The Devlin Tunnel: Flash Fiction
The following town and people are fictitious. No names were changed because all the people were already fake.
The Devlin Tunnel
The day was like any other sunny day in a place where Kevin had no desire to be. He came back to his hometown officially for a family reunion. But really, he was there to see what has happened to the town after the bridge was finished. The town of Devlin was built initially to support the efforts to build a tunnel. A makeshift workcamp named for the man paying for the hole-in-the mountain. Twenty years ago, the state formed a committee to build a bridge for the highway bypassing the town. Kevin, more than anything, wanted to see the effect the loss of traffic would have on the town. His hatred for the town was only eclipsed by his love for his grandmother, so when she called him saying this might be her last reunion, Kevin knew he had to come.
Kevin dressed in a pair of jeans and a basic blue button-down shirt he bought in Walmart just for the reunion. It was a far cry from his tailored Italian suits back home, but after the last reunion, he knew better than to as his father said, “dress up.” His brother Derek at the end of their usual argument, dumped an entire gallon of spiked fruit punch over his head, saying he thought he would feel at home in his own juices. Kevin remembered how all his family laughed, all except for his grandmother. Back home in Manhattan, he had no need for a car, so he rented one for the reunion just in case he needed a quick escape. His twelfth-story apartment was a long way away from this tiny town in West Virginia. The drive over the bridge that went over the once unpassable valley took all of ten seconds, but the journey felt like it took ten years to complete.
The hotel room was small, but bigger than his first three apartments when he moved to New York. When he told his father, he paid nearly ten-million dollars for a twelve-hundred square foot apartment a year ago; his father said he was a fool. Since then, the apartment’s value almost doubled. The hotel was nearly empty, as was the large parking deck. Kevin parked on the top level partly so he could look the town over, and somewhat so he could feel at home. After a year on the twelfth floor, he learned to love the height. He walked over to the side and looked down at a sleepy little town. At one time, Main Street would have been filled with cars as people drove to the tunnel. Kevin checked his phone. The time was nearly eleven am and the town was not sleepy, it was dead.
Kevin walked to his rental car to find all four tires were flat. One tire looked like something took a bite out of it. Kevin sarcastically thought, “oh yes, I’m home, yeah.” He remembered how the stoners used the parking deck stairwell as a hangout so he would just walk down the ramp. The parking deck was four-stories tall and only dwarfed by the five-story hotel. He could never understand why someone would build such a hotel in such a small town. The very next level was almost as dark as night with the protective fencing along the sides covered in paper advertisements. Out of habit, Kevin checked his phone and saw he had no bars meaning no service. On the other side of the deck near the hotel was an animal of some kind. It was too big to be a dog and too big to be something this close to a town filled with gun-toting rednecks.
The creature was the size of a black bear but built like a bullmastiff with a black and gray coat. It was face down eating another animal. Kevin couldn’t tell what the animal was, just that it was destroyed by this thing. Kevin went for his phone, stopping when he didn’t know if the flash would go off. Kevin looked to the right and saw the stairwell. He knew it would be better to put up with the stoners than to be mauled by the bear-dog. He slowly made his way to the stairs, opened the door, and nearly screamed. The dark stairwell was awash in blood and gore. Something that looked like a human head was on the next landing in a beam of light. Kevin started to step away from that door when he looked over and saw the bear-dog thing was staring at him.
The stairs going up weren’t as bad as the ones going down, and the blood was sticky like whatever this was had happened a few hours ago. The big bear-dog thing growled. The door was open at the top, and Kevin came running out to his car, only stopping when he remembered all four tires were flat. He started to walk back to the hotel when he saw a bloody handprint on the sliding glass door. The deck had a long ladder going down the side. Kevin thought how four stories didn’t seem that high until he was on the ladder. Halfway down, he saw the bear-dog thing staring at him from the shadows of the parking deck.
Kevin hit the street running until he realized the thing wasn’t behind him. The police station was near the mouth of the tunnel. He decided to walk down and let someone know what he saw. He knew the local law saw him as a sell-out degenerate or as they say a New Yorker. Most of the cars along the street were parked unevenly, and more than a few had a dark reddish stain inside. The Crow Diner’s lights were off. Back when he was a kid, and no one knew his secret, his family could go to the Crow after church. The diner had big glass windows that faced the street. Parts of New York reminded him of this diner. Inside, the walls and windows were painted in what had to be blood. A smaller version of the bear-dog was digging its way into a body. Kevin stepped back and looked down the street and saw the ribbons of blood running along the side down the drains.
The run down the street felt like it took days, not the ten minutes of a street that wouldn’t be a block back in New York. He turned the corner and saw the door to the police station was pulled off its hinges and lying in the parking lot. An officer Kevin didn’t know was lying next to a patrol car. Kevin walked around to see the officer up against the car, holding a shotgun. Most of his lower torso was gone. A long streak of blood ran from the body to the station. Kevin took the gun and checked it, finding it was empty. All the natural noises around him went silent. An earth-shaking roar came from the tunnel. Kevin turned to the tunnel and saw it. The thing was over nine-foot-tall with long legs and long arms and fingers that touched the ground. The face was deeply sloped back with slits for eyes and a mouth full of jagged pointed teeth. All around it were the bear-dog-things. Kevin noticed how they seemed to stay out of the light.
A voice came from the tunnel, “the sun will set, and you will be mine.”
© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron