The Lennox Brothers

After a flat tire lands brothers Ricky and Kai Lennox in a pitch black country lane on their way home from work, they are attacked by a beast, one which they can only describe as a 'five foot tall canine'.
In the morning, Ricky is shocked to find they are both still alive, but can't help but wonder why the beast didn't finish them off.

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1. The Attack

    My brother and I were born to a young couple, a Hawaiian mother and a ½ Scottish, ½ German father, about 21 years ago. I’m 22 and my brother is nearing 21 years old, so they got pregnant twice before deciding babies were no fun anymore and threw us onto the doorstep of the nearest household. The couple who owned said house were in no mood for a couple of basket babies and promptly threw us into the loving care of the foster care system. Unfortunately, our carers were the kind that were ‘here because I get paid for this’ and were therefore unable to provide much of a stable, nurturing environment for in which we could thrive. By the time I was 18, my brother and I had set up an independent electrician service and were making enough money to afford a one bedroom flat between us - I sleep in the living room on a sofa bed that’s comfier than it looks but still murders my back. I’ve been looking into getting a proper bed for myself since we moved in.


    Nowadays we live in the same town, but life is changing. For better or worse, I’m still waiting on time to tell, but my brother is one of those optimistic bastards who believes in making the best of everything, which I suppose is a lot easier when you have a real bed and your older brother does 75% of the chores around the house. Sometimes, though, it definitely is easier to think like him because life is by no means bad.


    My car, the car we take when we go out on jobs, is a Volkswagen Golf Mk4 and my brother hates it, but he doesn’t have one so he can suck a homeless man, to be honest. I forgive him for being a bitch at times because he didn’t have to mature faster like I did. I had to look after him.


    My name is Ricky Lennox. My brother is Kai Lennox. We live in Phoenix town, South East England and probably will for the rest of our lives. It’s not a bad town, I have yet to find one nicer than Phoenix that isn’t Halothane, but Kai and me, moving away isn’t our thing. We spent the first half of our lives just trying to stay in one damn place, the flat we had now was the closest thing either of us had ever had to a stable home.


    One not too cold night in July, we got a pretty significant job with, hah, pretty significant pay in a venue hall whose lights needed a-fixin’. Juicy cheque burning a whole in Kai’s pocket, he was staring at it the whole drive home. “This,” he said, “is beautiful. For Lennox Electrics from Fairbridge Hall. Just holding this thing makes me feel underdressed. Have you seen this, bro? Have you seen it?”


    “Yes, Kai, I’ve seen it.” But I smiled. This was the highest payout we had ever received, I felt like it marked something, the world was somehow sweeter, now. “You should-” POP! We heard, from outside, and the car rumbled, quaked and began to crawl along the dark country lane we had found ourselves on. “Shit…” I whispered, shaking my head and craning my neck to try to sneak a look at the tyres. I had no doubt that they were the problem, even though I had never popped a tyre before. The steering was going crazy, paying no attention to the commands I gave, swerving and slipping around on the road until I braked and managed to pull over. “God damn it.” I sighed. “Come on. Let’s take a look at this.” Kai and I climbed out of the car, Kai stuffing the cheque into his front pocket and patting it twice to signal its safety and position. When out, I knelt beside the tyre in question, Kai standing behind me hugging his torso.


    “Colder than I thought. Where’s my jacket?


    “If it ain’t in the boot, then you left it at Fairbridge Hall.”


    “I didn’t put it away. I must-a left it at the Hall.”


    “We’ll get it tomorrow, we got other problems at the moment.” I reminded him, gesturing to the tyre.


    “Jesus Christ, your car sucks, Ricky.”


    “Yeah, tell me about it.” I fingered the hole in the tyre. A stupid sharp rock or fragment of glass on this debris covered road was going to cost me a new tyre and a couple of hours waiting for a rescue vehicle. “Cheap ass tyres. Probably puncture if you pissed on them too hard.” Kai smirked. He now stood with both hands in his pockets and exhaled loudly, unnecessarily loudly, probably thinking up some smart remark either about the car or the situation. But then he pulled out his Samsung Galaxy Note II and unlocked the screen. Momentarily, his teeth clenched and his eyes darted towards me.


    “You’re such a dick.” He declared, jamming his phone back into his pocket. “Only you would break down in the 1% of Britain devoid of mobile phone signal. Don’t we have anything that can help? You know, in the kit or something?”


    “We’re electricians, genius, not mechanics.” I retorted. Short of using the air in my lungs to inflate the tyre and sealing it with duct tape, we really had nothing in the kit that could be of any help. The irony, of course, is that I emptied to spare tyre to make room for the kit months ago and never needed it until now. That sort of goes without saying. The pitch black of the night was beginning to lurk over us and out here, without any streetlights or civilization, we would be blind if not for the headlights. Kai checked his phone again, going as far as to hold it up in the air as if this would increase the signal reaching it, but he exhaled once more and shook his head helplessly.


    “Nothing.” He groaned. “Can’t get anything.”


    “Then we’re going to have to walk.” I said. “If you want, Kai, you can wait here. I’ll go ahead and start walking, I’ll ring somebody when I can get signal or I’ll go home, we must only be, what, three miles away at most, now?”


    “Two point five.” Kai corrected, pointing casually at me. Then his finger swung to the right. “I recognize that sign.” I followed his point to a sign advertising a Halloween festival that happened nearly two years ago. This was a thin, but not a busy road, nor was it a pleasant one to drive down, especially at night. It was one of those roads that, should you meet a car coming the other way, one of you was going to have to stop and squash your car into the bushes else neither of you were going anywhere. I was not keen on the idea of leaving my car here in the middle of the night but it was a long, straight stretch and I could leave on the hazard lights and dipped beams to help keep it visible. “Yeah. You go for help. I’ll wait here in the car.” My arms folded across my chest as one of my eyebrows raised at Kai in disapproval.


    “I was being polite, faggot, you were supposed to say: ‘oh, no, Ricky, you can’t go alone,’ et cetera, et cetera. Move your butt, we’re walking.” He released a long groan, but pushed his car door closed and waited, standing in front of the headlights.


    “Come on, then. Let’s go. Ain’t getting any warmer.” If he kept whining, I would just give him my jacket to keep him quiet, but he had earned a few minutes of cold. I leant exasperatedly into the car door, flicked on the hazard warning lights, dipped the headlights and locked up my Volkswagen.


    “Ready. My car had better be in one piece when we get back.” I grumbled.


    “Don’t worry, nobody will want it. You could leave it unlocked, only thing that would be missing would be your little pine tree air freshener.” I snorted.


    “Yeah. Probably.” We started our walk; I estimated it to take about 40 minutes for us at our current pace to walk back from here. Kai kept his mobile phone out and kept his eyes on it for the first hint of signal that would mean we didn’t have to bother walking so far, but ten minutes down the road showed still nothing in the air but the sound of our footsteps. Kai started to glance around about that time, staring off into the woods on either side of the road.


    “You know,” he pondered, thinking quite hard, apparently, “we could cut through the woods. If you’ll excuse the pun. That would probably  be much quicker.”


    “I will excuse it. But, no. I don’t think the woods would be awfully safe this time of night. Not to mention, a lot easier to get lost in.”


    “Fine. I suppose you’re right. Oh - by the way. Look what I brought.” From his seemingly bottomless pockets, he whipped out a stick, although on closer inspection, I came to realise it was a plastic tube, filled with something, some sort of liquid. I took it and held it closer to the light of his phone, recognizing now what it was.


    “Glow sticks?”


    “Glow sticks!” Kai replied, very cheerful about this. Snatching it back from me, he shook the thin but long tube, then snapped it at the centre. Like a gradual sunrise, the stick began to glow bright and brighter as the goop inside the tube activated, an alien slime green.


    “Oh!” I revelled, realising the genius of these, a long lasting light source that required no battery. “Kai, I don’t want to know why there was a glow stick in your pocket, but I’m glad there was.”


    “I have a bag of ‘em.” He showed me the bag, dragging it out of his cargo trouser pocket with that sharp crinkling sound. I read: ‘Glow sticks! 20 pack!’ on brightly coloured plastic packaging and, still walking, watched Kai snap more of them. He jammed one between the back of his jeans and his belt to serve as a rear light to any approaching cars from behind, and snapped another to hold in his hand. “You know, it’s a funny story about these glow sticks. See, I was-”
    “Shut up.” Sweet silence ensued for a while longer, at least until Kai decided he couldn’t keep quiet anymore. This lasted all of two and a half minutes.


    “This wouldn’t be happening if-” I stopped him right there.


    “Well, Kai, you’re welcome to buy your own car since you hate mine so much.” Kai pouted, toying with his glow stick between tanned fingers.


    “Yeah. Well. Just saying.” The light coming off of the sticks was surprisingly powerful for what they were, although the only thing they could really light up was the ground, this being the only thing ahead of us for miles, light granules bouncing off of the uneven terrain of a country lane. Ahead, I saw nothing. Trees either side of the road reflected less and less light as they went on, like they were lining a tunnel, gradually being drawn into a black hole. “Jesus Christ, it’s dark.” Muttered Kai, his dark brown eyes straining to see ahead of him.


    “Tomorrow,” I began, watching the floor escape beneath my feet, “I’m gonna go to the garage, and kick all of the tyres with my foot. Then I’m gonna find the one that I can boot without making a hole in, and I’m gonna buy the one a little more expensive than that. And I’m gonna do that every time I buy a fucking tyre.”


    “Amen to that, brother. And I’m gonna buy a tyre-fixin’ kit or something.” I likely would not walk around the garage kicking tyres, mainly because they likely would not allow me to, but it was a more than tempting dream just to prevent this ever happening again. The both of us could, with ease, run two miles back home, both of us being in superb physical condition, but today was not an exercise day, we had just left a job, I could see it in Kai’s eyes that we both just wanted a stress-free walk back. Not to mention, it would be a lot easier to get hurt or run into something in this darkness than it would walking. “And then-” The sound that instantly stopped both of us dead in our tracks was a canine howl. When it ended, Kai exhaled, hard. “Was that a wolf?”


    “No!” I argued, immediately.


    “What do you mean no?!” Kai wailed, his head darting around, looking for any sign of movement amongst the trees.
    “I mean no! There aren’t any wild wolves in England, Kai, you idiot!” Kai’s neck craned up so he could look at the sky to take note of the phase of the moon. I feel like knowing it was something other than full would comfort him in some way. And it did seem to, he was noticeably calmer after looking up into the night sky and seeing that the moon, hanging there amongst the twinkling stars like a bit of painted cardboard on a child’s mobile was a half moon.


    “Well, what else howls?” He barked back at me.


    “Dogs!” I cried. “Stupid dogs who think they’re wolves! Ever seen a husky? Or a Malamute? They howl and everything, so quit being such a-” the howl was back, diffusing into the night air, holding onto the most sinister note. The one, main thing that was different about this howl than the first one, was this one was closer. Our bodies turned involuntarily towards the noise, hearing it come from the right, behind us. At a guess, I’d have to say it was no more than 300 yards from where we were standing, but with no visibility it could really come from anywhere. Crunchy leaves and twigs lining the ground of the woodland area were worthless to us when we couldn’t hear them being crushed, courtesy of the wind beginning to pick up and hiding any predatory noise but the howling.


    “I’m thinking we run.” Whispered Kai, and without waiting for an answer or opinion from me, he dashed away, sprinting down the lane. I was faster than him, and caught up within seconds, my fury serving as extra running fuel.


    “Are you retarded?! Do you know the first thing about hunters?! Do you?!” I growled, breath gushing from my lungs as I did. “It’s no fun until the prey starts running, and you-!” I ripped the glow stick from the back of his jeans. “You are advertising your meaty ass with a neon light like it’s an all night buffet!” I hurled the stick deep into the trees then grabbed Kai’s torso, wrenching him towards my chest and holding him there. More forefinger rushed to my lips and for a while, the only sound hanging in the night air was the two of us struggling to quietly catch our breath. On the ground, between the trees we could see the glow stick lying on the ground, just as a fleck of light from here, and the two of us tried to peer between the tree trunks. When nothing happened, I, as carefully as possible, took another glow stick from the packet, using skills I had learned as a child at the foster home when stealing treats, snapped it and threw it into the trees, not far from the first one. Silence deadened the woods for a few seconds. I think Kai was holding his breath.


    Vicious snarling and growls followed, a seemingly invisible force lacerating both of the sticks in an extraordinarily violent outburst.


    “Fuck that!” Kai cried, and ripped out of my hold to bolt away, his body unable to keep up with his desperate feet and driving up dust and dirt with every stride he took. With one more glance around myself and one last look at the glowing goop ferociously flying everywhere, I sprinted after my brother. I knew full well how imbecilic and suicidal a noisy escape like this was, but I couldn’t make a stealthy escape while baiting out my scared little brother to whatever was waiting in those trees and pursuing us. It may well have just been a dog, but it was an extremely strong, smart dog. While running, I snapped and threw more glow sticks into the night, although running so fast meant I couldn’t take full advantage of my strength, therefore was unable to throw them as far into the woods as I wanted, but it wasn’t long before I stopped, realising how I was just creating a lit breadcrumb trail right to us and how the animal didn’t care about the glow sticks anymore, apparently having figured out they were inanimate.


    The animal leapt out of the trees and onto the empty road, presenting itself as a - no lie - five foot tall canine, emerging from the forest like a demon from Hell, yellow eyes glowing bright with the fluorescence of the glow sticks it had obliterated. The way it glared at us made me realise it was just teasing us. With ease, it could catch up to us and it knew that and moreover, it knew that I knew it.


    I saw Kai glance behind himself to finally see what it was he was running from, and he saw the heavily muscled, hunched shoulder blades that rose above the beast’s head, its ears pulled back in aerodynamic fury and Kai cried out, pushing his legs even harder and faster than before. The beast’s lips were pulled back to reveal its colossal fangs and to make way for the constant growl, the menacing snarl that outwardly warned any creature in earshot of its certain ability to rip them to shreds.


    Its paws pounded the dusty road, its claws scraping against the dirt and stones making a sound so startlingly thunderous and frightening it completely nullified the sound of mine and Kai’s feet battering the floor. And it was gaining.


    I started throwing the sticks again, this time not bothering to snap them, just throwing them in hopes of hitting the beast, maybe getting in the eye, maybe even with some astronomical luck convincing it to give up the chase because I was willing to fight back, but it was much smarter than that. The sticks it didn’t catch in its mighty jaws and shred apart with lightning speed and monster strength, it simply disregarded entirely, allowing them to bounce off of its fur-covered muscle and land harmlessly on the ground.


    I thought about my car, with the kit inside containing pliers and screwdrivers and other potentially dangerous, harmful weapons, however that was beyond impossible to access, the car was over a mile away by now and that thing would surely catch us before we could ever reach it.


    Never would I even think of leaving my brother behind, even though I could run significantly faster than him, but at the same time, I knew this things wasn’t going to stop until it caught at least one of us. Neither Kai or myself could go up against it and live, it was too fast and too strong and too fucking big. That meant we were both going to die.


    Kai looked at me, then at the woods, then back at me, and I shook my head instantly, air rushing through and past my teeth with every gasp I took as my heart struggled to keep pace with my draining body. The forest was that beast’s home. We couldn’t possibly traverse the woods like an animal could, and we had only two legs to catch us when we tripped up a misplaced branch which would be all it would take for it to catch up to us; we would be devoured in minutes. Obstacles were moot when you could not navigate them and your opponent could. We were better off on the open road, although equally as doomed.


    “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU?!” Screamed Kai at the galloping, goliath canine. After he did, it galloped even harder and faster, ferociously barking, finally coming in for the kill. Just like I had been waiting for, it finally caught up to us and ran between the two of us for a while, just keeping pace like it were racing with us.


    “Stop!” I yelled out to my brother, but Kai, distracted by the shoulder-height monster running alongside him, either didn’t hear me or didn’t care. I stuck out my left foot in front of me as a brace and skidded forward along the road, a slave to momentum. As I finally slowed to a halt, the beast leapt at Kai, punting him off of the road and into the forest. “NO!” I screamed. The air filled with Kai’s cries and yelps of pain, while the beast scraped at his skin and bit at his flesh, wrenching up splashes of blood along with its muzzle each time it prepared a new attack.


    Gathering up every last drop of strength I could find after so much sustained sprinting, I rushed and leapt and tackled the beast, managing to bash it off of my brother with my shoulder. It was much, much heavier than I could have expected and my shoulder was immediately sore, I could feel the muscle tear underneath my skin. Flailing and writhing with no real or logical plan, I punched and kicked and scratched at the beast as it leapt atop of me, but its muzzle reared up and launched at my shoulder, biting into the flesh, puncturing muscle, shattering bone. I looked to Kai for help, but it was no use; there was no hope; Kai was no longer conscious.


    I could only watch and scream in agony while the beast ripped apart my skin and bones like they were made from gum and fine plastic. My blood, and my brother’s blood drenched the muzzle and the claws of the brutal monster tearing out my chest. The yellow eyes flashed in the night like a warning signal with every move of its head.


    I was so close to death I could taste it. I couldn’t believe it had come to this. I had let my brother die to this abomination of nature. The amount of failure I felt in my soul was insurmountable and even there in the dirt and grass, I tried to fight back, but it was no use. I was so close to death I couldn’t feel pain anymore. I couldn’t feel anything anymore.

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