The Red West

📅 Published on November 1, 2020

“The Red West”

Written by Elias Witherow
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 23 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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I watched as my son splashed around in the waves, the sun reflecting off the cool green water. Sean laughed as the waves crashed around his ankles and chased him up the shore. The ocean then pulled away, leaving trembling patches of sea foam that shuddered in the wind. The hot sand sighed with brief respite as the great walls of water curled in on themselves and fell, cooling the earth.

My son, Sean, was five and I smiled as he screamed with delight, another wave chasing him up the beach and collapsing at his feet. The sun lit a cloudless sky and the water danced in its light. The sky was empty and blue, a vast stretch of perfect color.

And it was all for us.

I looked behind me at my wife, sunbathing in the glorious heat. She had her sunglasses on so I couldn’t see if she was looking my way, but I gave her a little wave from the water’s edge just the same. I turned back to my son, grateful I had paid the hefty sum to get this exclusive stretch of beach.

And why not? We certainly could afford it, my recent success in the stock market fueling this celebratory vacation. I wanted my family to live like royalty and a private beach fifty miles from everything was certainly a step in the right direction.

I looked back at the house behind me and grinned. It really was incredible. It was painted a soft blue and faced the oceanfront. Massive windows let in the breath taking views, the modern design a series of hard angles that layered over one another to form a staggering feat of architecture. A two level deck wrapped itself around the house, a stage to admire the melting evening colors as the sun set over the water. It was perfect.

In fact, everything was perfect. I scanned the area around us, still grinning, taking in the exclusive isolation my money had gotten us. Money really can buy happiness.

I looked at my watch and realized it was almost time to start making dinner. I called out to Sean and waved him over. He took another couple of big leaps in the crashing waves and then sprinted over to me, his face split into a big smile.

I asked him if he was hungry and he said he was “staaaaarving”, so I instructed him to gather his toys and shovels and start packing up for the day. He ran to obey and I walked over to my wife, Rose, and told her I was going to take Sean up to the house and start grilling burgers. She asked if I minded if she stayed a little while longer and I swooped down and kissed her, telling her I didn’t mind at all.

Sean and I stomped our way up to the house and rinsed our feet in the outside shower. That was something my wife insisted we do before we went inside. I watched as the sand swirled off our toes before I turned the water off, asking Sean if he could take my towel and hang it up to dry on the deck.

As he bounded up the stairs to comply, I walked to the front of the house to fire up the grill. I intended to burn off any residue before cooking the burgers, but as I rounded the corner of the house, I stopped.

There was a man standing in the driveway. He was big, maybe six-four, with dirty blond hair that fell to his shoulders. He looked like he was in his late thirties, maybe early forties. He was wearing a brown leather jacket and a white t-shirt underneath. His pants were dirty and stained, the faded jeans looking well worn.

His sparkling blue eyes met mine.

He smiled and nodded, “Evening.”

I took a hesitant step forward, “Can I help you?” I looked around – where had this guy come from? There wasn’t another house for miles. The road leading to our secluded getaway was barren as well. All the stores and gas stations were dozens of miles down the street.

He pointed at the beach house, “Nice place you have here.”

I cocked an eyebrow at him, “Thank you. Is there something you need?”

He smiled slightly, his eyes looking almost sad. He shoved his hands into his coat pockets and looked up into the sky. He didn’t say anything, just stared at the mixing colors that swirled in the evening light.

I took a step towards him, unease worming its way into my stomach. The man wasn’t acting hostile, but something about him put me on edge.

“I asked you if there was something you needed,” I restated, my voice firm.

He looked back at me, his blonde hair spilling across his shoulders, “Oh, I’m sorry. Can you tell me what time it is?”

I didn’t know how to respond to his strange request and so I quickly checked my watch, wondering why the time was so important he had to walk all this way to ask me. I told him it was almost seven.

He looked up at the sky again, “I’m afraid that’s not long.”

My unease and caution bubbled up in my throat and I took an aggressive step towards him, “Look buddy, I don’t know who you are, but you’re on private property right now. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Those bright blue eyes met mine again and I saw…kindness in them. A soft, apologetic look that told me he knew his presence was upsetting me. He pulled his hands out of his pockets and raised them at me, a sign of surrender.

“I’m sorry,” he said. His voice was soothing; a gentle rumble, a deep cut of smooth silk.

He stuck his hand out for me to shake, “My name is Weston. I promise I mean you no ill will. I need to tell you something. Something important.”

What the hell? I thought. After a moment’s pause, I shook his hand, “I’m Dillon.”

Weston smiled, his white teeth glowing in the setting sun, “Good to meet you, Dillon. I’m…afraid I have some bad news.”

Here it comes, I thought, I knew I wasn’t being paranoid for no reason.

Weston continued, “You and your family are in danger here. You need to leave.”

I stared at the big man for a second before snorting in disbelief, “You’re joking right? You want us to leave? Do you know how much I paid to get this place? Do you know how long of a drive it was to get here? No, I’m sorry buddy, but my family and I aren’t going anywhere. Now are you going to explain to me what you’re talking about, or do I need to call the police? Because that sort of sounded like a threat.”

Weston shook his head, “It’s not a threat. I told you, I mean you no harm. I’m here to warn you.”

I blinked at him, “Warn me about what?”

His eyes turned dark, “Something terrible is coming.”

The way he said it made goosebumps pop out on my arms. I shook my head, “I don’t understand. What’s coming?”

He returned his gaze to the sky, “The Red West.”

I snorted again. I had had just about enough of this guy. I wasn’t sure if he was crazy or just a weirdo, but either way, it was time to get rid of him.

“Listen, buddy,” I said, splaying my hands out in front of me, “My family and I are on vacation. We don’t want any trouble; we just want to be left alone to enjoy our time away. Okay? You get what I’m saying?”

He looked sideways at me, “You don’t believe me do you?” He looked back to the sky, “Of course you don’t. Hell, I wouldn’t believe me. I don’t know if there is anything I can do to get you to leave, there probably isn’t, but I had to try.”

I pointed down the road, “Please just leave us.”

Weston sighed, “It’s coming soon. You don’t want to be here when it arrives. I’ve traveled a long way for this. Please, take your family and go.”

I jerked my finger towards the road, “Go! Now! Please!”

Weston stared at me for a moment longer and I saw a flash of something behind his eyes. Violence. Wordlessly, he jammed his hands into his coat pockets and turned. I watched him walk down the driveway, feeling my pulse slow. I wasn’t sure what had just transpired, but I felt relief as he reached the road and kept walking.

I turned back to the beach house.

What a strange guy, I thought.

I scooped sizzling meat onto a plate, stomach growling as the hot cheese oozed down the sides of the patties. Sean was sitting at the table, clanging his fork against his glass in noisy anticipation. Rose placed a salad down and told him to stop making such a racket.

“Did you enjoy your quiet time alone?” I asked her, coming to the table and setting the stack of burgers down.

Rose placed her hand over Sean’s, lowering his fork, “Yes, it was wonderful. I wish I could live on this beach. It looked like there was a storm coming through, but hopefully, it’ll blow over by morning. I’m looking forward to another perfect day.”

I took my place at the table.  “Ooh, maybe we can turn off the lights and watch the lightning. Wouldn’t that be cool Sean?”

Sean shrugged, “I guess. I get to sit with mom though.”

I laughed and started preparing a burger for him, “Nope, you have to sit outside!”

Sean rolled his eyes, “Daaaaaaad, I’d die!”

Rose plated the salad and gave me a smile, “You just have to run faster than the lightning!”

No sooner had she spoke than the big bay windows lit up as lightning flashed across the sky leaving trails of thick white afterglow.

“Whoa!” Sean exclaimed.

I passed him his burger, “Here buddy, eat up. Can’t outrun the storm if you don’t have food in you.” As he took it, thunder rumbled overhead, a deep, bellowing growl.

“Sounds like it’s going to be a big one,” I said.

Rose speared salad with her fork, “You should have seen the sky on the horizon. It looked nasty.”

The conversation lulled as we began to eat. I watched Sean as he munched away, his focus entirely on his food. It seemed like just yesterday he had been born.

It’s scary the way time flies and how one day you look around and wonder what happened. It’s like driving down a road where the surroundings gradually change, bit by tiny bit. As you drive, you don’t even notice that the trees are getting taller, the foliage a little thicker. Before you know it, you’re in a jungle and you don’t even know when you got there.

I looked at Sean and wondered how much deeper into the jungle I had to drive before he started to resent me. It was bound to happen during those awkward teenage years. I knew I had hated my parents. Maybe Sean would be different. I was hoping I could just skip over that teen angst and get to the part where we’d be friends again.

I noticed Rose was watching me and I offered her a little smile. She returned it and I knew she understood my thoughts. That was something she had always been able to do. Back when I met her, she would tease me because of it. She had a little game where she would try to guess what I was thinking at random times. We could be on a date, visiting our parents, having sex, it didn’t matter. No activity was safe from her.

When our relationship was still in the early phases I would sometimes lie and tell her she had guessed correctly. I did it because I wanted to see her laugh and flash that beautiful smile at me. That smile held me captive and was one of the first things I fell in love with.

Rose was the first woman to make me feel important to her, like I was someone special. She admired me, admired my mind. She looked up to me. She and Sean both did. I was their provider, their protector. I took that role very seriously and always looked out for their well-being before my own. Isn’t that what a good father and husband does? Puts the needs of his family before his own?

As I took another bite of my burger, I vowed I would never let anything bad happen to my family.

And that’s when someone knocked on the front door.

Rose looked up from her plate, cocking an eyebrow at me. Thunder rumbled in the distance and I heard the first splatters of rain on the roof.

“Who’s knocking?” Sean asked around a mouthful of food.

I stood, pushing my plate away.

“Are we expecting someone?” Rose asked, looking puzzled.

“I have a feeling I know who this is,” I said, “There was a man walking around earlier while you were still at the beach. I sent him away, but…” I trailed off. “Look, both of you just stay here.”

Through the windows, I saw a bolt of lightning snake down from the sky and light the dark ocean, a freeze-frame of silent violence. I turned my back to it and went to the front door.

I opened it and felt my stomach sink.

“I thought I told you to leave!” I hissed.

Weston loomed in the doorway, his brown leather jacket crunching as he shifted his hands in his pockets.

“I’m really sorry,” He said, his eyes two liquid blue crystals, “But this is where it’s going to happen. I want to keep you and your family safe, if I can.”

“What the hell are you talking about?!” I asked as thunder boomed from the black. The spatter of rain on the earth uprooted a pleasant smell that filled the night air. It swirled in the rising wind and filled my senses as the prelude to the storm gained intensity.

Weston shifted his weight, his face urgent, “I know how this sounds, I know how this looks, and I’ll be the first to tell you that you have every right to be suspicious of me. But I’m telling you, I want to help you. It’s almost here; it’s too late to run.” He pointed to the sky as more thunder cracked through the sky, “This is no ordinary storm coming.”

I blinked at him, disbelief masking my face with its skeptical fingers, “Why can’t you just leave us alone?! Do I need to call the police? Because I’m about to!”

Weston reached out and gripped my shoulder, a plea in his eyes, “Listen… Dillon, was it? Have you looked out across the ocean? Have you seen what this storm looks like? Please, just go look. You’ll understand. Just look out at the ocean, look to the west.”

I grabbed the front door, “Okay, it looks like I’m calling-”

Weston stopped me from shutting the door, one big hand on the frame, “Please! If you don’t believe me after you look, I’ll go! I promise! I’m trying to save your family! I’m trying to protect them!”

I paused, his words striking a chord with me. I grit my teeth, fighting internally with myself. I guess it couldn’t hurt to look. After all, he said he’d leave afterward.

“Wait right here,” I growled. I shut the door and stormed back into the house. My family looked to me with questions in their eyes. I waved them away, shaking my head, frustrated and annoyed that our vacation was being interrupted.

I went to the big bay windows and looked out into the black. I scanned the horizon, muttering under my breath. Everything looked…normal.

I was about to turn away when I paused, something catching my attention. Far out against the backdrop of black sky and dark ocean, something red and yellow began to flicker in the clouds. I pressed close to the window, cupping my hands around my face so I could see better.

The red and yellow light danced inside an enormous wall of bubbling tar-black thunderheads, the veil of ebony smog tumbling from the sky in puffy, bloated waves to meet with the surface of the ocean. Lightning flashed around the mass of gloom, sparking and snaking in and out of the billowing pillar of darkness. Inside the immense vortex, the flares of red and yellow continued, pulsating like some kind of silent heartbeat.

It was unlike anything I had ever seen before.

And it filled me with creeping horror.

I backed away from the window, mouth going dry. The wind picked up and began slamming sheets of rain against the pane, as if to get my attention at what was brewing on the horizon.

“What is it? What’s going on?” Rose asked from behind me, concern in her voice.

I said nothing. I turned and stared at her blankly, my face a pale mask of fear. Thunder erupted overhead and Sean visibly jumped.

“W-we might have an issue,” I stuttered, going back to the front door. Rose called out behind me, but I couldn’t deal with her questions right now. I didn’t have any answers to give.

I flung the door open and Weston was waiting for me.

“You see now?” He asked quietly, his tone somber, “You see what’s coming?”

“Why didn’t we hear about this on the news?” I asked, licking my lips, “A storm like this…we should have been warned!”

Weston shook his head, “Satellites and radar can’t detect this. There was no way of knowing unless you’ve been following it from its inception. This storm…didn’t come from here.”

“What am I supposed to do? I have to protect my family! Once this thing hits land, it’s going to get bad!” I cried in a low whisper.

Weston’s eyes shifted in shadow, “Yes…it will. But I can help you, if you’ll let me. I’ve been following this for a long, long time now.”

“What IS it? What kind of storm is this?” I asked.

“It’s not the storm you need to fear,” Weston said quietly, “It’s what’s inside the storm that should scare you.” He pointed inside, “May I come in? We don’t have much time.”

I bit my lip and then waved him in, closing the door behind us. We walked back into the dining room and Rose and Sean were at the window, mouths agape, staring out at the coming storm. Violent clouds bubbled into each other like infected blisters, expanding and then popping in flashes of red and yellow while lightning cracked around it.

It was getting closer.

The rain was relentless now, throwing itself against the house in heaves of anger, the wind screaming in agony as Mother Nature howled. Thunder shook the walls and the lights flickered once, then twice.

Sean was clutching his mother, his little hands tangled in her clothes in terrified bunches. They both turned around as we entered the room.

“Dillon, have you seen this? And who is this?” Rose asked.

Before I could answer, Weston strode forward, pulling his hands from his brown leather jacket. He reached out to my wife and shook hers.

“I’m Weston. It’s nice to meet you. Don’t worry, I’m going to try and help all of you weather this storm. I know it looks nasty, but I’m going to do my best to get us all through this ok?”

He then squatted next to Rose and gave Sean a little fist bump, “Hey there, champ. You doing okay? I know this is probably pretty scary, but it’s going to be alright.” Sean blushed and squirmed against his mom.

Rose looked up at me, confused as to who this man was and what he was doing in our house. I just stared at her, trying to find the words, but ended up just shutting my mouth.

“You look like you’re a pretty tough kid,” Weston was saying, still crouched next to Sean, “Do you think you could do me a favor, bud?”

Sean grinned awkwardly and shrugged.

Weston smiled back, “Can you be brave for me tonight?”

Sean looked up at Rose and then back at Weston and nodded, “Yeah, I’m a pretty brave kid.”

Weston laughed and tousled Sean’s hair before standing back up. He loomed over Rose, but there was nothing threatening about his demeanor. For whatever reason, I found myself trusting this man.

“Good kid you have there,” he said to Rose.

“I don’t mean to be rude,” Rose said, “but what are you doing here? Who are you exactly?”

Weston looked back at me and then at Rose, “I’m just someone who’s trying to help a family in need. I knew this is where the…storm…would hit land and I knew there was a house here. I was hoping it wouldn’t be occupied when I got here, but unfortunately, you’re in this now.”

“In what?!” Rose asked, clearly getting upset.

Before he could answer, something from outside silenced all of us.

From the west, echoing across the churning water and infectious clouds, something roared. It was deafening, the noise shaking the foundation of the house. The lights flickered as we all slammed our hands over our ears, our terrified, bewildered eyes meeting one another’s. Sean screamed and wrapped himself around Rose’s legs, burying his face against her.

The blast faded, the deep rumble retreating back into the frothing storm.

We all took a moment to recover, searching each other’s faces for signs of comfort.

Except for Weston. He was staring out into the darkness, his face carved from cold stone, but white as fresh snow.

“W…what the hell was that?” I finally whispered, blinking rapidly.

Weston didn’t reply for a moment, just continued to stare out into the night. Finally, after giving himself a little shake, he turned to address me, “We need to get you all downstairs, right now.”

“Dillon, what’s going on?” Rose cried, panic in her eyes. “What was that?”

Weston placed a hand on her shoulder.  “He doesn’t have the answers.  Now let’s go, downstairs, please.”

I let him usher us towards the stairs and as we descended, my mind pulsed and reeled with disbelief at what was happening. Everything was moving so fast. How was this happening? Where had this storm come from? What did the strange light mean? What had made that noise?

Weston seemed to know what was going on, but didn’t seem too eager to share. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know. The most important thing right now was to keep my family safe and Weston seemed to be of the same mindset. I didn’t know who he was or where he had come from, but in that moment, I was grateful for his presence. He seemed to be in control of himself, seemed to know what we needed to do. I didn’t know how he could help us, but I felt slightly calmer with him around.

Thunder boomed and the wind continued to howl against the house as we made it to the basement. We entered the den area, furnished with a large sectional couch and a massive plasma TV. The ground level, the one we were currently on, wasn’t underground, but I felt a little safer just the same. There was a sliding glass door that looked out on the ocean, but the view was obscured by a pair of drawn blinds.

Weston went to the door and peeked out, his watchful eyes scanning the darkness, waiting for a flash of lightning so he could see the beach.

“What are we supposed to do?” I asked, feeling helpless.

Rose had picked up Sean and was holding him tight, looking frightened. I went to them both and wrapped my arms around them, waiting for Weston to instruct us.

Not moving, he answered from his post at the door, “Just sit tight for now. It’s getting closer. Won’t be long now.”

I felt sick, my stomach rolling in on itself as questions rose in my throat like bubbling water, but I swallowed them back down and waited. It wouldn’t do any good to start saying things that would scare Rose and Sean.

I sat my wife and son down on the couch and kissed Rose on the head. I walked to Weston and dropped my voice to a soft whisper.

“Weston, listen, I need you to be straight with me. With whatever is out there…with whatever is coming…are…a-are we going to make it through this?”

Weston glanced at me and I saw fear in his eyes, “I hope so. We just need to wait.”

“What are you waiting for?” I asked, shooting a look over my shoulder. Sean was quiet and curled up on my wife’s lap, his eyes closed as Rose stroked his hair.

Weston pulled the blinds apart a little wider, “For it to make landfall.”

I peeked outside and saw the towering column of darkness was fast approaching. It rose out of the ocean like a tightly coiled snake, thick and squirming with inky black energy. Its enormous mass reached for the stormy skies and tangled with the clouds, rising and getting lost in the night. The red and yellow lights continued to pulse and throb as pockets of neon smog burst along the coal-black pillar.

I turned away and sat with my family, leaving Weston to keep watch. I didn’t know what I was looking for anyway. The air was filled with an ominous dread, a heavy blanket of hot fear. I let my wife lean into me, her head resting on my shoulder.

“I’m scared,” she whispered.

“So am I.”

I placed a hand on Sean’s arm, letting him know that his dad was with him. We sat like that for a while, waiting, listening to the clash of thunder and rain outside. The walls shuddered as the wind came screaming off the ocean, the gale gaining intensity.

I watched Weston. He didn’t move from his spot, his face a pale picture of grim uncertainty. His eyes remained locked to the outside, silent and waiting like the rest of us. My heart was tripping over itself in my chest, a clumsy drumbeat of nervous anxiety.

Suddenly, Weston slapped an open palm against the wall and leaned into the glass door, straining to see between the blinds. From my spot on the couch, I saw his eyes were wide and bloodshot.

“What is it?” I asked.

He didn’t move, and answered with a hard whisper, “It’s here.”

Suddenly, the night erupted as another deafening roar shook the house. It was deep and powerful, a long howling cry of violent anger that shattered the air with splintering intensity.

Sean cried out and buried his face in my wife’s lap. I clutched them both, my breath coming in short gasps, until the roaring howl passed and echoed around the house. Fear filled every ounce of me and I had to fight not to join my son in a cry of terror.

Whatever was out there sounded massive and furious.

Weston took a couple of steps back from the door, clearly shaken. He looked to us on the couch and then back out into the darkness. He was breathing heavily and he visibly fought to get himself under control.

“What is it!?” I hissed, urgency lacing my voice.

He swallowed hard, “It’s emerging from the storm.”

No sooner had he spoken than I felt slight tremors run through the earth. They were spaced apart and just intense enough to feel a physical registration. It felt like…footsteps. Like something colossal was walking towards us from the storm.

“Weston!” I cried, unable to hold in my fear any longer, “What do we do!? What is coming!?”

Rose was shaking against me, the terror infecting her. She held Sean close to her and whispered soothing words of reassurance into his ear as he continued to cry.

“Weston!” I pleaded.

Instead of answering, Weston stood in front of the door and visibly calmed himself. He closed his eyes and took a few slow deep breaths.

Then he took off his leather jacket and tossed it to the floor. Without stopping, he peeled off his white t-shirt and flung it aside.

I blinked as I took in this strange display. His body was a mass of coiled muscle, thick and powerful, his toned flesh rippling with years of conditioning. His blond hair fell across his bulging shoulders as he closed his eyes and stepped towards the door.

“Weston!” I cried, “W-what are you doing!?”

He paused, one hand on the door. He turned to look at me and I saw burning violence in his electric blue eyes.

His voice grated in his throat like a blazing furnace, “I’m going to go kill that thing.”

Without waiting for a response, he pulled open the sliding door. The wind and rain came barreling in, a sudden cold energy exploding from the night. Weston didn’t even seem to notice as he stepped out into the darkness, pulling the door close behind him.

And then we were alone.

My wife and I looked at each other, my own shock and disbelief mirrored on her face. I felt like I should say something, but my throat clogged with fear and doubt. The tremors underfoot were gaining intensity and I felt my stomach bubble with despair.

As the minutes ticked by, I kept waiting for Weston to come back inside, but the door remained firmly shut. Thunder slammed against our ears and the torrential downpour added to the brutality of the night.

It felt like the violence outside was building towards something.

I stood, unable to remain still any longer, and went to the door. I pulled the blinds apart and cupped my face to the glass.

I waited for lightning to illuminate the night and when it finally did, what I saw took my breath away.

Weston was standing motionless on the beach, facing the ocean. The wind and rain beat against his bare chest, but he remained an iron pillar in the storm, a mountain of grim determination. His hands were balled into fists, his rain-soaked hair dancing in the gale.

Something titanic in size loomed before him, drawing closer with each earth-quaking step as red and yellow light flashed around it.

I turned away from the scene and felt sick, a deep, horrified nausea eating away at my insides. I looked at Rose, feeling sweat trickle down my spine. What was going on? What was that thing?!

I flinched as a new noise cut through the night. It sounded like a cannon blast, the deep boom coming from the beach. As soon as the noise cracked the air, the windows flared with bright red light, a blinding blaze.

Another roar, this time sounding different. It sounded like a cry of pain. The light fixtures shook as the crimson light faded, overtaken once again by stormy darkness. The ground shook as another blast jolted the earth, the cannon-like explosion causing my ears to ring.

“What is going on out there!?” Rose cried, pulling her feet up onto the couch and wrapping herself around Sean.

Trembling, I turned to look outside as the sky flared in a blinding glow of red. I covered my eyes and steadied myself against the wall as the ground shook, the cannon blast explosions growing more and more frequent.

And there was a new sound.

Behind the roar of the immense entity, my ears picked up the distinct sound of heavy gears grinding together. The two twisted and mixed together, the animalistic howling followed by the chug of working machinery. A moment later it sounded like gears shifting which flowed seamlessly into the deafening howl of a biological being.

I pulled the blinds apart and stared out at the beach, knees weak.

I couldn’t see much, the rain-streaked glass obscuring any clarity. Red and yellow lights pulsed along the beach, rising impossibly high into the night sky. Lightning flashed across the dark canopy and I caught a glimpse of… of impossibility.

Weston was rocketing up from the ground towards the colossal monster like a missile, a pale smudge against a black canvas. I watched in absolute amazement as he made contact with the creature, powering his fist into it with all his might.

I jumped as the familiar boom followed, the sound of his knuckles cracking into the flashing black mass. Following the blow, the sky broke out in blinding crimson and I turned away from the scene, mouth agape.

Weston was fighting the monster.

I slumped down and leaned against the wall, trying to catch my breath. A barrage of cannon blast explosions shook the foundation of the house and I shut my eyes against the vibrations. The thing outside bellowed in pain and fury, the bizarre howl seamlessly interlocked with the panting of a gigantic machine.

I don’t know how long I sat there listening to the battle.

The windows pulsated with color, the storm screamed around us, and the deafening cries from outside engulfed my senses. I kept my eyes shut, silent prayer pouring from my mouth. The house shook and swayed, the groan of wood against wind and water.

The night bled with violence, the never-ending blasts ringing in my ears and rattling my teeth. My head ached with it, my bones shook with it.

I listened to the storm inside the storm, the clash of inhuman power that overshadowed reality. Something dark and evil had entered our plane of existence; something had slithered through the cracks of space and time and found our world. Something had emerged from the great mystery of the unknown and had arrived with a devastating anger.

This isn’t happening! my mind pleaded.  This can’t be real!

Suddenly, the sliding glass door erupted in an explosion of brutality as something was flung through it at a terrifying speed.

Weston smashed into the far wall, a mass of blood and muscle, partially caving it in. His head whipped back in agony as he made contact, his body crushing through the sheetrock.

Rose and Sean screamed, covering themselves as the glass and plaster rained down around us. The wind screamed through the broken door, bringing with it a torrent of stinging rain.

I jumped to my feet, heart thundering, assessing Weston’s condition as he slowly pulled himself from the wall. He gritted his teeth as blood leaked from his mouth, his face a twisted bloody mess of pain. His chest was cut, blood dripping onto the carpet in thick wet drops. His hair was a tangled mess of soaking clumps plastered to his face.

He got to his feet and wiped the blood from his chin. He looked at me and I felt my blood run cold.

To this day, I have never seen eyes sparkle with such violence and fury. I took a step back as he flexed his shoulders. He pulled his hair back from his face, his knuckles swollen and split, blood running down his fingers.

“I can’t kill it like this,” He growled, looking at me. “I hurt it, bad, but this won’t kill it.”

My legs were shaking and I fought to calm my panic, “Weston, what is it? Why is this happening?”

He sucked in long lungfuls of air.  “It’s the Red West. It was never supposed to make it this far. I didn’t think it could. But somehow it made it onto this plane of existence; it broke through the walls of possibility.”

“Where did it come from?” I asked, voice shaking. I wrapped my arms around myself, the wind blasting through the shattered door.

Weston met my eyes, “Home. It came from home.”

“But where is that? How is any of this possible?” I cried, my mind straining to make sense of this impossibility.

Weston put a hand on my shoulder, his voice ragged.  “The Red West is a horrible phenomenon that occurs where I come from. We’ve only had it occur two other times in the vast stretch of our existence. But it’s supposed to be isolated to our reality. It shouldn’t have been able to come here. I’ve been following it for a long time, watching it develop and grow. But then it began to move. That’s why I had to come here, that’s why I have to stop it. This is our problem, not yours. Your world shouldn’t have to suffer from the horrors in ours.”

As his words washed over me, a vociferous roar of raw rage blasted from the night.

It was waiting for Weston.

I looked up at the big man, looked at his bruised and bloody body, and said the only words that I could.

“Please…save us.”

Weston looked at my wife and son who were curled up on the couch crying. He looked at me. His eyes melted into soft puddles of blue warmth.

“That’s why I came,” he said. “There’s only one more thing for me to do now. For me to end this.”

He gripped my arm.  “Take care of yourself. Watch over your family. I hope to meet you again one day.”

And with that, he released me and I saw his body begin to pulse with a dark energy. His skin began to radiate a deep red color and as I took in his sudden change, Weston charged back out into the storm.

I stepped into the shattered door frame and looked out into the night.

I’ll never forget what I saw.

Weston’s feet churned the sand, his body glowing with a brilliant, bright energy. He was screaming, running at full speed, fists clenched at his sides. The towering mass of black and red loomed before him, blinking its strange neon colors. It stepped towards him, howling with ferocious anger as his opponent rushed to meet him.

Lightning lit the sky, the thick white veins illuminating the battlefield. Thunder crashed overhead as the two foes met at the water’s edge.

Weston crouched at a full run and then rocketed from the ground, leaving the earth with such force that a shock wave sprayed sand and earth into the sky. He was a blazing red comet, a crimson bullet that soared towards the heavens, towards the head of the titanic entity.

I could hear him screaming with vengeful determination as he made contact with the tremendous mass of darkness.

The sky exploded with color, a cloud of red mushrooming out from the impact followed by a shock wave that was so powerful it knocked me off my feet and sent me tumbling into the far wall. Sand and earth exploded into the house from the broken door, showering us with wet clumps.

My ears rang as reality ripped, a screeching flash of pulsing colors, the sky twisting in on itself. A sound deafened my ears, a great screeching groan that rippled through the night and crashed down around us.

A moment later, everything went silent and I lost consciousness.

Darkness welcomed me…

Darkness…

Dark…

How do you make sense of impossibility? How do you settle your mind after witnessing such devastating horror?

I haven’t seen Weston in four years… I probably won’t ever see him again. My family and I still haven’t recovered from the terror of that night.

After the blast, I…don’t remember much. When I woke up the sun was rising. Rose and Sean were lying on the floor and when I saw them I thought they were dead. I crawled over to them and shook them awake, breathing a sigh of relief as they opened their eyes. I remember tears were running down my cheeks.

We were covered in sand and dirt and I took us outside to breathe the clean air.

The beach was…gone. The earth looked like God had struck it with an almighty hammer. It was…terrifying to behold.

Weston was nowhere to be seen. Both he and the entity were gone.

The sun was just creeping up the horizon and the beauty of it brought me to my knees. I couldn’t believe I was alive to see it. My family joined me and we all wept, so completely shaken by the night’s events that we couldn’t do anything but cry. We clung to each other, feeling the wind rush through our dirty hair, across our exhausted bodies.

We had made it. We had survived.

I write this with hopes that somehow, someway, it will reach Weston.

I pray that he’s alive somewhere, that he lived through the blast. I hope that whatever reality he may exist in, that these words reach him.

We owe you everything. No amount of thanks can even come close to what you are deserved, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Weston…thank you.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Elias Witherow
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Elias Witherow


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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