Include the following in your story: metamorphosis, rogue, shrug, salamander, sleepy, chimpanzee, enzyme, lemon, glance, merge
It started out like any other day. Everyone arrived at work with sleepy eyes. At first glance, you’d think we were the worst Canine Care Team out of all the shelters in the area, but that day, we saved the world.
We went through our morning routine like it was any other day and we finished by spraying lemon flavored Febreze throughout the shelter. That’s when we noticed something was off. Dogs that were normally barking their heads off were cowering in the back of their kennels. Other departments would just shrug it off, but it got under my skin like a flesh eating enzyme.
Then, the power went out. It’s happened before, so no biggie, but the back up generator wouldn’t come online. We just went about the day and let facilities handle it. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize we were in trouble until it was too late.
It was Moxie who saw it first. Her scream echoed the shelter. When we got her to calm down, she claimed she saw a monster. None of the supervisors believed her, but the team and I did. There were too many weird things going on for us NOT to believe her. I told everyone to stay together. We couldn’t afford going rogue and getting attacked like Moxie did. The adoption floor was eerily quiet with our cowering dogs, but of course, like every horror movie, we forgot to look up.
A monster as big as a refrigerator dropped down in front of us. It looked like some disgusting metamorphosis of a salamander and a chimpanzee. Moxie screamed and her scream merged with the frightening roar of the creature. We ran. Then, we fought.
It was a battle for the story books. Vet Clinic became the safe house and every department defended it like a army base. Management wanted to wait until the authorities to arrive and handle the situation, but Canine Care, my team, we weren’t going to let anything happen to our dogs. We found out the creature wasn’t alone. It had a portal back to its own world. I feared it was just a scout paving the way for an invasion.
Why here of all places? Why would some alien monsters decide to invade at an animal shelter? It was Moxie who figured that out. You see, even though we’re a “No Kill” shelter, we still euthanize. Dogs who don’t pass behaviorally get put down. Not to mention we do euthanasia’s for the public. My point: is that there’s a lot of death on these grounds and our graveyard doesn’t portray how much. These aliens, they’re attracted to death. Moxie saw one going into the freezer we keep the corpses of our animals. They absorb some sort of power from death–do ask me for a deeper explanation. I’m still reeling at the fact that this all happened! Anyway, it’s by “absorbing” death that they were able to create their portals to this world. To an animal shelter that is dripping with death.
We did a pretty good job at avoiding the creatures as we tried to figure out how to stop them. However, we did have a couple encounters. Skyla, our team lead, got hurt when one attacked us from behind. We were able to get her to vet clinic, but our hope of stopping these monsters was shaken.
What we needed was to close the portal, but how do you close something that’s powered by death? David and Melanie proposed that maybe life, the opposite of death, would close them. None of us knew how that would work, but it was a start, and I decided I wanted a closer look at the portal.
The portal was in the behavior room, a place where a lot of euthanasia’s happen. It also happened to be on the complete far side of the shelter. I didn’t want the team to go with me, but they didn’t want me to go alone. So, Moxie, David, Melanie, and I departed into the monster infested shelter.
We got caught by one in Dog Holding, a large room full of kennels holding dogs that hadn’t been evaluated yet. The creature went after Melanie, and David came to her defense, but he didn’t have a weapon fight the monster’s claws. I grabbed a nylabone from a dirty kennel. One of those huge bulky ones that could bash a person’s skull in, and I got the creature from behind. It came after me and I ran through the kennels, hoping Melanie and David would be able to get away. What I didn’t know was that the monster had a frog-like tongue.
I guess it was the salamander part to it. I thought I was going to get away when the creature’s tongue tripped up my ankle. I hit the floor and the monster came bearing over me. I thought I was a goner, but then I realized the dog in the kennel right next to me was losing his mind, barking his head off, and lunging at the door of his kennel. It was Moon, a dog slated to be euthanized for hostile behavior.
I kicked off the latch to Moon’s kennel.
Moon tackled the creature! Never in my years of working with dogs had I ever seen one so furious! The monster screeched and recoiled, and I was able to get away. I hoped Moon ripped that thing’s throat out.
I met up with the others at our team desk. We were a couple halls away from the portal, but after facing that monster, we needed to catch our breath. We threw out ideas for handling the portal. Maybe there was a way to close it from the other side? Maybe some chemicals we had around the shelter would mess with it? Melanie thought maybe if a living thing just touched it, it would disappear, but the creatures were living…right? And they touched it.
Our discussions were cut off when we heard movement coming our way. Everyone backed under the desk to hopefully not be seen and since I couldn’t fit, I was ready to hold my ground. Yet, what came around the corner had me laughing. It was Moon! He was all happy as can be with a limb from the creature dangling in his mouth! I’d never seen him have such warm eyes and the way he looked at me made me feel like he ready to “play” some more. That made up my mind. I’m going to adopt him.
With Moon now on the team, we continued to the portal. One of the creatures was defending it. So we came up with a plan. Moon and I would distract the creature and lead it away while Moxie, David, and Melanie would figure out how to close the portal. Yet, we should’ve known things wouldn’t go according to plan.
As soon as Moon spotted the monster, he went for it as ferociously as he did the last one. I wasn’t going to let Moon fight alone this time, so instead of drawing it away, we fought it there. Unfortunately, it’s cries must have been heard through the portal because another one appeared. Fearing that more would arrive, Melanie wanted to flee, however, a third monster blocked our escape. We were all ready to cash in. Three monsters verses the four of us and a dog? What were thinking?! We’re shelter workers! Not world savers!
I’m not entirely sure what happened next. Moon and I were tripping up a monster and suddenly it…it poofed! It turned into ash right before my eyes and in Moon’s teeth! I twisted around to find the other monsters were gone too and the portal. Moxie was standing in the place the portal was looking as dumbfounded as the rest of it. The power came back on. The dogs in the shelter started barking again. Everything felt back to normal except we were as confused as could be.
To this day, Moxie has no idea what she did to made the portal disappear like it did. She touched it. She thought she could go through and close it from the other side–a sacrifice play, but then it disappeared and once it did, the monsters turned to dust. We suspect that when the portal closed, the monsters lost their connection to their world and they died because of it. No one will know for sure, though. Despite our injuries and the damage to the shelter, there’s no indication that an invasion almost happened. Everyone is doing alright. Skyla recovered from her injury and still leads the team. Moxie got promoted to a co-lead for her valiant closure of the portal. David and Melanie are accepting job offers elsewhere and I’ve been spending a lot of time with my new dog, Moon. I’m thinking about enrolling with him into the police force, but for now, we like to go to big, open fields where he can chase after the wildlife.
It was an insane day! And, no one really believes that it happened, but the shelter knows and now the board is reviewing just how much death happens on that piece of property. I think things will be better from here on out, but my team will always be prepared just in case it happens again.