This started as a flash fiction writing exercise that I snagged from Chuck Wendig’s blog. I rolled up some random numbers and got two topics from his list of genre mash-up story-fodder. I got, “Mythology and Vampires.” Now, lazyass gamer girl here had the story finished on time, but forgot to post it by the Friday deadline, so I’m not going to link back to his blog. While I have no problem doing the walk of shame in a slinky party dress at 7:30 am on a Sunday, I’m not about to go flouncing my ass in front of people who can meet a deadline.
I polished it up a little this weekend, so here it is.
Coyote and the Thing That Wouldn’t Die
by S. Kay Nash
Coyote was bored. He hadn’t gotten into any trouble lately and it was rubbing all his fur the wrong way.
It was evening, the sun was going down and Coyote figured it was as good a time as any to get up and go into town. He put on a new shirt; made sure his jeans were almost clean and pulled on his best boots. Looking in the mirror, he grinned at himself and slicked his hair with a small black comb.
His reflection grinned back. “Lookin’ good, dog!” Satisfied, he nodded.
The old pickup truck didn’t want to start. Coyote cursed and hollered and banged on it with a hammer until the sun hid behind the mountains. He begged. He pleaded. He promised to put gas in it when he got to town. The truck blew a headlight in protest–It had heard that one before. After a few minutes and the promise of an oil change, it rumbled and coughed and started.
Coyote gunned the engine and tore down the back roads, trying to make up time. With one headlight out, he couldn’t see as well as he’d like to, but that was no problem. He turned off on route 6486 and picked up speed, heading for the creek
Just as he was bouncing over the bridge at a high rate of speed, something startled out of the bushes and jumped in front of the truck. Coyote slammed on the brakes but it was too late. There was a crunch of glass, a bang of old Detroit steel and the one good headlight on the truck winked out.
He got out and looked at the damage. He knew he’d hit something. There was a scrap of black fabric stuck to the bumper. He wandered over to the bar ditch and kicked at the brush, looking for whatever it was. With a squishy thump of his boot, he found part of it. In the moonlight it looked like a person’s hand, except it had long ugly claws and smelled like it had been dead for a while. A few feet away, he found the rest.
Coyote backed up. This wasn’t his business! He had beer to drink and women to chase and a long way to go before he got there. He’d leave the dead thing for the vulture people to clean up. He kicked some dirt over the hand and walked back to his truck.
The engine roared and he was off, leaving a huge cloud of red dust in his wake. This was a better road, so he could pick up some speed. The moon was full, he could see just fine and if he didn’t hurry he wouldn’t get there. His chances of going home with a pretty woman were dropping every minute.
Coyote didn’t expect something big and flappy to land on top of the truck. He slammed on the brakes again, sending a tattered bundle of black cloth tumbling off the roof to land in front of the truck. He jumped out and ran to look. The thing in black rags was sorting itself out, pulling and twisting and trying to get up.
It stood up, tall and paler than any white man he’d ever seen. It raised its hands, waved its claws at him, showed him a mouth full of sharp teeth and hissed like a pissed-off tomcat. About the time that Coyote realized it was after him, the thing had him by the shirt and was trying to bite him on the neck.
He jumped straight up in surprise and held on to the sky. The thing was still hanging on to him and his best shirt was getting messed up. This wouldn’t do. He kicked it hard and it fell a long way, smashing into pieces when it hit the ground. Coyote jumped down out of the sky after he saw that it was dead.
He walked over to stare at it. He pulled a camel light out of his torn shirt pocket, stuck it between his lips and lit it by snapping his fingers. The dead thing twitched.
“Chindi? Is this some kind of trick?” He blew out smoke at the thing.
The thing groaned and started to get up again. It began to crawl towards him, clawed hands grabbing at the ground.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Coyote dropped the cigarette on the ground and stepped on it. He changed his skin and got four legs instead of two, so he could run faster. There was a trick he learned from a lizard once; he thought it just might work to keep the evil spirit-thing that wouldn’t die from bothering him again.
He ran as fast as he could, straight up the side of a standing stone. The evil spirit climbed right up after him. Now, Coyote figured he was safe up there. The Yeii that like high places were his clan-brothers and he was pretty sure they weren’t mad at him. When the chindii’s claws came up over the top of the rock, Coyote jumped up as high as he could. He grabbed hold of the sky and waited to see what would happen.
The standing rock started to grow. It stretched up taller and faster until it passed him by and kept on growing. The thing that wouldn’t die clung to the top, looking alarmed.
From where he was, Coyote could see that the sun was coming up. The thing on the rock started screaming something awful and then stopped. It must have worked. He jumped down and ran back to his truck then took a minute to get back on two legs. He started the truck and lit another camel. He’d wasted his whole night for nothing.
The sun peeked over the mountains. He shrugged, put the truck in gear, and drove into Kayenta to get gas. He might even get an oil change this time.