Field of Demons

My latest entry into the Angry Hourglass weekly contest wherein they provide the above photo and you provide no more than 360 words of story. I did receive some feedback from the gracious judge:

“There’s more than meets the eye in Brett’s ‘Field of Demons’ (great title) and it stands up to several readings but try to keep your scream monster in.”

See my post-story comments below.

The animal, grandpa said, needed to be put down. I think he said it was “stock braving bad,” whatever that meant. Grandpa spoke with that smelly stuff in his mouth, which made it hard to understand what he said. Ceili said it was bacco. I just knew that it left black, gooey stains on the dirt porch we had, when he’d be hocking and spitting from his rocking chair.

I was playing in the field making wheat angels with its long, wavy hair. Jeremy was trying to ride his bike through it, but his wheels couldn’t move. He had his “Stan the Man” Stan Musial baseball card on the rear wheel to give it that, “Vroooom.” .

Then the animal came. I was lying down on my back, arms spread wide when I saw the hulking mass of the animal’s shadow come over my field of vision, like those arrow-planes we saw in the sky. Blood dripped from its shaggy mane of hair. A droplet fell on to my forehead and then another.

I screamed because I didn’t like blood. Mamma said if I ever saw blood to tell someone. But I had no thought to telling no one, just letting my scream monster out.

Jeremy fell off of his bike and screamed, too. Jeremy was into creatures and sci-fi, even had a collection book of pictures, but he never saw something like that.

Our two screams seemed like a raging fire of horror that spiraled to the heavens. Before long, grandpa came around the yard with his shotgun. He always kept it propped next to his rocking chair.

It was the same shotgun he said he used to put lead into the Germans during WWI. Jeremy liked those stories more than me.

Grandpa spat, then fired. The blast propelled the animal back and he fell like a dead demon in the wheat.

I got my first good look at him.

He looked like he could have been grandpa, but with more hair since grandpa’s was gone. And he had the blackest skin I’d seen, like the coal we used to build fires.

Scary animal or not, I still cried, then.


As always, I’m grateful for any feedback I receive, but I noticed that perhaps I wasn’t as blunt with my writing in this piece or my writing skill didn’t live up to the concept. It’s essentially a reflection and a play on the current events in Ferguson and the depiction of black people as animals. Just thought I’d put that out there.


2 thoughts

  1. Your writing is getting more polished at an alarming rate.
    I can’t say I got the Ferguson reference (sorry! I’ve been reading fantasy novels with demons in them), but there are so many implied lines, and strong images. Superbly done.

    I think your use of colloquial terms, even made up ones, is excellent and adds a layer of believability to the story (“stock raving bad”, the “stand the man” baseball card, “arrow-plane” and so on).

    The only bit that drew me out of the story was the “It was the same shotgun he said he used to put lead into the Germans during WWI.” since soldiers were never given shotguns, so I was trying to figure out exactly what kind of job Grandpa had during the war.


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