watch, a vintage Rolex, leather wrist strap and faded glinting numbers. I slipped it off the bone and placed it in my pocket, a keepsake to remember him

As I passed Mr. Muller room, something moved in the storage closet. I opened the door and discovered transparent sphere, woven in suds strings. A tube of pinkish and purple veins that spiraled alongside the sphere propelled sustenance to a fuzzy ball. Three of its arms project out into the liquid. It was time for me to scramble an omelet.