The Tale of the Jackal | Teen Ink

The Tale of the Jackal

October 28, 2015
By KingCheetah GOLD, Miami, Florida
KingCheetah GOLD, Miami, Florida
12 articles 1 photo 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Mankind is governed by its imagination" -Napoleon Bonaparte

The man froze. The Jackal stared at him like a hyena glaring over injured prey. Hardly a second passed before his lifeless body fell to the cold, destitute floor, only to be mutilated and devoured. The bony claws of the beast tore at the flesh, ripping the carcass apart. The jarring teeth feasted on the body, leaving nothing but a hollow corpse. The tail swung rhythmically from side to side. It was so thin that even the very spine on the animal was clearly visible. It was always starving yet never died of hunger. If anyone came down here, that person was hunted down and murdered. So falls another man at the hands of the Jackal, lost and forgotten in the depths of the Underground.
That was the cautionary tale kids were told so that no one would ever go there. Gory, I know, but it worked. I never went down into the Underground when I was little. That didn't stop my curiosity though. The Jackal is very real and I was going to be the person to kill it. I stepped off the ladder that led into the Underground. I took out my flashlight and turned it on. Suddenly, a jarring scream that sounded like a mix of hissing and nails grinding on a chalkboard, resounded through the dank, cold walls. The Underground had tunnels, then it had vents. The walls were covered in writing and symbols. I had no idea what they meant but the red splashes on the ground didn't sit well with me. I turned the corner and spotted a decayed hand sitting limp on the floor. The stench of blood and rotten flesh made me feel light-headed. I heard more screeching, except this time closer. I hear scratching behind me and spun around. I aimed my flashlight down the long, dark hallway. Nothing there. I heard noise emerging from the air vents above me. The Jackal had my scent. It was hunting me and I knew it. I unsheathed my knife. I had studied this creature inside and out, and I was aware of what it could do. It had the power to cause extreme paranoia; causing people to make irrational decisions, practically walking you to your death. I kept telling myself to keep a level head and I'll be able to kill this beast. Stay calm and the Jackal won't know what to do. It's used to having people basically walk into its trap, but I'm smarter than that.
Then I heard breathing. I froze. I could feel its breath on my neck. I didn't move. Chills froze my spine as they ran up and down my back. Its breath reeked, a mixture of rot and wastes. I slowly turned around, only to be pierced by its red glaring eyes. I was petrified. I couldn't find the strength to move. I snapped out of it and swiftly aimed my flashlight at it. It wasn't there. How could that be? The eerie, human-sized creature was inches from my face just seconds ago. There was no way I was hallucinating. Another screech echoed through the halls. This time it was very close. Almost as if it was tormenting me. I aim my flashlight down the hallway. My breath was ragged and fast. My heart was racing at a million miles a minute. Where was the Jackal? I could hardly tell what was real and what wasn't anymore. I turned the corner of the hallway and kept walking, much faster now. I heard thumping in the vents over my head. Why did this thing keep following me? I grew angry and shouted out. I dared the Jackal to reveal itself. Suddenly, everything got quiet. Wait. This monster could understand human language?
I turned around and there it was. An elongated, bony, white face with long ears like a hare. Its beady red eyes glared at me. Its huge, empty eye sockets were staring right at me from the end of the hall. Its skin was leathery and had festering lesions all over its body. Its claws looked like the bones in its fingers broke the surface of its skin and kept growing. Then it dashed, clinging to the ceiling in a sickening and crooked posture. It was closer and as soon as I aimed my flashlight at it again, it dashed sideways to the wall, its joints bending in odd angles and getting even closer. This thing was too fast. I turned and ran. I looked back and saw the Jackal scaling the walls, gaining on me. I rounded the corner. It was a dead end. I spun around only to be jumped on and pinned. I take my knife and stabbed the beast in the back just as it screeched at me, saliva flying from its mouth. I shut my eyes in terror.
Suddenly, I felt a piercing pain in my stomach. I opened my eyes. The Jackal was gone. I looked down and was appalled to see the knife embedded in my gut. I stabbed myself in the stomach. Where was the Jackal? Its presence felt so real. It's hard to believe that was a hallucination. Yet, here I am with a knife in my gut, when I thought I had the monster on its back. I couldn't think straight. I looked at my flashlight. I reach out for it when, suddenly, jaws came out from the dark and clamped down on my hand. It didn't take long to realize I was now missing a hand. The stumped arm had blood flowing out of it and onto the ground. Yet, I didn't feel a thing. Not a single tendril of pain. This wasn't a hallucination. My thoughts traveled to the hand I saw earlier. That was my hand. The blood I saw all over the floor was my blood. The man in that children's tale was me. I turned around. I froze. The Jackal stared at me like it was the hyena and I was the injured prey. And so falls another man at the hands of the Jackal, lost and forgotten in the depths of the Underground.

The author's comments:

I wrote this for a competition at my school, which I unfortunately did not win, but I hope you guys really enjoy this!

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