's 2014 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by JON STRONG

Bo Ducrest sat in the bathtub, his back resting against the wall opposite the faucet. He was washing himself, like his father told, but he kept his eyes fixed on the faucet. His mind twisted each drip from it into a bead of saliva, like some great beast hid up there. It was as if the sound of water in the pipes, all through the house, was the wet panting of the beast.

He knew there was a creature, and no matter how much he told his father, his father always denied it. Bo leaned forward, one hand on his knees, and tapped the side of the faucet with two fingers. The sound made it’s way in two directions, into the pipe that led to the faucet, and out the cracked door of the bathroom.

Vincent Ducrest jumped at the sound. Bo almost always ended up having some form of freak out minutes after he tapped on the faucet, but he always did it, and Vincent never understood why. He took the child to therapist after therapist, but it was determined there was nothing out of the ordinary with Bo. An overactive imagination, perhaps.

He swore under his breath and rushed to the bathroom, just in time to see absolutely nothing come out of the faucet. All he saw was a waterlogged and disappointed Bo staring glumly at the faucet, but he decided it was better than a meltdown. Kneeling next to the tub, Vincent asked why he was doing that.

“I just want to see the faucet doggie again,” Bo whined, pulling his knees up to his chest. Vincent sighed and rubbed his temple. The “faucet doggie” again.

“Bobo, bub, you know that every time you do this, it “bites you”. Why do you keep doing it?” He was never actually bit, though; whenever Bo “summoned the doggie’, he ended up bleeding from some cut that opened up on him, though they were assumed to be injuries from the child’s mad flailing in his fits.

“He says if he does it often enough, he can come out. Then he can be my doggie forever,” Bo said, rubbing his eye heavy-handedly. Alternately terrified of and adoring the faucet doggie, Bo’s night routine became hectic and stressful. Vincent’s face turned to one of exasperation. He couldn’t put up with this forever. The child only took one bath a week, sometimes less, and was developing a wet dog type of smell. It wasn’t healthy, he figured.

“Look, bubba, want me to see if I can get him out on my own? That way he won’t bite or hurt you anymore, and you won’t have to wait, and then you can take your bath every day?”

Bo’s eyes lit up and he clapped his hands, splashing water onto the floor. “You would, dad? Please please please!”

Vincent smiled tiredly and stood up. “I’ll need to drain the tub, then. Out out out! You’re getting pruny anyway, Bo.” Bo giggled and jumped out of the tub, yelping as Vincent playfully snapped a towel at the child’s behind. “Dry off! Don’t get the carpet wet. Put on your pajamas, too, and go to bed.”

Vincent pulled the plug out of the drain as Bo towelled off and threw his clothes on and rushed to bed. After the water had swirled out and he hiked his up his sleeves and pant legs, Vincent angled himself awkwardly to look up the drain, pulling a small flashlight out of his shirt pocket.

Unable to see anything, he sat back and huffed. He had to figure something out here, because Bo would know a trick from an actual breakthrough with the “faucet doggie”. Vincent decided to try the next easiest thing, because there was no way in hell he was going to encourage this game to to further point than that.

Leaning forward, Vincent reached out two fingers and tapped three times on the metal of the faucet. At first there was no response, but then beads of an almost silvery liquid began to slowly drip out of the faucet. It looked like dirty water, but on closer inspection it appeared to be slightly thicker. Vincent went down on his hands and knees to get a closer look, shock spreading on his face as a head like a wolf, as big as his own, popped out of the faucet opening with the sound like a slightly damp party popper being set off.

They stared at each other for a brief moment, man to waterlogged lupine.

The jaws yawned. Wider.