CHOICES: Chapter 2
The monster loomed even closer, our noses almost touching. “Hey. Time’s tickin’ and I ain’t got patience for stupid. You understand the words I’m sayin’, kid?”
CHOICES is the first book in the Chronicles of a Hero fantasy series. This is the story of Wendell P. Dipmier, who I’ve been writing about since 1990. I hope you’ll join me on this new adventure….as I tell the honest, complete story of this amazing 17 year old, exclusively on Life of Fiction.
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My life changed with that sound.
Loud and sudden, an unseen force hit me square in the back, knocking me off my feet. I sailed over the Matthew’s patio table and into their lounge chairs like a bowling ball. Stacked five high against the house, my arms went up, shielding my head at impact. Water from the pool, leaves, and grass clippings followed me, blanketing the patio deck in a wide-arc spray. My long legs, one of my personal curses…flipped up and over the chairs. I moaned as my body slowly came to a stop.
I blinked painfully a few times, dust and dirt in my eyes. It hurt to breathe. I’d hit the chairs and side of the house, hard. My face burned too, but that’s what you get when you land on cement cheek-first. The awkward position made it difficult to inhale. Hips over my shoulders, a foot and arms tangled in chairs. Pretzels are great, sure, doesn’t mean I wanted to be one.
Without warning, the stacked chairs tilted slowly to one side…and in a crumpled mess, fell on top of me.
“Did I make it?” Deep with a hint of gravel, I heard heavy gasps somewhere out of my view. “Fingers? Toes! Uhhh...tenders?” There was a pause, and then, “Mahan’s Pink Panties, I actually made it! WooHOO!“ A loud burp followed. “You owe me BIG TIME, old man!”
“Evan?” I said, trying to turn my head. Every effort I made ground the skin of my face harder into the cement. Ow, ow, ow. Reaching towards my hips with a hand, I tugged at the rubber strands of the chair to pull a knee free.
“Good grief. Here.”
Strong hands pulled and untangled the chairs from my limbs. I sat upright and took a deep breath. “SO much better! Thanks, I appre — HOLY COW?!?” My heart leapt, pulling my body with it, back against the pile of furniture. Before I could utter another word, a massive, green, calloused hand clamped down over my mouth.
“Woah there, kid.” Giant bulbous eyes fixated on me as an avalanche of eyebrows tumbled forward into view. “Don’t be shoutin’ and making’ a ruckus. That would be bad…for you.” Thick lids narrowed to slits.
My eyes twitched and watered. I blinked the tears away, but they just wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t help it. Oh, I was scared, sure, but it didn’t bring me to tears. The thing pinning me down was a sickly, putrid green color…and it smelled. Oh, my goodness, did it reek. Have you ever smelled something so bad, you just couldn’t get rid of it? I’m talking skunks as the baseline for yuck. This putrid scent crawled onto my face and forced itself up into each nostril. Rotting fish and old tobacco ash trays. The fumes caused me to cough, forcing bubbles of air to escape through the clenched fingers on my face.
It sounded like mice farting from my cheeks.
The creature stared at me, its head slowly leaning to one side.
Roughly three feet tall, its head was a third of its body size and wider than its shoulders. Its hands and feet were almost as big, each with only four digits. Muscular arms and shoulders attached to a small chest littered with curly black hair. A pot belly jiggled and bounced with each movement. If it had legs at all, I couldn’t see them. Not past the purple polka-dotted boxer shorts it wore as its only stitch of clothing.
To complete the weird ensemble was a shimmering banded stone of onyx purple and blue, wrapped in silver strands of metal. The stone dangled from around its neck, attached to a bright silver chain, standing out against its dark skin.
“Now let’s you an’ me come to an understanding.” The hand clamped firmer against my mouth. “I ain’t gonna hurt ya, unless you make meeEEEE. Ow. Hot. HOT!!”
Even in the sunlight, I could see sparks of light popping across the gem’s surface of the necklace. Smoke rolled up from the monster’s chest. My nose crinkled at the added smell of burning flesh. Without letting go of my face, the monster twisted and bobbed, trying desperately to yank the chain from around its neck. Problem was, its head was too big. Switching tactics, it pulled against the chain and it snapped,…immediately slipping from its grasp.
“No, no, no,” it gasped, reaching for the end of the chain with desperate fingers. Refusing to move the hand firmly against my face, the necklace arched up and out of reach, bouncing along the wood porch and into the grooves of the wooden planks. The water from the pool provided a perfect film to ride along until it slipped over the edge of the porch.
Down the mountainside, into the forest below.
The monster froze. “That’s…not good,” it gulped. For long moments, it just started at where the gem had vanished. “Right,” it said softly. Scratching its bald dome of a head, “You got here. That was the hard part, Dax. You know where you live. You can still get home. This’ll still work. No need to panic.”
So it had a name. Dax.
Those massive eyes locked back onto me. My breathing quickened, pushing and pulling air through my nostrils. I could have sworn those black pupils looked bigger than semi-tires. I think a whimper escaped from somewhere on my face.
“I’m gonna lift my hand and let you up. If you stay calm, I’ll do my thing and leave, okay?”
The monster loomed even closer, our noses almost touching. “Hey. Time’s tickin’ and I ain’t got patience for stupid. You understand the words I’m sayin’, kid?” Those massive eyes searched my face for some recognition.
Slowly, I nodded.