The Little Things (Flash Fiction)
His heart was racing, and his clothes were soaked as he tore through the trees. There was almost no sound as the man’s feet pounded the trail. He had barely been running twenty minutes, but his ear-buds were already slipping from the sweat. It was annoying, but the need to occasionally dry them off helped force Jacob to listen for any unwanted visitors.
This park was Jacob’s favorite place to go running, especially right after the sun had set. Everyone else had cleared out, and he had the trails to himself; it was dangerous to be alone in the trees, but he had never had a run-in with the woodland creatures. The stories of neighborhood dogs and cats bodies being found, thoroughly picked over, didn’t bother him as much as it did the other runners. However, Jacob did start carrying a small can of pepper spray…mostly to stifle the concerned lectures from his friends.
Fog was starting to rise from the river, and swirl over the pathway. As he rounded a bend, coming up to the bridge, the lamp posts played eerily with the fog. Jacob loved it; the bridge looked like it lead to nowhere. He was a quarter of the way across when he felt something grab at his ankle.
The little hands weren’t big enough, or prepared, to grab a person moving that fast; Jacob quickly tore his foot away, and picked up his pace. He stopped halfway across the bridge, and turned to see what had grabbed him. At first the shape looked like it could have just been a very large cat, but when it turned its head to look at him, the eyes and ears were far too large. The little thing stood up, and revealed itself to be the size of a toddler, and looked like someone had hybridized a bear and a monkey; the creature was something that could have been found on the Island of Doctor Moreau.
Jacob turned to run, but saw that three more of the creatures had snuck up behind him, and were creeping onto the bridge. Their giant yellow eyes were hungry. Jacob quickly pulled out his pepper spray, but jumped when he felt hands grasping at his ankles again. A handful of creatures were crawling out from the underside of the bridge. A knee-jerk reaction combined with strong legs sent the closest creature flying through the air to land with a small splash.
The rest of the beasties started to make this whiny growling sound in anger, and charged at the man. Jacob turned back the way he had came, and blasted the first creature with pepper spray, before sprinting past it. Adrenaline filled Jacobs’s veins, and he pumped his legs as hard as he could to get off the bridge, and out of the park.
More and more of the little things were appearing along the trail, and attempting to keep up with the runner. They were quick, but not fast, and Jacob was beginning to put some space between him and the hungry monsters. Jacob looked over his shoulder to check on his pursuers as he rounded a corner. He turned his back just in time to see one of them launch itself from a low hanging branch, and land right on his face.