A little short story that someone on Fiverr wrote for me as a fun project!
I gave her the premise and she ran with it.
In for the Kill
The party ran into the late hours of the night. Sierra had to slip out the door to get some fresh air. Being a non-smoker meant that her lungs were sensitive to cigarette smoke and whatever else they were smoking. Plus, the trophies on the walls were creepy.
“Hey, Sierra, are you okay?” asked Ricky, her new boyfriend.
“Yah, just getting a breather.”
Ricky stayed with her. The sights and sounds of the woods filled their senses.
Sierra took a deep breath of pine needles. “Can’t smell that in the city.”
Some strange animals in the distance made a cooing sound.
“No, can’t hear any animals either, unless it’s the neighbors arguing.” He wrapped his arm around her. “I think we should go inside. Milo will be wondering what we’re doing.”
She leaned in and gave him a kiss. “Let him wonder.”
“Hey guys, get in here! I’m going to unveil my latest,” a loud voice called out.
“Be right there,” called out Ricky. The couple went back inside.
“Here you go,” said Lisa, handing them their drinks.
Her husband, Milo, was standing near the wall. There were several trophy animal heads attached to the upper walls of the cabin. These included deer, antelope, lions, and bears.
Sierra looked sadly around. She was aware of the practice but it was something she would never do. She looked over at Ricky. Was he a hunter too? He’d never said anything to her. He’d even come with her to play with the kittens at the local cat rescue center.
“And now, for the big reveal.” Milo clutched a white sheet that lay draped over a form.
Lisa stood beside him, proudly looking on.
“Ta da!” called out Milo, yanking the sheet off.
Revealed beneath was a large stuffed lion head.
“Ohhh,” everyone called out.
Sierra grimaced. “Did you go to South Africa to hunt?” she whispered to her boyfriend.
“Yah, that and do our charity work.” But he didn’t notice the grim expression on her face.
After that, the party stepped up its pace. Several more people arrived, bearing various bottles and packages.
Sierra sat on the barstool, looking up at the vast ceiling. There must have been over twenty stuffed heads up there. Why would someone think it was a good idea to kill a perfectly healthy animal, chop its head off, then stuff it and stick it on the wall?
Ricky handed her another drink. She took a sip. It was something with cranberry and vodka in it. She took a big gulp.
“I know you’re an animal lover and I didn’t want to freak you out,” he started explaining to her. “I’ve known Milo and Lisa for a long time. I only go out once a year.”
“Really?” she asked. “How often does he hunt?”
“Several times a year. Also, this is canned hunting. It’s not like we’re going into the wild to kill almost-extinct animals.”
“What is canned hunting?” she asked.
“It’s when animals are bred for the sole purpose of hunting. They are kept within walls or fences. That way, the wild animals in the forest are protected.”
“So, you’re saying that lions are being bred strictly for hunting, much like cows, pigs, and chickens are bred to be eaten?” She dropped the chicken wing she’d been about to eat.
“Exactly. This way there is no eco-effect, or whatever fancy word scientists like to use.”
“Hey, Ricky, come over here! We need to get a photo!” called out Milo.
While he went away, Sierra thought it over. It was kind of like breeding dogs or cats, then killing them, because there weren’t enough homes. Two million+ dogs and cats were euthanized every year in the USA because there weren’t enough homes for them all.
Sierra finished her drink and took a deep breath. “Choose my battles,” she whispered to herself. “I can’t change the things I have no control over, I can only change what I can.”
She looked up. In the corner of the room, Lisa had taken her top off and was doing slam dancing to country music with a guy much younger than her. Her husband looked on and laughed.
The music was so loud that no one heard the initial screams. One moment it was a big wild party, the next, the partiers were scattering in multiple directions.
A huge lion stood in the center of the floor. It batted aside the couch and the table the way a house cat would bat at a ball.
“Rrrrooowwrrrrr!” it screamed.
Sierra sat transfixed to her barstool. Where had it come from?
“What? That’s crazy. What has Milo done?” yelled Ricky. “He didn’t tell me he had a lion!”
Sierra gazed at the lion. Its eyes were foggy and glowed green. Its skin was raw and decaying, and patches of its fur were missing. One of its ears was chewed down.
“It’s a zombie lion!” called out Lisa, racing for the door. It captured the attention of the lion and got she swatted away.
The lion went and plonked itself down in front of the door. No one was getting away.
For the next few minutes, it watched as the humans hid. Many fought over the small coat closet, punching and kicking at each other.
Some people merely stood near the wall, watching. These were the ones who thought it was only an extra-large house cat, not a wild cat.
“What do we do?” called out Sierra, when she saw her boyfriend hiding behind the bar.
“We could aim for the window, though they’re small in this cabin. He jerked his head behind her.
Lisa had managed to pick herself up off the ground. She crawled to the window and tried to open it. “Dammit! We painted last month. I told Milo to leave the windows open, not closed when we did it.” The window would not budge.
Someone got too close to the zombie lion. It leaned forward and bit into the back of his shirt. It lifted him up in the air, his feet dangling, with him screaming loudly.
Then the lion dropped him. He landed on his butt and tried to roll away. The lion smacked him hard and knocked him against the opposite wall.
He played dead, figuring that the lion would lose interest. It did.
Milo went racing for the rifle that was hanging on the wall. He lifted it off, then rummaged into the cabinet below for ammunition.
But the lion rushed forward and swatted him away.
“Rrrrrowllrrrrr!” it screamed at him.
Several people raced for the door and managed to get out. The lion turned and looked but decided it already had what it wanted.
“Out here,” Ricky called to Sierra.
The couple raced for the door and made it out.
“I think he’s toast,” said Ricky.
“That is crazy! We need to call the police! Or, wildlife control,” said Sierra.
“That thing is not alive,” said Ricky. “I don’t think they can do anything.”
“Over here,” called out Lisa.
A group of people hid behind a set of old outhouses no longer in use.
“No cellphone service,” said Ricky in frustration, putting his cellphone back in a pocket.
While the guests were trying to figure out what to do, inside the cabin, Milo was trapped with the zombie lion.
He looked at the lion, then up at the wall. The lion head was gone.
“That ain’t you, is it?” he asked. With every second, he felt a deeper and darker pit in the base of his stomach.
He dropped to the floor in guilt. He knew he was the one responsible for killing the lion.
He didn’t know why he was so frightened. He was shaking so badly that he couldn’t even open up the box of ammunition, let alone get the rifle loaded in time.
“I killed you, I own up to that,” said Milo. “I admit it. What are you going to do? Kill me now?”
The zombie lion roared a warning.
By now no one was left in the cabin. They’d all abandoned him. There was no help coming.
“Right, only one thing to do,” he said. It was if someone else were taking over his body. He managed to open up the box and get the rifle loaded.
He turned the rifle around and aimed at his head. It was tricky, but he’d watched how they did it in the movies.
Sierra and Ricky were hunched down behind the outhouse when the shot rang out.
“What the?” Ricky yelled, jumping up. He raced for the cabin.
“No, don’t!” called out Sierra.
Ricky raced inside the cabin. He looked around.
“Hi Ricky,” said Milo, tidying up the room.
“Where is it?” Ricky asked, frantically looking around.
Ricky looked up at the wall. The lion head was back in place.
“Say, can you call everyone together and have them meet me at the quarry out back?”
Ricky nodded, then got everyone together around the back of the cabin.
“What happened?” asked Lisa.
Milo stood there, holding a shovel. The lion head was propped up against a tree.
“I was going to kill myself, but the zombie lion knocked the gun out of my hand.”
The guests looked at each other.
“Okay, so, what we’re doing now is having a funeral for this lion. We’re going to do that, then bury what remains of his body. Over the next week or so, I’ll be burying the other animals around the forest.
From now on, no more hunting. If you still do it, I’ll disassociate myself from you. I realize now it’s wrong. Maybe we can do something different instead, like play video games or donate to wildlife rescue.”
The guests were unsettled, but that was to be expected when you were trying to offer amends for wrongs done in the past.
Sierra held Ricky’s hand while Milo held up his bible and began reading from it.