The Day it Rained Blood
By Alexander Randazzo
The Night Before
‘Is this blood?’
Timmy quickly swats the liquid off his arm like it was a mosquito before whipping his head around toward his older sister. His fear growing upon realizing her expression mirrors his own.
The sky was raining blood.
“We need to go back to shore, now!” Abigail yells, the wind almost drowning out her voice.
The two kids begin furiously paddling their kayak toward shore as the crimson drops continue to fall all around them. Timmy tries to swallow a scream as terror grips his body.
A loud scream echoes around the lake.
“Calm down Timmy! Shut up and paddle!”
Timmy clamps a hand over his mouth, realizing the scream was his own. He quickly redoubles his efforts and begins paddling again, glancing over his sister’s shoulder at the distant shoreline.
"Sherry, I’m going for a jog. I’ll be back by ten!” Anthony drops his left leg after a quad stretch. He looks back at the campsite. Resting on the edge of the lake, a small campfire lies in front of a large tent.
After a few moments of silence, the tent unzips and a red headed woman sticks her head out.
“Shh... The kids are still sleeping.” Sherry speaks in hushed tones. She exits the tent before zipping it back up.
"How are they?”
“They’re both still pretty shaken up.”
“Kids these days. It was just rain.” Anthony shakes his head slowly.
“They thought it was raining blood, Tony.”
“The moon was red.” He grunts under his breath. “The damn moon.” He looks at his wife. “I’m going for a run. If I’m not back in an hour, send a search party.” He smiles.
Sherry nods slowly. “Sure. I don’t think we’re going to be able to build a fire this morning, so I may run into town for some breakfast.”
“Sounds good.” Anthony leans in and kisses his wife’s cheek before running off into the woods. Sherry watches him jog off.
Sherry sighs before turning and walking back toward the tent.
‘Ah that’s nice.’ Anthony smiles as the cool breeze flows past his face, wishing he could start every morning like this. As he jogs, the soft patter of his feet echo in the otherwise silent forest. He passes a small patch of beautiful purple flowers before continuing his run.
After another few minutes, he slows to a stop at the edge of the lake, as still and quiet as a painting. He checks his watch. Four miles in just under thirty minutes.
Not bad for fifty. Anthony smiles and enjoys the view. He takes a deep breath in before gasping.
‘What the hell is that smell?’ A rancid stench fills his nostrils as he looks around, searching for the origin of the more than unpleasant scent.
After a few moments of searching the bushes, he gasps before curling over and puking, heaving the fire cooked hotdogs from the night before. He looks back up at the source of the smell.
In front of him, protruding from the ground, is a long wooden arrow dripping with blood. Sitting on top of the arrow, or more aptly put, impaled onto the arrow, rests the rotting head of a buck. Flies linger around the eye sockets as maggots crawl out of the nose.
“What the actual fuck?” Anthony says, shaking his head and wiping his puke soaked beard with the sleeve of his shirt. He looks around frantically, trying to find some kind of explanation amongst the emptiness of the woods.
‘How did this get here? Why is this here? What is that?’
Resting on the ground a few feet away from the skewered dear lies a rock with some kind of engraving on it. Anthony walks over before crouching to inspect the rock closer. Strange white symbols cover the rock’s surface. Anthony picks it up and places it in his pocket.
His watch beeps and he stands back up. It was time to head back. He starts to jog off before turning around one last time toward the impaled head. He subconsciously nods at the dead dear before shivering. Anthony is thoroughly shaken. First blood rain and now this?
Plop. A fishing line drops into the lake. The bobber gently floats atop the clear water. Timmy stands at the edge of the shore, fishing pole in hand, alone in his thoughts. “I’m a big boy now. I’m not scared. It was just rain.”
He gently pulls at his fishing pole, causing the line to jerk. “Come on fishy fishy. Bite! All I want this weekend is to catch a fish.”
Nothing. The silence of the lake gives no response to his silent pleas. In fact, the silence almost feels eerie. Timmy begins to reel in his line as the snap of a branch is heard, causing him to jerk around.
“Is anyone out there?”
Timmy screams as a loud noise crashes from the woods. A flock of birds take off over the lake. He drops his fishing pole in fear as the noise of snapping twigs approaches.
Suddenly his father bursts out of the woods.
Timmy rushes toward his dad and hugs him tight.
“Tim, are you ok?”
Timothy starts to cry as he nestles himself in his father’s arms.
“What’s wrong son?”
Timmy tries to speak in between tears. “I was… I was just… scared.”
Anthony hugs his son close. “There’s nothing to be scared about. I’m right here. It’s ok.”
They hold the embrace for a few moments before Anthony pulls away. “Come on, let’s go get breakfast.
“Honey! Look who I found down by the lake.”
Anthony and Timmy stomp through the woods before arriving at their campsite. Timmy looks around. “Mom?”
“Sherry? Abigail?” Anthony checks inside the tent. Empty.
“Where’d they go?” Timmy asks as his eyes start to fill up with tears.
“Hey, hey. They probably just went to town to get some breakfast. I’m sure they’ll be back soon.”
“Town? Breakfast? They left me?”
“They didn’t leave you Tim. I’m here.”
“But you weren’t when they left. They wouldn’t do that. Mom wouldn’t do that. Something’s wrong.”
“Nothing’s wrong son.” Anthony pats his son’s shoulder. “How about this? Let’s hike down to the parking lot and we can check if mom took the car. If it’s gone, they went to get breakfast and we can wait there for her to come back. Ok?”
Timmy nods slowly. “Ok. What about Abigail? What if mom left her too?”
"Mom wouldn’t do that. Come on. Let’s go. It’s almost a thirty minute hike down.”
“I spy something… green.”
“Yup!” Anthony smiles as his son correctly guessed yet again. “Your turn.”
Timmy stops in the middle of the trail for a second. He looks around before setting his eye on something and smiling. “I spy something black.”
“Black?” Anthony furrows his brow. He looks around, turning his back to his son for a brief second when suddenly Timmy screams.
Anthony whips back around to see his son frozen still. He rushes over. “What son? What is it?!”
Timmy points toward something a few feet away. Anthony looks, quickly realizing why his son spied something black. A giant black snake slithers toward his son.
“Timmy, get behind me. Now.”
Timmy steps behind his father as Anthony looks around for something to defend himself with. Not being able to locate anything within arms distance, and with the snake slithering closer, Anthony reaches into his back pocket and pulls out the stone with the white markings.
As the snake coils to strike, Anthony rears back his arm and hurles the stone at the snake, hitting it square in the face and causing it to slither off into the woods.
“Wow dad. Nice throw.”
Anthony smiles slowly, impressed by himself. “Thanks son. Come on.”
Anthony freezes. Something’s in the woods. Movement is heard. Way too much for it to be the snake.
“Stay behind me son.”
The noise continues to approach them, growing closer and closer; the woods too dense for Anthony to locate the source.
“Quiet Tim. Get low.”
They both crouch to the ground as a large figure bursts through thicket, snorting and snarling. Timmy screams. Anthony gasps. He can hardly believe his eyes. A giant bloody buck stares back at him for a moment before taking off up the path toward their campsite. A few moments later, everything is silent.
“What… what was that?”
“It was just a dear Tim.”
“Why was it all bloody?”
“I don’t know, son. Come on. Let’s get to the parking lot.”
Anthony and Timmy approach the parking lot as Sherry turns the corner carrying a brown paper bag and a drink tray with coffees. She notices her husband and son briskly walking toward her.
“Mom!” Timmy let’s go of his father’s hand and rushes toward his mother.
Timmy jumps into his mom’s arms, causing her to drop the hot coffees, which spill into the dirt.
“Damn it, Timmy!” Sherry starts to chastise her son before he nuzzles his face into her stomach and starts to cry. “What’s wrong?” She looks at her husband. “What happened?”
“What do you mean?”
“She didn’t go with you?”
Sherry shakes her head slowly. “No… Why?”
“Timmy. Stay with your mother.” Anthony turns around and starts jogging back up the path.
Tony begins to pant as he continues to run back toward the campground. His heart beats out of his chest as his blood pressure and anxiety rises. “She’s going to be ok. It’s going to be ok. Keep going. You’re not tired. Left, right, left!”
Tony approaches the final opening before his campsite before picking up the pace. He enters the clearing and can’t believe his eyes.
“No. No!” He looks around. The campsite is in ruins. The tent shredded. Their firewood scattered. And, most horrific of all, everything is covered in blood. It’s clear something large has wreaked havoc on the campsite. Probably the wounded deer.
Anthony continues to look around as he raises his hands to his face. “Abigail! Abigail!
Sherry and Timmy round the bend and enter what remains of the campground. She quickly notices Anthony sitting on a few pieces of stacked firewoods. He looks up at her, his face stained with tears, and shakes his head.
“What happened to our campsite dad? Did the bloody deer do this? And where is Abbi?”
Sherry looks at her son. “Deer? What deer?”
Anthony looks out at the lake. “I don’t know, son. I don’t know.”
“Maybe she’s picking flowers?”
Anthony’s head pops up. “What flowers?”
Timmy shrugs. Sherry and Anthony share a glance before Sherry kneels in front of her son.
“Timmy, what flowers are you talking about?”
“We went for a walk yesterday and she saw some pretty flowers. Maybe she went back there?”
Anthony walks over slowly. “What color were these flowers, son?”
“Purple I think.”
Anthony’s head snaps up as he looks at his wife. “I know where that is.”
Abigail inhales deeply before smiling. The scent of the flowers were just as beautiful as their purple petals. She smiles. The perfect morning. Exactly what she needs after last night’s nightmare.
She takes one more deep breath of the flower before picking a couple and standing. Her stomach growls. It’s time to head back. Hopefully her mother is back with breakfast by now. She starts walking down the path toward the campsite before she freezes, hearing something.
She takes another step before hearing a twig snap. She freezes again.
‘Ok, this is kinda freaky. Am I just hearing things?’ She takes a few more steps before hearing another twig snap. She quickly does a three-sixty, however she doesn’t notice anything. She’s beginning to freak out a little and starts to jog down the path.
A loud voice echoes through the woods. “Abigail! Where are you?”
Abigail perks up at the sound of her father’s voice. She breathes a sigh of relief, breakfast must be ready. “I’m over here dad!”
Her father, followed distantly by her mother and little brother, appear on the trail about a hundred yards away from her. She raises her hand to wave at them, just as something hits her so hard it sends her flying to the ground.
“It’s right around this corner.” Anthony leads his wife and son down the trail. He raises his hands to his face and yells. “Abigail! Where are you?”
He looks at his wife and son, raising a finger to his mouth, shushing them.
“I’m over here dad.”
Anthony lets out a sigh of relief. “She’s ok. This way.” He leads his family down the path.
Timmy points down the path. “There she is!”
Anthony starts to jog towards her before he notices movement in the woods off to her left. He raises an eyebrow confused before true fear grips him.
The Night Before
‘Is this blood?’
Jonathan looks at his hunting buddies Aaron and Steve as drops of red liquid splash all around them.
“Boys, it’s starting to come down hard. We should call it a night.”
Aaron looks back. “Scared of a little rain? We’ve been tracking this buck for two days. No way we’re giving up now. Especially not after you made me leave the last one.”
Jonathan scowles. “Don’t get pissy with me bro. It’s tradition.”
“It’s gonna give some poor hiker a fucking heart attack.”
“That’s the point, dumbass.”
Steve turns around. “Will you both shut the fuck up?”
Jonathan shrugs. “Steve, come on man, it’s raining blood.”
Steve lumbers over to Jonathan. “It’s not raining blood. What color is the moon dumbass? Huh?”
Jonathan looks up at the sky. The moon’s red rays peek through the rain clouds as the storm continues.
Aaron ducks behind a tree and wipes his eyes. He looks back at his two best friends since high school and watches as Jonathan opens the wrapper of a granola bar. Steve shushes him; but Aaron can’t blame him. They’ve been tracking this buck since he shot his best friend two days ago. What happened after was still a little confusing. Jonathan had Souix blood, and insisted they stick to some batshit crazy tradition invovling decapitating the animal and mounting it’s head on the arrow that killed it. Jonathan then put some old stone with Native American carvings down to mark the hollow ground. ‘What a retarded tradition.... At least they didn't kill the buck’s mate and mount her head on a spike.’ Aaron shivers away the thought.
They were closing in on their next target now. Aaron could feel it. He crouches down and continues to follow the path before them. This buck was a monster. Steve had missed the first shot, due to his party’s agreement, Jonathan’s shot was next. Then his. ‘I hope Jonathan just wounds the damn thing.’
“Did you hear something?” Jonathan whispers.
Jonathan drops his granola bar to the ground slowly before the three men begin to slowly move through the thicket. And then, they saw him; the magnificent beast. Aaron points and Jonathan nods, retrieving an arrow. He draws it back, aims, and releases.
The arrow hits the buck’s front shoulder, mere inches from it’s heart.
‘Fuck. This thing was gonna run again.’
The buck takes off like a shot out of a cannon and the three hunters take off after it.
The three friends continue to track their prey. After running a few hundred yards through the trees, the buck had veered left, up a beaten path.
As they approached a break in the trees Steve signs. “This is a fucking camp ground.”
The men enter the clearing and look around.
“Fucking shit.” Jonathan mutters. “This is bad.”
In front of them is not only a destroyed campground, its a bloody destroyed campground.
Aaron looks at his friends, “Do you think…”
Jonathan nods. “Yeah.”
Steve grunts. “Tough shit. Where’d the fucking thing go?”
As both of his buddies turn toward him, Jonathan immediately regretted bragging about his skills as a tracker. The situation went from claiming to be able to track an animal the size of a small car in the wild to now potentially mistaking human tracks for a worthless deer. But Jonathan knew he wouldn't let his buddies down. He quickly scans the camp ground until he spotted a trail leading the opposite direction. He points. “That way. Let’s go.
The three men crouch in the thicket. There was no doubt something large was walking down the trail towards them. Aaron stands up. It was his shot. And he wasn’t going to miss.
Aaron carefully and quietly retrieves an arrow and notches it. He breathes. ‘In and out. In… and out…’
Something moves through the thicket. Closer and closer. A tiny grin spreads across Aaron’s face. He sees movement.
A figure stands off the trail, a bow drain back and an arrow knocked. Anthony tries to move but his limbs are paralized. All he can do is watch as the figure releases the arrow. It barrels towards his unsuspecting daughter, before impaling her in the chest as she goes flying toward the ground.
Anthony rushes toward his daughter as the figure exits his hiding place, followed by two others. They high five before notices Anthony rushing towards them.
“Woah, man. Chill…”
Anthony tackles the first Aaron and slugs him in the face before Steve and Jonathan rush to grab him.
"What the hell man? That’s our deer!” Steve yells.
Anthony’s eyes fill with tears as Sherry rushes by, disbelief in what he just witnessed. As his wife cradles his dying Abigail, he looks up at the three friends and says.
“That’s not a deer. That's my daughter.”