Stories Hub / NonHuman / Home for Horny Monsters Ch. 12

Home for Horny Monsters Ch. 12

by writerannabelle 01/14/18

Hey all! Annabelle here with the exciting conclusion to the first 11 chapters of Home for Horny Monsters!

For those of you new to this story, I do write this tale as a novel with a beginning, middle, and end, so this is definitely not the best place for you to start. Chapter 13 will be the start of the next story arc, for those of you who just had a small heart attack.

I will also say that I have been going through personal stuff lately. We all do, and it sucks. I just want everyone here at Lit to know that I absolutely love the warmth you have shown me. This whole story began as a leap of faith, and because of your enthusiasm, I officially feel like I am flying. If you like this chapter, make sure to comment, rate, or send me a note! (I do read them all!)


Welcome Home

Mike opened his eyes, staring at the waning sunlight through the canopy overhead. Scattered rays were dying, a sign that the sun was sinking toward the skyline, ready to slumber until the break of dawn. The forest was quiet – a complete lack of animals meant that the only sound Mike could hear was the occasional rippling of the leaves as the wind brushed them against one another.

Lifting his head, he knew that he needed to get back. Though his slumber had been restless, he had clearly slept the day away. Groaning, he leaned out of the makeshift hammock that the Mandragora had made for him and promptly crashed onto the ground, his legs unable to properly support him.

“Fuck!” The numb sensation he had experienced earlier had passed. His legs burned as if full of fire ants, and his ankle felt like it had been twisted too far to one side. Checking his surroundings, he scooted around to look at the Mandragora.

Sarah’s pod had ominously sealed shut along the top of the mouth. The whole pod gently convulsed, a dark fluid flowing through its lower stalks and into the main plant body. Mike shivered, realizing that, if not for a memory, that would have been fate too.

The Mandragora had left him presents. He was surrounded by more food, and another one of the coconut things to drink from. The Mandragora had also left him an old branch that was the perfect height and thickness for a hiking staff. Shaking his head in disbelief, he ate what little he could, drank the fluid from the hard shelled fruit, and tried to stand with the staff.

It was slow going. Painful as it was to stand, the Mandragora dropped loops of vine for him to hold onto. Standing, his legs wobbled painfully beneath him. He was in poor shape for walking.

The plant would take care of him, he was sure of that. But what of the others? What had happened to his girls? Was Cecilia okay? What about Abella?

Sensing his anxiety, thick vines gently stroked his arms, soothing him. As it was, the girls would have to figure things out on his own, at least until he could walk. Once that was possible, the next step was to figure out the best way to get home. There was no single path leading away from the Mandragora, which meant he may accidentally wander deeper into the forest.

He had to try. Looking in the direction of the distant cliffs, he started walking. Slow, clumsy footsteps were soon replaced with strength and confidence. His body was no match for his determination, and once he got moving, it was far easier to stay moving then it was to stop.

After ten minutes of walking, he was already feeling a little better. His stiff muscles had loosened, and the staff kept most of his weight off his bad foot. His ankle was swollen already, but he needed to keep moving forward. The path he followed was mostly flat, and for that, he was grateful.

Ominous silence accompanied him on his journey. Thick clouds rolled in, gobbling up the sun’s light, and as dusk fell on the forest, Mike was engulfed by the shadow of night. He realized how much trouble he was in when he could no longer discern the edges of the path, often stepping into a cluster of bushes. He clocked himself good on a low hanging tree branch, so he sat down on a nearby log, taking a breather.

The silence was broken by the distant peal of thunder.

“Fuck.” Without animals to worry about, he had figured it would be a safe trek. Without any light to see by, and a storm blowing in, it occurred to him that staying with the Mandragora would have been a better idea.

Distant lightning gave him brief glimpses of the path, and he used them to hasten his journey. There was no way he was going to make it to the house this night, and he kept his eye out for any kind of shelter. With no wilderness experience to speak of, he debated his ability to climb a tree and at least get off the ground.

The lightning grew closer, and his eyes were having trouble adjusting to the sudden contrasts in light. The storm’s thunder boomed, a chaotic rhythm that he could feel in his chest. Each tumultuous clap was moving closer, his ears ringing after some of the louder ones. The humidity in the forest was increasing, and he wondered how often the forest flooded.

Stumbling around, he heard it, the eerie song of a woman in mourning. It carried across the world, distant at first, but growing louder. It was a song of loss, peace, and memory, the words foreign to him, but exposing an unfilled gap in his heart. The song was drowned out by the thunder, but he no longer cared for the storm. Traipsing through the wood and brush, he shoved his way through to the source.

“Cecilia!” He called, his voice cracking with the effort. “Cecilia, over here!” His own voice was lost in the wind, the ground beneath his feet quaking in fear as the storm rolled over him. Staring up into the sky above, he watched the lightning dance between the clouds, illuminating the large birds in the sky who beat their mighty wings, the thunder deafening.

“Cecilia! Cecilia!” He crawled through the bushes, rapping his staff on logs, rocks, anything he could find. Her song was growing louder, and he could make out the sinister glow of her body through the trees up ahead. His throat raw, he no longer formed words, simply screaming at the top of his lungs in the hopes that he could fill the silent spaces of the storm.

She emerged from the trees, her body passing through them like mist. Her hands were clutched to her chest in sadness, her mouth open wide as her song took over the cacophony of the world around him. Mike tripped over a log, falling face first into the ground.

“Mike!” Glowing hands took him by the arm, lifting him free of the ground. Cecilia pulled at him, her entire body floating through the trees a she guided him onto a new patch of flat ground. The storm broke above them, rain falling all around. Between Cecilia’s pulling and the staff, Mike broke into a near jog, his heart pounding in his chest, his ears ringing. The dark world around him was lit by lightning and the fires it had started, glowing embers carried above the canopy like shooting stars. From the darkness emerged a cluster of rocks, and Cecilia led him to the other side. Here, the large slabs of stone lay across each other like folded hands, and Mike stumbled up the dirt slope to their opening, his feet slipping out from beneath him.

“Cecilia, thank god.” He pulled the banshee in for an embrace, her presence chilling his body but warming his heart. Cecilia clung to him — her steady presence plus the quieting effect of the cave made the whole world stabilize around him.

Getting chilled, Mike let go. “What about the others, are they okay?”

Cecilia nodded. “We ran into some trouble. By the time we got into the greenhouse, the storm was too windy for Abella to fly, and Tink may have broken her foot, so she couldn’t come. I’ve never seen her so angry.”

“And you? You got hurt?”

“Aye, I did.” Cecilia pulled down the top of her dress, revealing a scar. “That knife was not of this world.”

“Yeah, well it belongs to the Mandragora now.” Mike sat down, leaning against the wall. His whole body hurt now, his muscles cramping. “Is Naia okay?”

“Yes. She knew you were still alive, so she wasn’t too worried.” Cecilia stood. “I must report back to the others that you are safe.”

“I don’t want you to go.”

Cecilia smiled. “I shall return, a runsearc.” She blew him a kiss and faded from sight.

Sitting in the darkness, Mike waited. There was nothing else to do but listen to the storm that raged outside.

-

“I don’t understand what your problem is.” His mother told him, weaving in and out of traffic. Her breath was dangerous, some concoction of whiskey, cigarettes, and something else, a handful of pills she had stolen from someone’s medicine cabinet.

“I just want to go the the dance,” Mike told his mother. He was hoping he would get to see Lucy there, his lab partner from Biology. He felt like there had been something between them, a spark when they worked together at the fume hood. They were both in ninth grade, and he was new to the school, which meant Lucy had no reason to know any of his own personal history.

“And why is this dance so important? I need your help, Michael! How the fuck am I supposed to make things work if you won’t even help me!” She punctuated her words by pointing at him, her cigarette dangling limply from her lips. Her eyes somewhat glassy, she pulled briefly into oncoming traffic to go around a guy on a motorcycle.

“Help you with what?” Mike asked.

“Laundry. Bathrooms. Sweep the garage.” His mother flipped the bird at the guy ahead of her, blaring her horn. They were already over the speed limit, but his mother had learned about a new check cashing place that had just opened, which meant the new hires might not figure out that her driver’s license was faked.

“That’s what you’re supposed to do!” Mike shouted. It was the list of things his mother had agreed to upon moving in with her old best friend from high school. This was how it started. Offers to help out that never came to fruition. Eventually, Mike would be forced to do the work, but someone would catch on. They always caught on.

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