Saturday, April 28, 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge: Operation Legendary Eyetooth

  1. Operation Mountain Troll
  2. Operation Legendary Eyetooth
  3. Operation Shitting Mob
  4. Operation Irate Hajj
  5. Operation Prepare to Be Destroyed by Our Bullet
"You dick.  Remind me again why you're sitting the warm car while I'm soaking wet under a fracking bridge?"

Even over the sound of the water rushing by inches from his feet, Aaron could hear Travis snickering through the phone.

"C'mon man," Travis replied, obviously fighting to keep from laughing in Aaron's ear, "think of it as a mission in one of those crap shooters you always play.  Operation Duty of Warfare or something."

"Besides," he continued, "somebody has to keep an eye on the road to make sure he doesn't come back while you're inside.  We played for it, and you lost, fair and square.  Your 'good old rock, nothing beats rock' technique needs work, though." 

Aaron heard a truck start inside the compound, and his stomach clenched up, adrenaline tightening his whole body.  "Shut up," he hissed into the cell, covering the screen with his hand, "he's coming out."

The truck came closer, and Aaron could see the headlights illuminate the bushes on either side of the wooden bridge, throwing bars of light down through the planks of the bridge and striping the muddy creek.  Then he heard the gate above start to squeek open, pulled on rusty wheels by some sort of humming motor.

Then the truck rumbled overhead.  Aaron held his breath, listening to the bridge groan from the weight of the truck.

‘Embarrassing way to die,’ he thought to himself.  ‘Crushed by shit-ass bridge built by stoned dope grower’.

But the bridge held, and the truck rumbled away down the twisting logging road.  Gritting his teeth, Aaron pulled himself out from under the bridge, scrambled onto the gravel road and trotted through the gate, ducking to the side as soon as he got inside the fence.

The gate itself was already rolling closed as he got to the shadows.  “Hope Travis is right about being able to open it from the inside,” he thought, trying to fight down the nausea brought on by mingled terror and excitement.

Standing in the darkness, Aaron let his eyes adjust for a few seconds. When he could make out the shapes of the surrounding trees and rocks and see the brighter line of the logging road he shrugged his backpack up a bit and started walking quickly up the road.

“I’m inside,” he said quietly into the cell phone.  “Is he gone?”

“Yeah, he’s gone,” replied Travis, the laughter gone from his voice now.  “Hurry it up, though.”

“I’m fucking hurrying.”

The road climbed steadily for a couple hundred feet, then flattened off as it broke out of the trees.  The flat area was obviously an old clear-cut.  Even in the darkness Aaron could make out tangles of stumps and old slash that hadn’t been properly burned.  Alongside the road up ahead was his destination, an old trailer tucked alongside the trees and hung over with camouflage tarps.

Speeding up to a trot hustled to the trailer, going up the rickety wooden steps in a bound.  The lights were off, but he could hear the hum of a generator from the woods behind the trailer.  Standing in the dark, he listened carefully, straining to hear any noise from within the building.

Nothing.  Nodding, he slowly turned the doorknob and was more than a little surprised when the door clicked open.  Pulling his flashlight from the front pocket of his hoodie, he clicked it on and slowly opened the door, keeping the light aimed at the ground.

Inside, he could make out a dirty floor, boots and pieces of garbage lying around.  Still listening carefully he slid in the door, shining the light around to see more.  The old living room was full of large white buckets, filthy and piled together, but all empty.

Frowning, Aaron played the flashlight left, towards the kitchen area.  The beam lit up a confusing tangle of glass flasks, pipes and plastic chemical bottles covering the entire kitchen counter.  The stench of chemicals burned Aaron's nose as he slid further into the trailer.

Reaching into his pocket, he flipped the cell back open and pressed redial.  Travis answered on the first ring.  "Man, what the fuck?"  whispered Aaron, "There's no plants in here, you asshole.  Just a bunch of chemicals and beakers and shit."

"He keeps them all in big white buckets, the place should be full of them," replied Travis, sounding confused.

"The buckets are here, but they're all empty." snarled Aaron, trying to let his anger out without making too much noise.  

"Fuuuckkk... maybe he harvested.  Look around - the dope should be all in big wrapped bundles."

"You said.." squawked Aaron, his voice rising to a near-shout before he managed to bring his voice back down.  "Alright, I'll look around."

Moving carefully, Aaron headed towards the back of the trailer, sweeping his flashlight back and forth to light up the grubby hallway.  The door at the back end of the trailer was open a crack and he nudged it open with the toe of his boot.

The back room had a big table and under the table was the jackpot - square bales in saran wrap.  Unslinging his pack, Aaron moved forward quickly, crouching and stuffing the first brick into the bag.  He was about to stuff in another when a slight sound made him glance up.

His eyes locked with the red reflections in the eyes of the huge rottweiler as rose from the dog bed in the corner behind the desk.

"Holy SHIIIITTTTTT!!!!"  Screaming, Aaron clutched the bag to his chest and bolted out of the room, hearing the clatter of the dog's claws at it tore down the hall behind him. Realizing he wouldn't get to the door in time, he deked left as he got to the kitchen.  

The massive dog slid sideways as it tried to follow, then leapt at him.  Still shrieking, Aaron dove forward, clearing the kitchen sink and sailing over the counter into the living room.  The dog didn't quite clear the junk on the counter and bounced back into the kitchen, smashing glass and scattering bleach and chemical bottles.

Rolling to his feet, Aaron hurled himself out the door, trying to slam it behind him.  The dog was too quick, jamming its head between the door and frame, snapping wildly at him.   Aaron pulled desperately on the door as the dog's jaws closed on him and it began to thrash it's head from side to side.

For a horrible moment, Aaron was tossed from side to side.  He clung to the door, waiting for the pain to hit, until he realized the dog had the backpack, not his flesh in its teeth.  Raising his arm, he smashed his elbow down on the dog's snout.  Hammering once, twice, until the dog sagged back slightly.  

Wrenching himself back, he lashed out with his heavy hiking boot, knocking the snarling dog back through the door, then slamming it shut, seconds before the dog hit the door with a shattering crash.

Sitting on his ass on the porch, Aaron stared at the door, listening to the dog snarl hurl itself at the door.  Then the animal hit so hard the whole door shuddered, bending outwards.  That got him moving again.

He crossed the clearcut at a sprint, hearing the door give way just as he got to the treeline.  He flew down the road with the barking getting louder behind him.  Angling to the side of the road, he hurled the backpack over the fence, then hit the chain link without slowing down.

Halfway up the dog hit the fence below him, almost throwing him off.  He felt its teeth close on the back of his boot and shrieked again, kicking desperately to throw it off before the weight of it pulled him off the fence.  For a horrible second he strained, then the sole of his boot gave way and the dog fell off.

He ripped his hands and pants on the top of the fence, but didn't notice until later.  Landing on the other side of the fence, he looked up to see headlights.  For a horrible moment he thought he was caught, but then he saw Travis waving from the driver seat of his shit Chevette. 

"Holy shit man!" Travis yelled as Aaron threw the pack into the car and jumped in after it.  "That was LEGENDARY.  You left your phone on.  I heard the whole thing."

Too exhausted to talk, Aaron leaned his head back and took deep, shuddering breaths.  He barely heard Travis' excited chatter as he turned the car around for the drive out of the bush.   One thing caused him to look over.  "What do you mean, what is that?" he asked, as Travis stared at the backpack.

It took him a second to recognize the massive tooth stuck in the pack - a canine's canine, he thought, almost drunkenly.  Then he leaned his head back again.  Just like one of the wargames... Operation Legendary Eyetooth...