"I was driving home from Christmas at my parents. It was dark. The sort of dark that seems to eat headlights. I was taking a curve through the woods when I saw what I assumed to be a lumpy plastic bag. Had it not shrieked I probably wouldn't have stopped. Nearly drove into a tree in the process. I just sat there for a few moments. What the hell was I doing? Then I settled up and got out of the car with my phone's flashlight on.
I followed the groves my tires made in the snow as I looked for the thing on the side of the road. It hadn't moved much. Just a foot or so, though as soon as my light found it it started to try and scuttle away. Couldn't though.
Looked like it had been hit by a car.
I tried to walk slow. Tried not to spook it. But it just held its over sized hands up to the light, crying out. Its skin was almost black, but more gray. I could see the muscles tensing under its skin. Its teeth were yellow pointed things, and as I approached it covered its eyes. Whatever it was, it was young. Unsure. Panicked.
I took out my gloves. Used one of them to help darken the light a little. Seemed to calm it down then. Thing hated the light. With the light dulled significantly I could only judge its position in the snow. I came up to it, prepared at any point to run. Thing could be faking. Though I figured it wasn't.
I got up to it. It looked messed up pretty bad. Even in the diminished light I could make dark, inky blood in the snow. One of its legs didn't seem to be holding on well. Was nearly torn off completely. There were scraps and cuts all over it, the worst of which being a wound near its neck. Seemed to have lost a lot of blood, or whatever it was that it was filled with.
I raced back to the car and opened the trunk. I had some blankets in there in case my car broke down. I went to grab them, but stopped again. This...thing. Whatever it was. What did I think I was going to do? Thing could become violent at any time. I had no idea what I was doing. And for all I knew I was only going to make things worse.
So I grabbed the blankets and I grabbed a tire iron.
By the time I got back it wasn't moving much. It was breathing heavily. I assumed it was going into shock. Thing didn't have long...I knew what would be the right thing. Or the wrong thing. I had never killed anything before. But it was suffering. I could hear it whimpering. What I thought was a whimper. Because it didn't sound like any whimper I had ever heard. Like a thick, puttering clicking.
I got down and raised the tire iron. I was shaking. I couldn't stop the shaking.
I was about to bring it down. To commit. But then it moved its hand away from its eyes. It's milky white eyes. I knew it couldn't see me. Whatever those eyes did it wasn't see. But I could hear it clicking. Watched as it reached out, searching about till it found my leg. It calmed, and looked right at me. Like it was speaking to me.
“I'm still here,” it seemed to say.
I sighed, and slid the tire iron into my belt. Then I grabbed the blanket and began to work it under its thigh. It growled. I think it growled. But it didn't bite. Maybe it was too weak to bite me. I managed to get the blanket around it. Then I reached down and carefully picked it up.
This was it. Its face was next to mine. I could feel its weak breathing on my neck. Could pick up the smell of lake water from its skin. If it was going to hurt me, if it was going to tear out my throat, this was the time. But it just shook. Maybe because it was cold. Maybe because it was in pain. Maybe because it was fighting the urge to hurt me.
I walked carefully over to my car. My shoes lacked purchase in the snow. I felt my feet slide out from under me. Felt myself hit the ground hard.
The thing in my arms shrieked, and I felt its mouth around my throat. The smell of rot in its throat reached my nose. But it stopped. It didn't press down. But it wasn't because it didn't want to hurt me. As I stood up I rocked it back and forth in my arms. The thing was breathing.
But it was unconscious.
I quickly rushed back to the car. Nearly fell again but made it back all the same. I put it on the passenger seat and quickly got into the car and set off along the road.
It was hard to drive. Kept looking at it. More than once it seemed to stop breathing. But then it take a deep breath, gasping for life. And it would let me know.
It was still here.
Took a little bit, but eventually I reached the only place I could think of. A friend of mine. A local vet. Was used to taking care of weird animals. Like raccoons.
This wasn't a raccoon.
Took a few minutes to reach the door. The moment he turned on the porch light the thing began to scream again. Not as loud as before. But it was there. And that reassured me a little. I told him to turn off the light and he did so. The creature didn't relax. Just kept breathing fast and hard. Wheezing.
I tried to explain to him what had happened but he didn't hesitate. Not like I had.
I followed him through his darkened house, using my dimmed flashlight to find the way. Made it to his kitchen, and set the thing down on the table. He grabbed a thick, black hand towel and wrapped it around its eyes. Then he turned on the overhead light, grabbed a kit, and got to work.
I held its hand. He didn't know the creatures physiology so he couldn't anesthetize it. It growled and clicked. Sometimes it was silent. But every once in a while it would squeeze my hand. Letting me know it was still here. That is wasn't over.
Took my friend over an hour to patch it up as best as he could. The thing wasn't moving much at all. It wasn't bleeding out anymore and it was full of stitches, but it had been terribly hurt.
And I had no idea what it was.
My friend and I didn't talk much. He would ask me a few questions but I knew nothing save its reaction to light.
Morning came, and we brought it to a side room. I could feel it breathing. But only just.
We drew the curtains, and I waited with it. Waited for it to live or die.
The hours were agonizing. Sometimes its breathing would steady. Sometimes it would get worse. But I held it the entire time. I had to. I had made a choice to try and help it live.
Eventually I fell asleep. I couldn't help it. I had been up for over twenty four hours. The stress got to me.
I was awoken by a shuffling.
The room was dark, though I could make out a slight light coming from under the door. I could feel the thing in my arms moving, trying to release itself from my grip. I let go, and felt it leave its position close to me. I pulled out my phone which was still clothed in the glove and turned on the light. The thing was shaking as it moved, exploring the space around it. I called to my friend. Told him to turn off the lights and get the door.
My friend complied, and I watched as it gradually searched around and found the open door. I followed behind it. It paid me little attention as it stiffly made its way down the stairs and towards the open front door. But as it made its way outside, sniffed the air, and set off, it stopped. It turned, and though I knew it was probably blind it looked back towards me.
“I'm still here,”
And I let it go. It wandered away. And I closed the door.
There is a legend around here. About blind things in the alleys. Things that hate light.
Sometimes, this time of year, I purposely walk by the alleys. Looking for it.
I didn't know what I released. It was a monster. And there is no guarantee it lived.
Sometimes I hear a clicking sound. A slight whimper.
Or maybe I don't.
I can't be sure.
I will never know if I did the right thing. If I caused anyone to be hurt by letting it go.
By saving it.
But it was still here.
Sometimes that is enough a reason."