And I do mean new. :) (Again, though, for mature readers!)
...a story about a little boy and his pet, by Charles Spencer
He entered the front door and might as well have announced instead of said, "Honey, I'm home."
He shut the door as only silence answered. "Honey?" Still nothing. "Merideth?" He frowned. He wasn't that late, was he? He warned his wife more than once he might be held up by work more often than not...
As he mused on that, his 8-year-old son entered the living room from the kitchen. The boy's smile was neutral. "Hi, dad."
The father smiled and said, "Hey, sport. How was your day?"
"O.K." The boy looked uncertain. "Dad, I've got something to tell you."
The father, Robert, nodded with a smile. "Go ahead, Timmy. You know you can tell me anything." He taught his son long ago and repeatedly since that honesty was always best. He wasn't sure how to tell the boy about politicians and lawyers yet, along with most every human being who liked at least a white lie every now and then.
Timmy brightened a little, but he still seemed unsure. "I found something really cool on my way home from school."
"I named him Fluffy."
Oh, shit, he thought. "Uh-huh."
"I named him that cause he was real hairy and small."
Robert tried his best to keep the annoyance from his voice. "O-kay. Where did you find Fluffy?" He thought, Where the hell is Merideth?
"It was kindamore like he found me. You know where that meteorite landed the other day?" Dozens in the area saw a meteor descend from the night sky. A search was made, and in a vacant field a crater the size of a small car was found. No meteorite, though, which disappointed many of the locals.
"Yes, Timmy, I do. It wasn't far from where nice old Mrs. Morley lives." He didn't add out loud, Her and her hundred frigging cats.
"Well, Fluffy just jumped out of the tall grass in front of her house as I was walking back home from school. I almost stepped on 'im."
"Uh-huh." The old bitch can't even hire out to have someone cut her grass, but she can sure invest in kitty litter. "Fluffy might be one of Mrs. Morley's cats, son -- "
Timmy said quickly, "Oh, he wasn't! I thought he was really cool and I brought him home, dad. Can I keep him?"
I don't need this shit right now, he thought, we already have a damn dog. What more does this kid want? "Well...where is Fluffy right now?"
"Oh, he's around."
"Uh-huh." He strode over to a few feet in front of Timmy and got on one knee, so they could 'talk man to man', as he himself said more than once. "What does your mommy think of Fluffy?" She should be home now, where is she?
Timmy hesitated, but only for a second. "She was kinda scared of Fluffy when she first saw him, dad. Danni thought he was cool too, though." His face scrunched into a familiar disdainful expression he employed when he started talking about his sister, one year older than he was. "Like I care what she thought."
Robert blinked and gave Timmy a look. "Why would your mom have been scared of Fluffy?"
"Cause he looked cool, dad. She didn't know what to do at first."
Robert's brow furrowed a little. "Help me understand a little better, son. What makes Fluffy cool?"
"'Different' how, Timmy?" Where is Merideth...come to think of it, why isn't Danni here?
"Diff'rent enough to call Amy at the vet's."
Robert almost showed an expression of disdain that would have rivaled Timmy's toward his sister, but he controlled himself. Amy and Merideth were best friends, and they had the same love for animals. In fact, Amy was a charter member of everything from the ASPCA to PETA. She's one of those idiots who'd chain themselves to something in protest for even fucking rats. Merideth wasn't as bad as Amy was, though. He hoped. At least he knew Spot, their dog, was being taken care of well by Amy...he was at the vet's at this time because of a broken leg. He kept his patience as he tried to get something specific from his son... "Okay, but what exactly made Fluffy different? What kind of animal is he? You said he wasn't a cat."
Timmy shook his head definitively. "Nope!"
"Is he a dog? A little puppy dog?"
"Then what is he?"
Timmy helped nothing by shrugging his little shoulders and pronouncing, "I dunno."
Robert frowned. 'Real hairy and small' could mean anything, then, from a squirrel to a baby possum...shit. Wait, of course that explains where Merideth and Danni are! "So mommy took Fluffy to Amy?"
"No, Amy came here a few hours ago."
Puzzled, his father asked, "Amy's here? Now?"
"No, dad, she's gone."
Robert started to lose his patience...and to feel a vague fear. "Then where are your mother and your sister?"
"They're gone, too."
"What do you mean 'gone', Timmy? Where did they go?"
"They're gone...like Amy."
The fear and impatience built in Robert like a slowly rising tide, and it made him say what he did next in a taut tone of voice: "Timmy...tell me everything that happened since you found Fluffy until I came home. And I'm serious, tell me everything."
"There isn't much to say, dad -- "
Robert snapped, "Tell me anyway!" He shut his eyes and winced, embarrassed he lost control for a moment. But he needed to know. His eyes opened and he willed his expression to be soft for his son. "Please, Timmy...tell me what happened."
Timmy nodded. "O.K. I came home with Fluffy, and Danni was already here with mom. Mom was really afraid of Fluffy at first, but sis thought he was cool like I said. Mommy kept saying she had to call somebody, and I didn't know why Fluffy scared her. He was just jumpin' up trying to get on my shoulder. Fluffy can jump really high when he wants to."
Robert looked at his son blankly. What the hell? Is Fluffy a jackrabbit?
"So then mommy decided on Amy and called her, and she said come right away like something was wrong. Then mommy grabbed Fluffy and took him into the guest room and locked the door. Mommy didn't want us to go in and see Fluffy 'til Amy got there. It took 'bout an hour for Amy to get here."
"Mommy and Amy talked for a while real quiet...she didn't want me or Danni in the same room with 'em. Then mommy and Amy came to us and started askin' me stuff like you are now. Where I found Fluffy and stuff. And I told the truth like I'm telling now. You always say honesty is the best policy."
Robert managed a smile and nodded. "That's right, son." Of course, he never communicated the fact to anyone, and definitely not to Merideth, he was sleeping with one of his co-workers on the side, a buxom brunette secretary. She was the reason he was often late coming home, like today.
"So Amy went into the guest room t'look at Fluffy. The thing was, Fluffy grew bigger."
"Fluffy grew...what?" Suddenly, things made even less sense to Robert.
"Uh, almost an hour went by after mom put Fluffy in the room 'til Amy got there. And I saw him, dad, he got a lot bigger when we left him alone! He kinda did that after I found him and took him home, too. He felt a lil' bit heavier when I showed him to mommy than when I first picked him up and put 'im in my backpack."
Robert's eyes narrowed. "That can't be right, Timmy. No animal can grow that fast."
"Fluffy did, I swear!" Timmy looked surprised and maybe a little angry that his dad didn't take his word for it. "Mom would say he did too if she was here!"
Robert started to get a little agitated that he didn't know where Merideth was, which didn't mix well with what he already felt. "Wait, you still didn't say -- !"
Timmy broke him off, wanting to finish his story. "Anyway, Amy said a big word about Fluffy growin' so fast...it was like 'geometric'ly', a real big word. But mommy kept asking if Fluffy was...was dangerous. Amy said she didn't know, and we had to leave Fluffy in the room again by himself. He must've gotten real hungry." He shrugged again. "Anyhow, Amy said he might not be dangerous to me. She used another word I didn't get...inprint or imprint or somethin'. I didn't know what she meant, and Amy said that happens when a baby and parent see each other. She said maybe Fluffy wouldn't hurt me cause I'm like family."
"Th-that's good to know, son." Robert tried his best again to understand, but he couldn't. He needed more.
"But mom was still scared of Fluffy...and I guess Amy was right, cause Fluffy really only likes me. Maybe I can teach him tricks or something?"
"Son, wait." The fear in him grew stronger with each passing moment. He tried to keep his voice from shaking. "What...what does Fluffy look like?"
"That's what's cool about him, dad! He looks diff'rent from anything! Well...he was hairy and all and small at first, but the thing that really made him diff'rent was his face."
"Yep! He kinda looked like one of Danni's dumb teddy bears with his eyes...theyre small and black, like buttons, but his mouth is huge! And I couldn't see under all his hair to see how many legs he had until Amy saw he had six of 'em!"
Robert suddenly burst out laughing, in spite of himself. Timmy looked at him with a cross expression as his father laughed. "What's so funny? He does have six legs!" His father tried to settle down and stop laughing, but it took a moment.
Finally, Robert looked at his son and said, "I get it now, and that's funny! That's a good joke, son! Now c'mon, Merideth and Danni can come out from wherever they are!"
Timmy looked at his father with wide eyes. "You don't believe me?"
Robert shook his head and his smile was light. "You did have me going for a minute, Timmy...I'm not ashamed to admit it, too. But when you started going on about six legs...!" He chuckled almost to himself.
His son was truly offended and blurted out, "I'm not lying! I swear, I'm doing what you said people have to do to communicate, I'm tellin' the truth! If mommy and Danni and Amy were here they'd tell you!"
His father's smile never left his face, but he started to feel the vague fear return. "So where are they, Timmy?"
"I told you, they're gone."
His father's smile faded as his fear increased. "Yes, but where did they go?"
Timmy hesitated again...for a moment. "Nowhere. Fluffy ate 'em."
Robert looked into his son's eyes, and he couldn't say anything. He didn't see any sign his son was lying or trying to trick him. Or playing some kind of joke.
Timmy said much more quietly, "Like Amy said, I think Fluffy only likes me. And we were waiting for you to come home cause mommy tried to call you a few times and you didn't answer. And while we were waiting, Fluffy got even bigger in the guest room. A lot bigger, and a lot hungrier too, I guess. He broke the door to pieces comin' out and...well, he went and chomped on Amy first in the kitchen while the rest of us were upstairs. He must have been fast gettin' to Amy cause we didn't hear nothin' happen. Then he came upstairs and went after mommy and Danni. Mommy was tellin' us that we had to call the 'thorities when you got home about Fluffy, but then we heard the door get broken downstairs and she looked really scared and then Fluffy came in. I didn't want to see what happened, so I shut my eyes like I would watchin' one of those scary movies? When I looked again, only Fluffy was there -- "
His father suddenly shouted, "That's enough!" He'd been spurred once and for all by the continued absence of his wife and one of his children, his impatience, and his secret building fear. He taught his son to always tell the truth, but he had to be lying now. He simply had to be. He reached out and took hold of Timmy under his arms angrily and raised to stand to his full height, picking his son up off the floor as a result. Robert held Timmy, whose eyes were wide with understandable surprise, close to his face and shouted, "Stop joking around with me, dammit! I want to know where your mother and sister are NOW, or so help me -- !"
Robert heard something in the house then, behind him, distant but closing fast. A set of feet running...no, not feet. Something else. Something was approaching from the den on one side of the house, and it was fast. And big.
Robert's fear was all-consuming within him then, but the logical part of his mind managed to wonder. About that meteorite no one found. About Fluffy imprinting on Timmy...he knew something about that natural phenomenon, too. He remembered Timmy told him that Fluffy wouldn't hurt him. But it would have to be a different story for anyone else...
He heard the sound of multiple feet rushing fast until they came to a stop behind him. He heard something else...slow but steady inhales and exhales of breath, but each breath was an unnatural growl unlike anything he'd ever heard of. On this planet. He got the sense of something very big behind him, perhaps looking upon him with eyes as black as a teddy bear's, but they had to be very small in comparison to its mouth.
Still...as the fear he felt made him piss his pants, Robert quietly asked his son one more question, because Timmy always told the truth: "Where...where's Fluffy now, son?"
Timmy said, "Right behind you, dad."
This story is the copyright (2009) of Charles Spencer. No part of this story may be reproduced or transmitted, by electronic means or otherwise, without the express permission of the author.