Fort Campbell single

[Game Preview] Week 6 - Philadelphia Eagles(1-3-1) vs Baltimore Ravens (4-1)

2020.10.16 18:08 Rsubs33 [Game Preview] Week 6 - Philadelphia Eagles(1-3-1) vs Baltimore Ravens (4-1)

Philadelphia Eagles (1-3-1) vs Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
The Eagles dug themselves deeper into a hole and lost their title as Kings of Shit Mountain with their disappointing loss to the Steelers last Sunday. Rookie WR Chase Claypool made the Eagles defense look silly over and over on his way to 4 TDs, including a 35 TD reception with under 3 minutes to go to seal the game. Jim Schwartz thought that he is smarter than everyone else and believed it was a good idea to put his failing LB Nate Gerry on Claypool despite the fact Claypool had already scored 3 TDs on the day and Gerry has given up 23 receptions on 23 targets for 267 yards 4 TDs and a 154.6 passer rating. Schwartz will most definitely trott Gerry out there this week against the Baltimore Ravens who will have reigning MVP QB Lamar Jackson out there who can pick apart defenses with his arm and his legs. Schwartz will have to gameplan better than he has in previous weeks to keep Jackson contained and ensure talented Baltimore TEs Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle have someone covering them who isn’t named Nate Gerry. The Eagles have the talent on the defensive line to keep Jackson in the pocket and force him to beat them with his arm where the Eagles will get a boost in the secondary with the return of Will Parks who will make his first start for the Eagles after signing in the offseason. That said, the talent hasn’t been missing on the defense outside of the LB position, instead the gameplans have been nonexistent from Jim Schwartz who consistently decides his scheme is the most important piece and he can just run it regardless of what the offense runs. If that mindset continues expect another L for the Eagles and another big fantasy day for Lamar Jackson. On the other side of the ball the Eagles actually look like they are beginning to click. The offensive line held the Steelers top rated pass defense in check for the better part of the day and a weapon has emerged from the depths of the practice squad. In the past two games, Carson Wentz has a perfect passing rating when targeting Travis Fulgham who has consistently been able to find openings in the defense and make big catches for the QB. Wentz may get Jackson and Jeffrey back this Sunday as well which would give him some more confidence that guys can get open and make catches, both are currently listed as questionable, so we will see. This game most likely ends up as another L for the Eagles, but if they want any chance to win they are going to need their QB to make some big plays and they are going to need their defense to slow down the Ravens high powered offense. Go Eagles!
General Information
Posting Rules and Guidelines
Remember to join us on Discord during the game!
New to the Eagles? Take a look at our New Fan Page!
Score Prediction Contest
Date
Sunday, October 18th, 2020
Game Time Game Location
1:00 PM - Eastern Lincoln Financial Field
12:00 PM - Central 1020 Pattison Ave
11:00 AM - Mountain Philadelphia, PA 19148
10L00 AM - Pacific Wikipedia - Map
Weather Forecast
Stadium Type: Open Air
Surface: Grass
Temperature: 61°F
Feels Like: 61°F
Forecast: Clear. Partly cloudy throughout the day.
Chance of Precipitation: 0%
Cloud Coverage: 10%
Wind: South-Southeast 6 MPH
Betting Odds
Oddsshark Information
Favorite/Opening Line: Ravens -7.5
OveUnder: 46.5
Record VS. Spread: Philadelphia 1-4, Baltimore 3-1-1
Where to Watch on TV
CBS will broadcast Sunday’s game to a regional audience. Ian Eagle will handle the play-by-play duties and Charles Davis will provide analysis and Evan Washburn will report from the sidelines.
TV Map - Week 6 TV Coverage Map
Radio Streams
List of Eagles Radio network member stations with internet broadcast availability
Radio.com 94.1 Desktop Streaming
Listen to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick
Calling the game on 94WIP and the Eagles Radio Network will be Merrill Reese, the NFL’s longest-tenured play-by-play announcer (44th season). Joining Reese in the radio booth will be former Eagles All-Pro wide receiver Mike Quick, while Howard Eskin will report from the sidelines.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA WIP-FM 94.1 FM and 610 AM
Allentown, PA WCTO-FM 96.1 FM
Atlantic City/South Jersey WENJ-FM 97.3 FM
Levittown, PA WBCB-AM 1490 AM
Northumberland, PA WEGH-FM 107.3 FM
Pottsville, PA WPPA-AM 1360 AM
Reading, PA WEEU-AM 830 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA WEJL-FM 96.1 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WAFL-FM 97.7 FM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WEJL-AM 630 AM
Salisbury/Ocean City, MD WBAX-AM 1240 AM
Williamsport, PA WBZD-FM 93.3 FM
Wilmington, DE WDEL-FM/AM 101.7 FM
York/LancasteHarrisburg, PA WSOX-FM 96.1 FM
Philadelphia Spanish Radio
Rickie Ricardo and Bill Kulik will handle the broadcast in Spanish on Mega 105.7 FM in Philadelphia and the Eagles Spanish Radio Network.
Location Station Frequency
Philadelphia, PA LA MEGA 105.7 FM
Allentown, PA WSAN 1470 AM
Atlantic City, NJ WIBG 1020 AM; 101.3 FM
Ravens Radio
Ravens Radio Gerry Sanduskey will return for his 14th season to handle play-by-play duties for the broadcast. Former Ravens Former Ravens players Dennis Pitta and Obafemi "Femi" Ayanbadejo will provide color and analysis during the game.
National Radio
Sports USA will broadcast the game nationally with Josh Appel handling the play by play and Brandon Noble will provide analysis.
Satellite Radio
Station Eagles Channel RavensChannel
Sirius Radio SIRI 133 (Streaming 825) SIRI 82 (Streaming 802)
XM Radio XM 227(Streaming 825) XM 383 (Streaming 802)
Sirius XM Radio SXM 227 (Streaming 825) SXM 383 (Streaming 802)
Eagles Social Media Ravens Social Media
Website Website
Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Instagram Instagram
Snapchat: Eagles Snapchat: bltravens
NFC East Standings
NFC EAST Record PCT Home Road Div Conf PF PA Net Pts Streak
Cowboys 2-3 .400 2-1 0-2 1-0 2-2 163 180 -17 1W
Eagles 1-3-1 .300 0-1-1 1-2 0-1 1-2 113 145 -32 1L
Football Team 1-4 .200 1-2 0-2 1-0 1-2 89 142 -53 4L
Giants 0-5 .000 0-2 0-3 0-1 0-4 81 133 -52 5L
Series Information
The Philadelphia Eagles vs Baltimore Ravens. Series tied 2-2-1
Series History
Head to Head Box Scores
First Game Played
November 16th, 1997 at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, MD . Philadelphia Eagles 10 - Baltimore Ravens 10
Points Leader
Ravens lead Eagles (106-82)
Coaches Record
Doug Pederson: 0-1 against the Ravens
John Harbaugh: 1-2 against Eagles
Coaches Head to Head
Doug Pederson vs John Harbaugh: Harbaugh leads 1-0
Quarterback Record
Carson Wentz: Against Ravens: 0-1
Lamar Jackson: Against Eagles: 0-0
Quarterbacks Head to Head
Carson Wentz v Lamar Jackson: First Meeting of QBs
Records per Stadium
Record @ Lincoln Financial Field: Eagles lead Ravens: 2-0
Record @ M&T Bank Stadium: Ravens lead Eagles 2-0
Rankings and Last Meeting Information
AP Pro 32 Ranking
Eagles No. 20 - Steelers No. 6
Record
Eagles: 1-3-1
Ravens: 4-1
Last Meeting And Last Meeting at Site
Sunday, December 18th, 2016
Ravens 27 - Eagles 26
Baltimore (8-6) had a 27-17 lead and a first down at the Philadelphia 11 when Joe Flacco threw an interception to give the Eagles (5-9) another chance. Rookie Carson Wentz directed a drive that produced a field goal with 2:22 remaining. The Eagles got the ball back at their 41 with 1:39 to go. A 24-yard completion to tight end Zach Ertz and a pass interference call against rookie Tavon Young set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Wentz that got Philadelphia within a point. First-year coach Doug Pederson dropped his balls on the table and went for the victory, declining the conversion kick for a 2-point try. "I wanted to win the football game," Pederson said. Wentz threw over the middle to tight Jordan Matthews, who couldn't get his hands on a tipped ball and the Ravens won by a single point 27-26.
Click here to view the Video Recap
Click here to view the Stats Recap
Last 10 Meetings
Date Winner Loser Score
12/18/16 Ravens Eagles 27-26
9/16/12 Eagles Ravens 24-23
11/23/08 Ravens Eagles 36-7
10/31/04 Eagles Ravens 15-10
11/16/97 N/A N/A 10-10
Injury Reports Depth Charts
Eagles Eagles
Ravens Ravens
2020 “Expert” Picks
Week 6 - "Expert" Picks
2020 Team Stats
Eagles Season Stats
Ravens Season Stats
2020 Stats (Starters/Leaders)
Passing
Name CMP ATT PCT YDS TD INT RAT
Wentz 117 195 60.0% 1188 6 9 68.5
Jackson 86 135 63.7% 949 9 2 100.5
Rushing
Name ATT YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Sanders 62 316 79.0 5.1 3
Jackson 41 238 47.6 5.8 1
Receiving
Name REC YDS YDS/G AVG TD
Fulgham 12 207 104.5 17.4 2
Brown 22 319 63.8 14.5 1
Sacks
Name Sacks Team Total
Graham/Sweat 3.0 18
BowseJudon/Elliott/Queen 2.0 16
Tackles
Name Total Solo Assist Sacks
Gerry 40 21 19 0.0
Queen 42 30 12 2.0
Interceptions
Name Ints Team Total
Singleton/McLeod 1 2
Peters 2 3
Punting
Name ATT YDS LONG AVG NET IN 20 TB BP
Johnston 21 1080 62 51.4 45.7 10 2 0
Koch 15 684 53 45.6 44.3 7 1 0
Kicking
Name ATT MADE % LONG PAT
Elliot 9 7 77.8% 54 10/10
Tucker 11 10 90.9 47 17/17
Kick Returns
Name ATT YDS AVG LONG TD
Scott 7 124 17.7 25 0
Dunernay 7 238 34.0 93 1
Punt Returns
Name RET YDS AVG LONG TD FC
Ward 5 19 3.8 8 0 6
Proche II 10 88 8.8 17 0 6
League Rankings 2020
Offense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Ravens Stat Ravens Rank
Total Offense 322.4 28th 339.6 24th
Rush Offense 108.0 18th 160.8 3rd
Pass Offense 214.4 26th 178.8 31st
Points Per Game 22.6 23rd 29.8 T-8th
3rd-Down Offense 48.7% 7th 43.3% 16th
4th-Down Offense 33.3% T-28th 66.7% T-13th
Red Zone Offense (TD%) 66.7% T-12th 62.5% 19th
Defense Rankings
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Ravens Stat Ravens Rank
Total Defense 355.2 13th 335.0 6th
Rush Defense 114.2 17th 92.0 5th
Pass Defense 241.0 17th 243.0 18th
Points Per Game 29.0 23rd 15.2 1st
3rd-Down Defense 44.9% 18th 36.5% 5th
4th-Down Defense 50.0% T-13th 33.3% T-5th
Red Zone Defense (TD%) 73.3% 27th 70.0% 26th
Team
Category Eagles Stat Eagles Rank Ravens Stat Ravens Rank
Turnover Diff. -6 T-30th +5 T-4th
Penalties/Game 6.2 T-20th 5.0 11th
Penalty Yards/Game 50.4 14th 37.4 8th
Recap from Last Week’s Games.
Eagles - The Eagles took on their cross state rival after coming off their first win of the season the week before and the Eagles feel flat on their face making the trip across the state. Jim Schwartz showed up with zero game plan and had no answer to runs by Chase Claypool, despite the fact the Steelers used similar plays earlier this seasons. Claypool owned the Eagles Sunday scoring 4 TDs including one with under 3 minutes left to put the nail in the coffin when Jim Schwartz put one of the worst coverages LBs in the league Nate Gerry on Claypool 1v1 with no help. The offense played their best game of the year this season with a break out game by Travis Fulgham, but Jim Schwartz and the defense never gave them a shot.
Ravens - The Ravens took on their division rival Bengals in Week 5. The Baltimore Ravens defense arguably put up the best performance by any team in the NFL this season, allowing just a field goal to an overmatched Cincinnati Bengals team in a 27-3 victory Sunday. Baltimore shut down Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati offense, holding the Bengals to just 205 yards on the afternoon while forcing three turnovers and completely dominating the line of scrimmage in the win. The Ravens would have had a shutout if not for a late field goal by the Bengals that was purely done to break the shutout.
Connections
Baltimore Head Coach John Harbaugh coached 10 years years for the Eagles as their Special Teams Coordinator and DB coach from 1998-2007.
Baltimore Assistant head coach/pass coordinatowide receivers Dan Culley spent 13 years with the Eagles as their WR coach and Senior Offensive assistant 1999-2012. Culley and Doug Pederson coached together from 2009-2015 as part of Andy Reid’s staff with the Eagles and Chiefs.
Baltimore QB Coach James Urban coached 7 years with the Eagles from 2004-2010 as an assistant to the head coach, offensive assistant/quality control coach and QB coach.
Baltimore LB LJ Fort played part of last season for the Eagles before he was cut, so that Jim Schwartz’s love child Nate Gerry could get more playing time.
Eagles VP of Player Personnel Andy Weidl worked for the Ravens as a scout from 2005-16.
Eagles Player Personnel Executive TJ McCreight worked for the Ravens as a scout from 1997-2004.
Eagles assistant director of player personnel Ian Cunningham worked for the Ravens for 9 years as a scout from 1998-2007.
2020 Pro Bowlers
Eagles Ravens
DT Fletcher Cox (Starter) QB Lamar Jackson (Starter)
OG Brandon Brooks (Starter) K Justin Tucker (Starter)
C Jason Kelce (Starter) RB Mark Ingram
LS Rick Lovato (Starter) FB Patrick Ricard (Starter)
TE Zach Ertz TE Mark Andrews
SS Malcom Jenkings (1st Alt) LT Ronnie Stanley(Starter)
OT Lane Johnson (1st Alt G Marshal Yanda (Starter)
OT Orlando Brown Jr.
OLB Matthew Judon
CB Marlon Humphrey
CB Marcus Peters
FS Earl Thomas
LS Morgan Cox (Starter)
General
Referee: Shawn Smith
Philadelphia has produced a 2-2-1 record in the all-time series vs. Baltimore, including a 2-0 mark at home. The Ravens are one of nine NFL teams that the Eagles have never lost to at Lincoln Financial Field (since the 2003 season).
Philadelphia ranks 3rd in the NFL with 18.0 sacks, trailing only L.A. Rams (20.0) and Pittsburgh (20.0). Brandon Graham (54.0) – tied for the team lead with 3.0 sacks – is 1.0 sack shy of surpassing Hugh Douglas (54.5, 1998-2002, ‘04) for the 4th-most sacks in Eagles history, behind Reggie White (124.0, 1985-92), Trent Cole (85.5, 2005-14) and Clyde Simmons (76.0, 1986-93).
Miles Sanders has produced the 3rd-most rushing yards (316) in the NFL since his season debut in Week 2, trailing only Dalvin Cook (439) and Todd Gurley (319) in that category.
Travis Fulgham led the Eagles with 10 receptions for 152 yards and 1 TD in Week 5 at Pittsburgh. Fulgham is one of only three NFL players to register 10+ catches for 150+ yards and 1 TD in a game this season (also Davante Adams and George Kittle).
Draft Picks
Eagles Ravens
WR Jalen Raegor LB Patrick Queen
QB Jalen Hurts RB JK Dobbins
LB Davion Taylor DT Justin Madubuike
S K’Von Wallace WR Devin Duvernay
OT Jack Driscoll LB Malik Harrison
WR John Hightower OT Trye Phillips
LB Shaun Bradley OG Ben Bredeson
WR Quez Watkins DT Broderick Washington
OT Prince Tega Wanogho WR James Proche
LB/DE Casey Toohill S Geno Stone
Notable Off-season Additions
Eagles Ravens
S Will Parks DE Calais Campbell
DT Javon Hargrave LS Nick Moore
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman DE Derek Wolfe
CB Darius Slay ILB Jake Ryan
OT Parker Ehinger
TE Jerell Adams
RB Kenjon Barner
Notable Off-season Departures
Eagles Ravens
S Malcom Jenkins TE Hayen Hurst
CB Ronald Darby OL James Hurst
RB Jordan Howard CB Brandon Carr
WR Nelson Agholor OL B.J. Finney
OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai WR Seth Roberts
LB Kamu Grugler-Hill DT Michael Pierce
RB Darren Sproles DE Chris Wormley
DT Timmy Jernigan ILB Josh Bynes
LB Nigel Bradham ILB Patrick Onwuasor
S Earl Thomas
Milestones
Eagles QB Carson Wentz (15379) needs 294 yards to move up to 4th on the Eagles all-time passing yards list moving ahead of QB Norm Snead.
Eagles QB Carson Wentz (907) needs 93 yards for 1000 career rushing yards.
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (6397) needs 68 yards to move up to 3rd on the Eagles all-time receiving yards list all-time passing WR *Mike Quick
Eagles WR Desean Jackson (34) needs 2 TDs to move into a tie for 7th on the Eagles all-time receiving TD list tying WR Jeremy Maclin
Eagles DE Brandon Graham (54) needs 1 sack to move to 4th on the Eagles all-time sack list passing DE Hugh Douglas
Eagles DT Fletcher Cox (49.5) needs 1 sack to move up to 6th on the Eagles all-time sack list tying DE Greg Brown
Eagles DE Vinny Curry (27.5) needs 2 sacks to move up to 18th on the Eagles all-time sack list tying DT Jerome Brown
Eagles TE Zach Ertz needs 112 receiving yards for 6000 career receiving yards.
Ravens RB Mark Ingram (1223) needs 27 yards to move up to 12th on the Ravens all-time rushing lists passing RB Javorius Allen and 112 yards to move up to 11th on the list passing RB Bernard Pierce
Stats to Know
Deep Passing
The body types are totally different, but WR Hollywood Brown poses a major deep threat to the Eagles defense, just as WR Chase Claypool did last week No WR in the league has more deep targets (beyond 20 yards) than Brown does, at 15, also catching 4 of 4 catchable deep balls. The next closes for the Eagles is Desean Jackson with 6 targets and 2 catches on 2 catchable deep balls.We don’t know if Desean will be a go for this game, but tell me which Eagle(s) you want defending Brown’s speed on deep balls or on end-arounds. Slay’s out and Mills is not fast. Looking at the QBs slinging these deep balls, Lamar Jackson is 7th in deep ball %, at 16.3% yet 24th in Adjusted Completion % (focusing the stat on QB agency). Wentz is slightly better in that statistic, good for 19th at 40%.
Matchups to Watch
Ravens Multifaceted Offense vs.Eagles Predictable Defense
The Ravens have a diverse offensive attack led by the reigning NFL MVP and a creative Offensive Coordinator that is more than capable of shredding the vanilla Eagles defense. Thus far in 2020, Schwartz has shown little in the way of molding his defense to help cater to the personnel he has in place that has also regressed in his tenure. I’ve said repeatedly throughout this season, as well as in the run up to this season, that the Eagles defense took several steps back in personnel and overall talent to where their strengths really can’t hide the deficiencies in the back end. Other than Darius Slay, the only member of the back seven who can cover, the Eagles struggle to match against opposing offenses in man and zone coverage. They have several hybrid players who theoretically are jacks of all trades and masters of none; in a cruel twist of fate, that was entirely predictable, the Eagles defense has players that struggle with any kind of basic trait that helps a modern defense leaving them as effectively jacks of no trade. Lamar Jackson will execute a diverse rushing attack with 3 capable RBs and his own athleticism that presents a unique challenge for every NFL defense to defend. The Ravens also have a quality offensive line to aid him in targeting a very good Tight End in Mark Andrews and other capable receivers. This offense uses motions and other misdirection plays, as well as play action, at near league leading rates. This is a problem for the Eagles defense as not only are they not talented enough to stop it, they struggle in alignment and execute against motion, misdirection, and play action. Their linebackers are unable to process coverage assignments and frequently blow assignments leading to big plays. Their corners, outside of Slay, struggle to cover at all. It’s a bad recipe for an overmatched defense. Schwartz will need to get this group to play at the level they did two weeks ago in San Francisco in an effort to slow down the Ravens offense. This is one of the best teams in the NFL. The Eagles offense can’t be counted on to continue to match its opponents in a shootout given their personnel limitations on that side of the ball. And when they do find success, the defense struggles to play complimentary football - just like last week. This unit needs to show up or this will likely be a blowout.
Eagles Receiving Weapons vs. Ravens Secondary
Even without Earl Thomas, the Ravens still field one of the best secondaries in the NFL and are capable of executing a number of coverage assignments. They possess two outstanding corners, Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, who are able to match up with whatever scrubs the Eagles pull off the street this week. Travis Fulgham is fresh off a career day and looks like the first viable receiver the Eagles have had in some time but you have to figure at some point his sudden meteoric rise will normalize soon. That normalization could likely be this week against a formidable secondary. Regardless of when that comes, Fulgham has acquitted himself nicely in the offense and should be a full time starting forward. Absent the return of Desean Jackson or the season debut of Alshon Jeffery, this is a receiver group that is still mightily undermanned due to injury and a lackluster front office. Philly could stand to see a reemergence of Zach Ertz from the struggle bus and produce more than the very little he’s contributed this season so far. Lastly, the Eagles need Carson Wentz to pick up where he left off after a strong performance against the Steelers. PFF graded Wentz as a top 5 QB last week and it was easily his most complete performance of the season which is a notable brightspot in an otherwise disappointing start to the season. This Ravens defense is no joke and is very opportunistic as they force a lot of turnovers. Wentz’s margin for error is already very small given the situation around him but this game requires him to better manage the game on each play to give the offense a shot.
Eagles Decimated Offensive Line vs Ravens Attacking Defensive Front
The Eagles Offensive Line is a surprisingly decent group despite the ridiculous amount of injuries they continue to take on so far this season. The only projected starter left on the offensive line is center Jason Kelce. Lane Johnson is questionable heading into Sunday’s contest and hasn’t practiced this week. He likely won’t go as he’s been dealing with an ankle injury that’s plagued him since training camp. Even if he does return, Johnson is likely to continue to be plagued with the injury bug as long as he isn’t on injured reserve. Jeff Stoutland deserves all the praise in the world for coaching up the current cast of characters on the OL as they haven’t played as horribly as you might imagine against stiff competition. The Steelers defensive front is one of the best in football and the Eagles OL did more than enough to help put them in a position to win last week. They face another difficult test Sunday as they face a complete Ravens front with a DC in Wink Martindale that loves to blitz more than any DC in the NFL. Matthew Judon, Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser, and Calais Campbell are a strong unit; Martindale isn’t afraid to bring anyone on a blitz. This offensive line needs to continue to communicate well to handle the onslaught of pressure they are about to face on Sunday. They don’t have the depth of talent to be expected to win consistently; if they play like they did last week, that could be good enough. It’s a very tall order though.
Special thanks to MikeTysonChicken and abenyishay for their help in creating this Game Preview.
submitted by Rsubs33 to eagles [link] [comments]


2020.10.14 05:55 Army_Bot Summary For: Weekly Question Thread (10/5/2020 to 10/11/2020)

How come everyone only talks BAD about the military. Someone who wanted to join but is put off by nothing but complete absolutely negative comments on the life and quality of it
Link to Comment Chain
So I was separated under honorable conditions 7 months ago out of AIT, I’m wanting to re-enlist but there was a whole “fraudulent enlistment” thing that my chain of command reported my recruiter for because a family member of mine mentioned something they weren’t supposed to, to my commander. He didn’t discharge me for that though, he helped me out and sent me on my way as a separation under honorable conditions. Does anyone know if that report is classified or if they could pull it because my name would be attached to it when I try to re enlist. I don’t want to be shit on in the process of joining wondering if anyone has experience in recruiting or another area that would be helpful. PS I didn’t throw my recruiter under the bus he helped me out a lot and was a huge help in preparing me for basic and getting my mindset stable for BCT, the whole “look forward to the next meal” is what made it a breeze.
Link to Comment Chain
I was hoping to snag an option 4 contract/volunteer for airborne school if I get the chance later, but I keep seeing people on this reddit saying that airborne sucks and wrecks your body. Can someone elaborate on that? Is there a high risk of injury, or is it more of a long-term, wear and tear kind of thing? (And does it help if I'm planning to go into 25 or 35 series, which is presumably less hard on your body in general than infantry?) Are there any other downsides to going airborne that I'm missing?
On the other hand, are there any significant upsides to going airborne? I heard you're more likely to get opportunities for "high speed" assignments down the line if you're airborne qualified.
Link to Comment Chain
I’m shipping to BCT 12/28 after I graduate college this December. I went to MEPS last week and was surprised my paperwork said I’d be enlisting as an E-3 rather than an E-4. I asked my Army liaison about it and he said I’d be good to promote to E-4 when I show the Army my official college transcript so I thought cool no worries. Here’s my problem: this morning my academic advisor tells me my formal college transcript won’t be ready until mid January. Does anyone know what my chances are for the Army accepting my transcripts while I’m at BCT and allowing me to promote there? I don’t want to lose out on money if I don’t have to.
Edit: added a “he”. Also obligatory I’m not joining for the money but money is nice, ya know.
Link to Comment Chain
I'm a college senior (graduating in May) weighing my options. I know the general advice is to not enlist with a degree, but I'm considering it. I want to go to law school but definitely want to spend time working after undergrad. I figure rather than trying to get a job at a law firm I could enlist as a paralegal (27D) and use the GI bill to pay for law school once I get out. I'll be graduating with student loans and would like to start paying them down before going back to school. I have a good GPA (3.84) and a strong desire to serve. I've gotten some leadership experience through school, but I don't really see myself as an officer (besides maybe as a JAG down the line) and don't think I'd have a very competitive OCS packet. Any advice?
Link to Comment Chain
PCSing to JBLM. Where should a SINGLE junior O live? I was thinking Central Tacoma, near 6th Ave. But spoke to an O3 who said I should live in Seattle. I hate commuting so I want to keep that minimum. Is Central Tacoma a good compromise? I do enjoy night life
Link to Comment Chain
I've asked recruiters but can't get a clear answer; can you actually enlist as an 89D/EOD Tech? If so, is it better to enlist as, say, a Combat Engineer then volunteer for EOD school to make it there or jump right into it?
Link to Comment Chain
For cadets commissioning active duty out of ROTC, do both time in service/grade and ADSO time begin on the first day you're on active duty, or does commissioning date affect anything? Does advanced camp cadre/gold bar recruiter start the ADSO and promotion clocks earlier than if you just waited to start active duty at BOLC?
Link to Comment Chain
Hi I am in the recruiting process right now, I took the ASVAB already, we went to a hotel to get temp checked before going to MEPS and the recruiter said our PT is the following week and we would be staying at the hotel the night before the PT . I believe I heard a few youtubers say this when I was researching other peoples experiences before the ASVAB but I cant find these videos again. So is it normal to stay at the hotel the night before the PT, can someone confirm if this sounds like the due process of things, my family is wondering if thats the case. Thank you!
Link to Comment Chain
Hi, can I apply to Army OCS if I had a DOR at USMC OCS? Yes I know I'm dumb for going DOR at USMC OCS, is it possible in anyway to apply for Army OCS? At the time I was completely defeated at USMC OCS, and couldn't see myself completing it at all. I was given a drop code of DOR-18 and it said not recommended to reapply. At the time they told me I could enlist in the marines if I pleased but not come back to OCS. Also would enlisting in the army for 4 years then applying for OCS show I'm committed for a 2nd chance?
Link to Comment Chain
Should I join Army Reserve as an officer or focus on civilian career?
Hello, I’m currently a graduate student studying for my masters in IT and also currently in ROTC. I’ve always wanted to serve but also want to have a great civilian career in tech, so I figured I should join the reserves and work one weekend a month and 2-3 weeks every summer while having a paying job in IT in the private sector. I read a similar post here from another guy who’s in the same position as me, except he wants to go active. So I’m kind of in a bind here.
What would you guys do? Should I drop out of ROTC now and focus on my civilian career or do you think I should continue with ROTC and be an officer in their reserves? Or will being an officer take up too much time from advancing my civilian career?
Link to Comment Chain
Anyone know the contract lengths for 46S, 25V, and 35M? My recruiter couldn't tell me because the jobs weren't open when I visited (I'm willing to wait for a spot to open up) but I'd like to know the info now so I can start making a decision about which one I want to try for.
Link to Comment Chain
Is it true that Army SF officers usually only spend a few years in SF before going back to the conventional side?
Link to Comment Chain
Shipping to Benning for Infantry OSUT in a week. Hoping to pickup a slot for airborne after AIT. Curious what the chances of getting sent to a leg unit after finishing airborne would be. I would love to go to 10th mountain but also really want my jump wings. Are you guaranteed to be sent to an airborne unit after airborne school?
Link to Comment Chain
How difficult is it to get stationed at Fort Meade?
More specifically as a 35G?
Link to Comment Chain
My recruiter wants me to take apft before I ship out on 24th oct. Last time I took it I did well on everything besides sit ups and did not pass. So what happens if I don’t pass this PT test during Dep? I have combat mos and I’m actually in good shape even though i failed, I’ve just been working long hours and haven’t had the chance to really focus on fitness. But I know once I ship out I can get back to my previous fitness quickly.
Link to Comment Chain
Looking for details on 13F in Ranger Batt. Anyone with experience? Secondhand knowledge is welcome as well.
Link to Comment Chain
Is it possible to serve military full time while completing a double major online? I want to major in East Asian studies and business administration and was wondering if this was possible
Link to Comment Chain
Quick question, I'm at AIT at Gordon right now, is there any possible way to change my contact from active to National Guard or even Reserves? I know there probably isn't, but I still hold out hope.
Link to Comment Chain
I'm going through the process rn. I've informed my recruiter that I smoked weed briefly freshman year of college, and that I haven't smoked since (true). He said not to worry about it, and to never mention that to anyone again, which, ok no problem.
I previously held a (Federal) internship where I disclosed my MJ use. Filled out a form, gave a "it was a mistake I pinky promise it'll never ever happen again" statement, and was good to go.
Is there any chance this will jam me up during my enlistment process?
Link to Comment Chain
I am trying to get my JST put on my ERB so I can get the last bit of promotion points I need, but they have turned me back twice now.
The first time they told me I had to do it through the learning center, but when I contacted the learning center, they told me that S1 does it.
So I went back again and the S1 NCOIC himself turned me away and said that S1 doesn't do it. I am tried of being turned away, I have been promotable for over a year now because of points and am tired of this. Does anyone know my next course of action? Is my S1 just lying to me because they are lazy?
Link to Comment Chain
So does your vision have to be correctable to 20/20 at MEPS? I know when I go to the eye doctor, they're consistently only able to get it to 20/25, and my understanding is, you fail meps if you aren't able to correct to 20/20
Link to Comment Chain
Navy vet here, I’m trying to help a guy that works for me with some info about nah for his spouse during boot. Can anyone pass along the reg that covers this? TIA
Link to Comment Chain
I commissioned into the Reserves out of ROTC this past July.
My unit hasn’t contacted me at all so I haven’t been going to drill since commissioning. Is this normal? Am I supposed to contact them?
I’m going to BOLC in a few weeks anyway so at this point I don’t think it matters.
Just wondering if they even know I’m in their unit?
Link to Comment Chain
Does anyone know how airborne school is right now? I live in 3 weeks for it.
Link to Comment Chain
What should I expect going to Army BCT as a prior service Sailor (e4 8 years service)? Should I anticipate being treated like a day one private or like someone who has 8 honorable years of service? Anyone who’s attended BCT as prior service please advise. Thanks
Link to Comment Chain
Any 12R here I’m currently in technical school for electrical automation and have experience with residential in the feild. I’m thinking about joining active when I’m done with school tomorrow what are daily duties like and did you get deployed and if you did did you see combat?
Link to Comment Chain
Prior Service USAF and I've been working with a recruiter since beginning of April. Honorable discharge but I have a VA disability rating and need a medical waiver, though there is nothing that is an automatic disqualifier. In January I inprocessed with the Air National Guard and actually had my medical waiver approved in less than 2 months. The only reason I didn't move forward with them is the job availability was extremely slim, and with COVID and some extreme job uncertainty I wanted to go active.
Recruiter has been working with MEPS since April on the waiver. I have all my medical records, and seeing as I have already had another services waiver approved I was extremely optimistic. First long wait was due to COVID, understandable. Then another long wait due to MEPS liaison "losing" paperwork. Then another long wait because some of my records were "illegible" according to someone at Fort Campbell. Worked on getting everything in to a better resolution but now the paperwork has just been sitting with the MEPS liaison for three weeks needing to be approved. My recruiter has been very open with me and communicating, and he says everyone in his chain knows what's happening and isn't happy. He recommended I call the MEPS liaison office and see if I could speak to someone and give them a push, but doesn't know if that will help or make it worse.
Do I call the MEPS liaison or just keep waiting it out? Part of me knows I just need to tough it out and keep waiting, that this process can take forever and the military is always hurry up and wait yadda yadda but I hate things being out of my control. Thanks for letting me vent.
Link to Comment Chain
I am in the recruiting process, for active Army. I originally wanted to turn in an OCS packet and sit for the boards however, I scored a 109 on my GT score and I need a 110.
My recruiter and his superior have been all about enlisting me, and when I scored a 109 they told me I can enlist and drop my OCS packet at my first duty station. They also said I can sit for the boards and retest to get the 110, but the acceptance rate is extremely low and I probably won’t be picked up. Lastly, they said they didn’t care what I do because at the end of the day they are in and I’m not.
I have some funny feelings about the way they went about that conversation, are they just trying to enlist people and officer packets are not worth the time?
Can I actually drop my OCS packet as soon as I finish training? After some research, It’s my understanding that your superiors have to back your packet, which makes me think they won’t as soon as you arrive.
What are some positives and negatives of both enlisted and officer?
Is ROTC worth it for your masters degree?
I feel like I have asked a million questions and more than one way and my recruiter either is not being transparent or he just doesn’t know. Please help!
Link to Comment Chain
What does being a 35P at a line unit look like? What about with a coolguy unit (75th, attached to an ODA, etc)?
Link to Comment Chain
Hi I just started my class in AIT and it “ends” in December in the 14th. Would I still get block leave or would I have to report to my first duty station?
Link to Comment Chain
I had my battalion OCS interview this week. My package is now supposed to go to USAREC. For any recruiters on here, does battalion send my packet to USAREC or does my recruiter have to send it up? My recruiter is new and can’t seem to get an answer. I want to make sure I don’t miss today’s deadline.
Link to Comment Chain
Has anyone PS rejoined as their MOS and not had to go back to basic or ait and just went to a new duty station, how did that work? How was the pcsing process?
Link to Comment Chain
I had open-heart surgery as an infant. Maps have been taking a lengthy amount of time on my paperwork. Recently, they sent the documents to a cardiologist specialist for a second opinion. Any idea how long it could take?
Link to Comment Chain
Hey y'all, I'm reclassing to a packet MOS and my retention NCO tells me I have a report date (sometime next month) in the system. It's been roughly two weeks though and I haven't seen notification in ATRRS or my email. I'm thinking of contacting the branch manager, but I don't want to waste their time. The branch manager already put in my follow-on assigment, are school slots something they do too? Or is the system just slow and I should wait for it populate correctly?
Link to Comment Chain
Former enlisted Marine here thinking about joining as an 11B with an Option 40
Looking for opinions and insight, I have recently left the Marine Corps and being an Army Ranger is of interest to me. Ranger school is something everyone can go to and earn a tab, but Option 40 sends you to RASP after AIT, and then you get stationed with the 75th Ranger Regiment correct? So if I signed an 11B with an Option 40 I would just go to AIT, RASP and then the Regiment?
Also I'm not completely sure if I should commission or enlist. I wont do either until I get my degree but with the enlisted side, I for sure get to attend RASP as an 11B, something as an officer I know is not guaranteed. I am confident in my abilities to graduate OCS at a pretty high level, but I feel like that there are unforeseen factors that can deter me from being an Infantry Officer. All I know is, being an Infantry Officer in the Regiment is a lot more of a gamble than just enlisting.

Can anyone offer me their experience / insight on enlisting / commissioning to being an Army Ranger? What is RASP like, what is 11B AIT like? Pros / cons of enlisting / officer? I have a general sense of the pros / cons of enlisting because of The Marine Corps, wondering if its any different in the Army.
Link to Comment Chain
Anyone know what GT/ASVAB score you need for a 42R(Traditional Army bands) also what prerequisite will they require before enlisting(Not BCT or AIT)? Song knowledge for auditioning or do they audition? And what the culture is like? My wife is wanting to serve active duty as 42R in Bass Trombone.
Link to Comment Chain
Does anyone have insights about the 88k mos? It sounds really fun, but recruiter doesn’t know much about it. Any info helps, thanks.
Link to Comment Chain
Reserve 35S
Prior service just need some basic insight please and thank you.
-Does anyone have any idea what annual training for the reserves looks like for a 35S? I understand its partially in line with your unit. But are some units more ‘strategic’ than others (do your actual job during/ no field bs during AT)? Or do they all tend to do the same thing for AT’s? -Also, have they officially changed the AIT to GoodFellow now or can i expect to be going to Corry? -How’s life for a MOS-T during this COVID era in AIT?
Link to Comment Chain
Does 35L counterintelligence mos require DLAB to enlist for the job?
Link to Comment Chain
Hello everyone, I’m a navy reject planning on joining the army, waiting on clearance for the medical stuff and what not, but beyond that, I’ve been curious about MOS’s and I was wondering if the 94 series is as good and transferable as the 25 series, I really like both and I’m pretty sure both are signal Corp, I was hoping to get some input and see if anyone has any info as to what the jobs entail and the overall lifestyle of each, thank you!
Link to Comment Chain
Good morning! I am looking into joining the Army Reserve. I have met with a recruiter and I am going to take the ASVAB. I am interested in becoming a pilot. I would prefer flying a fixed wing aircraft like the C-130 or the c-17. However, I would be fine flying helicopters as well. My question is is there a direct way to join and train to become a pilot? I understand I have to become a Warren Officer or an aviation officer. It seems like I may have to start off with a job that is available depending on my ASVAB score and then prepare a packet for the Warren officer candidate school. The reason I am looking into the reserve and not active duty is because I don’t want to get stationed far from home or in another country.
The jobs I am interested in so far are 155a and 153a.
Thanks you, Justin Calero
Link to Comment Chain
Prior service here required to repeat BCT due to break in service.
Will my family get Tricare coverage while I'm in training?
Link to Comment Chain
How's the daily life of a Intel Soldier? More specifically a 35m or 35p. Is it a miserable desk job or is there usually more to it? Intel has been really appealing (along with aviation) to me but I feel like I'm having a romanticised look on it.
Link to Comment Chain
Is there specific army website I can go to to see the current retention tiers for my MOS? Or do I have to do this through retention
Link to Comment Chain
Probably a stupid question, but would I use my gtc for things like baggage fees? Flying on a commercial airline and I'm only authorized one bag, and I'd really like to take a second one.
Link to Comment Chain
I’m a college student and hold a civilian job as a security engineer.
I’m being told I scored high enough to get 17C or 25D as a MOS from my recruiter
However I see importance in holding my civilian job and I think the best opportunity would for me to join the reserves or national guard.
I’m trying to figure out which one would be more beneficial to me. I am looking to have the army pay for my college or at least most of it and looking to seek benefits if I ever get deployed.
Any information about the national guard in the state of NY or education benefits will be appreciated im located in NYC and any advice based on which would I should consider would be helpful.
Link to Comment Chain
Are the prior service business rules a guideline to know what jobs you can choose from, assuming they have openings. Or is there a chance you can get a job not on the list?
Link to Comment Chain
When enlisting as a prior service (guard to active) do you get any say in 11c over 11b? Like can you request when you get to OSUT? (Reclassing from 91b)
Link to Comment Chain
High school graduate who is taking a gap semester this year. Looking at different options for my future and career path and have been eyeing on the different military branches for cyber security MOSs that offer certificates and experience. My real question is however is does army most 17C provide that for my situation?
Link to Comment Chain
Hey guys I have six years prior service(logistics) with a masters degree. Could I join the army as a 03 in a logistics role?
Link to Comment Chain
submitted by Army_Bot to army [link] [comments]


2020.10.14 05:55 Army_Bot Summary For: Weekly Question Thread (10/5/2020 to 10/11/2020)

How come everyone only talks BAD about the military. Someone who wanted to join but is put off by nothing but complete absolutely negative comments on the life and quality of it
Link to Comment Chain
So I was separated under honorable conditions 7 months ago out of AIT, I’m wanting to re-enlist but there was a whole “fraudulent enlistment” thing that my chain of command reported my recruiter for because a family member of mine mentioned something they weren’t supposed to, to my commander. He didn’t discharge me for that though, he helped me out and sent me on my way as a separation under honorable conditions. Does anyone know if that report is classified or if they could pull it because my name would be attached to it when I try to re enlist. I don’t want to be shit on in the process of joining wondering if anyone has experience in recruiting or another area that would be helpful. PS I didn’t throw my recruiter under the bus he helped me out a lot and was a huge help in preparing me for basic and getting my mindset stable for BCT, the whole “look forward to the next meal” is what made it a breeze.
Link to Comment Chain
I was hoping to snag an option 4 contract/volunteer for airborne school if I get the chance later, but I keep seeing people on this reddit saying that airborne sucks and wrecks your body. Can someone elaborate on that? Is there a high risk of injury, or is it more of a long-term, wear and tear kind of thing? (And does it help if I'm planning to go into 25 or 35 series, which is presumably less hard on your body in general than infantry?) Are there any other downsides to going airborne that I'm missing?
On the other hand, are there any significant upsides to going airborne? I heard you're more likely to get opportunities for "high speed" assignments down the line if you're airborne qualified.
Link to Comment Chain
I’m shipping to BCT 12/28 after I graduate college this December. I went to MEPS last week and was surprised my paperwork said I’d be enlisting as an E-3 rather than an E-4. I asked my Army liaison about it and he said I’d be good to promote to E-4 when I show the Army my official college transcript so I thought cool no worries. Here’s my problem: this morning my academic advisor tells me my formal college transcript won’t be ready until mid January. Does anyone know what my chances are for the Army accepting my transcripts while I’m at BCT and allowing me to promote there? I don’t want to lose out on money if I don’t have to.
Edit: added a “he”. Also obligatory I’m not joining for the money but money is nice, ya know.
Link to Comment Chain
I'm a college senior (graduating in May) weighing my options. I know the general advice is to not enlist with a degree, but I'm considering it. I want to go to law school but definitely want to spend time working after undergrad. I figure rather than trying to get a job at a law firm I could enlist as a paralegal (27D) and use the GI bill to pay for law school once I get out. I'll be graduating with student loans and would like to start paying them down before going back to school. I have a good GPA (3.84) and a strong desire to serve. I've gotten some leadership experience through school, but I don't really see myself as an officer (besides maybe as a JAG down the line) and don't think I'd have a very competitive OCS packet. Any advice?
Link to Comment Chain
PCSing to JBLM. Where should a SINGLE junior O live? I was thinking Central Tacoma, near 6th Ave. But spoke to an O3 who said I should live in Seattle. I hate commuting so I want to keep that minimum. Is Central Tacoma a good compromise? I do enjoy night life
Link to Comment Chain
I've asked recruiters but can't get a clear answer; can you actually enlist as an 89D/EOD Tech? If so, is it better to enlist as, say, a Combat Engineer then volunteer for EOD school to make it there or jump right into it?
Link to Comment Chain
For cadets commissioning active duty out of ROTC, do both time in service/grade and ADSO time begin on the first day you're on active duty, or does commissioning date affect anything? Does advanced camp cadre/gold bar recruiter start the ADSO and promotion clocks earlier than if you just waited to start active duty at BOLC?
Link to Comment Chain
Hi I am in the recruiting process right now, I took the ASVAB already, we went to a hotel to get temp checked before going to MEPS and the recruiter said our PT is the following week and we would be staying at the hotel the night before the PT . I believe I heard a few youtubers say this when I was researching other peoples experiences before the ASVAB but I cant find these videos again. So is it normal to stay at the hotel the night before the PT, can someone confirm if this sounds like the due process of things, my family is wondering if thats the case. Thank you!
Link to Comment Chain
Hi, can I apply to Army OCS if I had a DOR at USMC OCS? Yes I know I'm dumb for going DOR at USMC OCS, is it possible in anyway to apply for Army OCS? At the time I was completely defeated at USMC OCS, and couldn't see myself completing it at all. I was given a drop code of DOR-18 and it said not recommended to reapply. At the time they told me I could enlist in the marines if I pleased but not come back to OCS. Also would enlisting in the army for 4 years then applying for OCS show I'm committed for a 2nd chance?
Link to Comment Chain
Should I join Army Reserve as an officer or focus on civilian career?
Hello, I’m currently a graduate student studying for my masters in IT and also currently in ROTC. I’ve always wanted to serve but also want to have a great civilian career in tech, so I figured I should join the reserves and work one weekend a month and 2-3 weeks every summer while having a paying job in IT in the private sector. I read a similar post here from another guy who’s in the same position as me, except he wants to go active. So I’m kind of in a bind here.
What would you guys do? Should I drop out of ROTC now and focus on my civilian career or do you think I should continue with ROTC and be an officer in their reserves? Or will being an officer take up too much time from advancing my civilian career?
Link to Comment Chain
Anyone know the contract lengths for 46S, 25V, and 35M? My recruiter couldn't tell me because the jobs weren't open when I visited (I'm willing to wait for a spot to open up) but I'd like to know the info now so I can start making a decision about which one I want to try for.
Link to Comment Chain
Is it true that Army SF officers usually only spend a few years in SF before going back to the conventional side?
Link to Comment Chain
Shipping to Benning for Infantry OSUT in a week. Hoping to pickup a slot for airborne after AIT. Curious what the chances of getting sent to a leg unit after finishing airborne would be. I would love to go to 10th mountain but also really want my jump wings. Are you guaranteed to be sent to an airborne unit after airborne school?
Link to Comment Chain
How difficult is it to get stationed at Fort Meade?
More specifically as a 35G?
Link to Comment Chain
My recruiter wants me to take apft before I ship out on 24th oct. Last time I took it I did well on everything besides sit ups and did not pass. So what happens if I don’t pass this PT test during Dep? I have combat mos and I’m actually in good shape even though i failed, I’ve just been working long hours and haven’t had the chance to really focus on fitness. But I know once I ship out I can get back to my previous fitness quickly.
Link to Comment Chain
Looking for details on 13F in Ranger Batt. Anyone with experience? Secondhand knowledge is welcome as well.
Link to Comment Chain
Is it possible to serve military full time while completing a double major online? I want to major in East Asian studies and business administration and was wondering if this was possible
Link to Comment Chain
Quick question, I'm at AIT at Gordon right now, is there any possible way to change my contact from active to National Guard or even Reserves? I know there probably isn't, but I still hold out hope.
Link to Comment Chain
I'm going through the process rn. I've informed my recruiter that I smoked weed briefly freshman year of college, and that I haven't smoked since (true). He said not to worry about it, and to never mention that to anyone again, which, ok no problem.
I previously held a (Federal) internship where I disclosed my MJ use. Filled out a form, gave a "it was a mistake I pinky promise it'll never ever happen again" statement, and was good to go.
Is there any chance this will jam me up during my enlistment process?
Link to Comment Chain
I am trying to get my JST put on my ERB so I can get the last bit of promotion points I need, but they have turned me back twice now.
The first time they told me I had to do it through the learning center, but when I contacted the learning center, they told me that S1 does it.
So I went back again and the S1 NCOIC himself turned me away and said that S1 doesn't do it. I am tried of being turned away, I have been promotable for over a year now because of points and am tired of this. Does anyone know my next course of action? Is my S1 just lying to me because they are lazy?
Link to Comment Chain
So does your vision have to be correctable to 20/20 at MEPS? I know when I go to the eye doctor, they're consistently only able to get it to 20/25, and my understanding is, you fail meps if you aren't able to correct to 20/20
Link to Comment Chain
Navy vet here, I’m trying to help a guy that works for me with some info about nah for his spouse during boot. Can anyone pass along the reg that covers this? TIA
Link to Comment Chain
I commissioned into the Reserves out of ROTC this past July.
My unit hasn’t contacted me at all so I haven’t been going to drill since commissioning. Is this normal? Am I supposed to contact them?
I’m going to BOLC in a few weeks anyway so at this point I don’t think it matters.
Just wondering if they even know I’m in their unit?
Link to Comment Chain
Does anyone know how airborne school is right now? I live in 3 weeks for it.
Link to Comment Chain
What should I expect going to Army BCT as a prior service Sailor (e4 8 years service)? Should I anticipate being treated like a day one private or like someone who has 8 honorable years of service? Anyone who’s attended BCT as prior service please advise. Thanks
Link to Comment Chain
Any 12R here I’m currently in technical school for electrical automation and have experience with residential in the feild. I’m thinking about joining active when I’m done with school tomorrow what are daily duties like and did you get deployed and if you did did you see combat?
Link to Comment Chain
Prior Service USAF and I've been working with a recruiter since beginning of April. Honorable discharge but I have a VA disability rating and need a medical waiver, though there is nothing that is an automatic disqualifier. In January I inprocessed with the Air National Guard and actually had my medical waiver approved in less than 2 months. The only reason I didn't move forward with them is the job availability was extremely slim, and with COVID and some extreme job uncertainty I wanted to go active.
Recruiter has been working with MEPS since April on the waiver. I have all my medical records, and seeing as I have already had another services waiver approved I was extremely optimistic. First long wait was due to COVID, understandable. Then another long wait due to MEPS liaison "losing" paperwork. Then another long wait because some of my records were "illegible" according to someone at Fort Campbell. Worked on getting everything in to a better resolution but now the paperwork has just been sitting with the MEPS liaison for three weeks needing to be approved. My recruiter has been very open with me and communicating, and he says everyone in his chain knows what's happening and isn't happy. He recommended I call the MEPS liaison office and see if I could speak to someone and give them a push, but doesn't know if that will help or make it worse.
Do I call the MEPS liaison or just keep waiting it out? Part of me knows I just need to tough it out and keep waiting, that this process can take forever and the military is always hurry up and wait yadda yadda but I hate things being out of my control. Thanks for letting me vent.
Link to Comment Chain
I am in the recruiting process, for active Army. I originally wanted to turn in an OCS packet and sit for the boards however, I scored a 109 on my GT score and I need a 110.
My recruiter and his superior have been all about enlisting me, and when I scored a 109 they told me I can enlist and drop my OCS packet at my first duty station. They also said I can sit for the boards and retest to get the 110, but the acceptance rate is extremely low and I probably won’t be picked up. Lastly, they said they didn’t care what I do because at the end of the day they are in and I’m not.
I have some funny feelings about the way they went about that conversation, are they just trying to enlist people and officer packets are not worth the time?
Can I actually drop my OCS packet as soon as I finish training? After some research, It’s my understanding that your superiors have to back your packet, which makes me think they won’t as soon as you arrive.
What are some positives and negatives of both enlisted and officer?
Is ROTC worth it for your masters degree?
I feel like I have asked a million questions and more than one way and my recruiter either is not being transparent or he just doesn’t know. Please help!
Link to Comment Chain
What does being a 35P at a line unit look like? What about with a coolguy unit (75th, attached to an ODA, etc)?
Link to Comment Chain
Hi I just started my class in AIT and it “ends” in December in the 14th. Would I still get block leave or would I have to report to my first duty station?
Link to Comment Chain
I had my battalion OCS interview this week. My package is now supposed to go to USAREC. For any recruiters on here, does battalion send my packet to USAREC or does my recruiter have to send it up? My recruiter is new and can’t seem to get an answer. I want to make sure I don’t miss today’s deadline.
Link to Comment Chain
Has anyone PS rejoined as their MOS and not had to go back to basic or ait and just went to a new duty station, how did that work? How was the pcsing process?
Link to Comment Chain
I had open-heart surgery as an infant. Maps have been taking a lengthy amount of time on my paperwork. Recently, they sent the documents to a cardiologist specialist for a second opinion. Any idea how long it could take?
Link to Comment Chain
Hey y'all, I'm reclassing to a packet MOS and my retention NCO tells me I have a report date (sometime next month) in the system. It's been roughly two weeks though and I haven't seen notification in ATRRS or my email. I'm thinking of contacting the branch manager, but I don't want to waste their time. The branch manager already put in my follow-on assigment, are school slots something they do too? Or is the system just slow and I should wait for it populate correctly?
Link to Comment Chain
Former enlisted Marine here thinking about joining as an 11B with an Option 40
Looking for opinions and insight, I have recently left the Marine Corps and being an Army Ranger is of interest to me. Ranger school is something everyone can go to and earn a tab, but Option 40 sends you to RASP after AIT, and then you get stationed with the 75th Ranger Regiment correct? So if I signed an 11B with an Option 40 I would just go to AIT, RASP and then the Regiment?
Also I'm not completely sure if I should commission or enlist. I wont do either until I get my degree but with the enlisted side, I for sure get to attend RASP as an 11B, something as an officer I know is not guaranteed. I am confident in my abilities to graduate OCS at a pretty high level, but I feel like that there are unforeseen factors that can deter me from being an Infantry Officer. All I know is, being an Infantry Officer in the Regiment is a lot more of a gamble than just enlisting.

Can anyone offer me their experience / insight on enlisting / commissioning to being an Army Ranger? What is RASP like, what is 11B AIT like? Pros / cons of enlisting / officer? I have a general sense of the pros / cons of enlisting because of The Marine Corps, wondering if its any different in the Army.
Link to Comment Chain
Anyone know what GT/ASVAB score you need for a 42R(Traditional Army bands) also what prerequisite will they require before enlisting(Not BCT or AIT)? Song knowledge for auditioning or do they audition? And what the culture is like? My wife is wanting to serve active duty as 42R in Bass Trombone.
Link to Comment Chain
Does anyone have insights about the 88k mos? It sounds really fun, but recruiter doesn’t know much about it. Any info helps, thanks.
Link to Comment Chain
Reserve 35S
Prior service just need some basic insight please and thank you.
-Does anyone have any idea what annual training for the reserves looks like for a 35S? I understand its partially in line with your unit. But are some units more ‘strategic’ than others (do your actual job during/ no field bs during AT)? Or do they all tend to do the same thing for AT’s? -Also, have they officially changed the AIT to GoodFellow now or can i expect to be going to Corry? -How’s life for a MOS-T during this COVID era in AIT?
Link to Comment Chain
Does 35L counterintelligence mos require DLAB to enlist for the job?
Link to Comment Chain
Hello everyone, I’m a navy reject planning on joining the army, waiting on clearance for the medical stuff and what not, but beyond that, I’ve been curious about MOS’s and I was wondering if the 94 series is as good and transferable as the 25 series, I really like both and I’m pretty sure both are signal Corp, I was hoping to get some input and see if anyone has any info as to what the jobs entail and the overall lifestyle of each, thank you!
Link to Comment Chain
Good morning! I am looking into joining the Army Reserve. I have met with a recruiter and I am going to take the ASVAB. I am interested in becoming a pilot. I would prefer flying a fixed wing aircraft like the C-130 or the c-17. However, I would be fine flying helicopters as well. My question is is there a direct way to join and train to become a pilot? I understand I have to become a Warren Officer or an aviation officer. It seems like I may have to start off with a job that is available depending on my ASVAB score and then prepare a packet for the Warren officer candidate school. The reason I am looking into the reserve and not active duty is because I don’t want to get stationed far from home or in another country.
The jobs I am interested in so far are 155a and 153a.
Thanks you, Justin Calero
Link to Comment Chain
Prior service here required to repeat BCT due to break in service.
Will my family get Tricare coverage while I'm in training?
Link to Comment Chain
How's the daily life of a Intel Soldier? More specifically a 35m or 35p. Is it a miserable desk job or is there usually more to it? Intel has been really appealing (along with aviation) to me but I feel like I'm having a romanticised look on it.
Link to Comment Chain
Is there specific army website I can go to to see the current retention tiers for my MOS? Or do I have to do this through retention
Link to Comment Chain
Probably a stupid question, but would I use my gtc for things like baggage fees? Flying on a commercial airline and I'm only authorized one bag, and I'd really like to take a second one.
Link to Comment Chain
I’m a college student and hold a civilian job as a security engineer.
I’m being told I scored high enough to get 17C or 25D as a MOS from my recruiter
However I see importance in holding my civilian job and I think the best opportunity would for me to join the reserves or national guard.
I’m trying to figure out which one would be more beneficial to me. I am looking to have the army pay for my college or at least most of it and looking to seek benefits if I ever get deployed.
Any information about the national guard in the state of NY or education benefits will be appreciated im located in NYC and any advice based on which would I should consider would be helpful.
Link to Comment Chain
Are the prior service business rules a guideline to know what jobs you can choose from, assuming they have openings. Or is there a chance you can get a job not on the list?
Link to Comment Chain
When enlisting as a prior service (guard to active) do you get any say in 11c over 11b? Like can you request when you get to OSUT? (Reclassing from 91b)
Link to Comment Chain
High school graduate who is taking a gap semester this year. Looking at different options for my future and career path and have been eyeing on the different military branches for cyber security MOSs that offer certificates and experience. My real question is however is does army most 17C provide that for my situation?
Link to Comment Chain
Hey guys I have six years prior service(logistics) with a masters degree. Could I join the army as a 03 in a logistics role?
Link to Comment Chain
submitted by Army_Bot to ArmyWQT [link] [comments]


2020.10.08 21:18 mr_tyler_durden Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update October 8, 2020

Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update October 8, 2020
Notes by mr_tyler_durden and Daily Update Team
Check your registration status, ballot status, or how to vote here!
Note: Thank you to the people who have given awards to these posts but I do want to say: Please don’t spend money to give these posts an award or if you want to give then donate it here instead. These people need your help more than I need awards. I guess if you are just spending reddit coins that you already have then that’s fine but don’t spend new money, donate it instead. Thank you all!
Watch here:
Headlines
  1. For the very first one is the Team Kentucky Fund, and I have some great news to share. We partnered with the community action of Kentucky and they have served as the hands and feet of our operation and I'm happy to announce today that we have officially given $1 million in aid to Kentuckians through the Team Kentucky Fund. [...] So if you've fallen on hard times financially because of COVID-19, please visit https://teamkyfund.ky.gov/ to apply. If you want to help your fellow Kentucky and you can make a donation at http://donate.ky.gov/ every gift is tax deductible and 100% of the proceeds go directly to support Kentuckians.
Full Notes
(continued in stickied comment)
submitted by mr_tyler_durden to Coronavirus_KY [link] [comments]


2020.09.24 23:57 hallach_halil Previewing the Chiefs-Ravens week three matchup


https://preview.redd.it/am7mzof0f5p51.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=13083956ab90c52e04d020f3bc16100fbb3bb225

We are in for one of the best Monday Night showdowns I can remember in a long time, as I already highlighted this as the best game of the 2020 NFL season when the schedule came out, and there is nothing that should take away from the hype coming in. The reigning league Lamar Jackson and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes both have their teams at 2-0 and fairly entrenched as the two elite squads in the AFC, ready to battle for the right to stay undefeated.
Two years ago, the Ravens seemed to have this one in their bag, until Mahomes pulled off some magic on a couple of fourth down plays to still turn things around and last season these two teams went up against each other in week three as well, where the Chiefs controlled the game for the most part, but then Lamar tried to manufacture a late comeback, to make the final score 33-28 Kansas City. Baltimore would lose the following week to Cleveland, but then went undefeated the rest of the way, until they lost in the Divisional Round to Tennessee.
This is the matchup everybody wanted and expected to see in last year’s Conference Championship game and it could easily be a preview of what we see in this year’s semi-finals, with crucial tie-breakers being on the line Monday. In this preview, I will break down both offenses and how they match up with the opposing defense, talk a little bit about special teams and two X-factors for each group.


Chiefs offense vs. Ravens defense:


https://preview.redd.it/8qd2ss52f5p51.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=7c7ed52f6179f0d31dd4756bcf64d349bb9f2ee3

Before anything else, Kansas City’s offense is built on the vertical passing attack, where they have the speed with guys like Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and company to beat any coverage and put a lot of stress on opposing defense, which opens up other stuff for them. In particular, they love those three-by-one sets with Travis Kelce as single receiver in a reduced split, putting their three fastest guys on one side, and then Kelce works across the field underneath, plus then they throw in a change-up, with the tight-end starting that way and pivoting back out. This season they have used a more quick-rhythm passing attack, where they get the ball out of Mahomes’ hands more quickly and allow him to take advantage of soft zone looks. On their first two touchdown drives of the 2020 season, they methodically worked their way down the field for 165 combined yards, with different run plays and not a single pass completed further than six yards across the line of scrimmage, heavily relying on RPOs and screen plays. First-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire from LSU is starting to get involved as a receiver as well. He should quickly become one of the ultimate check-down option, where he is just so tough to bring down, especially when the defense has to account for Mahomes and those speedster going over the top first and then come back upfield to corral the underneath guy. The rookie caught six balls last week for 32 yards last week, after focusing more on the run game in the season-opener, and also had another big gain wiped out due a holding call, on a beautiful adjustment down the seams. The Chargers defensive line did put plenty of heat on the Chiefs’ superstar QB in week two, but overall he has only been sacked twice and not only was he seemingly not touched in the season-opener, but he also stayed clean when it mattered most last week – in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Mahomes bomb for 54-yard Hill touchdown

With as much split-safety looks as opposing teams are presenting the Chiefs, Andy Reid & company have started to punish the opposition with a heavy dose of their run game, when they are presented numbers advantages in the box. First-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire has looked spectacular so far, with his ability to break tackles and create yardage after contact, with all but 50 of his 176 rushing yards coming after being touched initially, and averaging five yards per carry. He really excels on those duo and inside zone run from the shotgun, where his patience to let the combo-blocks draw in the linebackers and the quickness to get onto the right path before putting his foot on the gas, makes him really tough to bottle up. With receivers being motioned in and out of the backfield, fake jet sweeps or end-arounds to bind defenders and those integrated slant, flant or bubble options, they don’t allow the defense to flat-out win against those plays. Versus the Chargers last week, it was Mahomes’ mobility that ultimately kept them in and won the Chiefs the game, as he scrambled five times on third downs and converted on all but one of them. And for Kansas City as a team, when they really needed to be physical in overtime of this past matchup, they picked a big first down on fourth-and-one with a simple Power-G play, before hitting the game-winning field goal.

CEH physical run for 12 yards

The Ravens are a tough matchup for these guys however. First of all, with the collection of big guys up front, with Brandon Williams at the nose and two true base-ends, the Ravens can commit more to their deep coverage, without being compromised in run defense, plus then they upgraded their pass-rush, with Calais Campbell’s versatility along the front in particular. Their most improved unit compared to last season are there inside linebackers, where they now have first-round pick Patrick Queen from LSU, whose tremendous range allows them to slow down wide zone runs and throws between the hashes at a higher rate, plus then they pair him up L.J. Fort and fellow rookie Malik Harrison splitting time, as bigger bodies to take on blocks and do the dirty work. Baltimore to me has the best collection of corners – even with starting nickel Tavon Young out for the year once again – with the speed to match up against Kansas City’s track team and play-making ability from those spots. Their safety duo has been exchanged compared to who they started with last year, as Chuck Clark was one of the most underrated players in the league, filling in for the injured and overpaid Tony Jefferson, while DeShon Elliott is now stepping into the shoes of another overpaid and apparently toxic teammate in Earl Thomas. This new tandem is highly versatile, with how they can rotate high-and-low, while Clark in particular can fill in as a dime backer or contribute in their blitz packages. So on early downs, they will not allow teams to just move ahead of the chains with the run game and then on third down is where they are as creative and aggressive as any defense in the league, They show so much pressure pre-snap, with up to seven or eight defenders at the line of scrimmage, and they are really good at now showing who’s actually coming, as they might send the house or only rush four in the end and drop everybody else out.

Ravens coverage sack on 4th down vs. Browns

Mahomes has improved so much in terms of his ability to find solutions for pre- and post-snap changes, when I go back to how New England kept him under control for the first halves of their two games in his first year as a starter, compared to where he is now. One of the teams that can confuse even the best of quarterbacks however is Baltimore, because of how many different looks defensive coordinator Wink Martindale presents and how he doesn’t give away what they do pre-snap on passing downs, which forces quarterbacks to pull the ball down and as they try to get a clear picture. That’s why I believe it will be so crucial for Kansas City to get Clyde Edwards-Helaire and that run game going, to limit third-and-long situations and the exotic looks the Ravens can throw at them. With rookie Patrick Queen at inside backer now, they have the speed to take away those Mahomes scrambles in those situations, while he can also match up with Clyde and those other backs out on the route, especially having faced CEH in every practice down in Baton Rouge over the last couple of years. His closing burst helps out that pass-rush tremendously, as the opposing QB can’t just escape if the rush lanes get to wide, and he is pretty dangerous as part of their cross-dog action as well. Even though you obviously have to have the personnel to do so, the Chiefs had their most trouble last season when defenses could man up against their receivers and not allow those speedsters to get clean releases, which is where I think Baltimore could create some issues, if their rush gets home. With all that being said, Mahomes might the only player in the league who has that switch he can turn over and just be unstoppable, which never allows the Chiefs to put out of a game.


Ravens offense vs. Chiefs defense:


https://preview.redd.it/kaivb168l5p51.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=740997f0b8b3c4f32f0d45cc88196182ce67eb67

For Baltimore, last year everything started with the run game, as they set a new all-time record with 3296 rushing yards, with was pretty much exactly 1000 more than any other team in the league in 2019, and they blew everybody out of the water with a team rushing play percentage of 54.3 and an average of 5.53 yards per carry (0.5 yards more than any other squad). The Ravens have four legitimate backs, who can hurt the opposition, with Mark Ingram as the long-time veteran and one of the angriest runners in the league, Gus Edwards as a true sledgehammer, never really getting off that North and South approach, Justice Hill as more of a change-of-pace guy and pass-catcher and rookie J.K. Dobbins, who was a 2000-yard rusher at Ohio State last season and already looks like the most dynamic one of the bunch, after I said he would be a perfect fit for this type of offense. As far as the offensive line goes, they are one of the biggest and most physical groups in the entire league, with just under 330 pounds on average across the front-five and the ability to create vertical movement whenever they need to seemingly. They run a lot read option plays from pistol alignment, where they get their backs going straight downhill on the dive action and Lamar Jackson is the threat around the edge, when he decides to pull the ball, plus then they add that triple-option element at times and have a lot of RPO concepts integrated, that give the defense another thing to worry about if they go all-out to stop the run. The two things that really makes it tough for opponents to slow down that machine are how many different formations and looks Baltimore presents that force defenses to be perfect in their assignments and how much they influence run fits with their heavy amount of motion at the snap, where they have that jet sweep threat or add another blocker late. Last year they easily led the league with 34 percent of their offensive plays having a man in motion as the ball is snapped, while the league as a whole only did so on 11 percent of plays (which is already a climbing number thanks to Greg Roman’s playbook to some degree).

Dobbins around the edge for 44 yards

In 2020 however, the Ravens’ drop-back pass game is much more effective and that is what could make this offense nearly impossible to defend. In my weekly recaps of these last two weeks, I have already talked about how efficient and sharp Lamar has been so far, operating from within the pocket. Baltimore has added some depth to their wide receiver room, with a guy like Devin Duvernay as that perfect slot weapon that can run those RPO option routes and should continue to work his way into the offense, but Marquise Brown not dealing with a foot injury and threatening the defense with his speed, to go along with Mark Andrews entering the conversation for the best tight-end in the game outside of that separate tier that George Kittle and Travis Kelce are in, have helped the reigning MVP make the game easier and be so much more comfortable just delivering the ball on the money. And I have to say, his ball-placement and understanding of the offense is so much better than it was a year ago, recognizing defensive looks and where he needs to go with the ball. In week one against the Browns, he was literally throwing guys open with how the ball was put away from the leverage of defenders and to spots, where his pass-catchers were allowed to make plays on it. Of course the Ravens still run their heavy play-action fakes, where they keep up to eight men in protection, giving Lamar a lot of perfectly clean pockets once they got the defense playing the run, and I believe he has also improved his deep ball passing, as he has learned to put more arc and air under the ball, allowing his receivers to win late and adjust to it.

Lamar hits Hollywood for 46 yards on deep corner route

The Chiefs defense overall has been pretty impressive so. In week one they held one of the top five quarterbacks in the league in Deshaun Watson to seven points through three-and-a-half quarters and they held the Chargers to six points through the second half and overtime, after rookie Justin Herbert caught them a little off guard with his surprising start against them, where he made a couple of outstanding plays with his arm and legs. They sacked Deshaun Watson four times in the season-opener and forced him to move around on several other occasions, and then last week former first-round bust Taco Charlton of all guys came up with a huge sack on third-and-goal with about three minutes remaining in regulation. Chris Jones has once again been the Chiefs’ most dangerous pass-rusher, but Frank Clark also beat the Texans’ Tytus Howard like a drum to at least force Watson to step up on a bunch of plays, while Tyrann Mathieu has been heavily involved as a blitzer with a couple of hits on opposing QBs, where he excels at timing the snap and getting oast the back in protection. The Chiefs have had some big issues with their corner situation, as Charvarius Ward fractured his hand early in week one after I thought they already lacked some depth at the position, and they have played with three safeties on the field for about 80 percent of the snaps. Luckily fourth-round pick L’Jarius Sneed out of Louisiana Tech – who is supremely gifted athletically and played on the outside until his final year with the Bulldogs when he moved to safety – has played extremely well for them so far, competing in press-coverage and getting his hands on the ball, with two picks and three more passes broken up. The Chiefs defense under Steve Spagnuolo is also one of the more aggressive units in the league, which asks their guys on the back-end to stick with receivers in man-coverage on several occasions and gets home with their different pressure packages, if the ball doesn’t come out on time.

Frank Clark spin move for sack on Lamar (2019)

Kansas City’s run defense may not be something that fans hang their hat on a whole lot, especially considering Baltimore racked up over 200 yards on the ground when these teams last went up against each other, and I don’t believe any team can really stop this bruising rushing attack, but the Chiefs quietly really improved in that regard over the second half of 2019. After giving up a season-high 225 rushing yards to the Titans in week ten, they went from 148.1 until then to only 93.6 rushing yards allowed the rest of the way, leading up to the Super Bowl. With Derrick Nnadi swallowing up double-teams at the nose and a mixture of big bodies around him, they at least have a chance to slow this Ravens machine down. In terms of the Chiefs’ pass-rush, Chris Jones will certainly draw a lot of combos and have protections slide his way. And as good as Orlando Brown has been at right tackle, he could have some trouble with Clark’s speed off the edge in particular, when they put him in a wide alignment, where he could work in up-and-under maneuvers if the 350-pounder starts to over-set to the outside. In last year’s matchup, Clark beat him for a sack on what actually wasn’t the prettiest of spin moves, just because Brown was caught off balance by exactly that. The second level is where KC can be had a little, as they will have those backers stay home for Lamar pulling the ball and match the Ravens tight-ends to some degree. I would expect the Honeybadger to be used as a robber or even dime backer at times on passing downs to take away those easy completions to Mark Andrews on hook and dig routes, where he will have to fight through that guy’s big frame on a few occasions. And finally, I’m interested to see what their plan for Hollywood Brown will be, because as aggressive as they might want to be and L’Jarius Sneed does have sub-4.4 speed, I’m not sure if you want to have a rookie one-on-one with him for most of the day.
One of the biggest keys for Baltimore offensively will be that they don’t let the Chiefs draw him into a shootout with Mahomes, which I thought was a mistake for them in last year’s matchup. They need to do what they do best.


Special teams:


https://preview.redd.it/r5ucg10dl5p51.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=993e5c0d82d4a229d45f5a9851730dee4bdf0802

Justin Tucker and Harrison Butker are the two best kickers in the league (in that order) for my money. Tucker is one of the all-time great long distance field goal and arguably the GOAT kicker overall, with an NFL-record 90.9 percent rate of FG makes and a league-high touchback percentage of 93.3 percent so far this year. You know who is right behind Tucker in terms of field-goal conversion percentage in the all-time ranks? – You guessed it, the “Buttkicker”. He is the only other guy at the position right now to make at least 90 percent of his attempts career-wise, including several long-distance makes and game-winners. Last week in particular was one of the most impressive sequences of kicking I have ever seen, when Butker in overtime basically made a 53-yarder (blown dead by false starter) and two 58-yarders (iced on first try by Chargers) to bring home the W.
The Ravens have one of the most technically advanced punters in the league in Sam Koch, who I have listened talk about having about ten different types of kicks, that he has developed in combination with long-term assistant Jerry Rosburg. While Koch has been a stalwart in Baltimore for more almost 15 years now, the Chiefs made a big switch this offseason from their 15-year veteran Dustin Colquitt to rookie Tommie Townsend, who has been pretty good so far over a small sample size, downing three of his eight punts inside the opposing 20-yard line and averaged 48.2 yards per punt outside of that. That is after they finished third league-wide in terms of punt return yards allowed on average last season.
Long-time special teams guru Dave Toub has given the Chiefs the edge in that facet of the game over most of their opponents for a long time now, with how clean they always are with their procedures, the way they set up dynamic return-men like Tyreek Hill and now Mecole Hardman up to succeed, how well they usually cover kicks and how ready they are for all eventualities. Just think back to that punt fake the Texans ran in the first half of their Divisional Round matchup, which kind of changed the momentum of the game, after a Hardman kick return already gave them some life earlier.
For Baltimore, their head-man John Harbaugh is a former special teams coordinator, which not only allows him to have a very balanced, general overview of his team, but also reflects in the quality of the staff he builds in that respect, led by a rising young coordinator in Chris Horton, who could get some looks as a head coach potentially, following this 2020 season. Over the last decade, they have had one of the most dangerous field goal block teams in the league, with big guys in the middle putting their long arms up in the air to force opponents to get it off at a different angle at times, and they are always good for some kind of trick play on fourth down to keep drives going.


X-factors:



https://preview.redd.it/x2icth54s5p51.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=e6fa7baf1d6772bcae8bcd7d5f02a7df810c7376

Chiefs – Darwin Thompson & Willie Gay Jr.

After Clyde Edwards-Helaire immediately handled the majority of the load for KC in the season-opener, Thompson entered week two as the number three back, but once Darrell Williams went down with an ankle injury, he saw more of the action. Last year’s UDFA played about 20 percent of the snaps against and he was the one in on that fourth-and-one play in overtime, where they converted for what set up the game-winning field goal. I know this is the CEH show, but I was already high on Thompson last year and thought he could eat into the production for Damien Williams. Last week he went for 21 yards on four carries and even if he doesn’t touch the ball a whole lot, he has that explosiveness to rip off a big play or two, when he is in there, if the Ravens get lulled to sleep at some point by CEH’s patience behind the line and then Thompson just hits the hole at full speed.
My defensive pick for the Chiefs is even more of a long-shot, but to me that is what true X-factors are about. This second-round back from April has only played six defensive snaps and collected to total tackles so far. I don’t really expect Gay to start in this contest and his playing time will probably be limited once again, but this is a matchup where his skill-set could be a major benefactor. Coming out of Mississippi State as a boom-or-bust type prospect with limited college tape due to changes to the coaching staff and some off-field altercations, athleticism was never the question with this guy, as he finished top two in the 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jump at the combine. He has that explosiveness and flat-out speed they could deploy to slowing down Lamar and that option run game, even if they are out-leveraged at times.


https://preview.redd.it/l3vew4e2s5p51.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=d11abf3b4305c610e86c4ff16a1e32f375b90fd2

Ravens – Devin Duvernay & Jimmy Smith

Third-round pick Devin Duvernay has only caught one pass in each of the first two weeks, for 12 and 19 yards respectively, on two targets over 17 total offensive snaps. With Willie Snead as their top option in the slot, it’s tough for the former Texas standout to get on the field, but he adds a different dimension to the offense with his speed to attack the edges on jet sweeps potentially and the toughness to go over the middle, where the Chiefs D might be most vulnerable. I could see a larger role for him on Monday Night, to show their opponents something they haven’t quite seen yet. Duvernay has also taken over as Baltimore’s primary kick returner and his average of 23.8 yards per return ranks in the top five league-wide among return men with at least five attempts. He could bust loose on one of those if this becomes a high-scoring affair and he gets a few opportunities.
Once a former first-round pick for Baltimore, Smith has been an excellent and highly underrated player as long as he was healthy, but with Humphrey and Peters in the lineup, he has been the primary backup for all three corner spots so far. However, now with Tavon Young out for the year, he becomes a starter pretty much again – which was already clear last Sunday, when he played 85 percent of the defensive snaps – who depending on where the Ravens want to deploy Marlon Humphrey, could play inside and out. Against the Chiefs, Smith may not have the speed to run with guys like Tyreek Hill or Mecole Hardman anymore, but if KC plays Hill in the slot, they might have Humphrey shadow him and put Smith on Sammy Watkins on the boundary, or I could even see them match him up against Travis Kelce detached from the line, since he has the length to bother flex tight-ends.


My prediction:


https://preview.redd.it/71b7keg1s5p51.png?width=720&format=png&auto=webp&s=b7f206848c1e42018b78d21293b7404cecbe1fd7

In the end, I believe Baltimore’s combination of being able to limit possessions for that explosive KC offense, to go along with Lamar’s growth as a pocket passer forcing the Chiefs defense to commit less to slowing that physical rushing attack, will be difference in this one. With Baltimore’s group of corners to play bump-and-run against Kansas City’s collection of track guys and their multiple defensive looks to stop the opposition on a few third downs, or even create a turnover to swing the momentum, I think they have what it takes to finally give Lamar his first win in this series, which could be one of the premiere rivalries in the entire league for the next several years, and we could already see chapter IV on Conference Championship Sunday potentially.

Chiefs 23 – Ravens 27


If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/09/24/previewing-the-chiefs-ravens-week-three-matchup/
Make sure to also check out my detailed recap video of week two!
submitted by hallach_halil to nfl [link] [comments]


2020.09.09 21:01 Diotoiren [SECRET] The Laurentian Ground Forces

The Laurentian Ground Forces

As approved by Councillor General Lawrence E. Bradford
Branches
  • Administration Logístico
    • Acquisition Corp
    • Ordnance Corps
    • Quartermaster Corps
    • Logistics
    • Transportation Corps
The role of the Administration Logístico is to incorporate the previously independent branches that included Acquisition, Ordnance, Quartermaster, Logsitics, and Transport Corps - bringing them under a single administrative branch while retaining their unique properties.
The Acquisition Corp and Ordnance Corp will continue to retain their primary objectives of acquisition of vehicles, ordnance and munitions, and all other supplies required of the Army while the Quartermaster Corps will continue to be tasked with the distribution of said acquired material in cooperation with the Logistics Corp and Transportation Corp. Likewise personnel from these five branches will be spread as necessary as Quartermasters, etc throughout the maneuver level units.
While the Infantry Sustainment and Armored Sustainment Battalions will be managed via the Administration Logistico alongside larger dedicated logistical forces.
  • Administration de Médico
    • Medical Corps
    • Dental Corps
    • Veterinary Corps
    • Medical Service Corps
    • Army Nurse Corps
    • Medical Specialist Corps
The Administration de Médico incorporates the previously independent branches of Medical, Dental, Veterinary, Medical Services, Army Nurse, and Medical Specialist Corps. Like the Administration Logistico, it will seek to provide a more efficient and streamlined hierarchy for non-combatants and combatants alike.
All Corps will be retaining their responsibilities.
  • Administration de Ingeniero
    • Corps of Engineers
The Administration de Ingeniero likewise will be incorporating the Corps of Engineers into its own Administrative branch with the maneuver units Engineer Battalions receiving administrative function from the Administration de Ingeniero.
  • Administration Inteligencia
    • Cyber Corps
    • Psychological Operations
    • Military Intelligence Corps
    • Chaplain Corps
    • Signal Corps
The Administration Inteligencia is the combination of the Army Cyber Corps, Psychological Operations, Military Intelligence, Chaplain Corps, and Signal Corps which will all be retaining their prior functions.
This also marks the revival of a "Signals Squadron" being assigned to each Legion, along with specialized units formed on an ad-hoc combat basis for Psychological, Military Intelligence, and Cyber operations. It is assumed that roughly 20,000 (or 1 Corp sized element) personnel will be trained for these more specialized operations alongside their standard infantry duties.
  • Administration de Público
    • Public Affairs
    • Civilian Affairs Corp
    • Adjutant General Corps
    • Finance Corp
The Administration de Publico is specifically taking on the duties of the public affairs corps again to streamline the previously divided "civil corps".
  • Administration Auditoría
    • Inspector General
    • Staff Specialist Corps
The Administration Auditoria is responsible for ensuring the maintaining of best practices, standards, and doctrine within the Army - the Inspector General specifically playing a crucial role in ensuring all best practices are being followed. Further the Administration is heavily involved in the planning of "special events" and parades, etc.
  • Administration Jurídico
    • Judge Advocate General's Corps
    • Military Police Corps
The Administration Juridico is the combined court/police/judicial system used internally by the Army. A force of 100,000 MPs are maintained separate from the army and organized more similarly to a gendarme.
  • Administration Especialista
    • Special Forces
The Administration Especialista is heavily based on the Cascadia-Sierra system for Special Forces, with their own equipment and organizational structures used to augment the broader more "standard" army units. They represent the combined personnel of the new Union.
  • Administration Soldado
    • Infantry
    • Armor
    • Field Artillery
    • Air Defense Artillery
    • Chemical Corp
    • Army Aviation Corp
The Administration Soldado is in charge of day-to-day management of all combat oriented personnel, handling the management of related bases, the inter-branch cooperation, and organizing the Administration Logistico's cooperation with the Administration Soldado's sub-branches among its other standard duties.
Additionally under the administration Soldado, the official "standard" Legion Equipment Manifests are maintained, as follows.
Standard Mechanized Legion Personnel MBT IFV APC Artillery Transport Utility Air
Infantry Battalion 1,000 0 30 35 0 6 8 0
Infantry Battalion 1,000 0 30 35 0 6 8 0
Infantry Battalion 1,000 0 30 35 0 6 8 0
Cavalry Squadron 800 12 (AFV) 25 40 0 8 12 0
Field Artillery Battalion 400 0 0 0 40 30 30 0
Legion Engineer Batallion 400 0 12 16 0 0 30 0
Legion Support Battalion 400 0 12 16 0 0 40 3 (24 if airborne)
Totals 5,000 12 (AFV) 139 177 40 56 126 3 (24 if Airborne)
Standard Armored Legion Personnel MBT IFV APC Artillery Transport Utility Air
Combined Arms Battalion 1,000 0 40 30 0 40 25 0
Combined Arms Battalion 1,000 0 40 30 0 40 25 0
Combined Arms Battalion 1,000 0 40 30 0 40 25 0
Armored Battalion 200 45 0 0 0 0 10 0
Armored Battalion 200 45 0 0 0 0 10 0
Cavalry Squadron 600 8 (AFV) 16 24 0 30 10 0
Field Artillery Battalion 300 0 0 0 40 25 25 0
Legion Engineer Battalion 300 0 0 0 0 30 30 0
Legion Support Battalion 400 0 12 16 0 40 40 3
Totals 5,000 90/8 (AFV) 148 130 40 250 205 3
  • Administration de Comandante
    • The Councillor General Staff
    • War-time Leadership Staff
    • The Officer Corp
The Administraton de Comandante represents a major shift in how the Union will be approaching the Army moving forward. It is in effect a major doctrinal change - in order to maximize the potential of our highly trained upper-level officer pool while breaking down the barriers of the former US Federal, Dakota, MAU, and Sierran systems.
It in effect marks the end of a continental army tied together by statehood, and instead one with sole loyalty to the Phoenix. The former systems which had relied heavily on "state-based" forces, such as the US Federal National Guard system, the Sierra ARNG, and Dakotan Field Armies is now being entirely replaced - taking inspiration from the MAU use of "Colored Companies" which was the first non-state based force structure.
With this in mind, the Administration de Comandante comprises the officer corp and Councillor General Staff directly charged with the management, command, and control of the Administration del Ejercito and the "Grand Army of Laurentia" during times of major conflict and war.
These are divided into three key areas,
  • The Councillor General Staff
    • The Councillor General is the effective commander of the entire Grand Army of Laurentia and is the official head of the Administration del Ejercito. Often times this position is held by the most experienced/highest ranking officer in the army - but is ultimately chosen by merit. As of now, Lawrence E. Bradford is the Councillor General.
    • The Councillor General Staff is the large body of non-commissioned and commissioned officers that make up the support and command structure elements of the broader force.
The second area, also under the broader command of the Councillor General but distinguished due to position and role is the,
  • War-time Leadership Staff
    • Colored Companies
    • The colored companies represent a shift in the broader theater wars that we expect to face in peer-v-peer conventional conflict. A development on the idea of a Supreme Allied Command, a Colored Company is an established "Company" sized unit of 250 personnel, capable of assuming command over a large fighting force of minimum 2 corps in size. These companies are then charged with the broad war-planning and operations of the fighting force in question which comes to be an in-field army group. This allows the newly structured Ground Forces to retain their large and highly experienced officer corp while continuing to grow it - while also ensuring that our officer corps are able to maintain appropriate levels of combat experience at all times as Colored Companies can be rotated based on merit and experience.
    • Colored Companies in this manner are trained with a heavy focus on working with the Councillor General Staff (IE the standard Officer Corp), while still enhancing the broader war-fighting capabilities of our primarily corp/legion focused force. Naturally, each colored company has several specialist officers, including -
    • Strategos: The Strategikon represents the doctrinal book that compiles the War Fighting Doctrine of the Laurentian Ground Forces - based in the foundations established by maneuver warfare. It as a sub-set of the Laurentian Schools of War - is used to train officers in the desired form of war pursued by the Laurentia Army. In this way, a Strategos - an officer of formally equal rank to that of a General, accompanies each Colored Company along with a small staff who have also been heavily trained in the Strategikon. They are to advise the Field Marshal in the pursuit of war and ensuring successful results.
    • Field Marshal: The Field Marshal is the highest in command of both a Colored Company and its subservient corps. He represents the broad-warfighting leadership, planning and coordinating with the higher echelons of command and then ensuring the successful execution of said commands by the corps and subsequent legions at his disposal.
    • Liaison of the Councillor: Is a specific staff appointed alongside the Colored Company who acts as the official representative of the Councillor General, and is a direct officer under the Councillor General Staff.
The third area is the,
  • Officer Corp
    • The officer corp is the standard non-commissioned and commissioned officers assigned to semi-permanent or permanent posts, including officers for Corp sized units or smaller. (Consider this the equivalent to most modern officer corps).
The Administration de Comandante is able to emphasize the best of both rigid chain of commands and more flexible commands of modern day forces, allowing for the Officer Corp, and War Time Leadership Staff to pursue flexibility while the Strategos and Councillor General Staff ensures the proper organization, administration, and basic functions are maintained. Thus ensuring clear communication, the removal of the "fog of war" during maneuver warfare, and the ability to rapidly mobilize in any conflict but emphasis on peer warfare.

Administration del Ejército

The Administration del Ejercito ultimately is organized and commanded by the Councillor General Staff and the broader Administration de Comandante, however for logsitical, planning, and future growth purposes is provided its own branch as part of the war-fighting branches.
Thus the Administration del Ejercito handles everything related to the actual units of the "Grand Army of Laurentia". As seen below starting first with broad units and ranks/assigned officers.
Unit Type Personnel Lead Officer NATO Equivalent
Colored Company 250 Field Marshal OF-10
Corp 20,000 Decarch OF-9
Legion 5,000 Tetrarch OF-8 to OF-6 (seniority)
Battalion 300-1,000 Pentrarch OF-5 to OF-4 (support battalions)
Cavalry Squadron 600-800 Kentarch(os) OF-4
Company 200 Komes OF-3 to OF-2 (seniority)
Platoon 50 Illarch OF-2
Section 10 Captain OF-1
Squad 5 Hyparchos OR-9/4
Fireteam 2 Arghos OR-5/2
With the change in ranks has also come the change in uniforms to provide a more, fitting visual.
  • Field Marshal.
    • Dress Uniform, worn in and out of operation (unless in direct enemy combat). Designed by a consortium in New York as per Laurentia specification.
  • Decarch to Kentarchos (temporarily retconned visuals)
    • 1. Decarch: Adorned in white, this represents a modified form of the existing Laurentia power-armor worn by all soldiers. Serving as both a ceremonial and combat uniform.
    • 2. Tetrarch: Once again representing a visually modified form of existing power-armor, it is to serve as both a ceremonial and combat uniform. Further, all subsequent armors carry the same ramifications.
    • 3. Pentrarch
    • 4/5. Kentarch(os): Worn in addition to the 3rd style armor with slight visual alterations taming down the ornate designs. Helmets 4 and 5 available based on seniority.
    • 6. Field Marshal Helm: In the unlikely event of combat erupting, a Field Marshal would wear an all white or red form of Armor 1, alongside an all white or red helmet 6.
    • Naturally all armors come with transmutable camo-additions for active combat scenarios.
  • From here, officially all soldiers from a Komes to Arghos rank receive the traditional standard armor forms.
Example Legion
  • **1st Legión "Red Right Hand" (Headquartered: Golden Man, Corvallis - Laurentia)
    • 1st Infantry Battalion
    • 2nd Infantry Battalion
    • 3rd Infantry Battalion
    • 1st Cavalry Squadron
    • 1st Field Artillery Battalion
    • 1st Legion Engineer Battalion
    • 1st Legion Support Battalion
The Grand Army of Laurentia
  • I Corp "The First" (Headquartered: Goldan Man, Corvallis - Laurentia)
    • 1st Legión "Diamond Legion" (Headquartered: Camp Veneta, Corvallis - Laurentia)
    • 2nd Legión "Red Right Hand" (Headquartered: Goldan Man, Corvallis - Laurentia)
    • 3rd Legión "Front Runners" (Headquartered: Camp Veneta, Corvallis - Laurentia)
    • 1st Armored Legión "The Bloody First" (Headquartered: Camp Veneta, Corvallis - Laurentia)
  • II Corp "Phoenix Children" (Headquartered: Fort Belvoir, Albemarle - Laurentia)
    • 4th Legión "Alpha Legion" (Headquartered: Fort Belvoir, Albemarle - Laurentia)
    • 5th Legión "Sunshine Legion" (Headquartered: Fort Belvoir, Albemarle - Laurentia)
    • 6th Legión "Firebugs" (Headquartered: Fort Belvoir, Albemarle - Laurentia)
    • 2nd Armored Legión "Acadia's Finest" (Headquartered: Fort Belvoir, Albemarle - Laurentia)
  • III Corp "Olympia's Flame" (Headquartered: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Olympia - Laurentia)
    • 7th Legión "Thunderbolt" (Headquartered: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Olympia - Laurentia)
    • 8th Legión "Yehasuri" (Headquartered: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Olympia - Laurentia)
    • 9th Legión "Protector" (Headquartered: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Olympia - Laurentia)
    • 3rd Armored Legión "Golden Arrow Legion" (Headquartered: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Olympia - Laurentia)
  • IV Corp "Laurentia's Pride" (Headquartered: Fort Hamilton, Algonquin - Laurentia)
    • 10th Legión "Americal" (Headquartered: Fort Hamilton, Algonquin - Laurentia)
    • 11th Legión "Yellowstone" (Headquartered: Fort Hamilton, Algonquin - Laurentia)
    • 12th Legión "Blue Star Legion" (Headquartered: Fort Hamilton, Algonquin - Laurentia)
    • 4th Armored Legión "Liberty" (Headquartered: Fort Hamilton, Algonquin - Laurentia)
  • V Corp "Shield of Laurentia" (Headquartered: Fort Hood, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 13th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Hood, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 14th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Hood, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 15th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Hood, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 5th Armored Legión "Iron Horse" (Headquartered: Fort Hood, Texas - Laurentia)
  • VI Corp "Absolvers" (Headquartered: Fort Hunter Liggett, California - Laurentia)
    • 16th Legión "Keystone" (Headquartered: Fort Hunter Liggett, California - Laurentia)
    • 17th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Hunter Liggett, California - Laurentia)
    • 18th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Hunter Liggett, California - Laurentia)
    • 6th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Hunter Liggett, California - Laurentia)
  • VII Corp "King of the Solomons" (Headquartered: Joint Base Malheur Steens, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
    • 19th Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Malheur Steens, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
    • 20th Legión "Apotheosis" (Headquartered: Joint Base Malheur Steens, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
    • 21st Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Malheur Steens, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
    • 7th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Malheur Steens, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
  • VIII Corp "Caretakers" (Headquartered: Joint Base Luke AFB, Arizona - Laurentia)
    • 22nd Legión "Sacrosanct" (Headquartered: Joint Base Luke AFB, Arizona - Laurentia)
    • 23rd Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Luke AFB, Arizona - Laurentia)
    • 24th Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Luke AFB, Arizona - Laurentia)
    • 8th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Luke AFB, Arizona - Laurentia)
  • IX Corp "Star Hunters" (Headquartered: Fort Bragg, Carolina - Laurentia)
    • 25th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Bragg, Carolina - Laurentia)
    • 26th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Bragg, Carolina - Laurentia)
    • 27th Legión "D-Atlas" (Headquartered: Fort Bragg, Carolina - Laurentia)
    • 9th Armored Legión "Star- Eyed" (Headquartered: Fort Bragg, Carolina - Laurentia)
  • X Corp "Sunsetters" (Headquartered: Fort Irwin, California - Laurentia)
    • 28th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Irwin, California - Laurentia)
    • 29th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Irwin, California - Laurentia)
    • 30th Legión "Queztalcoatl" (Headquartered: Fort Irwin, California - Laurentia)
    • 10th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Irwin, California - Laurentia)
  • XI Corp "Black Consuls" (Headquartered: Fort Rucker, Luther - Laurentia)
    • 31st Legión (Headquartered: Fort Rucker, Luther - Laurentia)
    • 32nd Legión "Men of Steel" (Headquartered: Fort Rucker, Luther - Laurentia)
    • 33rd Legión (Headquartered: Fort Rucker, Luther - Laurentia)
    • 11th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Rucker, Luther - Laurentia)
  • XII Corp "The Phoenix Corp" (Headquartered: Camp Ashland, Omaha - Laurentia)
    • 34th Legión "Birdwatchers" (Headquartered: Camp Ashland, Omaha - Laurentia)
    • 35th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Ashland, Omaha - Laurentia)
    • 36th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Ashland, Omaha - Laurentia)
    • 12th Armored Legión "Acheron" (Headquartered: Camp Ashland, Omaha - Laurentia)
  • XIII Corp "Red Star" (Headquartered: Fort Guernsey, Wyoming - Laurentia)
    • 37th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Guernsey, Wyoming - Laurentia)
    • 38th Legión "Deep Feeders" (Headquartered: Fort Guernsey, Wyoming - Laurentia)
    • 39th Legión "Mole Men" (Headquartered: Fort Guernsey, Wyoming - Laurentia)
    • 13th Armored Legión "Fire Eaters" (Headquartered: Fort Guernsey, Wyoming - Laurentia)
  • XIV Corp "Hourglass" (Headquartered: Fort Richardson, Alaska - Laurentia)
    • 40th Legión "Denali" (Headquartered: Fort Richardson, Alaska - Laurentia)
    • 41st Legión (Headquartered: Fort Richardson, Alaska - Laurentia)
    • 42nd Legión "Rainier" (Headquartered: Fort Greely, Alaska - Laurentia)
    • 14th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Richardson, Alaska - Laurentia)
  • XV Corp "Lawbringers" (Headquartered: Camp Maverick, Massachussetts - Laurentia)
    • 43rd Legión (Headquartered: Camp Maverick, Massachussetts - Laurentia)
    • 44th Legión "Chronicles" (Headquartered: Stone Ranch Reserve, Massachussetts - Laurentia)
    • 45th Legión (Headquartered: Devens Reserve, Massachussetts - Laurentia)
    • 15th Armored Legión "Severence" (Headquartered: Camp Maverick, Massachussetts - Laurentia)
  • XVI Corp "Cross of Lorraine" (Headquartered: Fort Polk, Louisiana - Laurentia)
    • 46th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Beauregard, Louisiana - Laurentia)
    • 47th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Claiborne, Louisiana - Laurentia)
    • 48th Legión "Lucian" (Headquartered: Fort Polk, Louisiana - Laurentia)
    • 16th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Polk, Louisiana - Laurentia)
  • XVII Corp "Morning Sword" (Headquartered: Fort Knox, Cumberland - Laurentia)
    • 49th Legión "Ares's Sons" (Headquartered: Fort Knox, Cumberland - Laurentia)
    • 50th Legión "Eros" (Headquartered: Blue Grass Army Depot, Cumberland - Laurentia)
    • 51st Legión (Headquartered: Fort Knox, Cumberland - Laurentia)
    • 17th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Campbell, Cumberland - Laurentia)
  • XVIII Corp "Laurentia's Corp" (Headquartered: Joint Base Lima, Wabash - Laurentia)
    • 52nd Legión (Headquartered: Fort Columbus, Wabash - Laurentia)
    • 53rd Legión (Headquartered: Fort Columbus, Wabash - Laurentia)
    • 54th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Columbus, Wabash - Laurentia)
    • 18th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Lima, Wabash - Laurentia)
  • XIX Corp "Sky Dragons" (Headquartered: Camp Swift, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 55th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Bullis, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 56th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Swift, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 57th Legión "Sky Soldiers" (Headquartered: Camp Swift, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 19th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Bullis, Texas - Laurentia)
  • XX Corp "Last Hope" (Headquartered: Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico - Laurentia)
    • 58th Legión "White Rabbit" (Headquartered: Fort Allen, Puerto Rico - Laurentia)
    • 59th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Domingo, Dominica - Laurentia)
    • 60th Legión "Amala" (Headquartered: Camp Au-Prince, Haiti - Laurentia)
    • 20th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Allen, Puerto Rico - Laurentia)
  • XXI Corp "Flamebringers" (Headquartered: Fort Shafter, Hawaii - Laurentia)
    • 61st Legión (Headquartered: Wheeler Air Field, Hawaii - Laurentia)
    • 62nd Legión (Headquartered: Wheeler Air Field, Hawaii - Laurentia)
    • 63rd Legión "Erebus" (Headquartered: Andersen AFB, Guam - Laurentia)
    • 21st Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Shafter, Hawaii - Laurentia)
  • XXII Corp "Thousand Sons" (Headquartered: Fort Leonard Wood, Ozarks - Laurentia)
    • 64th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Leonard Wood, Ozarks - Laurentia)
    • 65th Legión "Blackwatch" (Headquartered: Fort Leonard Wood, Ozarks - Laurentia)
    • 66th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Leonard Wood, Ozarks - Laurentia)
    • 22nd Armored Legión "Ironskin" (Headquartered: Fort Leonard Wood, Ozarks - Laurentia)
  • XXIII Corp "Pride of the Pacific" (Headquartered: Camp Roberts, California - Laurentia)
    • 67th Legión "Trident" (Headquartered: Camp Roberts, California - Laurentia)
    • 68th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Roberts, California - Laurentia)
    • 69th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Roberts, California - Laurentia)
    • 23rd Armored Legión (Headquartered: Camp Roberts, California - Laurentia)
  • XXIV Corp "Quicksilver" (Headquartered: Fort Sill, Oklahoma - Laurentia)
    • 70th Legión "Greywatch" (Headquartered: Fort Sill, Oklahoma - Laurentia)
    • 71st Legión (Headquartered: Sheppard AFB, Laurentia)
    • 72nd Legión (Headquartered: Sheppard AFB, Laurentia)
    • 24th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Sill, Oklahoma - Laurentia)
  • XXV Corp "Astral Hawks" (Headquartered: Fort Dawson-Kingwood, Cumberland - Laurentia)
    • 73rd Legión "Dreamcatchers" (Headquartered: Fort Dawson-Kingwood, Cumberland - Laurentia)
    • 74th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Dawson-Kingwood, Cumberland - Laurentia)
    • 75th Legión "Hawk Legion" (Headquartered: Fort Dawson-Kingwood, Cumberland - Laurentia)
    • 25th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Dawson-Kingwood, Cumberland - Laurentia)
  • XXVI Corp "Trailblazers" (Headquartered: Joint Base Malmstrom, Jacko Valley - Laurentia)
    • 76th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Henry Harrison, Jacko Valley - Laurentia)
    • 77th Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Malmstrom, Jacko Valley - Laurentia)
    • 78th Legión "Apotamkin" (Headquartered: Fort Henry Harrison, Jacko Valley - Laurentia)
    • 26th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Henry Harrison, Jacko Valley - Laurentia)
  • XXVII Corp "War Hounds" (Headquartered: Camp Grafton, Dakota - Laurentia)
    • 79th Legión "City Runners" (Headquartered: Camp Grafton, Dakota - Laurentia)
    • 80th Legión "Vector" (Headquartered: Camp Grafton, Dakota - Laurentia)
    • 81st Legión (Headquartered: Camp Grafton, Dakota - Laurentia)
    • 27th Armored Legión "Rider" (Headquartered: Camp Grafton, Dakota - Laurentia)
  • XXVIII Corp "Lazarus" (Headquartered: Camp Williams, Utah - Laurentia)
    • 82nd Legión "Cain" (Headquartered: Tooele Depot, Utah - Laurentia)
    • 83rd Legión "Theseus" (Headquartered: Camp Williams, Utah - Laurentia)
    • 84th Legión (Headquartered: Deseret Chemical Depot, Utah - Laurentia)
    • 28th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Camp Williams, Utah - Laurentia)
  • XXIX Corp "Curators of Albemarle" (Headquartered: Fort Monroe, Albemarle - Laurentia)
    • 85th Legión "Asteria" (Headquartered: Fort Monroe, Albemarle - Laurentia)
    • 86th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Story, Albemarle - Laurentia)
    • 87th Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Langely, Albemarle - Laurentia)
    • 29th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Story, Albemarle - Laurentia)
  • XXX Corp "Stardusters" (Headquartered: Camp Blanding, Florida - Laurentia)
    • 88th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Blanding, Florida - Laurentia)
    • 89th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Blanding, Florida - Laurentia)
    • 90th Legión "Star Screamers" (Headquartered: Joint Base Canaveral, Florida - Laurentia)
    • 30th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Canaveral, Florida - Laurentia)
  • XXXI Corp "Laurentia's Hammer" (Headquartered: Camp Robinson, Arkansas - Laurentia)
    • 91st Legión "Aion" (Headquartered: Camp Robinson, Arkansas - Laurentia)
    • 92nd Legión (Headquartered: Pine Bluff, Arkansas - Laurentia)
    • 93rd Legión "Golden Talon" (Headquartered: Joint Base Little Rock, Arkansas - Laurentia)
    • 31st Armored Legión (Headquartered: Pine Bluff, Arkansas - Laurentia)
  • XXXII Corp "Lavender Corp" (Headquartered: Fort McClellan, Luther - Laurentia)
    • 94th Legión "Whispers' (Headquartered: Fort McClellan, Luther - Laurentia)
    • 95th Legión (Headquartered: Fort McClellan, Luther - Laurentia)
    • 96th Legión "Altamaha" (Headquartered: Anniston Depot, Luther - Laurentia)
    • 32nd Armored Legión (Headquartered: Anniston Depot, Luther - Laurentia)
  • XXXIII Corp "The Rock of the Marne" (Headquartered: Joint Base Bangor, Acadia - Laurentia)
    • 97th Legión "Voyagers" (Headquartered: Joint Base Bangor, Acadia - Laurentia)
    • 98th Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Bangor, Acadia - Laurentia)
    • 99th Legión "Ananke" (Headquartered: Camp Brunswick, Acadia - Laurentia)
    • 33rd Armored Legión (Headquartered: Camp Brunswick, Acadia - Laurentia)
  • XXXIV Corp "Rainbow" (Headquartered: Camp Rapid, Dakota - Laurentia)
    • 100th Legión "Ivy" (Headquartered: Camp Rapid, Dakota - Laurentia)
    • 101st Legión (Headquartered: Camp Rapid, Dakota - Laurentia)
    • 102nd Legión "Rainbow Crow" (Headquartered: Camp Rapid, Dakota - Laurentia)
    • 34th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Camp Rapid, Dakota - Laurentia)
  • XXXV Corp "Audaciter" (Headquartered: Fort G. Meade, Algonquin - Laurentia)
    • 103rd Legión (Headquartered: Fort G. Meade, Algonquin - Laurentia)
    • 104th Legión "Pandora" (Headquartered: Fort G. Meade, Algonquin - Laurentia)
    • 105th Legión (Headquartered: Fort G. Meade, Algonquin - Laurentia)
    • 35th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort G. Meade, Algonquin - Laurentia)
  • XXXVI Corp "Laurentian Guards" (Headquartered: Fort Gillem, Georgia - Laurentia)
    • 106th Legión "Apache" (Headquartered: Fort Gillem, Georgia - Laurentia)
    • 107th Legión "Iroquois" (Headquartered: Fort Benning, Georgia - Laurentia)
    • 108th Legión "Shoshone" (Headquartered: Fort Gillem, Georgia - Laurentia)
    • 36th Armored Legión "Comanche" (Headquartered: Camp Catoosa, Georgia - Laurentia)
  • XXXVII Corp "Sunburst Corp" (Headquartered: Joint Base Nellis, Mojave - Laurentia)
    • 109th Legión "Mojave" (Headquartered: Joint Base Nellis, Mojave - Laurentia)
    • 110th Legión (Headquartered: Hawthorne Depot, Mojave - Laurentia)
    • 111th Legión "Fireflies" (Headquartered: Joint Base Nellis, Mojave - Laurentia)
    • 37th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Hawthorne Depot, Mojave - Laurentia)
  • XXXVIII Corp "The Infernal" (Headquartered: Camp Navajo, Apachea - Laurentia)
    • 112th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Navajo, Apachea - Laurentia)
    • 113th Legión "Bloodstone" (Headquartered: Camp Navajo, Apachea - Laurentia)
    • 114th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Navajo, Apachea - Laurentia)
    • 38th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Camp Navajo, Apachea - Laurentia)
  • XXXIX Corp "Golden Bell Corp" (Headquartered: Fort Wolters, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 115th Legión "Atahsaia" (Headquartered: Fort Wolters, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 116th Legión (Headquartered: Camp Dyess, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 117th Legión "Passengers" (Headquartered: Fort Wolters, Texas - Laurentia)
    • 39th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Camp Dyess, Texas - Laurentia)
  • XL Corp "Sons of the Potomac" (Headquartered: Fort Drum, New York - Laurentia)
    • 118th Legión "Deathwatch" (Headquartered: Watervliet, New York - Laurentia)
    • 119th Legión "Metis" (Headquartered: Fort Drum, New York - Laurentia)
    • 120th Legión "Castaways" (Headquartered: Fort Drum, New York - Laurentia)
    • 40th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Watervliet, New York - Laurentia)
  • XLI Corp "Phantom Corp" (Headquartered: Joint Base Radford, Virginia - Laurentia)
    • 121st Legión "Wanderer" (Headquartered: Joint Base Radford, Virginia - Laurentia)
    • 122nd Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Radford, Virginia - Laurentia)
    • 123rd Legión "Runners" (Headquartered: Joint Base Radford, Virginia - Laurentia)
    • 41st Armored Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Radford, Virginia - Laurentia)
  • XLII Corp "Samsara" (Headquartered: Fort Gowen, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
    • 124th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Gowen, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
    • 125th Legión "Chrysalis" (Headquartered: Joint Base Boise, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
    • 126th Legión "Lilith" (Headquartered: Joint Base Boise, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
    • 42nd Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Gowen, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
  • XLIII Corp "Tropic Lightning" (Headquartered: Fort Shafter, Hawaii - Laurentia)
    • 127th Legión "Cyclone" (Headquartered: Fort Shafter, Hawaii - Laurentia)
    • 128th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Shafter, Hawaii - Laurentia)
    • 129th Legión "Lightning Legion" (Headquartered: Hawaiin Area, Hawaii Laurentia)
    • 43rd Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Shafter, Hawaii - Laurentia)
  • XLIV Corp "The Pathfinder Corp" (Headquartered: Joint Base Elemendorf, Alaska - Laurentia)
    • 130th Legión "Cascade Tiger" (Headquartered: Fort Wainwright, Alaska - Laurentia)
    • 131st Legión "Weaver" (Headquartered: Joint Camp Clear, Alaska - Laurentia)
    • 132nd Legión "Everest" (Headquartered: Fort Wainwright, Alaska - Laurentia)
    • 44th Armored Legión "The Foragers" (Headquartered: Eielson AFB, Alaska - Laurentia)
  • XLV Corp "Victory Corp" (Headquartered: Fort Marseilles, Ozark - Laurentia)
    • 133rd Legión "Desert Rats" (Headquartered: Camp Kankakee, Ozark - Laurentia)
    • 134th Legión "Kushtaka" (Headquartered: Rock Island, Ozark - Laurentia)
    • 135th Legión (Headquartered: Fort Marseilles, Ozark - Laurentia)
    • 45th Armored Legión "Urayuli" (Headquartered: Fort Marseilles, Ozark - Laurentia)
  • XLVI Corp "Raven" (Headquartered: Joint Base Fairchild, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
    • 136th Legión "Iris" (Headquartered: Camp Spokane, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
    • 137th Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Fairchild, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
    • 138th Legión "Yaga" (Headquartered: Camp Spokane, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
    • 46th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Fairchild, Yellow Pine - Laurentia)
  • XLVII Corp "Red Loop Corp" (Headquartered: Camp Bridgeport, Sierra - Laurentia)
    • 139th Legión (Headquartered: Camp River Bank, Sierra - Laurentia)
    • 140th Legión "Red Ice" (Headquartered: Camp Bridgeport, Sierra - Laurentia)
    • 141st Legión "Scarlet Legion" (Headquartered: Camp Bridgeport, Sierra - Laurentia)
    • 47th Armored Legión "Red Pool Clay" (Headquartered: Camp River Bank, Sierra - Laurentia)
  • XLVIII Corp "Timberwolf" (Headquartered: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Olympia - Laurentia)
    • 142nd Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Olympia - Laurentia)
    • 143rd Legión "Wild Cat" (Headquartered: Joint Camp Everett, Olympia - Laurentia)
    • 144th Legión (Headquartered: Joint Camp Everett, Olympia - Laurentia)
    • 48th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Olympia - Laurentia)
  • XLIX Corp "Nightingales" (Headquartered: Fort Yakima, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
    • 145th Legión (Headquartered: Biak Training Center, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
    • 146th Legión "Jenu" (Headquartered: Fort Yakima, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
    • 147th Legión (Headquartered: Biak Training Center, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
    • 49th Armored Legión "Iron Wings" (Headquartered: Biak Training Center, Hanford Reach - Laurentia)
  • L Corp "Liberators" (Headquartered: Fort Carson, Colorado - Dakota)
    • 148th Legión "Ascendance" (Headquartered: Fort Carson, Colorado - Dakota)
    • 149th Legión (Headquartered: Joint Base Schriever, Colorado - Dakota)
    • 150th Legión "Guilt" (Headquartered: Joint Base Peterson, Colorado - Dakota)
    • 50th Armored Legión (Headquartered: Fort Carson, Colorado - Dakota)
WIKI will be updated later with full breakdown of legions to fireteams.
As it relates to Special Forces organization, existing MAU, FRA, and Dakotan units will be folded into the former Sierra's structure for simplicity. Thus creating new MSOR, Ranger, SFG, and HECU units to approximate a total of 50,000 personnel in addition to the existing personnel.
With the move to a broader continental peer army, also comes the need to begin immediate reconstruction of lost assets. Thus all Dakotan Nuclear Assets destroyed during the war will be replaced or rebuilt bringing the arsenal to pre-war levels.
At the same time, the Lima Tank Factory will be expanded similar to the factory in the Olympia Region, and all continental facilities will be prepared to begin construction of alternative equipment to be developed.
Likewise some minor recruitment will be required to meet the current standing personnel total required - thus we will be recruiting roughly 100,000 or so individuals who will undergo the standard training procedures.
As of right now the Army has temporarily chosen The Golden Man Compound in Corvallis as their broad headquarters, although it is expected to transfer to an as of yet decided location.
submitted by Diotoiren to worldpowers [link] [comments]


2020.08.25 02:09 Madudebro Buying a Used Car vs Using a Family Vehicle

Hello, I’m a 26 year old single 1LT PCSing from Korea to Fort Campbell. I’ve been driving a beater around for the last two years and I’m looking for advice on what to drive when I get back stateside.
About me: 20k in savings/checkings account 25K in TSP 25K in IRA 15K in Brokerage account (VFIAX) 14K left in Career Starter Loan.
I’ve been a big follower of Mr. Money Mustache and want to follow his advice on buying a reasonably priced car, but 10-15k seems outrageous to spend on a car thats any good. My parents have a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban with about 200k miles and some small intermittent problems (no A/C) that they are willing to give me, but they think it’s a bad idea for me to drive that. I’m also terrible with cars and any real maintenance would have to be done at the shop.
Is it a bad idea to take on this car for free, or is it as smart of an idea as I think? The thought of getting a vehicle for free greatly appeals to me. Or should I just bite the bullet and spend half my liquid cash on the standard 10 y/o Corolla/Civic with around 100k miles? Thanks for the help!
submitted by Madudebro to MilitaryFinance [link] [comments]


2020.08.20 21:01 mr_tyler_durden Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update August 20, 2020

Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update August 20, 2020
Notes by mr_tyler_durden and Daily Update Team
Note: We may need to paraphrase, but the notes are accurate
Watch here:
Headlines
Summarized (Full) Notes
QUESTIONS
(continued in stickied comment)
submitted by mr_tyler_durden to Coronavirus_KY [link] [comments]


2020.08.18 00:53 Jonnyawesome89 Offseason Review Series: Baltimore Ravens

Coming off an incredible 14-2 regular season in which the Ravens, led by MVP Lamar Jackson, shocked the league with an innovative offense that ran all over opponents, the team looks toward a 2020 campaign in which they will attempt to shake the sting to an extremely disappointing first round playoff exit.
[Baltimore Ravens]
Division: AFC North
Coaching Changes
In a season rocked by uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ravens have a significant advantage in the fact that they retain both coordinators and head coach after a successful season. In February, head coach John Harbaugh announced title changes for 6 members of the staff (per baltimoreravens.com):
· Chris Horton – special teams coordinator (formerly special teams coach)
· Randy Brown – special teams coach (formerly assistant special teams coach)
· Chris Hewitt – pass defense coordinator (formerly defensive backs coach)
· Sterling Lucas – defensive assistant/defensive line (formerly defensive assistant/linebackers)
· Jesse Minter – defensive backs coach (formerly assistant defensive backs coach)
· Drew Wilkins – outside linebackers coach (formerly assistant defensive line and outside linebackers coach)
Chris Horton
Horton enters his second year guiding the Ravens' special teams unit after taking over for longtime coordinator Jerry Rosburg following his retirement in 2019. Last season, Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro K Justin Tucker finished second in the NFL with a 96.6 percent field goal success rate (28 of 29), which was also the second-best mark in franchise single-season history. Baltimore also finished eighth in punt return average (8.2) in 2019. A seventh-year coach with the Ravens, Horton has been working with the special teams group since 2015.
Randy Brown
Brown is in his 13th year working with the Ravens' specialists. He has had an instrumental role in the development of the team's kicking game by helping Tucker become the most accurate kicker of all time (90.8 percent). Tucker has scored 141 points in each of his past four seasons, which tie for the Ravens single-season scoring record and make him the NFL's only kicker to surpass the 140 mark in each of the last four years (2016-19).
Chris Hewitt
Hewitt enters his ninth-year coaching with the Ravens after serving as the team's defensive backs coach for the past five seasons (2015-19). Last season, Baltimore's pass defense finished sixth in the NFL (207.2 ypg) with three players from the secondary earning Pro Bowl honors (CB Marlon Humphrey, CB Marcus Peters and S Earl Thomas III). Humphrey and Peters also earned first-team All-Pro accolades. Baltimore tallied a 77.5 defensive passer rating in 2019, which stood as the NFL's second-best mark.
Sterling Lucas
Lucas is in his fifth season with the Ravens after joining the team in 2016 as a strength and conditioning assistant in 2016. He has also served as an administrative assistant – defense (2017), quality control – defense (2018) and most recently as defensive assistant/linebackers (2019). Prior to joining Baltimore, Lucas spent two years as a defensive graduate assistant at North Carolina State.
Jesse Minter
Minter has been with the Ravens since 2017, when he started as a defensive assistant. He was promoted to assistant defensive backs coach in 2019, when he worked under Hewitt. This past season, Baltimore tied (Tampa Bay) for the NFL lead with six defensive touchdowns (including three interceptions returned for touchdowns).
Drew Wilkins
Wilkins enters his 11th year with the Ravens after initially joining the team as a football video operations intern in 2010. He served as the team's assistant defensive line & outside linebackers coach the past two seasons (2018-19). Wilkins originally moved to the coaching side in 2013, when he became a coaching staff assistant. He was promoted to defensive assistant in 2014 before becoming the assistant defensive line coach in 2017. In 2019, OLB Matthew Judon led the Ravens with a career-high 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. The Ravens also finished with 111 quarterback hits, the NFL's third-most.
Free Agency:
Players Lost/Cut
Player Position New Team
Tony Jefferson SS Released
James Hurst OT Released
Michael Pierce DT FA, Minnesota
Josh Bynes ILB FA, Cincinatti
Patrick Onwuasor ILB FA, NY Jets
Seth Roberts WR FA, Carolina
Hayden Hurst TE Traded, Atlanta
Chris Wormley DE Traded, Pittsburgh
De’Anthony Thomas WKR Opt-Out
Andre Smith OT Opt-Out
In an offseason with a few notable departures for the Ravens, none is more impactful than the retirement of OG Marshal Yanda. A 13-year veteran, Yanda anchored the Ravens offensive line, and was consistently amongst the best guards in football. Not just a dominant force on the field, Yanda brought veteran leadership to a young Ravens squad that found a lot of success in the regular season. Now retired, he becomes a prospect for the NFL Hall of Fame. Marshal Yanda is a caliber of player that is not easily replaced, and the loss of his ability and leadership is one of the biggest question marks for the Ravens offense going into 2020.
Michael Pierce came into the league as an UDFA who was able to become an immediate contributor for the Ravens front 7. An imposing figure at over 330 lbs., Pierce, along with Ravens stalwart Brandon Williams created a stout, if not agile, front for the Ravens defense. Following a 2019 in which Pierce came into camp overweight and out of shape, his long-term future with the team was immediately brought into question, culminating with him signing with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason. The additions by the Ravens of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe this offseason softens the blow considerably, and the unit may even look to be improved headed into this year.
When it comes to Baltimore Ravens and Greg Roman offenses, extensive use of Tight Ends immediately comes to mind. It was therefore surprising to some when the Ravens decided to trade former first round pick Hayden Hurst to the Falcons this offseason. Hurst played significant snaps for the Ravens in a system that heavily utilizes tight ends. Unfortunately for Hurst, he was injured his rookie season and struggled for targets behind Mark Andrews, who has made a case to be considered a top TE in the league. Ultimately, this may be a rare win-win trade, as Hurst will have an opportunity to flourish with Matt Ryan on a Falcons team who recently lost Austin Hooper, while the Ravens were thrilled to use the resulting pick on standout RB JK Dobbins, who fits their system perfectly.
While neither player was a force in the back field last season, the simultaneous losses of Josh Bynes and Patrick Onwuasor presents an interesting challenge for the Ravens, who are now likely to feature two rookies (Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison) heavily in their rotation this year.
The inclusion of opt-outs due to Covid-19 made this offseason tricky for some teams, but the Ravens were relatively unscathed. While the loss of De’Anthony Thomas and Andre Smith does impact depth, ultimately both players were replacement level, and their loss does not represent a significant challenge for 2020.
Players Acquired

Player Position Old Team Length Salary
Matthew Judon DE Ravens Franchise Tag $16.3MM
Derek Wolfe DE Broncos 1 Year $3MM
Jihad Ward DE Ravens 1 Year $1.1MM
Jimmy Smith CB Ravens 1 Year $3.5MM
Anthony Levine Sr S Ravens 1 Year $1.81MM
Chris Moore WR Ravens 1 Year $1.7MM
Sam Koch P Ravens 2 Years $4.95MM
Matt Skura C Ravens 1 Year RFA Tender
Chuck Clark SS Ravens 3 Years $15.3MM
Jordan Richards S Ravens 1 Year $845k
Gus Edwards RB Ravens 1 Year $750K
Nick Moore LS Ravens 1 Year $610K
Calais Campbell DE Jaguars 2 Years $25MM
DJ Fluker OG Seahawks 1 Year $1.07MM
Pernell McPhee DE Ravens 1 Year $1.1MM
While the Ravens did not make a ton of moves on outside players, they did make a big splash early in the offseason with the acquisition of Calais Campbell. At the low cost of just a 5th round pick, the Ravens were able to acquire a perennial pro bowler and veteran leader. A no brainer for the cost, by making this move, along with the signing of Derek Wolfe, the Ravens were able to address their D Line, a unit that was exposed last year by both Nick Chubb and Derek Henry. On the offensive line, the Ravens were able to add DJ Fluker, who can immediately slot into the void left by Marshal Yanda. While Fluker will certainly be a drop off from the Hall of Fame prospect Yanda, his veteran presence should help minimize the impact of losing such an important player.
On the re-signing front, the name of the game was continuity. The Ravens were able to accomplish this goal, returning key pieces of the 2019 squad. Most notably, the Ravens were able to keep intact what was one of the best secondaries in the NFL last year down the stretch. By re-signing Chuck Clark, Anthony Levine, Jimmy Smith and extending Marcus Peters (with already signed players Marlon Humphrey and Earl Thomas) the Ravens are once again slated to have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. This is key, as the Ravens clock chewing, points scoring offense often forces enemy teams to play from behind, and the Ravens defense is once again set up to make passing the ball extremely difficult. At the DE position the Ravens tagged Matthew Judon. A productive player with a high amount of pressures in 2019, Judon was important to retain on an extremely thin DE unit. On offense, they returned RB Gus Edwards and starting C Matt Skura. Skura is an important piece, as his loss was keenly felt against the Titans following his season ending injury in the Rams game.
Draft
The Ravens are known across the NFL for accumulating picks through trades and compensatory selections. This year was no exception, as the Ravens had 10 total selections, including a whopping 6 picks in the first three rounds.

Round Pick (OVR) Player Position School
1 28 (28) Patrick Queen LB LSU
2 23 (55) JK Dobbins RB Ohio State
3 7 (71) Justin Madubuike DT Texas A&M
3 28 (92) Devin Duvernay WR Texas
3 34 (98) Malik Harrison LB Ohio State
3 42 (106) Tyre Phillips OT Miss State
4 37 (143) Ben Bredeson G Michigan
5 25 (170) Broderick Washington DT Texas Tech
6 22 (201) James Proche WR SMU
7 5 (219) Geno Stone S Iowa

Draft Grades:
Round 1:
Patrick Queen: A+
One of the most notable weaknesses of the Ravens Defense in 2019 was the linebacking corps. After losing CJ Mosley the previous offseason, the remaining LBs proved unequal to the task, culminating in a complete reshuffling of the position with off the street free agents a few weeks into the season. While the new group was serviceable, the Ravens had a noticeably porous run defense when playing from behind, which was not an issue for much of the year but got completely exposed in an embarrassing round 1 playoff exit. This made LB a huge position of need. The Ravens, true to their reputation, remained patient in the first round while other teams linked to first round LB talent, (teams like Green Bay and New Orleans) went elsewhere, and other teams made reaches, (notably the Seahawks one pick earlier) and still got their guy, much later than originally projected. Queen is an exciting addition to the Ravens Defense. Fast and with great instincts, Queen has a knack for always being around the play. He shows up in the biggest moments, snagging a key interception from Tua Tagovailoa against Alabama and earning Defensive MVP honors in the national championship game. Queen does have some weaknesses, with weak tackling at times and only one year of proven production. However, given the Ravens’ ability to develop linebackers, they must have been ecstatic to snag a player who many analysists believed would be long gone by pick 28.
Round 2:
JK Dobbins: A-
The Ravens had perhaps the most dominant rushing attack of the modern era in 2019, which caused many to be shocked when they selected a running back with their second pick of the NFL Draft. However, anyone who is a close observer of the Ravens understood the selection. The Ravens live by the mantra of “Best Player Available” and as an organization refuse to reach for positions of need. This has made them one of the more successful organizations in the draft, as they consistently find value with their picks. Dobbins is a perfect fit for the Ravens system. He is a shifty back with great vision who demonstrated great understanding of how to take what the defense gives him. This projects very well into an offense that opens so many holes with a dominant line and constant running threat of MVP Lamar Jackson. Dobbins should be an immediate contributor and projects as the long-term starter, particularly if the Ravens part ways with Mark Ingram after this year. He is the second All-Time rusher at Ohio State, ahead of players like Ezekiel Elliott and Eddie George. His ability to run out of the pistol makes him a great complement to Lamar Jackson in RPO situations.
Rounds 3:
Justin Madubuke: A
Every year the Ravens seem to have a pick in the mid rounds that dumbfounds analysts. This is because they have a knack for scooping up players that should not still be on the board without giving up capital to do so. In this example, the Ravens traded back from pick 60, and likely still got the player they were targeting. Madubuike is a mountain at 6’3, 293 pounds, and has shown success at not only containing the run but pressuring the QB. Madubuike provides an infusion of youth to a defensive line that is one of the older units on the team. This pick is also indicative of the Ravens commitment to returning to their run stuffing roots, the front office was clearly unhappy with the pain inflicted by Derek Henry in the divisional round.
Devin Duvernay: B+
Coming into 2020, the Ravens WRS are the biggest question mark on the roster. An extremely inexperienced unit, many thought that it was a position that would be addressed much earlier in the draft. However, the Ravens were patient, and snagged the guy they wanted in Devin Duvernay. Duvernay had extremely successful 2019, racking up 1,386 yards and showcasing very reliable hands. The speedy, sure-handed nature of Duvernay’s game is a definite complement to Lamar Jacksons playstyle, as the Ravens rely on efficiency over volume in the passing game. One consideration with Duvernay moving forward is that he is most effective from the slot, which is rather crowded with the Ravens current lineup of pass catchers.
Malik Harrison: A-
As with Patrick Queen, the Ravens were clearly motivated to overhaul a weak line backing unit that was picked on at times in 2019. Harrison, a large, run thumping LB, projects as a great complement to the speedy, instinctual Queen. The Ravens were clearly motivated to fix their run stopping issues. Harrison is a large presence who is extremely reliable in maintaining his gap assignments, which should go a long way in shoring up the Ravens run D.
Tyre Phillips: B-
With the last pick of the third round, an exhausted Roger Goodell announced the pick of Tyre Phillips. Phillips, a 6 ft 5, 345 pound OT, is likely to be involved in the Ravens competition at guard to replace Marshal Yanda. Phillips shows great size and natural athleticism, with some roughness to his technique. While he was drafted earlier than predicted, Phillips will have the chance to grow in the Ravens’ system and compete for a starting role.
Round 4:
Ben Bredeson: A-
An All Big Ten player under head coach John Harbaugh’s brother Jim at Michigan, Ben Bredeson seemed destined to stay in the Harbaugh family. A great complement to the previous pick of Phillips, Bredeson projects as more pro ready on day one. There are concerns about his natural length at the pro level, however, with his technique, Bredeson should be in the mix early on. Adding a second offensive line here was a great move by the Ravens to help shore up their interior O line.
Round 5:
Broderick Washington: C
The Ravens addressed defensive line again in round 5, in a move that was a head scratcher to some. The Ravens like Washington as a player and as a leader, and so did not hesitate to grab him. While this does seem like somewhat of a luxury pick, Washington will get the chance to learn from great players like Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe. Washington doesn’t need to feel pressured to contribute year one. This pick once again demonstrates the Ravens commitment to “Best player Available”.
Round 6:
James Proche: B+
In a surprise move, the Ravens traded back in to acquire James Proche. A player who analysts like Mel Kiper thought would go much higher, the Ravens get to add another prospect to their stable of young WRs. Proche is a speedy, productive, sure-handed WR that seems to be the favorite of QB Lamar Jackson. With the opting out of De’Anthony Thomas, Proche’s most likely route to the field in year one will be as a kick returner.
Round 7:
Geno Stone: B
With their 10th and final selection of the draft, the Ravens snagged S Geno Stone. An intelligent, cagey safety at Iowa, Stone fell to the seventh round due to concerns around his athleticism. He will have to prove himself to make a stacked roster. However, he does project as a special teams contributor with some long term potential upside in a safety group that lacks depth.
Overall A: In a draft with many picks, the Ravens acquired a lot of good players with immediate contribution potential. They were able to make a good team better without making drastic moves or giving up significant capital. The Ravens FO are masters at letting the draft come to them, and once again they had a consensus great draft that was lauded by analysts.
Other Offseason News that Affected the Team
The Ravens avoided major drama in the offseason. There were, however, a few stories of note in the media.
Earl Thomas Incident: Earl Thomas was in the news following an altercation with his wife in which she allegedly pointed a gun at his head. Thomas’ wife Nina reportedly tracked Earl and his brother to a rental house, were they were shacked up with women. The Ravens were reported to be very displeased with Thomas, who did not alert the team to the story ahead of time. One point that is important to note, that while the entire incident was very strange, Earl was not in the same room as his brother as was being speculated on the internet. Both brothers were in different rooms with their respective partners.
Lamar Jackson: After a breakout MVP season, Lamar has become a veritable superstar, notably gracing the cover of Madden.
Antonio Brown: After being filmed working out with quarterback Lamar Jackson and his cousin, WR Hollywood Brown, Antonio Brown has been repeatedly linked with the Ravens. Jackson has gone as far as to publicly advocate for signing the wayward receiver. However, given that Brown will be suspended for half of the season, and Owner Steve Bischotti has publicly eschewed the idea of signing players with domestic violence issues following the Ray Rice incident, a pairing of Antonio Brown and Jackson seems unlikely.
Hollywood Brown: While not a national story, one thing that Ravens fans are excited about is the offseason progress of Hollywood Brown. After having a screw surgically removed from his foot, Brown has been posting his workouts and has reportedly gained 23 pounds from last year.
Mo Gaba: A heart breaking story this offseason, the passing of Ravens superfan Mo Gaba was announced on July 28th. A dedicated fan of Baltimore sports, Mo passed at age 14 after multiple battles with cancer. He was heavily involved with the Ravens organization, notably announcing the Ravens selection of Ben Powers as the first ever draft pick announced via braille in 2019. He was known as a ray of light by many Ravens players, and always had a sunny and cheery disposition despite the struggles he faced. This post is dedicated to his life, and Mo is beloved across Ravens nation.
Latest Injury and FA News:
Iman Marshal: Torn ACL, out for the year.
Chris Moore: Broken finger, out for a few weeks.
Dez Bryant: The FA WR, has reportedly garnered interest from the Ravens front office and is traveling to Baltimore for a workout.
Projected Starting Lineup:
· QB: Lamar Jackson:
Following an incredible MVP season, expectations are heaped high on QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson amazed with his running ability, making elite athletes routinely look foolish with his juking ability and speed. He was also incredibly efficient in the passing game, leveraging his running threat to keep defenses spread thin. Lamar is expected to continue his dominance this year, as his unique skillset is incredibly difficult to plan for. Jackson has his sights set on the post season, as his 0-2 playoff record is one black mark on an otherwise incredible start to his career.
· RB: Mark Ingram:
Ingram proved to be a force in 2019 as a complement to Lamar, as he chewed up defenses frozen by Jacksons rushing ability for YAC and first downs on a routine basis. As with last year the Ravens will address running back with a committee, expect to see Gus Edwards and new addition JK Dobbins feature heavily in the offense.
· FB: Patrick Ricard:
One of the NFLS few remaining two-way players, Ricard is an 800-pound gorilla whose lead blocking ability sets the tone of the Ravens hardnosed rushing offense.
· TE: Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle:
A dynamic duo, Andrews and Boyle will have more responsibility following the offseason departure of Hayden Hurst. Boyle has proven himself as one of the most effective blockers at the tight end position in the NFL, and he acts almost like another linemen, mauling defense fronts and empowering the run game. Andrews has emerged as one of the premier TE receiving threats in the NFL, and will have the opportunity this year to take the leap needed to reach the tier of players like George Kittle, Travis Kelsey, and Zach Ertz.
· WR: Hollywood Brown, Willie Snead, Miles Boykin:
In an offense that does not heavily feature WR play, the Ravens young corps will need to step up to get the Ravens over the hump in the playoffs. Brown and Boykin will need to take a leap in their second years to solidify the group. Brown faces the weight of expectation as many believe he has the potential to become the 1,000-yard WR threat the Ravens have lacked for most of their franchises’ history.
· LT: Ronnie Stanley:
The best LT in the NFL, Stanley imposes his will on defenders and anchors an offensive line that was dominant in 2019. Stanley’s play last year earned him all pro honors and the biggest question around him is how expensive he will become following the block buster extension signed by Laremy Tunsil this offseason,
· LG: Bradley Boseman:
An average to above average starter at left guard, Bozeman did a good job in 2019. While he will face competition for his spot from players like Ben Powers and Ben Bredeson, he projects to start again in 2020.
· C: Matt Skura: The starting center who was lost mid-season due to injury, Skura’s return is of keen importance to the Ravens. Skura’s back up, Patrick Mekari, did a great job filling in, but was ultimately exposed in the Titan’s game, contributing to the Ravens offensive woes in that matchup.
· RG: DJ Fluker: A road grader in the run game who is average to below average in the passing game, Fluker’s skillset fits what the Ravens are trying to accomplish. While there will be a competition for this spot, the ability to plug in a veteran like Fluker over a first- or second-year player makes him the likely candidate to replace Ravens great Marshal Yanda.
· RT: Orlando Brown Jr.:
A gigantic human being who followed in his father’s footsteps, Brown along with Stanley formed one of the best young tackle duos in the NFL. Brown Jr. was extremely solid in 2019 and should only get better going into this year.
· DL: Derek Wolfe, Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Jaylon Ferguson:
A group ultimately marked by its failure to stop the run in 2019, the Ravens completely overhauled their starting lineup. The addition of Campbell and Wolfe to a unit that returns Brandon Williams to his natural position of NT should see significant improvement heading into this year.
· LB: Matthew Judon, Patrick Queen, LJ Fort:
A unit that was so weak last year that the Ravens were signing players off the street to start, the LB corps has a lot to live up to in 2020. One of the team’s larger question marks, the LB corps’ effectiveness will ultimately hinge on what level of contribution it can get from rookies Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison.
· CB: Marlon Humphrey, Tavon Young, Marcus Peters:
Featuring one of the best CB duos in the league in Peters and Humphrey, the Ravens CBs will somehow be even better with the return of slot corner Tavon Young from injury. This CB group will be focused on being the best unit in the league, and there is no reason why they should not accomplish that goal.
· S: Chuck Clark, Earl Thomas:
The Ravens Safety group struggled last year until the injury of Tony Jefferson, and over the season anchored a very effective secondary. There were questions at times about Thomas’ hustle, but he will undoubtedly contribute heavily. Clark played well enough to earn a large extension, and his intelligence will feature heavily in the complicated Martindale system.
· K: Justin Tucker:
Not much to say about this one, Justin Tucker is just better than every other kicker in the league. He is extremely clutch and an absolute weapon on game winning drives, oh and he sings opera too.
· P: Sam Koch:
A player who reinvented the way his position is played, Sam Koch rejoins the wolf pack for another season with a fresh leg, after barely having to punt last year. Not a bad gig.
· KR: Justice Hill:
In a crowded RB room, KR may be the best way for the speedy Hill to see the field consistently next year.
· PR: James Proche:
A shifty and speedy talent with extremely sure hands, Proche will compete immediately for the PR spot, and should see time there in 2020.
Position Group Strengths and Weaknesses
Position groups:
· QB: The Ravens are very strong at the QB position. With the League MVP in Lamar Jackson, and an above average back up in RGIII, the team should feel extremely confident about its QB room.
· Backfield: The Ravens have one of the strongest RB Corps in the league, and all 4 RBS should contribute in many ways in the Ravens unique offense.
· OL: One of the strongest units in 2019, the OL should take a step back with the loss of Marshal Yanda. How the unit adjusts to this change will be one of the most important questions for the team to answer this year,
· Pass Catchers: Efficiency is the name of the game for the Ravens passing game and that will be the story in 2020. While there are many teams in the league with more productive TE and WR rooms, the Ravens offensive scheme should allow players like Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews to be big contributors.
· DL: The DL must do its part in washing the stain of Derek Henry’s play off performance from the Raven’s memory. This unit appears to be much improved and should be poised to do so under the leadership of Calais Campbell.
· LB: This unit is a huge question mark and we will not know how good they are until we can see the impact of the rookies firsthand. If Patrick Queen and Harrison are ready to contribute right away, it should be a solid group.
· Secondary: The Ravens have across the board the most complete secondary in the league, bar none. This unit was extremely strong last year and should remain so in 2020.
· Special Teams: Special Teams has traditionally been a strength for the Ravens. The kicking and punting units should continue to be top of the league, while there are some questions on how the KR and PR teams will perform this year.
Schedule Prediction
Week 1: Browns
Prediction: Win
The Browns have a talented roster and could be a huge threat if they can pull things together in 2020. However, installing a new HC with the limitations of covid places the Ravens as the week one favorites.
Week 2: @ Texans
Prediction: Win
Houston is hard to predict given the instability of the O’Brien regime. However, a Texans team that got trounced by the Ravens last year and lost their star WR will have a hard time overcoming an improved Ravens. The score will likely be closer, but the Ravens should pull it out.
Week 3: Chiefs
Prediction: Loss
The Ravens will have every opportunity to finally snag a win from Patrick Mahomes. However, it will be difficult to overcome a Super Bowl winning team that returns a ridiculous number of starters, especially when Covid steals homefield advantage from you.
Week 4: @ Washington Football Team
Prediction: Win
The WFT comes into the season with a new brand and a fearsome looking defensive line. However, there are too many questions on offense to think the Redskins are likely to beat a stacked Ravens roster.
Week 5: Bengals
Prediction: Win
Joe Burrow has all the tools needed to be an excellent NFL starter. The AFC North is a cold and hostile place however, and it will be difficult to exhibit those talents in year one.
Week 6: @ Eagles
Prediction: Win
The Eagles WR group will have a tough time getting anything going against the Ravens secondary, especially if they have to play from behind. Look for the offense to chew clock and force the Eagles to throw early and often.
Week 7: Steelers
Prediction: Win
Its hard to know how good Pittsburgh will be without seeing the state of Big Ben, but Mike Tomlin is a great head coach and always puts a good team on the field. Since the Ravens and Steelers almost always seems to split, the Ravens are likely to take the contest at home.
Week 8: Bye
The players get much needed rest while I sit in my house cheering for AFC rivals to lose.
Week 9: @ Colts
Prediction: Loss
This Ravens team is stacked, but they are likely to lose a game they should have won, and Indy seems a likely culprit. A talented roster that gets even a decent level of play from Rivers could cause the Ravens to slip up.
Week 10: @ Patriots
Prediction: Win
Belichek always puts a decent product on the field, but a Patriots team that lost the goat QB and was ravaged by opt outs may struggle this season, especially against a team like the Ravens.
Week 11: Titans
Prediction: Win
Revenge game time. A revamped front 7 and a vengeful Lamar Jackson show the Titans how the first game should have gone.
Week 12: @ Steelers
Prediction: Loss
The Ravens-Steelers rivalry is as evenly matched as it is brutal, and its likely the Steelers will be able to split the series with a win at home.
Week 13: Cowboys
Prediction: Win
Dallas has a scary WR corps with the addition of Ceedee Lamb, but after losing Travis Frederick, they might struggle against the Ravens strong secondary and blitz happy front. Ravens win by one score.
Week 14: @ Browns
Prediction: Loss
As stated previously, the Browns have a great roster on paper, and should be a threat. A run first offense with Chubb that utilizes the strong pass catching unit they have could well hand the Ravens a loss later in the season. Or they might continue to be the Browns and not do that at all, but I remain cautious that they can figure it out this year.
Week 15: Jaguars
Prediction: Win
Calais gets to catch up with some old friends while sitting on the bench watching the Ravens offense pound the rock. Ravens cruise to victory.
Week 16: Giants
Prediction: Win
The Giants add an important piece by acquiring a strong Left Tackle but they need to fill a few more holes to compete.
Week 17: u/Bengals
Prediction: Win
Bengals get an advantage as they are comfortable playing at home in an empty stadium, but it is the Lamar Jackson show once again.
Final Record: 12-4
History states that regression is likely after a 14-2 season, and this prediction reflects that. However, the Ravens should still be very strong and Lamar will get his chance once again to prove himself in the post season.
Offensive and Defensive Schemes
Offense: The Ravens debuted a unique offense last year that focused on rushing the ball and using heavy sets with tight ends. The entire offense hinges on the threat of Lamar Jackson running the football. Teams are forced to stay honest up front, or they risk getting gouged by a QB scramble. This allows the Ravens offense to utilize a lot of reads in which Lamar can hand the ball off or keep it himself based on how certain players react. This dynamic run scheme thus allows the passing game by opening holes in the secondary. Look for the Ravens to add more wrinkles in 2020 and utilizes more passing attempts to help the offense remain ahead of the curve.
Defense: The Ravens defense is all about pressure. The Ravens blitz at the highest rate in the NFL. DC Wink Martindale uses multiple looks to confuse quarterbacks by disguising blitzes and coverage. The lynch pin of the scheme is the secondary, which can be left on an island while the front brings pressure. Look for the Ravens to continue this trend in 2020, going after QBs to force mistakes.
Conclusion: The Ravens project as one of the best teams in the NFL, and they need to prove themselves in the post season to take the next step.
Link to hub: https://www.reddit.com/nfl/comments/hju9t3/offseason_review_series_call_for_writers/
submitted by Jonnyawesome89 to nfl [link] [comments]


2020.08.18 00:51 Jonnyawesome89 Offseason Review Series: Baltimore Ravens

Coming off an incredible 14-2 regular season in which the Ravens, led by MVP Lamar Jackson, shocked the league with an innovative offense that ran all over opponents. The team looks toward a 2020 campaign in which they will attempt to shake the sting to an extremely disappointing first round playoff exit.
[Ravens]
Division: AFC North
Coaching Changes
In a season rocked by uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ravens have a significant advantage in the fact that they retain both coordinators and head coach after a successful season. In February, head coach John Harbaugh announced title changes for 6 members of the staff (per baltimoreravens.com):
· Chris Horton – special teams coordinator (formerly special teams coach)
· Randy Brown – special teams coach (formerly assistant special teams coach)
· Chris Hewitt – pass defense coordinator (formerly defensive backs coach)
· Sterling Lucas – defensive assistant/defensive line (formerly defensive assistant/linebackers)
· Jesse Minter – defensive backs coach (formerly assistant defensive backs coach)
· Drew Wilkins – outside linebackers coach (formerly assistant defensive line and outside linebackers coach)
Chris Horton
Horton enters his second year guiding the Ravens' special teams unit after taking over for longtime coordinator Jerry Rosburg following his retirement in 2019. Last season, Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro K Justin Tucker finished second in the NFL with a 96.6 percent field goal success rate (28 of 29), which was also the second-best mark in franchise single-season history. Baltimore also finished eighth in punt return average (8.2) in 2019. A seventh-year coach with the Ravens, Horton has been working with the special teams group since 2015.
Randy Brown
Brown is in his 13th year working with the Ravens' specialists. He has had an instrumental role in the development of the team's kicking game by helping Tucker become the most accurate kicker of all time (90.8 percent). Tucker has scored 141 points in each of his past four seasons, which tie for the Ravens single-season scoring record and make him the NFL's only kicker to surpass the 140 mark in each of the last four years (2016-19).
Chris Hewitt
Hewitt enters his ninth-year coaching with the Ravens after serving as the team's defensive backs coach for the past five seasons (2015-19). Last season, Baltimore's pass defense finished sixth in the NFL (207.2 ypg) with three players from the secondary earning Pro Bowl honors (CB Marlon Humphrey, CB Marcus Peters and S Earl Thomas III). Humphrey and Peters also earned first-team All-Pro accolades. Baltimore tallied a 77.5 defensive passer rating in 2019, which stood as the NFL's second-best mark.
Sterling Lucas
Lucas is in his fifth season with the Ravens after joining the team in 2016 as a strength and conditioning assistant in 2016. He has also served as an administrative assistant – defense (2017), quality control – defense (2018) and most recently as defensive assistant/linebackers (2019). Prior to joining Baltimore, Lucas spent two years as a defensive graduate assistant at North Carolina State.
Jesse Minter
Minter has been with the Ravens since 2017, when he started as a defensive assistant. He was promoted to assistant defensive backs coach in 2019, when he worked under Hewitt. This past season, Baltimore tied (Tampa Bay) for the NFL lead with six defensive touchdowns (including three interceptions returned for touchdowns).
Drew Wilkins
Wilkins enters his 11th year with the Ravens after initially joining the team as a football video operations intern in 2010. He served as the team's assistant defensive line & outside linebackers coach the past two seasons (2018-19). Wilkins originally moved to the coaching side in 2013, when he became a coaching staff assistant. He was promoted to defensive assistant in 2014 before becoming the assistant defensive line coach in 2017. In 2019, OLB Matthew Judon led the Ravens with a career-high 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. The Ravens also finished with 111 quarterback hits, the NFL's third-most.
Free Agency:
Players Lost/Cut
Player Position New Team
Tony Jefferson SS Released
James Hurst OT Released
Michael Pierce DT FA, Minnesota
Josh Bynes ILB FA, Cincinatti
Patrick Onwuasor ILB FA, NY Jets
Seth Roberts WR FA, Carolina
Hayden Hurst TE Traded, Atlanta
Chris Wormley DE Traded, Pittsburgh
De’Anthony Thomas WKR Opt-Out
Andre Smith OT Opt-Out
In an offseason with a few notable departures for the Ravens, none is more impactful than the retirement of OG Marshal Yanda. A 13-year veteran, Yanda anchored the Ravens offensive line, and was consistently amongst the best guards in football. Not just a dominant force on the field, Yanda brought veteran leadership to a young Ravens squad that found a lot of success in the regular season. Now retired, he become a prospect for the NFL Hall of Fame. Marshal Yanda is a caliber of player that is not easily replaced, and the loss of his ability and leadership is one of the biggest question marks for the Ravens offense going into 2020.
Michael Pierce came into the league as an UDFA who was able to become an immediate contributor for the Ravens front 7. An imposing figure at over 330 lbs., Pierce, along with Ravens stalwart Brandon Williams created a stout, if not agile, front for the Ravens defense. Following a 2019 in which Pierce came into camp overweight and out of shape, his long-term future with the team was immediately brought into question, culminating with him signing with the Minnesota Vikings this offseason. The additions by the Ravens of Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe this offseason softens the blow considerably, and the unit may even look to be improved headed into this year.
When it comes to Baltimore Ravens and Greg Roman offenses, extensive use of Tight Ends immediately comes to mind. It was therefore surprising to some when the Ravens decided to trade former first round pick Hayden Hurst to the Falcons this offseason. Hurst played significant snaps for the Ravens in a system that heavily utilizes tight ends. Unfortunately for Hurst, he was injured his rookie season and struggled for targets behind Mark Andrews, who has made a case to be considered a top TE in the league. Ultimately, this may be a rare win-win trade, as Hurst will have an opportunity to flourish with Matt Ryan on a Falcons team who recently lost Austin Hooper, while the Ravens were thrilled to use the resulting pick on standout RB JK Dobbins, who fits their system perfectly.
While neither player was a force in the back field last season, the simultaneous losses of Josh Bynes and Patrick Onwuasor presents an interesting challenge for the Ravens, who are now likely to feature two rookies (Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison) heavily in their rotation this year.
The inclusion of opt-outs due to Covid-19 made this offseason tricky for some teams, but the Ravens were relatively unscathed. While the loss of De’Anthony Thomas and Andre Smith does impact depth, ultimately both players were replacement level, and their loss does not represent a significant challenge for 2020.
Players Acquired

Player Position Old Team Length Salary
Matthew Judon DE Ravens Franchise Tag $16.3MM
Derek Wolfe DE Broncos 1 Year $3MM
Jihad Ward DE Ravens 1 Year $1.1MM
Jimmy Smith CB Ravens 1 Year $3.5MM
Anthony Levine Sr S Ravens 1 Year $1.81MM
Chris Moore WR Ravens 1 Year $1.7MM
Sam Koch P Ravens 2 Years $4.95MM
Matt Skura C Ravens 1 Year RFA Tender
Chuck Clark SS Ravens 3 Years $15.3MM
Jordan Richards S Ravens 1 Year $845k
Gus Edwards RB Ravens 1 Year $750K
Nick Moore LS Ravens 1 Year $610K
Calais Campbell DE Jaguars 2 Years $25MM
DJ Fluker OG Seahawks 1 Year $1.07MM
Pernell McPhee DE Ravens 1 Year $1.1MM
While the Ravens did not make a ton of moves on outside players, they did make a big splash early in the offseason with the acquisition of Calais Campbell. At the low cost of just a 5th round pick, the Ravens were able to acquire a perennial pro bowler and veteran leader. A no brainer for the cost, by making this move, along with the signing of Derek Wolfe, the Ravens were able to address their D Line, a unit that was exposed last year by both Nick Chubb and Derek Henry. On the offensive line, the Ravens were able to add DJ Fluker, who can immediately slot into the void left by Marshal Yanda. While Fluker will certainly be a drop off from the Hall of Fame prospect Yanda, his veteran presence should help minimize the impact of losing such an important player.
On the re-signing front, the name of the game was continuity. The Ravens were able to accomplish this goal, returning key pieces of the 2019 squad. Most notably, the Ravens were able to keep intact what was one of the best secondaries in the NFL last year down the stretch. By re-signing Chuck Clark, Anthony Levine, Jimmy Smith and extending Marcus Peters (with already signed players Marlon Humphrey and Earl Thomas) the Ravens are once again slated to have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. This is key, as the Ravens clock chewing, points scoring offense often forces enemy teams to play from behind, and the Ravens defense is once again set up to make passing the ball extremely difficult. At the DE position the Ravens tagged Matthew Judon. A productive player with a high amount of pressures in 2019, Judon was important to retain on an extremely thin DE unit. On offense, they returned RB Gus Edwards and starting C Matt Skura. Skura is an important piece, as his loss was keenly felt against the Titans following his season ending injury in the Rams game.
Draft
The Ravens are known across the NFL for accumulating picks through trades and compensatory selections. This year was no exception, as the Ravens had 10 total selections, including a whopping 6 picks in the first three rounds.

Round Pick (OVR) Player Position School
1 28 (28) Patrick Queen LB LSU
2 23 (55) JK Dobbins RB Ohio State
3 7 (71) Justin Madubuike DT Texas A&M
3 28 (92) Devin Duvernay WR Texas
3 34 (98) Malik Harrison LB Ohio State
3 42 (106) Tyre Phillips OT Miss State
4 37 (143) Ben Bredeson G Michigan
5 25 (170) Broderick Washington DT Texas Tech
6 22 (201) James Proche WR SMU
7 5 (219) Geno Stone S Iowa

Draft Grades:
Round 1:
Patrick Queen: A+
One of the most notable weaknesses of the Ravens Defense in 2019 was the linebacking corps. After losing CJ Mosley the previous offseason, the remaining LBs proved unequal to the task, culminating in a complete reshuffling of the position with off the street free agents a few weeks into the season. While the new group was serviceable, the Ravens had a noticeably porous run defense when playing from behind, which was not an issue for much of the year but got completely exposed in an embarrassing round 1 playoff exit. This made LB a huge position of need. The Ravens, true to their reputation, remained patient in the first round while other teams linked to first round LB talent, (teams like Green Bay and New Orleans) went elsewhere, and other teams made reaches, (notably the Seahawks one pick earlier) and still got their guy, much later than originally projected. Queen is an exciting addition to the Ravens Defense. Fast and with great instincts, Queen has a knack for always being around the play. He shows up in the biggest moments, snagging a key interception from Tua Tagovailoa against Alabama and earning Defensive MVP honors in the national championship game. Queen does have some weaknesses, with weak tackling at times and only one year of proven production. However, given the Ravens’ ability to develop linebackers, they must have been ecstatic to snag a player who many analysists believed would be long gone by pick 28.
Round 2:
JK Dobbins: A-
The Ravens had perhaps the most dominant rushing attack of the modern era in 2019, which caused many to be shocked when they selected a running back with their second pick of the NFL Draft. However, anyone who is a close observer of the Ravens understood the selection. The Ravens live by the mantra of “Best Player Available” and as an organization refuse to reach for positions of need. This has made them one of the more successful organizations in the draft, as they consistently find value with their picks. Dobbins is a perfect fit for the Ravens system. He is a shifty back with great vision who demonstrated great understanding of how to take what the defense gives him. This projects very well into an offense that opens so many holes with a dominant line and constant running threat of MVP Lamar Jackson. Dobbins should be an immediate contributor and projects as the long-term starter, particularly if the Ravens part ways with Mark Ingram after this year. He is the second All-Time rusher at Ohio State, ahead of players like Ezekiel Elliott and Eddie George. His ability to run out of the pistol makes him a great complement to Lamar Jackson in RPO situations.
Rounds 3:
Justin Madubuke: A
Every year the Ravens seem to have a pick in the mid rounds that dumbfounds analysts. This is because they have a knack for scooping up players that should not still be on the board without giving up capital to do so. In this example, the Ravens traded back from pick 60, and likely still got the player they were targeting. Madubuike is a mountain at 6’3, 293 pounds, and has shown success at not only containing the run but pressuring the QB. Madubuike provides an infusion of youth to a defensive line that is one of the older units on the team. This pick is also indicative of the Ravens commitment to returning to their run stuffing roots, the front office was clearly unhappy with the pain inflicted by Derek Henry in the divisional round.
Devin Duvernay: B+
Coming into 2020, the Ravens WRS are the biggest question mark on the roster. An extremely inexperienced unit, many thought that it was a position that would be addressed much earlier in the draft. However, the Ravens were patient, and snagged the guy they wanted in Devin Duvernay. Duvernay had extremely successful 2019, racking up 1,386 yards and showcasing very reliable hands. The speedy, sure-handed nature of Duvernay’s game is a definite complement to Lamar Jacksons playstyle, as the Ravens rely on efficiency over volume in the passing game. One consideration with Duvernay moving forward is that he is most effective from the slot, which is rather crowded with the Ravens current lineup of pass catchers.
Malik Harrison: A-
As with Patrick Queen, the Ravens were clearly motivated to overhaul a weak line backing unit that was picked on at times in 2019. Harrison, a large, run thumping LB, projects as a great complement to the speedy, instinctual Queen. The Ravens were clearly motivated to fix their run stopping issues. Harrison is a large presence who is extremely reliable in maintaining his gap assignments, which should go a long way in shoring up the Ravens run D.
Tyre Phillips: B-
With the last pick of the third round, an exhausted Roger Goodell announced the pick of Tyre Phillips. Phillips, a 6 ft 5, 345 pound OT, is likely to be involved in the Ravens competition at guard to replace Marshal Yanda. Phillips shows great size and natural athleticism, with some roughness to his technique. While he was drafted earlier than predicted, Phillips will have the chance to grow in the Ravens’ system and compete for a starting role.
Round 4:
Ben Bredeson: A-
An All Big Ten player under head coach John Harbaugh’s brother Jim at Michigan, Ben Bredeson seemed destined to stay in the Harbaugh family. A great complement to the previous pick of Phillips, Bredeson projects as more pro ready on day one. There are concerns about his natural length at the pro level, however, with his technique, Bredeson should be in the mix early on. Adding a second offensive line here was a great move by the Ravens to help shore up their interior O line.
Round 5:
Broderick Washington: C
The Ravens addressed defensive line again in round 5, in a move that was a head scratcher to some. The Ravens like Washington as a player and as a leader, and so did not hesitate to grab him. While this does seem like somewhat of a luxury pick, Washington will get the chance to learn from great players like Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe. Washington doesn’t need to feel pressured to contribute year one. This pick once again demonstrates the Ravens commitment to “Best player Available”.
Round 6:
James Proche: B+
In a surprise move, the Ravens traded back in to acquire James Proche. A player who analysts like Mel Kiper thought would go much higher, the Ravens get to add another prospect to their stable of young WRs. Proche is a speedy, productive, sure-handed WR that seems to be the favorite of QB Lamar Jackson. With the opting out of De’Anthony Thomas, Proche’s most likely route to the field in year one will be as a kick returner.
Round 7:
Geno Stone: B
With their 10th and final selection of the draft, the Ravens snagged S Geno Stone. An intelligent, cagey safety at Iowa, Stone fell to the seventh round due to concerns around his athleticism. He will have to prove himself to make a stacked roster. However, he does project as a special teams contributor with some long term potential upside in a safety group that lacks depth.
Overall A: In a draft with many picks, the Ravens acquired a lot of good players with immediate contribution potential. They were able to make a good team better without making drastic moves or giving up significant capital. The Ravens FO are masters at letting the draft come to them, and once again they had a consensus great draft that was lauded by analysts.
Other Offseason News that Affected the Team
The Ravens avoided major drama in the offseason. There were, however, a few stories of note in the media.
Earl Thomas Incident: Earl Thomas was in the news following an altercation with his wife in which she allegedly pointed a gun at his head. Thomas’ wife Nina reportedly tracked Earl and his brother to a rental house, were they were shacked up with women. The Ravens were reported to be very displeased with Thomas, who did not alert the team to the story ahead of time. One point that is important to note, that while the entire incident was very strange, Earl was not in the same room as his brother as was being speculated on the internet. Both brothers were in different rooms with their respective partners.
Lamar Jackson: After a breakout MVP season, Lamar has become a veritable superstar, notably gracing the cover of Madden.
Antonio Brown: After being filmed working out with quarterback Lamar Jackson and his cousin, WR Hollywood Brown, Antonio Brown has been repeatedly linked with the Ravens. Jackson has gone as far as to publicly advocate for signing the wayward receiver. However, given that Brown will be suspended for half of the season, and Owner Steve Bischotti has publicly eschewed the idea of signing players with domestic violence issues following the Ray Rice incident, a pairing of Antonio Brown and Jackson seems unlikely.
Hollywood Brown: While not a national story, one thing that Ravens fans are excited about is the offseason progress of Hollywood Brown. After having a screw surgically removed from his foot, Brown has been posting his workouts and has reportedly gained 23 pounds from last year.
Mo Gaba: A heart breaking story this offseason, the passing of Ravens superfan Mo Gaba was announced on July 28th. A dedicated fan of Baltimore sports, Mo passed at age 14 after multiple battles with cancer. He was heavily involved with the Ravens organization, notably announcing the Ravens selection of Ben Powers as the first every draft pick announced via braille in 2019. He was known as a ray of light by many Ravens players, and always had a sunny and cheery disposition despite the struggles he faced. This post is dedicated to his life, and Mo is beloved across Ravens nation.
Latest Injury and FA News:
Iman Marshal: Torn ACL, out for the year.
Chris Moore: Broken finger, out for a few weeks.
Dez Bryant: The FA WR, has reportedly garnered interest from the Ravens front office and is traveling to Baltimore for a workout.
Projected Starting Lineup:
· QB: Lamar Jackson:
Following an incredible MVP season, expectations are heaped high on QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson amazed with his running ability, making elite athletes routinely look foolish with his juking ability and speed. He was also incredibly efficient in the passing game, leveraging his running threat to keep defenses spread thin. Lamar is expected to continue his dominance this year, as his unique skillset is incredibly difficult to plan for. Jackson has his sights set on the post season, as his 0-2 playoff record is one black mark on an otherwise incredible start to his career.
· RB: Mark Ingram:
Ingram proved to be a force in 2019 as a complement to Lamar, as he chewed up defenses frozen by Jacksons rushing ability for YAC and first downs on a routine basis. As with last year the Ravens will address running back with a committee, expect to see Gus Edwards and new addition JK Dobbins feature heavily in the offense.
· FB: Patrick Ricard:
One of the NFLS few remaining two-way players, Ricard is an 800-pound gorilla whose lead blocking ability sets the tone of the Ravens hardnosed rushing offense.
· TE: Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle:
A dynamic duo, Andrews and Boyle will have more responsibility following the offseason departure of Hayden Hurst. Boyle has proven himself as one of the most effective blockers at the tight end position in the NFL, and he acts almost like another linemen, mauling defense fronts and empowering the run game. Andrews has emerged as one of the premier TE receiving threats in the NFL, and will have the opportunity this year to take the leap needed to reach the tier of players like George Kittle, Travis Kelsey, and Zach Ertz.
· WR: Hollywood Brown, Willie Snead, Miles Boykin:
In an offense that does not heavily feature WR play, the Ravens young corps will need to step up to get the Ravens over the hump in the playoffs. Brown and Boykin will need to take a leap in their second years to solidify the group. Brown faces the weight of expectation as many believe he has the potential to become the 1,000-yard WR threat the Ravens have lacked for most of their franchises’ history.
· LT: Ronnie Stanley:
The best LT in the NFL, Stanley imposes his will on defenders and anchors an offensive line that was dominant in 2019. Stanley’s play last year earned him all pro honors and the biggest question around him is how expensive he will become following the block buster extension signed by Laremy Tunsil this offseason,
· LG: Bradley Boseman:
An average to above average starter at left guard, Bozeman did a good job in 2019. While he will face competition for his spot from players like Ben Powers and Ben Bredeson, he projects to start again in 2020.
· C: Matt Skura: The starting center who was lost mid-season due to injury, Skura’s return is of keen importance to the Ravens. Skura’s back up, Patrick Mekari, did a great job filling in, but was ultimately exposed in the Titan’s game, contributing to the Ravens offensive woes in that matchup.
· RG: DJ Fluker: A road grader in the run game who is average to below average in the passing game, Fluker’s skillset fits what the Ravens are trying to accomplish. While there will be a competition for this spot, the ability to plug in a veteran like Fluker over a first- or second-year player makes him the likely candidate to replace Ravens great Marshal Yanda.
· RT: Orlando Brown Jr.:
A gigantic human being who followed in his father’s footsteps, Brown along with Stanley formed one of the best young tackle duos in the NFL. Brown Jr. was extremely solid in 2019 and should only get better going into this year.
· DL: Derek Wolfe, Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Jaylon Ferguson:
A group ultimately marked by its failure to stop the run in 2019, the Ravens completely overhauled their starting lineup. The addition of Campbell and Wolfe to a unit that returns Brandon Williams to his natural position of NT should see significant improvement heading into this year.
· LB: Matthew Judon, Patrick Queen, LJ Fort:
A unit that was so weak last year that the Ravens were signing players off the street to start, the LB corps has a lot to live up to in 2020. One of the team’s larger question marks, the LB corps’ effectiveness will ultimately hinge on what level of contribution it can get from rookies Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison.
· CB: Marlon Humphrey, Tavon Young, Marcus Peters:
Featuring one of the best CB duos in the league in Peters and Humphrey, the Ravens CBs will somehow be even better with the return of slot corner Tavon Young from injury. This CB group will be focused on being the best unit in the league, and there is no reason why they should not accomplish that goal.
· S: Chuck Clark, Earl Thomas:
The Ravens Safety group struggled last year until the injury of Tony Jefferson, and over the season anchored a very effective secondary. There were questions at times about Thomas’ hustle, but he will undoubtedly contribute heavily. Clark played well enough to earn a large extension, and his intelligence will feature heavily in the complicated Martindale system.
· K: Justin Tucker:
Not much to say about this one, Justin Tucker is just better than every other kicker in the league. He is extremely clutch and an absolute weapon on game winning drives, oh and he sings opera too.
· P: Sam Koch:
A player who reinvented the way his position is played, Sam Koch rejoins the wolf pack for another season with a fresh leg, after barely having to punt last year. Not a bad gig.
· KR: Justice Hill:
In a crowded RB room, KR may be the best way for the speedy Hill to see the field consistently next year.
· PR: James Proche:
A shifty and speedy talent with extremely sure hands, Proche will compete immediately for the PR spot, and should see time there in 2020.
Position Group Strengths and Weaknesses
Position groups:
· QB: The Ravens are very strong at the QB position. With the League MVP in Lamar Jackson, and an above average back up in RGIII, the team should feel extremely confident about its QB room.
· Backfield: The Ravens have one of the strongest RB Corps in the league, and all 4 RBS should contribute in many ways in the Ravens unique offense.
· OL: One of the strongest units in 2019, the OL should take a step back with the loss of Marshal Yanda. How the unit adjusts to this change will be one of the most important questions for the team to answer this year,
· Pass Catchers: Efficiency is the name of the game for the Ravens passing game and that will be the story in 2020. While there are many teams in the league with more productive TE and WR rooms, the Ravens offensive scheme should allow players like Hollywood Brown and Mark Andrews to be big contributors.
· DL: The DL must do its part in washing the stain of Derek Henry’s play off performance from the Raven’s memory. This unit appears to be much improved and should be poised to do so under the leadership of Calais Campbell.
· LB: This unit is a huge question mark and we will not know how good they are until we can see the impact of the rookies firsthand. If Patrick Queen and Harrison are ready to contribute right away, it should be a solid group.
· Secondary: The Ravens have across the board the most complete secondary in the league, bar none. This unit was extremely strong last year and should remain so in 2020.
· Special Teams: Special Teams has traditionally been a strength for the Ravens. The kicking and punting units should continue to be top of the league, while there are some questions on how the KR and PR teams will perform this year.
Schedule Prediction
Week 1: Browns
Prediction: Win
The Browns have a talented roster and could be a huge threat if they can pull things together in 2020. However, installing a new HC with the limitations of covid places the Ravens as the week one favorites.
Week 2: @ Texans
Prediction: Win
Houston is hard to predict given the instability of the O’Brien regime. However, a Texans team that got trounced by the Ravens last year and lost their star WR will have a hard time overcoming an improved Ravens. The score will likely be closer, but the Ravens should pull it out.
Week 3: Chiefs
Prediction: Loss
The Ravens will have every opportunity to finally snag a win from Patrick Mahomes. However, it will be difficult to overcome a Super Bowl winning team that returns a ridiculous number of starters, especially when Covid steals homefield advantage from you.
Week 4: @ Washington Football Team
Prediction: Win
The WFT comes into the season with a new brand and a fearsome looking defensive line. However, there are too many questions on offense to think the Redskins are likely to beat a stacked Ravens roster.
Week 5: Bengals
Prediction: Win
Joe Burrow has all the tools needed to be an excellent NFL starter. The AFC North is a cold and hostile place however, and it will be difficult to exhibit those talents in year one.
Week 6: @ Eagles
Prediction: Win
The Eagles WR group will have a tough time getting anything going against the Ravens secondary, especially if they have to play from behind. Look for the offense to chew clock and force the Eagles to throw early and often.
Week 7: Steelers
Prediction: Win
Its hard to know how good Pittsburgh will be without seeing the state of Big Ben, but Mike Tomlin is a great head coach and always puts a good team on the field. Since the Ravens and Steelers almost always seems to split, the Ravens are likely to take the contest at home.
Week 8: Bye
The players get much needed rest while I sit in my house cheering for AFC rivals to lose.
Week 9: @ Colts
Prediction: Loss
This Ravens team is stacked, but they are likely to lose a game they should have won, and Indy seems a likely culprit. A talented roster that gets even a decent level of play from Rivers could cause the Ravens to slip up.
Week 10: @ Patriots
Prediction: Win
Belichek always puts a decent product on the field, but a Patriots team that lost the goat QB and was ravaged by opt outs may struggle this season, especially against a team like the Ravens.
Week 11: Titans
Prediction: Win
Revenge game time. A revamped front 7 and a vengeful Lamar Jackson show the Titans how the first game should have gone.
Week 12: @ Steelers
Prediction: Loss
The Ravens-Steelers rivalry is as evenly matched as it is brutal, and its likely the Steelers will be able to split the series with a win at home.
Week 13: Cowboys
Prediction: Win
Dallas has a scary WR corps with the addition of Ceedee Lamb, but after losing Travis Frederick, they might struggle against the Ravens strong secondary and blitz happy front. Ravens win by one score.
Week 14: @ Browns
Prediction: Loss
As stated previously, the Browns have a great roster on paper, and should be a threat. A run first offense with Chubb that utilizes the strong pass catching unit they have could well hand the Ravens a loss later in the season. Or they might continue to be the Browns and not do that at all, but I remain cautious that they can figure it out this year.
Week 15: Jaguars
Prediction: Win
Calais gets to catch up with some old friends while sitting on the bench watching the Ravens offense pound the rock. Ravens cruise to victory.
Week 16: Giants
Prediction: Win
The Giants add an important piece by acquiring a strong Left Tackle but they need to fill a few more holes to compete.
Week 17: u/Bengals
Prediction: Win
Bengals get an advantage as they are comfortable playing at home in an empty stadium, but it is the Lamar Jackson show once again.
Final Record: 12-4
History states that regression is likely after a 14-2 season, and this prediction reflects that. However, the Ravens should still be very strong and Lamar will get his chance once again to prove himself in the post season.
Offensive and Defensive Schemes
Offense: The Ravens debuted a unique offense last year that focused on rushing the ball and using heavy sets with tight ends. The entire offense hinges on the threat of Lamar Jackson running the football. Teams are forced to stay honest up front, or they risk getting gouged by a QB scramble. This allows the Ravens offense to utilize a lot of reads in which Lamar can hand the ball off or keep it himself based on how certain players react. This dynamic run scheme thus allows the passing game by opening holes in the secondary. Look for the Ravens to add more wrinkles in 2020 and utilizes more passing attempts to help the offense remain ahead of the curve.
Defense: The Ravens defense is all about pressure. The Ravens blitz at the highest rate in the NFL. DC Wink Martindale uses multiple looks to confuse quarterbacks by disguising blitzes and coverage. The lynch pin of the scheme is the secondary, which can be left on an island while the front brings pressure. Look for the Ravens to continue this trend in 2020, going after QBs to force mistakes.
Conclusion: The Ravens project as one of the best teams in the NFL, and they need to prove themselves in the post season to take the next step.
submitted by Jonnyawesome89 to ravens [link] [comments]


2020.08.17 11:47 Jedi_Medic-T65 The Back 40 [HR]

3 am. Another early morning for me, but nothing i was a stranger to anymore at this point for me. Myself and one of my junior medics, a tall, lanky, 18 year old kid named Jesse, we were to provide medical coverage for a single soldier to complete a 12 mile ruck march in the back 40 of fort Campbell. Fort Campbell's back 40 has been jokingly referred to as Vietnam due to its thick foliage and abundance of animals that reside within it. I couldnt help but feel a little bit of pitty for the lone soldier rucking this morning. He would have no paceman, and no buddy to go with him. The trail was simple enough: a dirt road barely wide enough for my FLA to pass by with one tire on the grassy shoulder. We were staged between the turn around point and the start point, we sat about 3 or 4 miles into the woods, and about 10 miles from main base, but if you were to be blindfolded and deafened before being dropped off in the back 40 of campbell, you'd swear you were probably in some godforsaken jungle within Asia.
It was a moonless night, but a clear sky. I was content with these conditions, as it had been a good amount of time since id been able to properly stargaze. We staged the vehicle at a T intersection that overlooked an overgrown field, blanketed with the fog that gives the smokey mountains its name. To our left, right, and rear was woods and jungle, too dense for our headlamps and even LED flashlights to penetrate into its woodline. I paid little attention to this. I had made the mistake of letting my mind wander during my drive to camp on the odds of someone, at some point in time in history, to have died in the back 40, or even if a body has been dumped here before. I mean, the army does consider its soldiers AWOL before missing and dead, as proven by fort hood. Nevermind, such thoughts tend to make one paranoid. I clambered to the top of my FLA, radio in hand, to enjoy the starry night sky. "Medic, this is Tac. Radio check" "Tac, Medic. I hear you." I glanced at my phone. Of course its a dead zone. The radio was our only line of connection. I thought little of this. This wasnt my first time being out with no service while i provided med coverage. Something in the air didnt feel right though. That back of the head, hair on your neck sensation of being watched was prominent. No matter. Its just my paranoia. Jesse had opted to take a nap in the cab of the FLA. It's alright, i didnt really get along with my junior medics. I felt more at peace on my own these days.
I stared at the stars, listening to nature's symphony of endless chatter. Croaking frogs, crickets, the occasional sounding of a birds alien chirp, and even the squeak of the bats. Even the occasion falling twig. The humming of a woman- wait. No i didnt hear that. There arent any women in this class of trainees and none of the cadre are either.
Damn this paranoia.
The symphony stopped. It became silent. There was no more ambient sound. The deafening silence began to eat away at me. Maybe i would like Jesse's company.
Was that humming i heard again?
It sounded closer. Nonsense i was just making myself paranoid again. The humming started again. Soft, with that kind of tone only a woman could achieve. It was no familiar tune to me, it seemed aimless. Id compare it to a piano being aimlessly played, playing out the notes of treble clef but skipping every other key. Fear gripped me, but i had to keep my composure. I turned on my headlamp and scanned my immediate surroundings. Trees, trees, the field, more trees, and darkness. I think i saw something up the road some. Something white, almost silky. I used the brighter setting of my lamp, and looked down the road of the T intersection and saw, about 300 meters away, what appeared to be a woman, fair skin, dark colored hair, standing in the road. "Tac, medic" ... "Tac, medic" .... "TAC, THIS IS MEDIC" The radio gave me feedback static, the kind when someone is now on the air. Aimless humming. The radio died on me then and there. I had made sure to grab fresh batteries from the radio station before we left camp though. Itd only been a hour, maybe 2. I looked down the road again. She had gotten closer, but i hadnt seen her move. She stood in the road. She had light brown hair, it fell just below her shoulders. It looked unkept. She had porcelain skin. She wore a white nightgown. It looked silky in texture, and it came down to just above her knees. She wasnt wearing shoes. I'd decided id seen enough. We were leaving. I scrambled down the roof, to the hood of my FLA, and jumped into the Cab. Where was Jesse?
Fuck it. Time to leave.
As every horror cliche goes, i tried to start my FLA to no avail. Warmed the globes and everything. Quick glance to my right. She was much closer now. Id guess around 50 meters away, maybe closer. She was close enough i could see that beyond her slender arms, down her long fingers....claws. she had claws. Each individual digit was 3 times.longer than what a finger should be, and it narrowed down into long, sharp, point at the end. The fucking vehicle wouldnt start.
"Shitshitshitshit"
Glance to my right again, and she was gone. To my left, she stood immediately outside my door. Thick plastic window and thin aluminum door separated me and this creature of the night. I couldnt even lock the door. Her eyes. They were milky white, with pinhole black pupils, her skin taught over her cheek bones. We stared at each other. Silence once again. This staredown went on for hours. I was frozen in fear, yet her eyes were unmoving. Solely focused on me. I knew she was looking at me but it felt she was looking through me.
Darkness shrouded. I felt my world going black. Was i fainting?
I awoke with a start on top of my FLA. 0345. Itd been about 45 minutes. The symphony of the night time woods continued to play. Jesse had hopped out of the FLA and slammed the door, jerking me from this nightmare. The radio crackled "Medic, tac. Soldier quit. Come back to camp" "Roger" After this nightmare, i was okay going back to camp.
Jesse started the FLA and we began our drive. It wouldnt be too long. In these lowlight conditions and narrow road, Jesse hadnt noticed the shoulder dipped down into much deeper ditch. We were stuck. Cursing both myself for not catching it as TC and him for driving into it, i radioed back. "Tac, medic. We're stuck, may need a hand" ... "Tac, medic" ... Of course we lost signal again.
"Hey SGT, whos that?" Jesse's gaze had been on the road behind us. We had only left the intersection maybe 2 miles behind us. I joined him and saw a white, silky nightgown. About 200 meters behind us. The radio static came through.
A womans humming sounded through the radio.
She was closer when we looked back again.
FLA: Field Litter Ambulance
Note: I thought I'd try my hand at writing. I'm no professional but love the horror genre. Please forgive grammatical errors. Would love feedback, comments, ect.
submitted by Jedi_Medic-T65 to shortstories [link] [comments]


2020.08.12 04:41 -sup [CONFLICT] Now Die, For The Debt You Have Accrued

song 1
song 2
song 3
Post written by meles_b with contribution from -sup.
While MAU military command anticipated a preemptive ("alpha") strike to cripple Dakota's ability to respond to a land invasion, we waited too long. Having begun their own invasion, the rogue state is in a more advantageous position, but still doesn't present a threat that we cannot handle. The massive air, naval, and land superiority of the Atlantic Armed Forces affords us a credible shot at victory.
Operations conducted by the MAU to access internal Dakotan communications gives us almost instant warning of the attack. We're aware of their posturing before their arrival at our border, and so can put our defensive plans into action to protect our country and the life and liberty of those within.

Operation Lunar Clock

Mid-Atlantic doctrine on Dakota identifies their nuclear stockpile as an alpha priority target, commanding the destruction of their ICBM LCC's prior to the commencement of conventional operations. The high-priority targets will be F.E. Warren AFB, Minot AFB, and Malmstrom AFB.
Thus, 30 B-21s of the Strategic Air Command, operated by the 11th wing out of Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling will fly in a high arc over Canada as pictured, turning over the Hudson's Bay and heading south towards the Canada-Dakota border. Canada has no inward-facing early warning infrastructure, but the bombers will fly over unpopulated areas to minimize risk of detection, as well as other measures detailed below. In case of Canadian air command noticing our bombers, B-21 are permitted to break radio silence and explain the sensitivity of the operation and the possibility of nuclear winter enveloping Canada should their stealth be compromised.
The aircraft will fly at night, skimming their service ceiling in a straight line formation spaced roughly 50km apart. As they approach the Dakotan border, they will assume a tighter formation to ensure the bombings of the silos are conducted simultaneously. This means that Wyoming group will move first due to being deeper into the country, while aiming Montana and ND groups to enter at the same time. In case of detection, B-21 will beeline to maximize damage. However, we know all stationary radars in USA, both knowing this area has no EW radars facing inwards, that Great Plains are extremely spaced which makes it easy to fly through unpopulated areas devoid of sentient life, like national parks or the entire state of Wyoming. Lack of air bases also plays in hand, as we will be able to skim through radar coverage we might be aware of using stealth to pass through the gaps. In case of E-3 patrols, we consider that they are spaced enough and still concentrated on our border, making it hard to detect until it's too late.
Once B-21 are lined to strike, we will initiate attack. B-21 are carrying 4 BLU-119 bunker buster JDAM , 6 JASSM-X33 JSM and 4 JATM for A2A missions (totalling ~18t), in case of fighter or AWACS detection\anti-raditation mission.
Our main target are 45 LCC controlling 400 ICBM. They are located deep in the ground, but we estimate based on our blueprints that BLU-119 should be able to penetrate earth, concrete and steel covering the pod. By killing all LCC in the base, we will be able to erase ability of Dakota to launch their ICBM. We estimate that with 10 B-21 targeting 15 LCC, them being quite close to each other and range of JDAM, we will be able to destroy all LCC in less than 10 minutes - far less than it'd take to respond. 40 LCC per 15 LCC means that we will have enough to spare, with the rest going to bases controlling LCC - F. E. Warren AFB, Minot AFB, and Malmstrom AFB.
Dixie has literally everything thousands of km outside the bases, meaning they can't really respond even if they detect us, allowing B-21 to strike JASSM-XR with the range of 1900 km, or JSM with the range of 550:
  • Wyoming group, due to close range to Colorado, will use 330 JSM launched at Buckley AFB, Peterson AFB, Schriever AFB.
  • Montana group will use 60 JASSM-XR launched at Hill AFB, Utah(40), Ellsworth AFB, SD (15) and Tinker Air Force Base, OK (5)
  • ND group will use 50 JASSM-XR launched at Tinker Air Force Base, OK, MCconnel AFB, Vance AFB, Altus AFB and 55 JSM launched at Grand Forks AFB
After launching their missiles and bombs, B-21 will use JATM to strike at any advancing aircraft and retreat to either MAU through Canada or Superior, or Sierra.

Operation Luna Dial

Concurrent with the first strike against the AFBs, we will make sure to strike Midwestern Air bases, getting rid of their infrastructure and arsenal. While we hope to strike bombers while they are on the ground, even if we don't, we still have ground control, hangars and munitions to strike. With Midwestern bases holding nuclear bombs, we have to strike them at first priority.
20 B-21 will be launched, going through Superior due to bilateral defense agreement and to avoid most predictable angle of attack. B-21 will carry 40 JST and 10 JATM each, allowing to counter incoming fighters, use JATM as anti-radiation missile to destroy radars and strike retreating\launching aircraft, especially AWACS. Overall, 800 JST and 200 JATM are launched in this operation.
Striking at all major Midwestern air bases, we have priorities:
  • Nuclear bombs located in Midwestern Arsenals
  • HM-2 launchers, if any are located
  • Planes on the ground
  • C2, Air Defense and radars
  • B-2 hangars
  • Runways
  • Whatever our pilots deem necessary
  • Army bases and their infrastructure
Whiteman Air Force Base is our first priority as a holder of B-2, yet other bases are also targeted, included but not limited to:
  • Wright-Patterson AFB
  • Grissom Air Reserve
  • Scott AFB
  • Offutt AFB
  • Midwestern IAP holding National guard aircraft
  • Other targets and bases our pilots can reach
Meanwhile, to ensure success, we will provide our B-21 with a coverup. Our Army has significant amount of hyper-sonic missiles, mainly RGM/MGM-190 Phantom with 430 km range and Mach 7 speed, and Precision Strike Missile with Mach 5 speed and 800 km range. We have 400 Phantoms and 375 of PSM launched on our M270 and HIMARS. We will strike 50 of Phantoms and 75 of PSM at Midwestern bases in our reach, striking advancing forces, planes and C2 to prevent invasion. HM-2 takes the highest priority, as part of specific operation:

Operation Love-Colored Master Spark

Covering in addition to our previous operations, this is operation is planned to guarantee extermination of HM-2 missiles. With Lunar Clock covering Great Plains and Lunar Dial - Midwest, we can place priorities for these operations and add more munitions to ensure getting rid of HM-2 properly. While less dangerous due to extreme number of SM-3, THADD and Patriots, better safe than sorry.
Thanks to our moles, time passed and knowledge of rough outline of the program (and to that research was done in diplo post without rolls on secrecy) we can estimate range of HM-2 as 1500 km. Deducing what our major targets are and extrapolating from the range, we can deduce that there is no way HM-2 are beyond MIMAL. By using our cybernetworks, spy satellites and NRO, we can determine location of HM-2 and strike them before they manage to launch.
We will launch a massive areal attack on advancing forces of Dixie, with highest priority being destruction of HM-2, followed by mopping up bases in Dixie proper, followed by destruction of advancing forces.
20 B-21, 8 B-2, 8 B-52 and 20 B-1 are scrambled to launch enormous amount of ordnance, supported by PSM and Phantoms on land and naval strikes from the sea.
While Luna Dial launches rather covert attacks from unexpected angle to sneak in and cause disrupt in bases, Flowering Night is oversaturation bombing, using hypersonic strikes to cause panic in Dixie ranks and act as SEAD, preventing them from reacting, allowing our operations to pass.
From our air bases, maximum distance estimated distance is ~2000 km, and the closest is ~250 km. Our main weapon in this case is LRWH, 20 Mach missile with 3500 km range. By launching them from the base, we can reach our targets in 8,5 minutes, making it highly improbable to react. With overall payload capability of ~ 1,9 kiloton, we can launch ~1000 LRHW. However, due to LRWH being most suited for long-range attacks (from 750km), 750 LRHW will be launched from the air, targeting Dixie air bases, locations of HM-2 and other high-priority targets. Rest will be using 1000 JSM, striking at range of 550 km at advancing forces and bases in Alabama and Tennessee, and 800 MALD-X, overwhelming Dakotan air defense.
Mainly, bases and forces close to MAU border in Deep South will be struck by artillery. 250 of Phantoms and 200 of PSM will launch at Dixie air bases, army depots, advancing forces and HM-2.
3 of the MAU's 7 Ohio-class SSGNs will strike from Gulf of Mexico ASAP. They will be equipped with UGM-190 Sea Phantom hypersonic missiles (22 per submarine, 66 total). Concurrent with the strikes against the missile fields and Midwestern air bases, the Sea Phantoms will be deployed against all in-range Dixie air bases and these army installations EXCEPT the right- and left-most ones. They are as follows:
  • Fort Polk (LA)
  • Fort Rucker (AL)
  • Anniston Army Depot (AL)
  • Redstone Arsenal (AL)
  • Pine Bluff Arsenal (AK)
[M] Just for clarity to whoever runs this, the right and leftmost icons on the map are bases owned by me and pepsi, respectively. I won't be targeting these for obvious reasons but I couldn't crop them out of the picture and have it still be readable. [/M]
Overall, combination of these three operations in a decapitation strike should leave Dakota without nuclear arsenal and without base infrastructure, allowing our ground forces to destroy forces by ensuring air superiority.

Operation Rainbow Gatekeeper

While our bomber force will conduct their alpha strike, we need to ensure air superiority over MAU. We hope to scramble our air force before Dixie, in order to overwhelm them with superior numbers and superior quality. This will be the first test of our power multyplying system, and we hope it will pass greatly.
We estimate Dixie overall force at 270 F-35, 155 4th generation fighters, 24 bombers. This is almost everything they have, but it's pitiful compared to MAU. 264 F-35C, 432 F-35A and 30 F-35B without recent Texan deliveries, 79 F-22, 1000 Skyborg drones, B-21 arsenal planes and 180 naval aviation 4th gen planes. Moreover, with battle going on for MAU airspace, we will have a major advantage of having radars and A2AD, allowing us to hit harder.
Mainly, we will scramble our F-22 fleet and support it with F-35 air wings from nearby 4 carriers and F-35A on standby - 148 F-35C and 144 F-35. The fleet will be supported by 750 Skyborgs and 10 B-21 arsenal planes.
Forming a defensive formation, our fighters will blend in with Skyborgs, with B-21 in the rear. With 50 Skyborg recon configuration comparable to F-22 in radar capabilities due to sharing radar module, we can detect fighters from safe range, allowing F-35 and F-22 to launch JATM from safer distance, highlighted by ground radars. The main course, first time in history, will be given to arsenal planes. Each of B-21 will carry 120 JATM (total contribution 1200 JATM), which is an enormous part of overall payload - F-22 will carry 6 JATM and 2 Peregrines (474 JATM and 158 Peregrines), F-35 will carry same (1752 JATM and 584 Peregrines), and Skyborgs will carry 1 JATM and 1 Peregrine (700 JATM and 700 Peregrines), making total loadout 4126 JATM and 1442 Peregrines. With their considerable range, we should be able to annihilate anything coming from Dakota, provided that those fighters and not ASF only, but also committing CAS and strikes, meaning less A2A loadout. In case of hostile attack, Skyborgs, standing in the front and around fighters, will intercept the missile and provoke locking on to them, supported by EW measures.
On the ground, Patriots and Avengers will do whatever possible to destroy coming aircraft, concentrating on 4th gen and bombers, while 300 ATHENA laser point defense will provide cover against munitions and advancing missiles.
Meanwhile, our Aegis Ashore systems will provide us with additional coverage and SM-6 missile coverage, totaling 294 SAM.

Operation Ice Fairy of the Lake

The MAU's unchallenged naval supremacy will be leveraged in the Gulf of Mexico to set the stage for an amphibious invasion of Louisiana.
Ship Quantity Embarkment / Air Wing (Per Ship)
Nimitz-class Aircraft Carrier 2 72x F-35C Lightning II, 2x E/A-18G Growler, 2x E-2C Hawkeye
Wasp-class Amphibious Assault Ship 4 1x Marine Expeditionary Unit
Ohio-class SSGN 4 -
Virginia-class Flight III SSN 2 -
Ticonderoga-class Guided Missile Cruiser 1 -
Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA Destroyer 7 -
Avenger-class Mine Countermeasures Vessel 1 -
A Marine Expeditionary Unit consists of the following:
Unit Quantity
Infantry (Marines) 2200
Landing Craft Utility 4
Light Armored Vehicle 16
Assault Amphibious Vehicle 15
M777 Towed Howitzer 6
AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopter 6
MV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor 12
CH-53E Super Stallion Transport Helicopter 4
Ram 1500 63
Our goal is to destroy all and any combat surface vehicles of Dixie, while also preventing submarines to escape. Carrier aviation will be utilized to ensure air superiority over the fleet and Dakotan coast, with backups being dispatched from Eglin AFB or elsewhere as required should this superiority be challenged. Civilian fleet is left untouched.
SEAD operations will be conducted against the Dakotan Sixth Division, garrisoned in Mobile, Alabama for some reason, and following their path to our border. The Ohio-class SSGNs accompanying the blockade will be equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles (616 total), which will be deployed against Sixth Division targets identified by AWACS and drone surveillance, with the goal being complete eradication of the Sixth Division. Following the initial cruise missile strikes, MAU Black Company will begin moving west towards Alabama to counterattack and push them back.
Once the limited stretch of Dakotan coastline and area within the blockade has been secured, with all enemy ships either surrendering or being sunk, the amphibious invasion of Louisiana will begin. The objective of the amphibious invasion is to secure New Orleans and the strip of coast between the westernmost extent of the Florida panhandle and the Dakota-FRA border. As amphibious forces move in from the south on the coastline of Louisiana, Black Company will move westward, pushing the front line across Alabama and Mississippi to meet up with the amphibious forces to the west of New Orleans. The exact location of the four independent amphibious landings will be based on geographical features and suitability of the soil to support military equipment. The final locations will likely be west of New Orleans as the area to the south is considered too marshy for effective amphibious operations.
Air support will be provided to the advancing forces by Black Company's air component as well as the carrier air wing deployed with the blockade.
The amphibious forces and black company will expand the MAU-controlled beachhead to here, at which point they will focus entirely on defending the beachhead from possible Dakotan pushback. As this represents a great strategic interest to Dakota in the form of their only coastline, significant resistance is expected. This also provides us with opportunity to secure Dakotan territory while they are advancing, creating a salient.
Dakota's 5th division, garrisoned at Maxwell Air Force Base, will likely present major resistance to the amphibious landing. No incursions will be made by MAU forces inland, instead waiting for the 5th division to attempt a push south to either break the connected beachhead after its formation or to assist 6th division in defending from the initial amphibious assault. In either case, MAU's Blue Company will begin a southwestern movement to encircle the 5th division and any possible remnants of the 6th division. If all is executed correctly, 5th division will be trapped between the dug-in beachhead and Blue Company, and will be forced to surrender Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Operation Group Necrofantasia

Overall, our land game is divided in three operations - successfully defend the border and surrounding areas until air superiority is won and bombers conduct strikes against advancing forces, counterattack, and push towards Dixie inland.
With our divisions prepared and located at the border, we also need to consider that it's a small part of overall army. While our Companies are ready to strike, army will be mobilized to follow up.
One of our major advantages, outside of terrain and home advantage, is technology. Dakotan exosuits won't come in until late 2036, while AWP is long since ready, with 15k suits and 30K Coomer drones. What's more important is the infantry equipment. Dixie hasn't done anything with their rifles. We have smart self-guiding ammunition since late 20s. With sensors and network-centric combat, we massively outrange the infantry, and with flying armed drones we can kill Dixie soldiers en masse, when it comes to leg infantry and urban warfare. availability of exosuits allows us to sustain fire and protect the vanguard.
Dixie boasts about their tiny drones, but it's quite pitiful against MAU. MAU, after significant expansion, is the most protected force from drones. Our troops carry DroneGuns, our vehicles equipped with anti-drone modules, our cities are covered in net of stationary drone defenses, and our drones carry them too.
This, coupled with our cyberdefensive measures, should efficiently protect us against LAWs. If possible, we will also conduct EW as per capabilities of our cyberwarfare and equipment.
On ground, 200 ATHENAS will engage against drones and munitions falling on our troops, providing additional degree of cover.
In air, we will rely on A-10 Warthog, F-35A in air-to-ground loadout and helicopters to provide comprehensive CAS. With introduction of AGM-179 JAGM replacing BGM-71 TOW, AGM-114 Hellfire, and AGM-65 Maverick, we will be able to get major superiority over Dakotan armor and vehicles - longer range and better navigation will give us an edge. Outside of JAGM, we will mainly use SDB II to destroy armor and advancing troops from long range. Mortar and artillery fire will obviously be present, now linked with battlenetworks of AWP to provide pinpoint accuracy of strikes.
Outside of technological advantage, we also possess numerical advantage. Dixie has 500 tanks rolling, we have 1000 in Army and 250 in the Corps. We have more troops, more vehicles and more equipment, which makes defense much easier, as it's extremely hard to break superior force on the defensive.
What is the most important part of the operation is lack of mechanization of Dixie forces. Overall, their push has 100000 infantry troops and less than 1000 vehciles capable to transport troops, while a single MAU Company has 12000 infantry occupying 1030 vehicles, not counting helicopters, which will be less useful in MAU air superiority environment. As a boon, MAU has 500 MUTT UGV - carrier unmanned vehicles delivering supplies through the front, which will speed up our mobile forces significnatly, allowing to outmaneuver and outflank Dixie. This is combined with logistics unrivaled by anyone on the planet, with dedicated supercomputer keeping track of status of the campaign and delivering supplies where they are needed most.
Additional advantage is battlenetwork and upgraded Bradley Battle Command Vehicle. By keeping updated of our situation in real-time with major assistance from our bases, we can coordinate troops on tactical and strategic level, getting major advantage over soon to be disorganized Dixie troops.

Army Group North - Operation "A Maiden's Illusionary Funeral"

Gold Company is located in an advantageous position to resist a Dakotan push from the north. Our goal is to push them from Pitt while they are advancing into the Forest, while using our air component (as a part of operation Rainbow Gatekeeper) to destroy their air force, then move north from Pitt to close them within the area, cut off supply and destroy them, putting them between Gold Company and mobilized Army reinforcements. Due to the size of invasion (next to non-existent) and size of our Companies, we can send a small detachment to mop up Northern Group and counterattack at Ohio, moving swiftly through undefended state and seizing Columbus, Cleveland, Wright-Patterson AFB and Cincinnati, connecting to KY and encircling Army Group Centre.

Army Group Centre - Operation "Border of Life"

Meanwhile, our Red Company will be engaging Army Group Centre from the North. Located right behind the river, Red Company will be tasked with defense of the area before either crushing Army Group Centre and going into counterattack or waiting for reinforcements from Superior and Gold Company. Thanks to earlier preparations and closed border, all our bridges are already rigged with explosives. Depending on the status of the demining operations from Dixie, we will either blow them up the moment Dixie is crossing the river, taking vanguard with the bridge and leaving army group unable to advance, or somewhere in the middle of the process, cutting them off supplies and mopping them up, before counterattacking. Due to concentration of our forces in Fort Knox, Big Four Bridge will not be destroyed unless nessessary, instead opting to push Dixie from it by overwhelming force, and later, after demining, use it to cross into Indiana and link with Gold Company. After counterattack, Red Company will push into Midwest, as far as Indianapolis, Saint Louis border, and Springfield.

Army Group South -Operation "Lunatic Princess"

Dixie plan is to concentrate their forces at Tennessee and push into Carolinas and Virginia. Our goal is to stall the push while our forces are encircling undefended areas and army reinforcements are moving to assist Blue, Black and White Companies.
We don't have Companies on the VA-TN border, but we have Green Company on the border with TN - something which isn't attacked by Dixie. It's objective is to rush towards Nashville (70 km from Ft. Campbell), connect and secure border with Georgia by seizing Chattanooga, cutting off both northern and southern operations from supply and concentrating forces on breaking Northern push. Then, reinforcements from Fort Lee and Front Bragg, as well as army bases from Maryland, WW, NE and entire Northern MAU should meet it from the other side, encircle and destroy the invasion force.
Southern push receives similar treatment - with their supply run is broken before they even manage to ceize Atlanta, we will use Blue Company to push into Montgomery, Birmingham, and connect at Chattanooga, pushing back their defenses (as per operation "Ice Fairy of the Lake") cutting off southern push from all sides, allowing army reinforcements and White Company from Fort Gordon, Fort Stewart and Fort Jackson to break southern push. Southern Group is a major target of our bombing campaign, which makes the battle even harder for Dixie.
Meanwhile, Black company will connect with Marines in Lousisiana and push north to take Fort Rucker and Southern Alabama, meeting retreating forces and encircling them.
After breaking down their defenses and offenses, while taking most of Midwest, we can push to relatively undefended Dakota.

Battle of Atlanta - Operation Capital City of Flowers in the Sky

Generally, we expect several of our major cities to fall under siege of advancing Dixie troops. Overall, they are entering three megalopolices - Great Lakes megalopolis, Piedmont Atlantic Megaregion, and Northeast megalopolis. Moreover, several of their campaigns rely on taking major cities - namely Atlanta, Charlotte, Louisville, Pitt.
Push into heavily urbanized region without preparation is a suicide, and we will remind them why.
While Pitt has Gold Company, Charlotte has White Company and Louisville has Red Company, Atlanta is least prepared to invasion, due to it's Company located south. Still, we will prepare urban resistance in most cities on path, named and unnamed, and prepare unbreaking resistance. Thankfully, Dixie is not mechanized, is going into area heavily contested by air superiority and heavily armed citizens.
One of our first priorities is evacuation of citizens and mobilizing resistance. National Guard and reservists are called:
  • Georgia National Guard will reinforce their garrisons, move and prepare for the Battle of Atlanta.
  • Pennsylvania NG will assist with defense of the Pitt
  • Virginias, Carolinas, and KY NGs will provide us with defense of the urban areas in their states.
Overall, while NG deployments are not numerous, and not as well-armed with vehicles and tanks, they are still highly trained, have smart rifles, know their territory and are responsible for evacuation and holding the line.
Outside of NG, mobilization of volunteers will be ongoing in Atlanta. Mainly including police officers, SWAT teams, and verified volunteers will build the barricades, prepare ambushes and defend their homecity. With National Guard equipped with anti-tank and anti-air equipment against vehicles and helicopters, police armed with smart rifles, and volunteers with their own weapons, they can provide significant resistance to invasion force until Air Force breaks the spirit of Dixie and Army breaks their assholes.
Dakota relies on their drones for recon and attack. However, our cities are under protection of 10000 of upgraded DroneSentrys. Providing us with some EW against radiodetonated munitions and drones, they are present in significant quantities in Atlanta - major city on the border. Thus, drones will be downed or EWd as per above-mentioned.

Operation Maiden's Capriccio

In order to protect our citizens from Dixie nuclear attack, we will mobilize our entire ABM.
In Fortress Atlantic III, the Department of War purchased 40 THAAD systems and 250 MIM-104F Patriot systems. Aside from the 12 deployed to defend forward-operating Atlantic Army units, the remaining 28 THAAD are deployed to the following locations:
Location Number
New York City 3
Washington 2
Philadelphia 1
Boston 1
Baltimore 1
Norfolk 1
Charlotte 1
Atlanta 1
Jacksonville 1
Orlando 1
Tampa 1
Miami 1
Santo Domingo 1
Puerto Rico 1
Pittsburgh 1
The Patriot systems will be deployed alongside THAAD in a 1:10 ratio, i.e. 1 THAAD = 10 Patriot. Alongside the Aegis Ashore and Ground-Based Midcourse Defense systems operated by the Strategic Air Command, the MAU should be blanketed by a high-quality ABM and air defense network and thus impervious to nuclear strikes. The MAU's vast navy will be employed for BMD in coastal cities. All Alreigh Burke and Ticonderogas not engaged in Africa and the Gulf will patrol the seas. With 75% of VLS taken by SM-3, we wield more than 3000 SM-3 missiles. Being rated to surely destroy IRBM and likely to destroy ICBM, we can hope to destroy whatever remains of Dixie nuclear arsenal. By having early warning radars facing inwards and knowing trajectories and timings, we can strike SM-3 the second silos are open or even before that, hoping to use SM-3 preemptively. Overall, SM-3 are a safe bet against HM-2, and can majorly assist against any ICBM attack.
Despite the confidence in our defense systems, measures will be undertaken to protect MAU civilians. They will be instructed to move to the lowest possible points in their homes, underneath doorways or strong furniture, and those outside will be instructed to move indoors. This will be achieved through a purported 'nuclear missile defense test', billed as a nationwide practice opportunity in case of a nuclear strike. No indications will be made that the threat of nuclear war is imminent. These instructions will be relayed through mobile phones, smart home equipment, computers, billboards, and any other communications infrastructure accessible to FEMA.

Operation Flowering Night

While we are moving our forces, we also need to perform comprehensive EW.
The Atlantic Navy's five squadrons of E/A-18G Growlers will conduct electronic warfare operations alongside EC-130H Compass Calls operated by the Atlantic Air Force. Electronic warfare aircraft will be deployed as needed for SEAD operations across the entire theatre. They will provide radar cover and jam enemy targeting systems, which will be destroyed by accompanying F-35s or B-21s. SEAD is considered a top priority and will be conducted wherever anti-air emplacements are identified before the commencement of land or other air operations.
Ideally, initial SEAD sorties will cripple Dakotan air defence during the fight and ensure total MAU supremacy in the skies. Our own air defence installations will be guarded against SEAD through placement under cover and within difficult terrain and prioritizing destruction of enemy electronic warfare aircraft. Being deep in the country, our AWACS and EW will be safe from AA.
Once Air superiority has been won, our AWACS and EW will move towards first Dakotan troops, performing EW against their forces, and then onwards at defensive positions, supported by fighter escort, breaking down defenses. Combined with our cyberwarfare operations, we will be able to cause a serious dent in Dakotan network before they switch to offline.

Maps

Breaking Army Groups North, Center and taking Midwest
Breaking Southern push
Moving on ICBM

Ops

Per-Operation Totals:

Operation Lunar Clock (Anti-ICBM Alpha Strike)
Unit Quantity
B-21 30
Operation Luna Dial (Attacks on Midwestern AFB's)
Unit Quantity
B-21 20
MobilePhantom Truck Platform 25
M270 MLRS 25
M142 HIMARS 25
Operation Love-Colored Master Spark (Long-range alpha strike at Dakotan bases over the country and advancing forces, with priority of HM-2 launcher destruction)
Unit Quantity
B-21 20
B-2 8
B-52 8
B-1 20
MobilePhantom Truck Platform 100
M270 MLRS 50
M142 HIMARS 100
Ohio-class SSGNs 3
Operation Rainbow Gatekeeper (Battle for Air Superiority)
Unit Quantity
F-22 79
F-35A 148
F-35C 144
Skyborg drone 750
B-21 10
Operation Ice Fairy of the Lake (Naval battle for the Gulf and additional strikes against Deep Southern States)
Ship Quantity Embarkment / Air Wing (Per Ship)
Nimitz-class Aircraft Carrier 2 72x F-35C Lightning II, 2x E/A-18G Growler, 2x E-2C Hawkeye
Wasp-class Amphibious Assault Ship 4 1x Marine Expeditionary Unit
Ohio-class SSGN 4 -
Virginia-class Flight III SSN 2 -
Ticonderoga-class Guided Missile Cruiser 1 -
Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA Destroyer 7 -
Avenger-class Mine Countermeasures Vessel 1 -
Marine Expeditionary Unit Totals (4 MEU's Deployed)
Unit Quantity
Infantry (Marines) 8800
Landing Craft Utility 16
Light Armored Vehicle 64
Assault Amphibious Vehicle 60
M777 Towed Howitzer 32
AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopter 32
MV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor 48
CH-53E Super Stallion Transport Helicopter 16
Ram 1500 252
Operation Group Necrofantasia (Land defense of the MAU and counterattack)
Unit Quantity Notes
Land Component
Infantry 57,000
AWP 15000
Coomer 15000
M1A2 SEPv4 450
M1126 Stryker ICV 600
M1128 Stryker MGS 52
M1130 Stryker CV 90
M2A3 Bradley 900
M1117 ASV 540
M1134 ATGM 54
M109A6 210
Ram 1500 2700
MUTT UGV 480
THAAD 12
MIM-104F Patriot PAC3 72
Oshkosh M-ATV 1440
Bradley BBCV 120
Air Component
AH-64D/E Apache 144
UH-72A Lakota 90
UH-60 Blackhawk 300
CH-47F Chinook 72
MQ-9A Reaper 36
RQ-7B Shadow 36
E-3G Sentry 6
F-35A Lightning II 288 Partially used in Operation Rainbow Gatekeeper
F-22A Raptor 72 Used in Operation Rainbow Gatekeeper
Army Reinforcements
Northern reinforcement:
Unit Quantity
Infantry 20000
Coomer 7500
M1A2 SEPv4 400
M1126 Stryker ICV 75
M1130 Stryker CV 10
M3A3 Bradley 300
M1117 ASV 100
M1134 ATGM 10
Bradley BBCV 100
M109A6 50
Ram 1500 1000
Oshkosh M-ATV 500
ATHENA Point laser defense 250
F-35A 50
A-10 20
Skyborg
Southern Reinforcement:
Unit Quantity
Infantry 20000
Coomer 7500
M1A2 SEPv4 150
M1126 Stryker ICV 25
M1130 Stryker CV 10
M3A3 Bradley 200
Bradley BBCV 100
M1117 ASV 50
M1134 ATGM 10
M109A6 50
Ram 1500 1000
Oshkosh M-ATV 450
ATHENA Point laser defense 250
A-10 20
Skyborg 125
F-35A 50
Operation Maiden's Capriccio (ABM defense)
Unit Quantity
Alreigh Burke-class destroyer 21, total of 1512 SM-3
Ticonderoga-class cruiser 10, total of 915 SM-3
Aegis Ashore 7 batteries, 294 SM-3
THADD 40 systems, 240 launchers, 1920 anti-missiles
Patriot ~300 launchers, 4800 anti-missiles
GMD 120 anti-ICBM
Operation Flowering Night (EW/SEAD and AWACS)
Unit Quantity
E/A-18G Growlers 60
EC-130H 10

Tech and related buildup:

submitted by -sup to worldpowers [link] [comments]


2020.08.09 20:39 thehorrorwriter2 My werewolf novel Lunar Loons is on Amazon! Feel free to check out the first chapter below

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to Monsters [link] [comments]


2020.08.09 20:22 thehorrorwriter2 My werewolf novel Lunar Loons was recently released! Feel free to check out the first chapter right here

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to horrorbookclub [link] [comments]


2020.08.08 23:01 thehorrorwriter2 My werewolf novel Lunar Loons is out now! Core plot centers around a Cryptid podcast. First chapter included below

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to cryptids [link] [comments]


2020.08.07 08:10 thehorrorwriter2 Lunar Loons

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to creepypasta [link] [comments]


2020.08.07 08:08 thehorrorwriter2 SHORT STORY: Lunar Loons

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to WritersOfHorror [link] [comments]


2020.08.07 08:08 thehorrorwriter2 Lunar Loons

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to stayawake [link] [comments]


2020.08.07 08:07 thehorrorwriter2 Lunar Loons

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to SignalHorrorFiction [link] [comments]


2020.08.07 08:05 thehorrorwriter2 SHORT STORY: Lunar Loons

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to werewolves [link] [comments]


2020.08.07 08:04 thehorrorwriter2 Lunar Loons

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to Odd_directions [link] [comments]


2020.08.07 08:04 thehorrorwriter2 Lunar Loons

Not many people believed in werewolves back then. Not in Havana (pronounced Hayvanna), Florida anyway. But shit changed on that Monday in May... at least for the unfortunate patrons and employees at Crawford’s diner.
The restaurant had been there since the seventies. Not so much a mainstay as a survivor. People in Havana liked the breakfast, the lunch. The cheese grits and fried chicken. But come around sundown, Tallahassee, Florida offered the nightlife. The chain restaurants, the clubs, the cute bars and pretty young people. The type of glitz and glamour Havana just couldn’t afford to match.
With his daddy’s inheritance money, Jackie Crawford bought the abandoned shack-turned-Havana-mainstay. He had a prime location, after all. Right outside the city limits and on that slab of highway leading straight down to Florida State University, Florida A&M, and Tally’s unique vibrancy. Normally, Crawford’s would be packed during the day, but turn into a ghost town by the time evening gave way to darkness. The customers inevitably migrating to bigger and better things. Especially on the weekends. But still, this Southern-fried restaurant wasn’t a bad accomplishment for a black man opening up his first and only business in the first few years after segregation.
Of course, May meant the dead season. Summer semester a lull for the Tallahassee traffic. A lull in students and commuters. With the arrival of May, so went Tally and Havana’s commerce.
Jackie always prepared for this exodus. From mid-May to early-August was when the employees mostly served him and whatever local stragglers appeared. And today was no different.
Monday evening brought about nothing but a stray customer or two. Jackie hid in his usual corner booth. Paperback in hand, glasses in tow. Aside from the occasional glance at the Atlanta Braves game on a bulky T.V., Jackie’s only other entertainment was the whisky mixed into the strongest coffee in town.
Crawford’s hadn’t changed much in fifty years. Not on Jackie’s watch. The small town diner vibe was captured in the form of stained booths, big windows, and bar stools.
Toward the back of the diner, a dusty jukebox offered no tracks past 1981. Just strictly Motown, rock n’ roll, and the occasional doo-wop. All personally curated by Jackie himself.
Standing behind the counter, the lone waitress stared at the homemade hours sign: Sunrise-Sunset. The sign Jackie had Scotch-taped to the glass door entrance numerous times over the decade. Needless to say, Molly Campbell was damn ready for that sunset… For this dull shift to end.
At forty-two, Molly could be doing better. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself... but a GED and a handful of community college credits at TCC only got you so far. Especially for this born-and-bred Hayvanna hostage.
She scanned the desolate diner. Only one customer left, not counting Jackie.
Over by the bathrooms, in the diner’s darkest terrain lurked a tall man Molly had never seen before. He kept to himself right from the start. Never spoke to Molly outside of growling his order: steak and eggs. Medium rare.
This customer was quarantined on his own island. Come to think of it, Molly realized she hadn’t even gotten a good look at him. The man’s scruffy facial hair covered his brown skin. His eyes avoided hers. He wore a dark trench coat weeks before Memorial Day, here in the sizzling Florida sunlight. Molly was shocked when the guy had ordered seconds... especially considering his wiry physique.
Indulging in an internal countdown, Molly ran her fingers along the cash register. The Braves game on a painful commercial break. Neither the man nor Jackie were saying a word. One glance at Molly’s cell phone offered no solace. Such was the life of a single, working-class woman... one living off a modest if not minimum wage. At least, she didn’t have to wear a hideous apron and even uglier uniform… She talked Jackie out of that in 2012.
Sighing, Molly pushed her long red bangs away. Felt the sweat stick through her jeans and gray t-shirt. Crawford’s never a place of class but cheap Southern comfort.
But no Monday evening would be complete without Burl Ward walking in at seven-thirty. Not that Molly minded.
Beneath the stained collared shirt was a stout man. And beneath Burl’s fuzzy beard was a warm, round face. Nothing but smiles and dignity. He waved over at the owner. “‘Sup, Jackie!” rang Burl’s Southern accent.
Moving at a glacial pace, Jackie looked up. His hand slower than his gaze. “Hey there, Burl!”
Molly couldn’t help but crack up.
Burl made his way to his usual spot by the door. In a booth all on its own… and far away from the stranger.
Grinning, Burl waved at Molly. “Hey, what’s going on, Molly!”
On instinct, Molly grabbed a notepad and headed for this ‘patron’ saint. No need for menus. “Just waiting on you!” she cooed.
“Oh really!” Burl replied. “I must be the man of the hour!”
“Always!” yelled Jackie’s rasp.
Molly stopped at Burl’s booth. Her pen and notepad at the ready. “Just the usual?”
Burl gave the table a light slap. “You got it!”
Molly smiled… until she looked off toward the other side of the diner. Toward the mystery man in booth number ten. He sat facing the opposite direction. Just staring at the wall. The bland ornaments before him displaying All-Americana caricatures like smiling waitresses, delicious dishes, and hot rods. A portrait of 1957 struggling to resurrect itself.
The sight unnerved Molly. Sure all she saw was the back of the man’s head, his buzz cut and nothing more. But there was still the trench coat... How quiet he was. Something’s not right, Molly worried.
“You know me too well,” Burl continued.
Back in Crawford’s mode, Molly forced a smile for Burl. “Yeah. That’s what happens when you come in everyday,” she teased. Partly out of attraction and partly out of tipbait, she leaned in closer. “I think we’d be out of business without you.”
Burl just sat there in a schoolboy silence. His grin in a nervous excitement.
With that, Molly strutted away. Flaunting her ass for what she knew would be Burl’s eager gaze.
Of course, she wasn’t wrong. Burl watched her walk all the way up to the counter. Not that Molly was complaining.
Recovering, Burl looked off toward the back. His turn to notice the man in the trench coat. To feel that slight unease...
Molly got ready to enter the kitchen. She brushed aside her fluttering bangs once more. About to push the door-
“Hey, Excuse me, Molly,” Jackie’s voice startled her.
Molly saw Jackie glide right past her. A short and pudgy blur. The speed well beyond his seventy-nine years.
Before she could react, Jackie snatched her notepad. “I’ll tell Zach,” he reassured her.
“Okay,” Molly said.
Recovering from the ‘scare’, Molly watched Jackie enter the kitchen, the door shutting behind him. Molly couldn’t help but smile. Why so jumpy, she told herself. We’re about to close.
Sighing, she confronted the diner entrance. The glass doors and many windows showed only a small sector of the parking lot.
To Molly’s relief, only Burl’s black F-150 was seen amongst the employee vehicles (including Molly’s clunker Camry). And no cars were coming down that highway anytime soon…
However, once Molly surveyed the diner, her relief was short-lived. Now she couldn’t shake the lingering dread. Not because Burl was immersed in his cell phone but because she realized she hadn’t seen Trench Coat Man’s vehicle. Hell, she never saw him in one. Considering he paid thirty minutes ago, maybe this guy couldn’t leave...
At first, Molly wanted to rationalize the fear, but such a skill wasn’t one of her strengths. She looked back out those front doors. Maybe the weirdo had parked further down, somewhere by the alleyway. In the excess spots Crawford’s hadn’t needed since the 90s. Sure, the guy could’ve been homeless. Or a harmless drifter… God knows, Crawford’s got many of those… Just none this fucking creepy.
Molly couldn’t suppress the paranoia. She never could. Especially with the sun now fading fast. Nightfall was upon the diner.
*
7:55. Still no one had gone near the jukebox. And the weird guy still hadn’t left.
Molly ditched her cash register station. Who the Hell knows what Jackie and Zach are doing back there? With a flirtatious flourish, she stopped at Burl’s table. Put a hand on her hip as she beamed her baby blue spotlight on this valued customer. “You like it?”
“Mm-hmm!” Burl responded. He lowered his fork, the pecan pie melting in his mouth. “It’s amazing like always, Molly!”
Chuckling, Molly tapped the table. “I made it especially for you...”
“I can tell!”
Outside, streetlights began to cut on. One out of three did anyway.
Molly looked out a window. Besides the humming lights glowing above the front door, her surroundings stayed in those twilight shadows. Thank God this place closes at night, she thought.
“Say, Molly,” Burl began.
Shattered from her thoughts, she smiled at him.
Burl struggled with his words. The semi truck driver now skidding on emotions rather than wheels. “I know you’re usually busy on the weekends… but, uh..”
Molly didn’t interrupt. She just kept her gaze on him. Burl wasn’t bad-looking after all. And in Havana, any man without kids or a rap sheet was a plus. Nevermind, a steady job.
“Would you, uh, want to go to Tally with me Friday night?” Burl finally got out. He flashed a toothy smile. “Maybe go see that new Marvel movie or-”
“I’d love to!” Molly replied.
“Great!” Burl let out a sigh. Motioned a trembling hand toward the waitress of his dreams. “Do you want me to pick you up…”
Confident, Molly nodded. “I think I can switch shifts with Suzie.” She turned. Then wished she hadn’t…
Trench Coat Man was now sitting on the other side of the booth. Far away from his food and empty glass of Cherry Coke. He just sat motionless and still. His beard somehow messier and longer.
“So pick you up at your place?” Burl asked.
Molly faced him, her seductive coolness rattled. “Uh, yeah-”
The kitchen door burst open. Jackie Crawford was off and running. A man in a hurry.
Startled, Molly and Burl both looked toward him.
Jackie gave a quick wave. “Melissa called! I gotta go!”
“Aw, okay,” Molly responded.
Jackie rushed past them as he headed straight for the door. Toward the intensifying darkness. He pointed Molly toward the kitchen. “Just hold down the fort and make sure Zach don’t do anything stupid!”
“Yes sir-”
The owner was out before Molly could even finish her sentence. The front door closed quick, sealing everyone inside. Jackie Crawford seen for only a second under that clinical lab lighting before disappearing into the twilight.
Molly had handled the stress of closing on her own with or without an idiot like Zach. Even when Burl was there. Just never with a weirdo in a trench coat lurking inside.
“Who’s Melissa?” Burl quipped. He smiled at Molly. “Ol’ Jackie got himself a hot date?”
“Naw, it’s his daughter,” Molly replied.
“Gotcha. I forgot he had a few kids-”
Molly staggered toward the counter. “Hold on a sec.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“You’re fine!” Molly went straight toward the kitchen door but stopped by the register. Unable to resist one more look at that fateful booth. Trench Coat Man still avoided eye contact... Only now he had both hands on the table. Big, hairy hands.
“Y’all closing?” she heard Burl ask.
Molly glanced back at him. “Uh, yeah, about to.”
“I can wait on you-”
“Yeah, that’s fine!” Molly flashed another glance at the man. Somehow, his hands got bigger. The beard furrier. Eager to escape this dread, Molly rushed inside the kitchen.
Like a rec room, Crawford’s kitchen was a break from the burden of restaurant work. One much needed on the busier nights. Amidst this cluttered conglomeration of pots and pans were several grimy sinks. Stoves and ovens in various states of decay. Molly sweated upon stepping inside. Her nostrils ambushed by the smell of grease. Her gaze greeted by steam… and cigarette smoke.
Groaning, Molly walked toward a far-off corner. “Zach!” she cried as she waved the smoke away. Molly then stopped right in front of the man who’d never be employee of the month. “What the Hell are you doing?”
Sitting on a stool, Zach smiled at her. The twenty-four-year-old not fresh out of college or the service. But about to be fresh out of cigarettes. “Yo… Molly,” said a shrill Southern whine. He slouched back against a counter, letting more stains pile up on his white tee and apron.
Molly glared at him. “Jackie lets you smoke back here?”
“Sometimes…” Molly noticed Zach holding a dying cig in one hand, his phone in the other. A YouTube show called Wolf Women displayed on screen.
“Hell, he never lets me!”
Some concern crashing his chill, Zach nodded at the cig. “Hey, you ain’t gonna tell him, are you?”
Molly shook her head in dismay. Crawford’s version of a disappointed mother scolding a slacker son. “Jesus…”
Zach shushed her. “She’s coming on!”
“Who!?”
Zach pointed at his phone. “Listen.”
A wild AWOO echoed through the room. One man-made… or woman-made.
“Whoo, welcome back to our Full Moon Stream, bitches! I’m your host Anne not Annie, and we’re in hour twelve of our twenty-four hour full moon special!” Anne’s voice was deep and engaging. Her natural talent and experience obvious.
“What is this shit?” Molly asked.
Zach waved the phone around. Two women seen on screen in a low-budget paranormal channel. “That’s Anne and Julie! They do all that monster and paranormal shit!” Still Molly was confused. “They’re the wolf women!”
“And tonight we’ve got some clear skies!” Anne continued, the passion palpable. “Perfect for that full moon about to come out for all y’all crazy motherfuckers!”
Not impressed, Molly pointed toward the door. “Well, I’m going back out.” She waved toward the mess. "And clean this shit up a little! We’re about to close in case you couldn’t tell.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Zach muttered.
Molly snatched the cig out of his hand.
Zach stood up, finally showing life. “Yo, what the fuck, Molly!”
“No smoking, Zach.” She took a quick puff. I need it more than his ass.
Unable to argue, Zach grumbled as he ran a hand through his curly blonde locks. At the mercy of Jackie’s most-trusted employee. Jackie’s only trustworthy employee.
“I’m sure it’s gonna get pretty damn crazy out there,” Anne’s voice continued.
“Oh yeah!” her younger co-host Julie added.
Grinning, Molly handed Zach the cigarette back. “Don’t tell Jackie.” She winked and made her way out.
Zach smirked with relief.
“Remember, clean this shit up!” Molly yelled.
Zach just smirked.
“So be sure to watch out for those lunar loonies,” quipped Anne in her lethargic tone. With smartass style to spare. “Or lunar loons, whatever you assholes prefer.”
In the diner, Molly shut off the T.V. The Braves were taking it on the chin anyway.
She walked toward Burl. His arm was draped over the booth. His beer gut dangling from excess food. Nothing but crumbs on his plates.
Molly stole another look outside. Nighttime was getting closer. Now the full moon could be seen… A nocturnal spaceship in the sky. Vivid and bright even when it wasn’t at a hundred percent.
“You can keep the change,” Burl said.
Molly came to a stop as Burl slid the receipt toward her. Two twenties on top of the twenty-four dollar tab... Not to mention Burl’s scribbled phone number. A scribbled smiley face included.
“Just text me about Friday,” Burl said.
“Aww,” Molly gushed. She pocketed the receipt. “I will...”
Burl surveyed the restaurant. “Y’all ready to run me out?”
“Yeah, it’s about that time.” Molly turned. The good moods gave way to diner dread. Trench Coat Man was still there.
“Naw, I understand-”
“Why’s he still here?” Molly said to him, keeping her voice low.
“What?”
Being discreet, she faced Burl. All while Molly’s eyes kept watch on the mysterious man. From what little Molly saw of it, Trench Coat Man’s face offered no tells. He was a wax figure. A hairy one at that. “He’s been here for hours,” Molly told Burl.
Getting an adrenaline rush, Burl re-adjusted his Ford cap. Even the sight sent chills up his spine. “You want me to do somethin’?”
“Naw. I can handle it.” Molly flashed him a smile. “But thanks.”
“Okay. If you need me, I’m right here.”
Now Molly had to gather up the courage. She hated confrontation… now here she was shivering in May. In Jackie’s makeshift sauna.
Behind a stern glare, Molly walked up to booth number ten. “Uh, excuse me, sir.”
Burl was watching. For once, not just Molly’s ass either but out of concern. The diner had now gone completely silent, desolate darkness plastered against every window.
Molly got closer and closer. Her steps cautious. Still the stranger hadn’t reacted, much less moved. “Sir, we’re closing.”
As she stopped a few feet away, Molly still had no clear view. The trench coat was draped over a body that’d gotten bulkier since the man first walked in.
Molly could now see a cup of coffee at his sharp fingertips. The mug filled to the brim, the coffee long cold.
“We close at eight, sir,” Molly said, her tone shaky. “I’m sorry but you need to go.”
Still no response.
Molly leaned in closer. Daring to even put her hand on the table. “You’ve already paid but we’re closing.” She gave a nervous smile and nodded toward the door. The Scotch-taped sign. “We don’t serve customers when the sun goes down.”
There was nothing. Not a word. The black man looked to be in a catatonic state. Hypnotized by his own hands.
Frustration joined Molly’s fear. “Please,” she sighed. “I don’t wanna call the-”
Still looking down, the man waved her off in a soft dismissal. His long, sharp fingernails glistening in the dim lights. Human talons that emerged from deep within the skin...
Molly took a scared step back.
And then she heard the man give her a guttural growl! A murky low sound devoid of humanity. The stranger still didn’t look at her... those cries were warning shots. Or at least, Molly sure hoped so.
“Oh God…” Molly muttered.
A hand grabbed her shoulder!
Molly jumped and whirled around, startled. “Oh God!”
“It’s just me,” Burl reassured her. Standing behind Molly, he loosened his grip. His concern obvious. ”You okay?”
“Yeah...” She looked toward the man. Burl following her every move. “It’s just…”
Burl patted her shoulder. “I got it.”
Gladly, Molly staggered back. Letting Burl take over.
The trucker stared down the man. Burl standing tall and strong. In a way anyone else would find intimidating. “Hey, buddy.” Burl said in a voice offering anything but friendliness. “She said they’re closing.”
Then Burl saw Trench Coat Man’s hands. The clawed paws. They’d only grown bigger. The fingers elongated. Black fur spreading all across the stranger’s skin with startling quickness.
Suppressing his nerves, Burl motioned toward the man. “Hey, it’s time to go now! Come on!”
But the man wouldn’t budge. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t even look at Burl.
Molly saw how the beard swallowed the man’s face up. Covering his entire neck... His shoulders were only broader. His frame at war with the trench coat.
Burl looked over at Molly. A quick exchange of nervous glances.
Molly reached toward him. “I’ll just call-”
Dodging her grasp, Burl turned his attention to the man. Now the trucker was pissed. His face red, his eyes irate. Not only out of ego but to show off for Molly. “Did you hear me!” he shouted. Burl slammed his fist on the table. Coffee splashed from the cup, the dishes and Molly jumped but the stranger didn’t flinch. Their hands never moved.
“Burl-” Molly started.
“I got this!” he interrupted. Still playing tough, Burl leaned in closer. “If you don’t leave right now, we’re calling the cops, buddy! You hear me!” He reached toward the stranger’s arm. “Get the Hell out!”
Like a gunshot, the kitchen door slammed open, startling Burl and Molly.
They turned in time to see Zach step out of the kitchen. His shit-eating grin instantly made Molly groan.
“Really!” she cried.
Laughing, Zach leaned against the front counter. “Hey, I finished cleaning!” He put the phone in his apron pocket. “Can we go now?”
Molly glared at him. “No! Hell no!”
Zach’s smile vanished. His eyes got big, his expression entering fright.
“You just scared the shit out of us!” Molly continued.
Behind her, a blood-curdling snarl erupted! The man’s growl at full throttle.
“Oh shit!” Zach screamed.
Burl and Moll turned around but it was too late.
The stranger’s hand shot straight into Burl’s neck! Extended claws and all!
Blood sprayed across Molly’s horrified face.
The paw moved back-and-forth, rummaging through Burl’s flesh, muffling his painful cries... Journeying through his jugular! The man’s hand twisting what were essentially multiple knives. Creating a blender of gore!
Burl’s beard turned crimson. His screams grew murky, drowned out by the blood pouring from his mouth.
Now standing over six feet tall, the stranger’s red eyes glared at the group. His trench coat ripping at the seams. The khakis full of tears... None of his clothes able to withstand the transformation!
Struggling against the paralyzing panic, Molly stumbled back, teardrops sliding down her face. And when Burl’s dying body began to convulse, she could only scream!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled.
Snarling, the stranger lurched back, hoisting Burl off the ground! Dark wiry hair coated the man from head to toe, even overtaking his beard. His nose contorted into a snout, his ears sprouting into furry antennas. Toenail claws pierced through the Nikes. From outside, the full moon was a spotlight illuminating what was close enough to a werewolf...
At the mercy of the lycanthrope, Burl’s head swiveled about, the claws a string controlling the trucker’s movements.
Burl looked on at Molly. Faint tears mixed in with his blood.
“No!” Molly cried. “Burl!” Weeping, she backed up against the counter. Her and Zach’s helpless sights glued to the looming execution.
Trench Coat Man then got to work. His paw gripped tighter inside Burl’s neck, squeezing the pulpy grue from this human fruit. A crimson waterfall came pouring out!
Fueled by euphoria and a literal bloodlust, the man opened his mouth and went straight for it. All of Burl’s blood and bits fell right into the carnivore’s clutches. On to the huge tongue and ferocious fangs. War paint for his fur.
“Jesus fucking Christ…” Zach said.
The werewolf retracted his paw in a sadistic flourish! A prized chunk of flesh stuck amongst the claws. The meat almost medium rare.
Burl fell to the ground. The Ford cap tumbled off before getting soaked in blood. Burl was somehow still alive… but not for much longer. His mouth moved but nothing came out. His neck a sprinkler shooting out red spurts. He turned and faced Molly. His stare sad and fading fast.
Distraught, Molly put her hands over her mouth. “Oh God… Burl…”
Now the werewolf confronted the two survivors. His red eyes narrowed. A sliver of a smile appearing amongst the fangs.
“No!” Zach cried. He turned and veered toward the front door. “Fuck this!”
“Where are you going!” Molly shouted. Worried, she yanked Zach’s arm, stopping him. “Call the police!”
“Fucking let go of me!”
The werewolf let out a chilling howl! An air raid siren of the wild. His audience showed terrified expressions… Just the reaction he wanted.
Behind the creature, the full moon stayed a spotlight. The diner center stage for this massacre. Burl’s neckpiece still in the werewolf’s grasp, leaking gallons of blood. Between the added muscles and gooey saliva, Trench Coat Man’s transformation was complete.
“I ain’t sticking around!” Zach yelled at Molly. He gave her a rough shove and bolted for the glass door.
“Zach!” she cried. Covered in sweat and her favorite customer’s blood, Molly looked back at the werewolf.
With sickening showmanship, the creature consumed Burl’s flesh off its claw. A delicacy that could only be enjoyed in slow, methodical munches. Finger-lickin’ good...
Molly watched in disgust. Shivering in the Florida heat.
Glowering, the wolfman made her watch every bite. Working his way down each claw, each gooey piece of meat one by one.
Molly couldn’t watch any longer. She turned away in horror. Then the sadness hit once she saw Burl lying motionless on the ground. He was paler than ever. His dead eyes still on her. The neck still spewing blood.
“No… Burl…” Molly said.
The werewolf released another howl! One of glee rather than anger. The creature loving this lycanthrope limelight.
Backed up against the counter, Molly retrieved her phone. A desperate attempt at 911...
Until she heard heavy footsteps near the front door. Molly looked up to see Zach ready to push his way out.
In a frenzied panic, Zach waved her over. “Come on!”
Molly jammed the phone in her pocket and rushed toward him. The adrenaline carrying her courage.
The creature fixated his glare on her. Growling, he reached out and swung a left hook, the outstretched paw just missing Molly!
More of Burl’s blood hit her but Molly cringed and kept going. She stopped next to Zach. “Let’s go!”
“Alright!” Zach responded. He was ready to lead the way. Ready for this triumphant exit. He threw himself against the door.
A simultaneous BANG and SQUISH smashed against the glass!
Both Zach and Molly jumped back. Reserves of fear surged through them.
“Shit!” Molly screamed.
Like a splattered bug, Jackie Crawford’s body was pressed hard against the glass. Blood dripped down the door. Through the cracked glass, Jackie’s eyes were wide open in fear, his mouth wide open to scream. Deep slices and scratches leaving his dead face in fragments.
Under the vague lights, Jackie’s organs and intestines were seen dangling out. Gory sausages and scrambled eggs his diner could’ve used… Jackie himself a human blockade trapping everyone inside!
“Aw, fuck!” Zach yelled. His quick pathetic attempts to budge the door went nowhere. “We’re fucked!”
Molly grabbed Zach’s arm. “Come on!” Using all her might, she dragged him toward the kitchen.
Zach stole a solemn look at Jackie’s corpse. “But Mr. Crawford-”
“We have to go!” Molly shouted. She pressed on, even as their feet kicked up blood. Struggling through the crimson quicksand.
The next roar was loud! And close...
Turning, Molly saw the werewolf lunge toward them. But she wasn’t gonna stop! Instead, she picked up the pace. Channeling enough strength to carry the nervous twenty-four-year-old with her! She could feel Zach’s every tremble and shiver.
The werewolf’s heavy breathing echoed all around them. The smell of carnage all the more nauseating in the heat.
Molly and Zach passed the front counter. The kitchen door well within reach. Still holding on to Zach, Molly reached for it.
But then Molly felt a sudden pull from a primeval force!
“No!” Zach screamed.
Molly felt Zach fly out of her grasp! Then felt the counter’s brute force slamming into her hip. She cried out in pain.
“Molly!” Zach screamed. He gasped for breath. His screams quickly suppressed into a whimpering.
Like a frightened mother, Molly looked on, her terror at a crippling crescendo. “Oh God… no!”
Lurking just a few feet away, the werewolf raised Zach in the air. Both clawed paws sunk deep into the cook’s neck. The red rivers flowing all along those furry arms.
Zach struggled and kicked his feet. Squirmed in the creature’s sharp clutches. An agonizing, low yell was all that could escape his lips.
Now part of the show, Zach could do nothing but participate in the evil performance. Molly unable to do anything but be a helpless audience.
“Zach!” Molly screamed.
Savoring the sadism, the werewolf faced Molly. He held on to Zach with ease. Held Molly’s attention with relish. The monster exhibiting great strength and agility…
“Let him go, Goddammit!” Molly cried. “Drop him!”
The werewolf’s smile of fangs returned. Now he clasped his claws tighter into Zach’s neck, creating a slow rise of the guillotine’s blade… Zach with no choice but to watch those paws get tighter and tighter. Wolfman enjoying every second of it.
Zach lurched back, his face contorting in pain. Blood instead of words came out his mouth. His swaying, his swinging, his pitiful attempts at escape only heightened the torture. And sped up his own inevitable demise.
Unable to hold back tears, Molly rushed toward them. “Zach!”
The werewolf’s guillotine was ready to come hurtling down…
In a triumphant squeeze, wolfman compressed his claws! A sudden clap burst through the flesh, popping the jugular balloon!
Blood sprayed across Molly. Her hair now even redder.
Zach’s head tumbled straight down! Straight to the floor. Molly jumped back on the first bounce. Fell back against the counter on the second. And then let out a devastating scream when the severed head came to a rest! Zach’s eyes blinking before death.
Blood and gore gave the diner a long-needed renovation.
Now the werewolf lunged in for a feast, gnawing and munching upon Zach’s neck. An all-you-can-eat buffet of human flesh. His snarls and grunts full of pleasure as he made his way down to Zach’s collarbone… Wolfman always one messy eater...
Molly stood still, going out of breath. Simultaneously shocked and scared.
Act II of the violent production continued. Zach finally stopped blinking. His severed head an all-too-real prop. The werewolf now turning most of Zach’s neck into a disappearing act.
The surreal sight chilled Molly to the bone. There was the gore. The werewolf’s carnal strength. His chorus of excited snarls.
“God…” Snapping out of her disturbed daze, Molly retrieved her phone and immediately started dialing 911.
Another howl rejuvenated Molly’s anxiety! She stopped and confronted the creature. Now able to see the man hadn’t grown much taller… just scarier. Especially covered in her co-workers’ blood and grue. He’s a rabid wolf on two legs...
During the feeding frenzy, the werewolf howled again and again. Long bellows from the depths of a dark soul.
Even amidst the scattered blood, Molly could see the saliva slinging off his mouth. She felt her heart sink. Felt her hands tremble. She knew... Wolfman was ready for Act III.
Molly made her way behind the counter. Got ready to mash the call button.
When a CRASH erupted*!* Glass flew everywhere! One shard stuck out the back of Zach’s head.
A growl drifted through the diner! Then more howls… a whole creepy chorus of them.
Frightened, Molly looked on as the call connected
Jackie’s mangled face leaned in through the broken glass, perched right up above the door handle. Now Molly got a better view of those deep slices. How Jackie’s face had been turned into shredded cheese. The old man’s tongue hanging out in dead dog fashion.
But what elevated Molly’s terror wasn’t the dead boss. Nor how the shattered door revealed an even brighter full moon. What shook her to the core were the howls roaring through the rural isolation! Howls so similar to Trench Coat Man’s... just as hungry and unsettling and fierce. They’re everywhere!
“No…” Molly said. She turned toward the werewolf. He stood there, confident. Zach’s decapitated corpse at his feet. The monster ready for back-up.
“911, what’s your emergency?” said a disembodied female voice. The first calm voice Molly Campbell had heard in an eternity.
Panicking, Molly put the phone to her ear. Wishing she could dissolve through the iPhone and straight into the operator’s arms. “Come to Crawford’s Diner! It’s on the Tallahassee highway, and. And there’s animals in here, they’re killing everybody!” At first, Molly was wanting to sound collected but that was fucking impossible right now.
There was no night breeze. Nothing that could soothe Molly’s sweltering unease. Especially once she saw Trench Coat Werewolf turn toward the door. And then heard more of those emphatic howls entering the restaurant.
Of course, the operator couldn’t match Molly’s intensity. No one could. “Ma’am, what’s your name-”
“Two people are dead!” Molly screamed. Trench Coat Werewolf’s guttural growl erupted, making Molly cringe. The sound a battle cry. “Just hurry! Send somebody!”
“Ma’am, we’ve got-”
A ferocious energy knocked the front doors down, sending Jackie’s corpse SPLATTERING near the counter. Right in front of Molly.
“Oh God! Mr. Crawford!” Molly shouted.
All the glass glistened around the three dead bodies. For a second, Molly stood transfixed by the sight. Particularly the glowing remnants clustered along the werewolf’s fur… Jewelry for the creature’s gory glory.
“Ma’am!” the operator’s voice said, finally showing some concern.
ROARS ripped through the atmosphere. Each of them scary, but each of them different in tone and strength.
“Ma’am, are you there!?” the operator continued.
Clutching the phone, Molly scanned the battlefield. Trench Coat Werewolf stayed right where he was, baying at the front doorway. All the other howls and snarls got louder. Their power rattled the other windows. Molly even felt the floor tremble…
“Aw, fuck…” she cried.
Heavy footsteps scurried about outside. They were fast, frenetic. The sounds of stealthy stalkers.
“Ma’am!” the operator said.
Molly now backed into the kitchen door. Her feet crunching countless glass, forming a maddening rhythm, interrupted only by the occasional puddle of blood.
But no matter the horror, Molly couldn’t turn and run. Couldn’t force herself to look away or cover her eyes. No matter how much the dread decimated her or how disturbing this crime scene was or how sickening that smell of grease and death had swelled, Molly just had to see more.
The star werewolf looked right at her. The sinister smirk marking Molly. With triumph, he leaned back and let out his loudest howl yet! One straight from the heart. Driven by excitement. The stuff that wolfpacks are made of!
Molly didn’t have time to react.
In a split second, the werewolf’s supporting cast leaped through the other windows! Four in a row. More sparkling crystals for the diner’s tomb.
But Molly couldn’t move. The sweat and blood kept the clothes stuck to her skin. The heat melting her into the door. Besides the unease, she was awestruck. Trench Coat Werewolf’s final act had left her anything but disappointed. Somehow, the reveal seemed worth the tragedy. Worth the slaughter.
A female werewolf now stood hunched over by the door. She was almost as tall as Trench Coat and just as muscular. Her business suit tattered and torn. Long blonde hair scattered amongst the dark fur. Amidst the smeared blood, faint make-up could be seen on that horrifying face. Lipstick adding a vivid red for her fangs.
The other creatures stood a little bit shorter and skinnier. Juvenile delinquents dressed in high school clothes. The jeans with more holes and tears than usual. One male put an arm around his female companion. An obvious young couple. Lycanthrope love.
All those red eyes stayed on Molly. The saliva smiles as well. The snarls surrounded her. The growls and howls. All the creatures walking on long lumbering legs. Together, they formed a rabid congregation commanded by that strange man in the trench coat.
Molly remained slouched back against the door. She had no choice but to show fear… and fascination.What she was seeing was beyond human comprehension. Cryptic Cryptids that no one had ever seen before… or lived long enough to tell the tale.
“Ma’am, are you there!” shouted the operator.
The alarm shook Molly from the hold of this extraordinary encounter. From the grip of the weird, wondrous werewolves. Through the terror, Molly felt each and every creature watching her. The werewolves enjoying the torturous tension as they deliberated on their dessert.
Business Suit licked her lips.
“Hello!” the dispatcher shouted. “Ma’am!”
Molly jammed the phone to her ear. Submerging it into her skull. Her subconscious. “Send someone!”
The gang of wolves took a menacing step closer. Their congregation in sync. One of the teens pretended to lunge at Molly while another swiped their paw in the air. Cheap tricks to make Molly flinch that worked.
Molly’s grip grew tighter to the phone. Hanging on for dear life.
“We’re sending someone-” the operator started.
“Bring a shitload of silver bullets!” Molly interrupted.
With the tumultuous start of a turntable, the jukebox erupted with The Platters’ “Blue Moon”. The bombastic harmonies startled Molly, making her drop her phone. The incessant tempo matching her pounding heart. Her fright.
“They’re on the way!” said the operator, her yells buried beneath the song.
Blue mooon…
Another howl hit Molly! She looked toward the jukebox. The eyesore antique aglow with life.
You saw me standing alooone...
Molly saw a creature leaning against the jukebox, this werewolf the de facto leader of the teenage pack. His blue jeans and black leather jacket even tighter over the fur and muscles. The young man bringing I Was A Teenage Werewolf to chilling 2020 life.
Without a dream in my hearrrt….
Crawford’s speakers never sounded so loud. The doo-wop was deafening. The backing vocals baying for blood.
The creatures roared with approval! This classic track ready to get the werewolf party started… much to Molly’s unease.
Without a love of my owwwn!
The gruesome group got closer. Their growls and fangs horrifying.
Having fun, the teen leader slid a claw along one of the tables. The long, agonizing screech further unnerving Molly’s soul.
Trembling, Molly pointed at the werewolfpack. Unable to feign toughness. Not when she was this fucking scared. “Get the Hell out of here!”
She got nothing but two choruses. The Platters’ elegant and pretty. The creatures animalistic and savage. One full of soul. The other merciless. .
Blue mooon, blue moon, blue mooon, blue moon
“Get the fuck out!” Molly screamed.
The monsters marched for their prey. For Molly.
Trench Coat Werewolf got in the lead. With a smirk and a snarl, he raised his left paw to lead the charge. These wolves faster on hind legs than all fours.
A shivering mess, Molly pushed open the kitchen door and jumped inside. Into a bomb shelter of stifling humidity and trash but an upgrade over the diner’s carnage. She grabbed a steak knife.
A long, drawn-out howl was heard.
Molly whirled around. One hand ready to slam the door, the other clinging to the first silver weapon she saw.
Snarling for flesh, the werewolves charged past the counter. Their claws and teeth ready to devour anything in its path.
*
Sitting between Julie and Mack, Anne took command of the latest call. “So what happened?” she said into the mic.
“I was terrified!” shouted the caller, the familiar voice emanating off the speakers. The voice belonging to none other than Molly Campbell. “I didn’t know what to do, the werewolves just kept coming after me!” Her heavy breathing overtook the airwaves. Her sobs theatrical. “They were hungry, Annie!”
“Anne not Annie,” Anne replied with snark to spare.
Her co-host Julie chuckled.
“Mr. Crawford and Burl were dead!” Molly continued. “They slaughtered them!"
Decades of radio and podcasts helped Anne hide her smirk. But still in her mid-twenties, Julie was unable to repress the laughter.
“I’m serious!” cried Molly’s defensive wrath. “I’m not lying, Anne! I saw them kill them at Crawford’s diner! They did it!”
Skeptical, Anne stole a look at the laptop. Many lights were beaming on screen. Dedicated callers awaiting their turn at a North Florida fifteen minutes of fame…
“They, they were closing in on me!” Molly yelled, her voice getting shriller. “They were running inside the kitchen, Anne, I’m telling you! Every single Goddamn one of them! You've gotta believe me!"
To Read More...
submitted by thehorrorwriter2 to JustNotRight [link] [comments]