Welcome to my first short story here at John C Adams Reviews. I'm delighted to share Under the Black Moon by Dickson Turpin with you.
Under the Black Moon
“Any time now,” she said and sighed. She checked her candy apple red nails, before winding one bouncy blonde curl around a finger. “I see your highness, Queen Ho Ho, has never piddled on a stick,” British accent overwrought, “how…ahem, low class.”
A wild laugh burst out of her and was finally able to make water. No one had told her that using a pregnancy test would be so awkward. It was like blind firing at a peanut with a squirt gun between your knees.
“Nasty,” she rolled her eyes, “great, I have pee-pee hand.”
She frowned, and her nose wrinkled. A quick look revealed she had hit the target. After setting it on the sink, she cleaned herself and consulted the instruction manual for the eighth time. All it took was patience, which she possessed little.
“Okay,” she glanced at the paper, again, “we wait.” She blew out a long, ragged sigh. After a brief consultation with the clock, she groaned. One deep breath, and let it out slowly, but her eyes flew open.
"What if I’m pregnant?” she whispered. “What if I’m not pregnant? What if it is a false negative or positive?”
She paced back and forth. The Beast inside her awoke, and it whined. Onyx smoke crawled over her skin, as her heart galloped.
“Annabelle,” a gruff, warm voice inquired from the other side of the door. “Are you okay?”
She jerked, “Yes, Bo, my big ole Cuddle Bear, I’m fine.” As she spoke, Annabelle turned towards the pregnancy test.
“Oh…okay, I was just checking,” he said, “if you’re sick, you don’t have to eat.”
“No, Honey, I want to eat,” she said, and her stomach growled absently. Boford had cooked steaks, and she could eat the bull from balls to breakfast. He was a great cook.
“Oh, okay,” he said, hesitated, but walked away.
Annabelle snatched up the pregnancy test, and set it under a roll of toilet paper. After she got some food in her and calmed down, the test would be ready. The answer wouldn’t discourage her. A negative result would mean she could keep trying, and a positive would mean she would have a beautiful girl. A little boy would be a disaster, but she pushed the thought out of her mind.
After her heart slowed, she checked her make-up. Makeup around azure eyes was still flawless, and candy apple red lipstick was perfect. The womanly war paint was ready for action. Annabelle was ready to wrestle the big, beautiful, bearded grizzly, and eat steak in no particular order.
The kitchen was utilitarian in furnishings. Boford kept everything in neat little rows and set for ease of use. He grew most of the herbs and spices. Boford’s reclusive cabin was self-sustaining. Since Annabelle had entered his life, little pockets of chaos had opened up. He didn’t mind, and in fact, he loved the little reminders of her. The fresh-cut wildflowers, candles, and her boots next to the door filled his heart with joy.
The food was set out, and Boford had spent the whole day prepping the meal. He smiled but blushed at her amazement. He wore a crisp, white button-up shirt, which he always reserved for church. His massive chest strained the buttons, as did his round, hard belly. The bowtie drowned in the luxuriant beard but managed to poke out the sides.
“What are you all dressed up for, handsome?” she said and dropped a wink.
Boford blushed, “I…just, and you know, you’re so pretty, I just wanted to get dressed up for you.”
“Aren’t I just the luckiest gal,” smiled Annabelle, but his smell had changed. He was nervous. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
He blushed and shuffled his feet. “I…uh, no we’ve been together for a few weeks, and I just wanted to say,” eyes trailed off. Boford studied her eyes like clear summer skies. “You’re very pretty,” he blurted, frowned, “and I like you, a lot!” Boford sat, sighed aloud, and blushed.
“The food looks magnificent, Sugar,” she drew in all the scents. All she wanted to do for the last couple of days was fight, eat, and have lots of sex. The thought of hunting Boford was unthinkable, so she had to settle for more of the other two. Annabelle imagined riding Boford like a coked-up cowgirl while eating a gargantuan steak. The Beast inside her paced back and forth.
Annabelle drew in another deep inhalation but coughed. The stench of rancid, raw meat was a ghost in the air. She looked towards the back door, which opened onto a flower garden. The wind flew through the cracked door, and the hairs rose on the back of her neck. A deep growl escaped her lips. Something was close, and its stink was all rot and meat. She stood up and looked out the back door.
“Are you okay?” Boford asked and looked at the feast.
“I feel a little under the weather,” she clamped her mouth shut to silence the growl; “I think I’ll get a bit of fresh air, Honey.”
“Do you want me to get you something?”
“No, I’ll be fine,” Annabelle said, but the rancid, raw meat stench pushed through the cracks. She stepped through the door, and Boford frowned at the food.
Storms had ravaged the forest and left it wet. Heat boiled the air into a soup of the low rot of the trees and decayed fish from Lake Cumberland. Below this, she found the rancid, raw meat stench, and followed it through the verdant trees. The sun was setting, and the moon rose as did the rage inside her.
She locked onto the scent. Onyx smoke poured out of her skin as she growled in a mounting fury.
Across the woods, she raced and burst into a small clearing. A well-house stood with red paint clinging on badly rotted timber. Moss gathered in clumps on the severely bowed roof. A stick figure on the open door had “No water for children” scrawled in a barely literate child’s hand. Annabelle could indeed smell no water inside, but old dirt, and rancid, raw meat stench in a piercing miasma. Hairs rose on her skin as a growl boiled out. The tang of freshly spilled blood crawled over her tongue.
The kick caught her between the shoulders. Annabelle slammed face-first into the dirt, but as she stood, the cut on her cheek healed. The pink bubblegum fire burned deep in sky-blue eyes, “You went and did the dumbest thing, Sugar.”
The big man grinned, smile jagged. He was the freshest and largest of the six corpses. Hellish light smoldered in their eyes, and ravenous hunger turned their manic glee savage.
“A Lupercalia has come to dine with us,” he bellowed, and they laughed in empty tones of idiot mirth.
“I’ve never had dog meat!”
“Revenir, disgusting, I thought I smelled rotted butthole,” she said and struggled to keep from covering her mouth.
A waif of a woman burst from the pack. Creamy hair bounced about the waxen leer of a long-dead, long-forgotten corpse. Hunger had driven all sanity out of her, and she reached out with an emaciated claw.
The brittle cackle escaped through lips long chewed off in hunger.
Annabelle punched through her chest destroying the heart. The starved Revenir fell to dust. She shook bouncy curls to dislodge the filth, “Great, I smell like poop shoot and three-day-old bacon.”
“Get her,” he roared, and the Revenir rushed forward.
She threw another punch that destroyed the heart of a man, who gibbered and slobbered. The pack slammed into her. A dainty-looking man, despite being in a state akin to road kill, took a huge bite out of her leg. Large, capped teeth sunk into her arm. A woman with beauty queen hair and an even cheaper pantsuit screamed.
The big Revenir, who Annabelle dubbed Brock, because all Brocks were jerks, laughed down at her. “I smell human on you, after we capture you, and use you as food stock; I’ll pay a visit to your human.”
“Not my Cuddle Bear,” she screamed. Onyx smoke burst from her skin, and she was the Beast. Shadows gathered to her massive form, and the bubblegum pink flame burned in her eyes.
Annabelle leaped onto the woman in the olive-green pantsuit and stomped her chest to paste. One massive claw tore out the heart of the dainty man before crushing it. Brock shoved the other two at her, but both were torn asunder in moments. She was hard to see in the moonlight; yet, he made out huge claws and fangs.
The shotgun blast struck her, and Annabelle howled. Before she could recover from the pain, he unloaded on her. Each shot tore at her until she fell back and became a woman once again. The gun clicked. He cursed and checked for more shells.
Annabelle sprung back up and leaped onto Brock. He fell to the ground as she jumped atop him. The first punch was blocked by the shotgun, which bent inward. The second punch drove through his chest, and the third splattered his head like a balloon full of old cereal and spoiled milk. She roared at the dust carried off by the wind.
Her heart slowed, the black smoke retreated, and she looked around. A sour stench clung to the air, and Annabelle smelled her shirt, “Awesome, I smell like a sewage plant, after a bratwurst and baked bean festival.”
Boford wrung his paw-like hands. He stood, sat, and then stood up again before walking back to the door. He had heard the roar of something like a wolf or bear. Somewhere a hunter with poor aim shot repeatedly. Boford had looked for Annabelle in the backyard, but she was gone, which she was apt to do. She was tough, yet he wanted to protect her.
“Hey Cuddle Bear,” Annabelle said, and he jumped.
“Annabelle,” Boford said, fear departed, but his smile contorted. He covered his nose and mouth.
Annabelle was covered in dirt, dust, mud, flecks of bone, hair, and what he hoped was chocolate pudding. Twigs jutted from crazy hair. She looked past him at the food, and then down at the zipper of his trousers. The fight had gotten her blood up, and she jittered, “Is the food still warm, Honey Buns?” She closed her mouth before any drool could slip out.
“Yes,” he blinked, “what happened to you?”
“Uh,” she said and swallowed. The truth would endanger him. “I was feeling sick…and I decided to go on a jog. You know, so I could burn out the nastiness, and I fell in a dead deer full of ick.”
“Oh no,” Boford hugged her, gasped in rancid air, and grew pale. “Do you want me to get you some clean clothes, while you take a shower?”
“Oh, Baby, you’re so sweet!” she said with a wink. “Remind me to give you a treat later.”
He nodded but held his breath. Annabelle closed the bathroom door. She hated the deception, but it was forbidden for Lupercalia to reveal themselves. It put their world at risk, for humans were a threat in large numbers. She plopped down on the toilet, and the roll of toilet paper fell over. Annabelle looked at the pregnancy test.
“Positive,” she squeaked but looked at the door.
She held the test, giggled, and looked at the door. Boford’s child grew in her, she thought with a laugh. T
he giggle died and the smile melted away. A pregnant Lupercalia was dangerous. Joy and anguish warred in her heart. For all the joy she felt there was agony in equal measure.
Annabelle covered her face and cried. She couldn’t imagine leaving her Cuddle Bear.
Dickson Turpin writes stories of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror with romantic elements. His stories have been included in multiple publications. He is an indie author that publishes to Amazon Vella. Before becoming a story teller, he got his degree in Applied Science.
You can read Dickson’s longer fiction here: