According to Wikipedia, in Roman mythology, Cacus was a fire-breathing giant and the son of Vulcan. He was killed by Hercules after terrorizing the Aventine Hill before the founding of Rome.
For the sake of my blog post, he’s found his way to modern times and terrorizes the residents of a rural community.
Simone examined the bin of peaches, inspecting the fruit one by one. Each was equally as perfect as the next, which should have made her selection simple, but for some reason it only made it harder. Since moving to Hopsville, she’d had to make several adjustments, some harder than others. Fruit shouldn’t have ranked so high on her list of stresses. The quality of life in the small rural community of Hopsville may have been considerably better than the big city from where she’d moved, but it did nothing to soften the empty ache inside.
Without realizing she’d become so absorbed in her own thoughts, she stepped to the side and bumped straight into another shopper.
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said, glancing at him momentarily before returning her attention to her shopping list.
“You’re, Simone, aren’t you? Isabelle’s granddaughter?”
“Yes.” She stopped and looked at him a little closer. Did she recognize him? There was a memory scratching just at the surface. As if he could read the confusion in her eyes, he put out his hand.
“Justin. We used to play sometimes back when we were kids.”
“Nice to meet you,” she said as she placed her hand in his, “I mean… again.”
He laughed. “It was a long time ago and I’ve changed a lot. You, on the other hand, are as lovely as you ever were.”
She felt the heat creep across her cheeks and wished she could remember something about him. For some reason, she felt as though it was significant. Maybe later when she was alone and relaxed it would come back to her, but right now Justin may as well have been a stranger.
Then again, she felt that way about most of the town. It was hard to believe she’d lived here for a short time so long ago.
“I heard you were back in town to help out with your grandmother,” he said, “How is she doing?”
She glanced at her shopping cart. How long had she been standing there so indecisive that she’d still barely scratched the surface of her shopping list. She needed to hurry up a bit if she wanted to make it back by lunchtime.
“She is getting stronger, thanks. I’ll let her know you asked about her.”
Simone smiled and worked her way around Justin, deciding to leave the produce for another time. Grandma wouldn’t care if she brought home peaches or not. Most days, she was lucky if Grandma woke up to eat at all. A quick glance over her shoulder before she disappeared into the baking aisle confirmed that Justin was watching her. She gave him a little wave and then turned away. His striking blue eyes sent a flurry of anticipation through her body. She did not have the time to entertain those sort of thoughts so best to keep her distance from Justin from now on, she decided.
It was around the time she reached the canned goods that the first rumble hit. A stack of cans at the end of the aisle shuddered and threatened to topple as Simone gripped the handle on her shopping cart waiting for the tremors to subside. She couldn’t remember Hopsville ever being hit by an earthquake before but that one was unmistakable.
An older couple rushed down the aisle heading toward the checkout area chattering in panicked voices. Simone could have sworn they’d mumbled something about a cacus, but that didn’t make sense.
The ground trembled and shook again, this time accompanied by several items dropping off shelves. The power in the building cut and the emergency back up lights kicked on. Those left in the store screamed and scrambled in different directions. Simone started making her way to the front of the store. Groceries could wait until another day.
Just as she reached the checkouts, another tremor shot through except this time the back of the building crashed down sending a cloud of debris through the store. Simone screamed as she caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a giant reach down to grab a terrified shopper fighting for his life. A blast of fire scorched what remained of the collapsed section of the store.
She turned around, grateful to see Justin.
“What is happening? What was that thing?” she said trying to keep the panic from taking over.
“It’s the cacus.”
“I know this sounds crazy but it’s a fire-breathing giant. He’s taken up residence in a cave just outside the town and has started feeding on the residents. We need to get out of here. Come with me.”
She shook her head as if doing so would erase all the crazy images like the etch-a-sketch she used to play with as a kid. Putting her hand into his, she let him lead her out a side exit of the building.
“My car is over there,” she said, fighting to catch her breath.
“Stay with me. You’ll be safer.”
They broke into a run, a blast of fire chasing their heels. By the time Simone slipped into the passenger side of Justin’s car, she finally remembered something about Justin. Even worse, she realized it hadn’t been an accident she’d ended up back in Hopsville or in Justin’s car.
“Please take me back to my grandmother,” she said.
He looked at her for a long time before answering. She held her breath as she tried to gauge whether or not he understood.
“You know I can’t do that.”
Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts. Each day I am posting a ‘snippet’ based on a paranormal creature that begins with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. I am using this as a fun writing exercise which I am hoping will also be enjoyable to read, but keep in mind that due to the fact that I must post a new snippet each day in April except Sundays, the posts may be a bit rough. I’ll do my best, however, in the limited time I have available to me. 🙂 Let me know your favorites or the posts you find most intriguing because I plan to develop those into a full story later in the year!
Check out the other participants in the A to Z Challenge.