Thomas woke to discover half of his chickens killed in the coop. The door was broken open, and there were feathers and blood everywhere. This was just his luck; his watchdog Samson had just passed and now the wolves had returned. He looked around the perimeter of the fence to see where they got in, Oddly, he couldn't find a point of entry, but he did find handprints in the mud. Maybe some of the schoolboy hooligans had come up here on a dare, he thought. After cleaning up the coop, he took a ride to town. He stopped in the local bar and found his buddy Hank. Thomas ordered a beer and sat down next to him, telling him about his chicken mishap.
“Well, Thomas, I can lend you Jess,” Hank said. “Jess gonna run up and around, chasing them wolves off your property.”
“I just don’t get where the handprints came from,” Thomas sighed. “I figure it to be some kids bored outta their wits.”
Billie, the town loon, came and stood next to Thomas. He started flapping his arms like a bird, trying to get their attentions until Hank pushed him away.
“Bugger off!” yelled Hank.
“What’s he tryin’ to go on about?” asked Thomas.
“Who knows,” went Hank. “He lost his voice some years back and now just flaps his arms about like a nut.”
Thomas arrived home later with Jess. He let her out back, high hopes that if the wolves or kids returned, she’d bark up a storm. At around 2am, he awoke to a high pitched scream, like a child’s, coming from his backyard. He grabbed his rifle, rushed down the stairs, and out the back door. The coop door was closed but muddy hand prints were all over. Jess was lying lifeless at the foot of the coop, her neck broken. Thomas looked around for any signs of the kids, shouting that he was armed and they will be shot if he caught them. Suddenly, two hands took him by the throat and he dropped his rifle. When he looked up, he saw a young boy with beady eyes. He had leathery ripped wings, like a bat, and his hands were attached to his legs. The boy screamed the high pitched scream, and Thomas passed out.
Hank drove up early the next morning to see if Thomas had caught the wolf. As he pulled into the driveway, he found Jess torn open and spattered across the front lawn. He rushed out of his car and saw Thomas stumbling towards him, white as a ghost with his eyes pinned. His larynx had been crushed. When Hank asked what had happened, Thomas just stared with a blank look and flapped his arms like a bird.
If you enjoyed this story check out our official book "Nightmare Soup" for 30 more tales of terror. Each accompanied by a ghastly illustration from Andy Sciazko (meant to horrify both kids and adults alike).