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KAI

by Bryan Alaspa 7 months ago in monster
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A Chilling Short Story

Marcus - Marc to his friends - sat on the back porch of his home and watched his eight-year-old daughter, Marlena, playing out past the vast backyard that had been such a major attraction to the home in the first place. She laughed and giggled and dashed through the finely trimmed grass, barely more than a dot given the vastness of the yard. There was a line of trees that indicated the start of a vast forest that extended for miles all around the property and in there was the friend she was playing with - Kai. She was always playing with Kai and they would soon both be deep within that forest.

This did not bother Marc, though. His family had raised Kai before he and Eli had married and brought Marlena into this world. Kai was big, but so gentle with her and a fierce protector of all of them, but especially Marlena. The two of them were inseparable. Which was fine. Given Marc’s job, it was nice that they had such protection.

Of course, technically, Kai was just a child as well. Marc had to remind himself of that whenever he saw the size of him. Despite his size, as gentle as a puppy most of the time. However, if he senses danger against Marlena, Eli or Marc, he could turn fierce and Marc was very glad he was mostly on the good size of those glaring eyes.

“Be careful out there, Marlena!” he called, rocking back in his chair and sipping from the iced tea he had in his right hand.

“I’m fine, daddy!” Marlene called back, her voice barely audible over the distance and the near-constant wind of this arid climate. “I’m with Kai! We’re playing hide-and-seek!”

“OK, still, be careful!” Marc called back. “You too, Kai!”

Kai chuffed as if the suggestion that he would be anything but careful was ridiculous. Of course, the idea of the two of them playing hide-and-seek was also ridiculous. Given Kai’s size, how it was possible for him to hide from Marlena was a matter of childish imagination more than anything practical. Marlena pretended that she didn’t see him to keep the game going and Kai would do his best to hide even though his massive frame prevented even the biggest tree from providing effective cover.

“Do you want more tea?” Eli asked from the door behind him. “Are they playing hide-and-seek again?”

“Yes, always,” he replied. “I am fine. Come, sit with me.”

His wife was much younger than he was and it had been a bit of a scandal among her family. That, and his job. His job was law enforcement and in this part of the world, an up-and-coming law enforcement officer with a reputation for running a clean ship and not taking bribes was a risk. However, Marc had charmed them for years, until the now welcomed him like a son. Having Marlena, of course, also softened things.

She was gorgeous. Eli was tall, taller than he was when she wore heels, and had long black hair cascading down her back. This luxury was matched by the tone of her skin and the darkness of her eyes. She was the most beautiful woman that Marc had ever known and the fact she wanted to be with him and had birthed his daughter and shared his bed was something too bizarre to contemplate.

Overhead the stars had started to come out, but there were clouds on the horizon. Not far away were the mountains and the desert that so many wanted to cross to head into America. Every so often there was a flash of lightning that threw shadows of the hills and mountains across the trees. A storm would be here soon, but it was not a concern. The house was strong and so was Kai and Marlena would be protected.

“How long before that storm gets here?” Eli asked.

“Not long,” he replied. “We’ll have to call Marlena in.”

“Kai will need to eat soon.”

He nodded and sipped his tea.

Marcus was the chief of police of the town of El Corazón (the heart) a tiny town just across the border, which meant it was in the heart of the cartel wars. It was the true center of the entire cartel in his neck of the woods. Rafael Yago was the kingpin here and he was a ruthless as the others the rest of the world knew about. A man with a huge estate outside of town and a small army at his beck and call and who ran tons of drugs across the border and into America.

Marcus was only half-Mexican. He had been born in the U.S. and raised in Chicago. He joined the CPD, made his way up, then moved to the FBI and eventually decided to see what he could do to make a difference in the country of his ancestors. No one wanted the job here. The last four who had taken it had died horribly. The large house and estate was just one perk to try and soften the blow against the fact whoever had the job was in charge or protecting the town, the corrupt politicians and the fact the ruthless gangster they were supposed to be fighting practically lived next door.

Oh, and you and your entire family might just end up dead.

As for Kai. Well, he and Eli had found him as a baby. Abandoned. Living on his own and scaring people. They took him in, not sure what to do or what he would truly be and he soon proved to be incredibly intelligent. They knew they would never be able to keep him in the house and he soon adapted to living outdoors and then they gave birth to Marlena and it was like Kai fell in love. Although he was protective of the entire family, he had a special bond with Marlena. They understood each other on a level that Eli and Marc could never match.

So, with Kai as their insurance policy, Marc had taken the job.

“What is going on with the man you arrested?” Elis asked.

“Ugh, that,” Marc said and rolled his eyes. He did not want to talk about business at home on such a night. “He is, essentially, the cartel bookkeeper. Probably one of several, but he has information that we can use to bring that bastard down. Once and for all. Maybe the entire organization. He is hidden away. We have enough on him to send him away for the rest of his life in a very tiny cell buried beneath a mountain. He will talk.”

“It sounds dangerous.”

Marc raised an eyebrow. “For whom?”

“For you, of course. I know its dangerous for this bookkeeper, but what about you?”

Marc laughed. “Just being here is dangerous. Dangerous for all of us.”

“But you feel safe.”

Marc nodded.

“Because of Kai?”

Marc shrugged.

“He is just a baby, you know. He may not be the help you think he is.”

Just then Marlena came back out of the trees, running, her pigtails flying out behind her and a huge smile on her face. Kai must have gone deeper into the woods to eat.

Marc sat up straighter and smiled. In the distance the lightning flashed and now a rumble of thunder tumbled and rolled down the hills like an avalanche. The wind had picked up as well. Perhaps this storm would be more intense than he had originally thought. He stood up, ice tea in hand and was about to call to Marlena. Just as he stood and raised his glass, two things happened.

The first was that Marlena stopped running, nearly skidding in the grass and falling down on her behind, her eyes wide, her mouth open and sheer terror etched across her face and visible even from this distance. The second thing was that Eli let out a shriek and there followed the sound of breaking glass as her own iced tea crashed to the cement patio.

It took a moment for all of it to register and then Marc turned to see that Rafael Yago and a dozen of his men stood in his house, poured out onto the patio. They wore masks and were dressed in black, all of them holding automatic rifles and carrying pistols. Yago was dressed in his trademark white slacks, dark shoes and white long-sleeved shirt a size too big and billowing in the increasing wind. He held a white fedora in his right hand and brushed one hand across the bushy moustache he meticulously groomed across his upper lip.

“What are you doing in my house?” Marc asked as it was the first thing in his head. It was stupid, of course, to ask. He knew.

Kai was hunting. Eating.

“Oh, hello, my friend,” Yago said, sitting down in the seat Marc had previously occupied. “I realized that we were neighbors and I had yet to come over and say hello. You see, I always come and say hello to my neighbors. I came and said hello to the prior four neighbors who lived right here in this house before you got here.”

Marc wanted to yell for Kai. However, the men with their guns looked nervous, their eyes moving around and sideways, and they looked nervous. They would cut them all down before Kai had a chance to make a move.

“You are not my friend,” Marc said. “You are no one’s friend.”

Yago made a tsk tsk noise and held up a finger while placing his hat on one knee. “That is not so. There are many around here that make good money and have jobs so they can provide for their families because of what I do. These are people who rely on me. All of these men here, they rely on me, too. You are putting my business, my family, these men, their families and the lives of many people in this town in jeopardy. I cannot allow that.”

Marc swallowed hard. He wanted to tell Marlena to run, but men were already striding across the grass toward her. She had not made a sound. She had not bolted on her own. Eli was also sitting there like a statue, her eyes wide with fear.

“What do you want? Are you just going to kill me? My family? You know that I have fired all of your corrupt police officers and have hand-picked all of the men who now work for me. They will not stop just because you kill me. They are backed by the United States government. If you gun me down, kill my family, the entire military of the U.S. will come down on you.”

Yago leaned back and laughed. The men around him also laughed, although nervously. “You think I fear the U.S.? Please. I have so many senators and politicians in my pocket that I barely have room for a stick of gum. No. No, I like you, Marcus. I like your beautiful wife and the beautiful little girl - Marlena, is it? - who help brighten this town. I think you and I can find a way past this. I know that the men you hired will not stop because I kill you. I know that they would sooner kill the bookkeeper than be intimidated by me. I am not here to kill you.”

Marc swallowed again. “I will never work with you.”

“You say that now,” Yago said and he snapped his fingers. More men skittered into the yard. “But that will change. You see, I am going to take your daughter with me. She will stay with me until you find the way to do the right thing. Just turn the bookkeeper over to us and come work for me. It’s that simple. Once that happens, you can continue to enjoy this house, this town, this life.”

Marc felt his stomach flip over inside. He wanted to vomit. He heard Marlena let out a yell of surprise and fear and then a scream. Would Kai hear it? It was possible, but would he get here in time? It depended on how far he went to feed.

Instead, it was Eli who got up and screamed. Before Marc could do anything she smashed the glass in her hand on the edg of the table and lunged at Yago with the broken shard. Marc could actually see the flash of lightning glint in the piece of glass.

“Eli, no!” Marc screamed.

The sound of the gun was louder than the thunder, the flash from the muzzle brighter than the lightning. At the same time the gun went off, the peal of thunder rolled and the two sounds mixed and Marc thought for sure the sounds would merge and split his head open like a ripe melon.

When he saw Eli stop and fall backwards, several holes stitched across her chest and stomach, he wished that his head would. (It)

“Nooooooooooooooooo!” He wailed.

“Mommy!” Marlena screamed and then Marc heard her fighting and crying. “Kai! Kai! He’s just a baby! Let me get Kai!”

Like always she was more worried about Kai than herself or anyone else. Unaware how big he was and capable of taking care of himself.

Marc held Eli in his arms, her blood running over his legs and across his chest. He felt her life soaking into his clothing. Her eyes were open and she was barely breathing and she moved her mouth as if to speak and then she shuddered and went still. He felt everything inside him break, but beneath that broken rubble, he felt something else.

Anger.

“That was not necessary,” Yago said, shaking his head. “That was not necessary and she had only herself to blame.”

“You son of a bitch,” Marc cursed and he looked at Yago with eyes that blazed with such rage the gangster actually took a step back. “You are all going to die. You are all going to die screaming.”

Yago recovered fast. He looked up to confirm the girl was well in hand. Three men had her and one of them was using zip ties to bind her. She was screaming and fighting, but there was no escape.

“You have suffered a terrible loss here,” Yago said, calmly. The thunder was loud now. So loud the ground shook. Marc looked over his shoulder as the thunder rolled in a curious way, as if he expected rescue from the storm. “Listen to me, Marcus. You can save your daughter. You can find another woman. This town has plenty. I can even help you there. You and your daughter can still have a fine life here. Because of this tragedy, I will give you a full week. That is very generous. A week to release the bookkeeper. When he is free, Marlene will be returned and you and I can talk. We shall move past this. Do you understand.”

Marcus looked at this man with pure hate as his daughter screamed.

“Kai!” Marlena screamed. “Let me go! I need to find Kai!”

“Tell her to be quiet,” Yago said. “Whatever pet or doll or foolishness she cries for is not important.”

“Marlena!” Marc said. His daughter stopped. “Be quiet now. Kai heard you. He will be here soon.”

“He’s just a baby! He needs me!”

“I know, little flower. But be still for now. You will be leaving with these men. Kai will find you.”

Then, surprisingly, Marcus looked back at Yago and his eyes blazed again, with an intensity that challenged the lightning itself. “When he does, you will wish that you had never been born.”

Yago twitched his head and his men carried the girl back through the open patio door and through the house. She began wailing again, calling for this Kai and telling them that she needed to see him and take care of him and such nonsense. Another peal of thunder rolled from the mountains, and this one carried a curious sound that he had not heard before. It trailed off in a way he did not recognize. As if it were a beast growling.

Yago reached pulled a pistol from his waistband.

“You are still insolent,” he said. “That means the lesson is not yet learned. Perhaps this will help you focus on what needs to be done and the stakes involved.

He fired a single shot into Marcus’ right knee. It was a painful shot and one he had used before. The police chief screamed and his entire body twitched. He howled in pain and clutched at his knee. Just as the first splatter of rain hit the patio, the man held on to his dead wife and looked at Yago with his teeth bared, breathing heavy, in obvious pain, but determined. It sent a curious chill down his spine. This man was stronger than any he had dealt with.

“Do the right thing, Marcus,” Yago said, putting away his gun. “Or the little girl will come back to you in pieces. Then, you will beg me to kill you. One week.”

He turned and left his sobbing man behind him. As he walked through the house, he heard the sky open up over head and felt another rumble of thunder. Then the house shook again, and the thunder did that strange sound. Yago paused, turned his head and looked back, but saw only Marcus holding his wife in the rain.

He frowned and then left. He had places to be.

***

Marcus held Eli for a few more moments as the sky opened and the rain fell in sheets. Then, he let the anger take him. He felt Kai before he saw him and he turned, looking into Kai’s face. His knee had shattered and the pain was beyond imagining, but nothing compared to what he felt inside as Eli died in his arms. The anger was like a volcano and he looked Kai in his face.

Kai. Kai whose eyes were so intelligent.

Kai who snorted and looked at him as he forced himself to hobble into the yard and stare into his face.

Kai knew. He smelled the blood and his eyes turned to that of sorrow. He began to tilt his head back to howl in pain, but Marc caught his head and forced him to look him in the eyes. He wiped rain water from his own eyes and spoke into Kai’s face.

“They killed Eli,” he said, “but they took Marlena. We have to get her back, Kai. You understand.”

Of course he did. The eyes turned from mourning to a pure and sincere anger that Marcus delighted in.

“Can you smell her?”

Kai indicated he could. Of course he could. He could probably sense her. They had always shared an almost psychic bond.

“Kai, get her back,” then he tilted his head down and looked up, into those vastly intelligent eyes. “Kill them all. Destroy them. All of them. No matter what. Burn them all to the ground. Now, go!”

Kai nuzzled against him for a moment and then tilted his head.

There was a rush of wind and rain and the world seemed to shudder for a bit.

Then Kai was gone and Marcus collapsed to the ground to scream into the torrential storm.

***

Yago sat in the back of the van and stared at his prize. She was unlike any girl he had met before. When they first put her in here and closed the door she screamed more for this Kai that she was so worried about. Then, mere minutes after they were on the road, she had settled down and now she stared at him with her head down, eyes up, in a way that was disturbing.

“You will like my home,” Yago said in a voice he used with his nieces and nephews. “It is a big place and you will have tremendous time with me. Then, once your father has done what I asked, you will get to go home.”

“You killed my mommy,” the girl said, her teeth gritted and with an anger that burned as bright as her father’s. Again, in a girl this young, it was disconcerting.

“I did nothing,” he said. “My men did what they were trained to do. Your mother tried to hurt me.”

“You’re a very bad man.”

Yago licked his lips. Her eyes were so intense it was hard to look at them too long. Outside the van, the rain pounded against them and the driver was taking pains to drive fast, but not reckless, but it was getting harder and harder to do so with the driving rains. The thunder was so loud. Up ahead was the SUV that bore the rest of the team.

“You need to behave yourself, little one,” Yago said. “If you behave, perhaps we will have ice cream and other fun things. If you do not, you will be locked in a small dark room until you do decide to behave. Make your choice now.”

“Kai will find me,” she said. “He may be a baby, but he’s bigger than all of you and he’ll know where I am.”

Who was this Kai? A dog? An imaginary friend? A bodyguard? Even if he was like that Denzel Washington in that one movie about the bodyguard, it didn’t matter. Nothing would save her if her father did not come through.

“You had better just behave,” he said, shifting in his seat in a way that bothered him. A child should not have disturbed him so. “This can be pleasant or bad. No one is coming to save you, so you had better start behaving.”

Instead of looking scared, however, Marlena smiled. The grin spread slowly across her face, but her head remained down and her eyes blazed with an inner light that made Yago think of the days when he was young and his grandmother would tell him tales of witches and warlocks.

“You’re all going to die,” Marlena said calmly, flatly, as if she were talking about the rain. “You will all die screaming.”

Yago felt chills like tiny spiders crawl down his back. He was the most feared man in this area and this little girl was getting to him. He sat up straight and slapped the little girl across the face. Her head rocked to the side, but then slowly, carefully, as if on rusted hinges, turned back until she stared at him again.

Her smile did not fade.

“Enough!” he said. “You made your choice. So, the dark room it is when we get to my home. I am disappointed in you.”

He turned to face the front of the van, but he felt her eyes on him the entire rest of the drive and he did his best not to show his revulsion at the stare.

***

It was said that Yago’s compound was so large that it would take a man a full day to walk across it. It was huge, surrounded on all sides by two layers of electrified fence and had numerous guards who walked between them with vicious dog and large guns. There were towers everywhere, guard houses and area for his private army to live, work and train. He even had a radar station since so many law enforcement agencies liked to use planes and fly over his land to see what they could find. It was, in all respects, a military base, but with a huge, lavish mansion in the middle with every luxury, dozens of fancy cars, a helicopter, a private plane and the latest electronics of all kinds. There were pressure sensors, infrared sensors, laser grids and thousands more devices that monitored every aspect of the compound and relayed it to a command center in the middle of the house.

They pulled into the huge iron gates and Yago had his driver pull over. The rain pelted him as soon as he got out, but he entered the huge guard house that watched over the main entrance. He called over Pablo and Steven, the two men in charge of the main guard house and his elite troops.

“We have the girl,” he said to them. “She keeps talking about someone coming after her, but I’m not sure if it’s one person or an army. Get the troops down here and get the machine gun nests set up. Bring the grenades. This place is on lockdown for the next week, is that understood? If anything comes to the fence, or this front gate in particular, you kill it.”

Pablo and Steven both agreed and then set about bringing in the troops. Yago climbed back into the van and noticed Marlena still stared at him, that grin on her face.

“No one will be getting in here tonight,” he said for her benefit, but also for his own. “No one.”

“Kai will,” Marlena said. “Nothing can stop him.”

Yago laughed. “Your Kai will be blown to pieces the moment he shows himself.”

Instead of cowering, Marlena laughed back at him. In the quietness of the van and the darkness of the stormy night, it was a chilling sound. “You’ll see,” was all she said.

They drove on. Moments later, they pulled up in front of the mansion. The sky still poured on them, the lightning more intense and the thunder louder. Yago exited the van and put on his hat, the brim instantly covered in water that cascaded in front of his face.

“Take her inside,” he said, as two men opened the back of the van and grabbed the girl. “I want her close to me. Use the bedroom off of the security room. You know the one.”

Marlena did not seem worried in the least. She just kept staring at him with her weird tilted face and disconcerting smile. She let them carry her, but just before she was dragged into the house, she looked up, into the sky and driving rain. Her smile widened.

Yago turned and looked up into the driving rain. Was someone following in a plane? Not in this weather. Perhaps she expected someone to fly in and rescue her?

Yago reached into his belt and pulled out a small radio. “Kristof. Kristof, do you read me?”

In the radar shed Kristof awoke from his nap and grabbed at his radio. The storms were wreaking havoc on the second-hand system Yago set up to guard his compound. He grabbed the radio.

“I’m here, boss.” he said.

“Get that fucking thing working and scan the skies,” Yago ordered. “I think there may be planes up there.”

“Not in this weather boss, no way.”

“Just fucking do it! If you see anything you report to me right away.”

“Roger.”

Yago tucked the walkie talkie back in his belt and nodded in satisfaction. The lightning flashed again and was followed almost immediately by thunder that descended into that strange growling. He cleared his throat.

Nothing could get to them now.

Nothing.

***

Inside they rushed upstairs. This was where they had the armored room. There was a giant wide space with a television the size of the wall along one side. The moment they reached the room, Yago grabbed the remote and the vast screen was filled with dozens of tinier squares, showing him nearly every corner of his compound. He watched as the bright searchlights came on, despite the rain, and the men jumped into action.

“Where do you want her?”

Yago looked at the man holding the surprisingly passive Marlena. She had yet to cry. She did not scream, except to worry about her friend. She stared at him now, lightly clinging to the man’s arm. Her eyes were dreamy, intense, as if she were looking at Yago, but not really here.

“Put her in the room,” he said and indicated the door off to the left. “Leave the lights off. Let’s see what putting her in the dark will do for her spirit.”

It was really a panic room, but, of course, it was the most elaborate one money could by. In reality, the room was like an apartment and Yago could live in there for months, if need be. The walls were reinforced with titanium, which ran up through the ceiling and beneath in the floor. It cost a fortune to reinforce the entire second floor to support its weight. Yago had the remote controlling the lights, the monitors and things inside. He would keep her in the dark.

The door looked like a simple white wooden door, but that was deception. When the man in black opened it, it revealed a metal door nearly three feet thick. Inside, the lights were off and it was like a cave, as the man stepped inside, Marlena’s eyes focused a bit. Here is where she will finally beg and promise to be good, Yago thought. This was where he would finally get control.

“Kai’s here,” she said instead and that creepy smile reappeared. “You’re all going to start screaming soon.”

Yago’s snarled. “Get her inside and shut the door and then get to a post.”

He turned his attention to the screens. The storm roared outside. He watched the front gate and the other posts. He saw nothing indicating a man, a plane, a helicopter or army was here. Wishful thinking, he determined. The girl was scared. That was it.

Yago poured himself a drink of stiff bourbon and sat down on his sofa to watch what happened. If nothing happened in a couple of hours, he would relax, visit the child, and watch some real TV.

***

Kristof stared at the radar screen and saw nothing, The storm took up most of it, showing green blobs. He adjusted the sensitivity, making the adjustments until the radar could penetrate through the storm and scan the skies lower. If there was a plane (something he could not fathom given the strength of the storm), it would fly in low and he needed to get past the clouds.

Just then the radar lit up with a bright green blob. It had an odd shape, like something with wings, but also a tail. It darted across the screen fast, and then circled back. It was huge.

“Jesus. What the fuck?”Kristof reached for his radio. “Um, guys, there’s something out there. Something in the fucking sky.”

The radio crackled and Pablo came on. “What is it?”

“Um, I’m not sure,” Kristof said. “It’s huge. Flying low.”

Just then the screen flared white and then went black. Outside, there was the sound of something exploding and he looked up through the window and saw the radar tower burst into flames and crumble into pieces.

“Jesus Christ!”

In the explosion, however, he saw what was there. In the sky. Kristof’s mouth opened and he felt true terror for the first time in his life. He started to scream.

Then the white fire engulfed the entire radar shack and he was gone.

***

Pablo and the rest of the team at the front of the compound all flinched when the bright white light lit up the night and the radar station exploded. The rain was so intense, they couldn’t see what had caused it, but the fire started from the top down, blowing the tower and its spinning dish to pieces and then the structure upon which it stood. Then, all within the same fiery path of destruction, the radar shack itself erupted.

“Jesus,” Pablo said. He hit the button on his radio even though he knew he would receive no answer. “Kristof! Kristof! Reply, Kristof!”

“What the hell was that?” Steve asked while standing beside him.

“How the hell should I know,” Pablo replied and then he was back on the radio. “We’re under attack. All teams to battle stations, except team Bravo. Head over to the radar shed and see if there’s anything left of Kristof or any sign of who this is.”

The teams acknowledged and Pablo let loose with a string of curses in Spanish under his breath. “Everyone get ready!” he commanded. He wished this storm would dissipate.

“What is going out down there?” Yago called over the speaker. “Goddammit, what happened to the radar shed?”

“We’re looking into it. We are on lockdown. You stay put and get to the safe room.”

The ground shook beneath him.

Pablo looked down at his feet. There were many puddles formed there already from the uneven pavement. As he watched, the rumbling came again and he saw the water in the puddle ripple.

“What is this?” he asked. “Goddammit, get the lights out there! Dorian, send up a flare, let’s see if we can see anything!”

The bright lights stopped searching the skies and pointed forward, out toward the road the the surrounding trees. On either side of the large gate were two towers and they had two searchlights each and all four of them now pointed forward, scanning the area in front of the gate. Then, there was a soft chuffing sound and the flare screamed up into the sky where it promptly burst into bright red light and began to slowly descend in a parachute, the high winds of the storm buffeted it and it danced, creating wild shadows across everything.

“Oh my sweet Jesus,” Steven said.

Pablo didn’t even realize what he was looking at at first. He saw only something green and scaly, with bumps and ridges. It made no sense and his own mind attempted to just delete it from reality, and then he tipped his head back, following the huge green thing up and up and up.

To the head.

“No,” he said.

***

Yago did not like being told what to do. He nearly replied back to Pablo with threats and curses. Then he looked at the screens and saw the burning wreckage of the radar shed.

What had caused that? What could possibly have caused it?

Then the house vibrated.

Was it another explosion?

No. This was something else.

Another vibration occurred and this time something, perhaps a picture framed in the hallway, fell and shattered. Plates fell out of the cabinet in the kitchen.

“What is going on out there?” he called into the radio and this time there really was fear in his voice.

“Jesus Christ!”

Someone had pushed the button to talk, apparently, but they were not replying to what he had said. Something was happening.

Yago stepped closer to the monitors and studied the images from the front gate. All of the searchlights were on. The men were running. Then the machine guns fired.

They fired up.

“What is going on?” he asked again.

“Kai’s here!”

Yago turned toward the safe room and then back to the monitors. He should stay here. Yes, he should stay here and command his men like a true general. Like a man in command.

He ran for the panic room.

***

Pablo told his men to open fire at the night lit up with lightning and machine guns. The tracers showed him the bullets were hitting their target.

They just bounced off.

“Jesus,” he prayed.

A grenade shushed over his head and exploded against the creature which had to be almost fifty feet tall. The explosion lit up the creature’s toothed face and bright gold eyes for several seconds, but it didn’t even flinch.

It was covered in a thick scaly hide. There were spikes up and downs its back and a tail that was twice the size of a tree trunk near its body tapered to the size of a bullwhip at the end. The creature stood there as they fired upon it and then it bent lower, opened its vast mouth.

And roared.

The sound was unlike anything Pablo had ever heard. He felt it in his chest. The windows of the guard house shattered. Two men simply collapsed, their hands at their ears.

Then the spikes on its back glowed an eerie white and the eyes turned from gold to a fiery red.

“No,” Pablo whispered. “Dear Lord, forgive me.”

The white fire took them.

When it hit the guard house, the building exploded.

***

Yago stared in disbelief at the wall of monitors in the panic room. The little girl giggled on the bed beside him, but he ignore her. Instead, he yelled into his walkie talkie, but all he got in response were screams from men who held open the microphone without realizing they were doing so. He heard them burn and saw the fire on the screens.

When the guardhouse exploded, he felt his house vibrate.

“What is it?” he called and his voice was high-pitched and panicked. “What is it?”

He whirled on the little girl.

Her eyes were bright in the lights. The smile had not left her face. Involuntarily, Yago took a step back.

“What are you?” he asked. “What is this Kai?”

“He’s coming,” she said. “He’s going to kill you and all of your men and all of you will die screaming.”

“Stop it!” he screamed. “Stop it now!”

The house shook violently. As if something huge had hit it.

Yago realized that the odd whining sound he heard was not the girl, not an alarm, but his own breathing. He forced himself to slow down and think. He grabbed his pistol, checked to make sure it was loaded, and prepared himself.

He looked at the monitors. The one normally showing the front gate was now static. A second one which also had some of the front gate within view showed the gate was gone, his men were all dead and burned husks on the ground and every vehicle was a flaming, destroyed wreck.

One by one, the other monitors switched to static.

The house shook again. Then again. Then again.

Steady. Rhythmic.

Like footsteps.

“I’m in here Kai!”

Yago jumped, pointing the pistol at the little girl. He had forgotten she was here.

“What is it?” he asked. “An army? Tanks? What is coming?”

Marlena showed no fear at all. She smiled. Her eyes glowed orange in the dim light. “Nothing you can prepare for. You are going to die.”

“Stop saying that!” he yelled desperately. “Stop saying that or I’ll shoot you right now!”

It was right after he said those words the roar filled the air.

Yago put both hands to his head and covered his ears. It was unlike anything he had heard before. He felt it through the floors and up through the tips of his toes, up his spine and into his skull. It filled the world. It was the world. For the time the roar went on and on, there was only that sound and nothing else.

Then there was a horrific sound of metal and wood splintering. Yago looked up and saw four long tears rip through the ceiling of his panic room. Metal that was supposed to be the strongest on the planet tore open in four huge claw marks like tissue. Wood, plaster and pieces of metal tumbled into the room, blocking his view, as the tremendous hands attached to the claws pulled the ceiling open like a tin can and then the rain poured in.

Yago stared at what looked down at him and he began to pray.

When he was a child, his grandmother told him about monsters. Every culture had some version of giant monsters. All the way back to the earliest books of the Bible where Behemoth and Leviathan were mentioned, there were descriptions of giant creatures that devoured men. In China, the UK, Asia and many other countries, there were dragons.

What looked down at Yago now made him quickly think of those ancient things, but it really reminded him of something he watched and loved as a child and teenager.

Godzilla.

It was not, of course. But it was close.

There was a word that people used these days to describe these things. A word from Asia that had gained traction in the western world.

Kaiju.

Of course, he thought, Kai. It made sense now.

The monster towered over his house. It was all green, gnarled, armored scales and spikes along the back. The head was like that of an alligator, but with a more stunted snout - but many, many teeth. The eyes were golden, with flecks of red. It had long arms with four clawed fingers at the end, plus a thumb.

Rain cascaded off of the face and snout as those gold eyes burned right into Yago’s. This was no mere animal. This was an intelligent beast and it knew what it beheld. It saw what Yago was.

“Hi, Kai!” Marlena said with delight and laughed.

Kai turned his head away from Yago and the eyes softened. It made a sound, something like a gurgling, cooing sound. It looked at Marlena with what Yago could only determine was absolute love and devotion.

“I’m fine,” she said as if Kai has asked her a question. Perhaps he had. “But this is a bad man. He killed mommy.”

Kai turned his head back and his lips curled in a snarl. Each tooth was as big as a man. The eyes turned from gold to crimson and the spikes along his back glowed a bright white. The air filled with a strange humming. Then it unfurled the giant, membranous wings folded across its back and Kai completely blotted out the sky.

Yago dropped his gun and fell to his knees.

“Please,” he said. “Marlena, please. I’m sorry. Please. Forgive me. I’m sorry for what I did. I’m sorry for everything I’ve done. Please. Call him off. Tell him to spare me and I’ll leave. I’ll go away and never come back.”

Kai looked at him for a moment, as if he understood what the man said and then at Marlena again.

“Kai doesn’t listen to me,” Marlena said. “He’s not a pet. He’s not an animal. He’s my friend. I couldn’t command him to do anything.”

“Please,” Yago said, his eyes never leaving the giant creature in front of him, never veering from the teeth. So many teeth. “Please.”

“You killed mommy.”

Yago nodded. “I did. But she came at me. I had to defend myself. I had to. Please. Forgive me. I’d take it all back if I could. Please.”

He finally turned his head and looked at Marlena. Her face was that of a normal girl for the moment. As if she were actually considering his request. Then, slowly, her head tilted downward and her eyes began to glow again. A shadow crossed her face and the grin, that horrible, evil, all-knowing grin, returned.

“Kai,” she said. “Din-din!”

Yago whipped his head around and looked up at Kai. “No! NO!”

Kai growled and leaned his head into the room. As he did, he opened his mouth until all Yago could see was the gaping jaw. The saliva that dripped from the roof of the mouth and the teeth. Many, many rows of teeth like that of a shark.

At that point he screamed and as he did so, Kai roared. As the gaping mouth came toward him, Yago tried to scream louder than the roar.

He never even came close.

***

They say it would take a day to walk the entire length of Yago’s compound. Kai was able to do it in less than twenty minutes. All the while, Marlena clung to his neck. Even when he flew into the air to get an aerial view of things, she clung to him. Kai made sure his body generated just enough heat to keep the girl warm, the rain off her, dry and safe.

Kai did as he was asked. He burned it all down. Every last building. Every man he saw, he killed. Until they were all gone.

Marlena snuggled close to him as he came to rest near the outskirts of the compound. Overhead the clouds finally parted, the moon emerged, and the stars shone overhead like a vast field of diamonds. Kai waited, his keen senses scanning the compound. He would not leave until he was sure they were all dead. As he stood there, he cooed and sang to Marlena a song as ancient as his kind. A song as old as the world. Eventually, she fell asleep, clinging to him.

Inside he mourned the death of Eli. She was as much his mother as Marlena’s.

When he was satisfied he slowly unfurled his wings. With a rush of wind he took to the air, never looking back at the smoking, burned ruin he left behind. Tomorrow, the world would see that Yago was dead and the legend of the things heard and seen that night by nearby townspeople would grow.

Kai rose high into the air, careful not to dislodge his precious cargo. He banked slightly, his shadow crossing the moon so that dozens in El Corazon who looked out at that moment would see his shape against its fullness.

Then he was gone.

monster

About the author

Bryan Alaspa

I am an author of more than 50 books and novels. I am also a freelance writer. I write horror, mysteries, suspense and Young Adult books in fiction and true crime in non-fiction.

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