Recently, I began working on a M/M story for an anthology that Dreamspinner Press had announced. However, the story had to be within range of 2,000 words, and by the time I hit 3,000 words, I knew there was no way I’d be able to trim it down to 2,000. C’est la vie . So, instead, I’ve decided to offer the story as a free read. I’m still polishing up the ending, so for today, I’ll just present an excerpt to hopefully whet everyone’s appetite. Tomorrow, I’ll make the entire story available.
The story is about a young man who moves to the country and finds true love through an encounter with Bigfoot. It’s not exactly a comedy, but not exactly serious, either. Enjoy!
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“Finding Love Through Bigfoot” — EXCERPT — M/M — Rated G (though the finished story will be PG for language)
Stuart first saw the creature just about a week after moving into the old farmhouse. Thor was chained outside, barking up a storm, which he never did. Stuart opened the screen door and peered out to see what the hell was bothering the normally taciturn dog, when he got a whiff of something foul. It smelled swampy, though there wasn’t any stagnant water nearby, and a bit musky, on top of that.
Then he saw it — a large, dark shape crouched down where the yard turned into an expanse of overgrown pasture. At first, Stuart thought it might be a coyote or even a bear. But then he nearly had a heart attack, because the thing leapt up and ran — ran, on two legs! — across the field, and disappeared into the forest on the other side.
Stuart dragged Thor into the house, the dog straining against his chain to go after the thing, and then he called the police.
“It seemed kind of like a gorilla,” Stuart told the man on the phone, though now that he was in the bright incandescent light of the kitchen, that sounded ridiculous. This was New Hampshire, not the African Congo.
“Are you sure it wasn’t a neighbor’s dog?” the officer asked.
“No…I mean, it wasn’t a dog.”
The policeman offered to send a car around to check it out, but it was after midnight, and Stuart was beginning to think he’d imagined the way the creature moved. It must have been a bear, lumbering on two legs, or…something.
Stuart thanked the officer and said he was sure it was nothing.
The next morning, Stuart went outside with Thor at his side. The massive brown and black German Shepherd nosed around at the matted grass where the thing had been squatting the night before, and Stuart let Thor drag him up to the edge of the forest, following the trail. But apart from an unpleasant musky smell that lingered in the air, they could find nothing tangible.
Several days passed without incident, and Stuart convinced himself that what he’d seen must have been some animal common to the area. Most of the old-timers in town probably wouldn’t have given it a second glance. (Sounds like you had a run-in with a black scatterbotch. Yep, they can be pretty scary to a city boy, but they’re harmless, if you know how to approach ’em….)
So Stuart busied himself with settling into the new house and getting to know the neighbors who hung out at the General Store all day, chatting about farming and the weather, as if nothing had changed in the past hundred years.
Until the night Thor woke him up out of a sound sleep. Usually the dog was content to sleep at the foot of the bed ’til morning, both front paws and his head draped protectively over Stuart’s legs. But this night Stuart woke to Thor pacing back and forth from the bed to the door, whimpering.
“You really have to go that bad?” Stuart groaned at him, but he got up and threw on his robe and slippers. Then he let the dog lead him downstairs to the kitchen door.
Stuart had intended to just let Thor outside to do his business without chaining him, and then call the dog back in. The dog was well enough behaved for that. But as soon as he opened the door, Thor bolted past him, barking furiously. In the bright moonlight, Stuart saw a shadowy form stand up in the garden. (Stuart hadn’t had time to plant anything, but perhaps the thing was used to swiping zucchini from the previous owners.)
But it was too late. Thor was nearly upon the creature when it bounded into the pasture. Thor was running fast, but somehow this thing managed to outdistance him, running along on two legs again with a long, loping stride.
“Thor! Get back here, you dumb mutt!”
Stuart took off after his faithful companion without a second thought. Thor didn’t know this area any better than he did, and he was terrified that the dog would chase his prey into the woods and get lost. The poor dog could wander around forever in the northern New Hampshire forests without finding a way out.
When he reached the edge of the forest, Stuart could still hear Thor’s barking, and he plunged into the dense thicket of birch and aspen, calling the dog until his voice began to grow hoarse. He had good night vision and the moon was high in the sky and nearly full, but the forest was thick with shadows and Stuart soon realized he was in danger of getting lost himself, if he went any further.
He stopped moving, but continued to call after Thor, his voice growing shaky with desperation. He’d had Thor for over a decade now, and loved the dog like a child. The thought of Thor wandering around lost and alone in these woods chilled him. And what if Thor got into a confrontation with…whatever that thing was?
“Come on, Thor!” Stuart pleaded. “Let’s go home, pooch!”
He heard something rustling in the undergrowth off to his right and a little behind him. For a moment, he thought the dog had circled back to him. But his relief was short-lived, as he heard Thor barking again — not from the undergrowth, but from somewhere far up ahead. Then he heard a low, menacing growl, and got a whiff of something halfway between a swamp and a sweaty armpit, before something huge and dark lumbered out of the trees at him.
Stuart screamed and ran.
TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR THE EXCITING CONCLUSION!