Scott M. Baker builds tension and explores characters like a seasoned pro, all before offering them up as dinner for some of the creepiest crawlies you'll experience on this page. Yeitso is the perfect blend of small town quirk and pulpy monster madness that will leave you cringing and wanting more! -- Ryan C. Thomas, author of Hissers and Salticidae
Yeitso brought me back to those glorious Saturday afternoons of my youth watching Creature Double Feature. -- Peter Schwotzer, Literary Mayhem
It's giant killer beetles! How can you not love it? -- Jeff Strand, author of Mandibles
Jackie loved the way boys responded to her touch. And she had touched many of them over the past few months. Most were average, give or take an inch or two. A few were exceptionally small, ironically members of the football team. The largest belonged to the Spanish kid in her chemistry class, the new student who could barely speak English. Their size didn’t really matter; she just enjoyed playing with them. The different feel of each one and the way it reacted to her always provided a thrill.
But that sexual thrill paled in comparison to the power she had over boys themselves.
Ben leaned his head against the back of the driver’s seat and moaned. Jackie grinned. Things had changed a lot in the eight months since her parents had moved from Oak Ridge to Los Alamos and enrolled her in the local high school. Junior year was bad enough. Having to start mid-term and trying to make a whole new set of friends blew. And doing so while being nerdy and thirty pounds overweight blew chunks. None of the boys wanted anything to do with her, and the popular girls shunned her like a leper. The only kids willing to associate with her were even bigger losers than Jackie. Those first few months had been lonely and miserable, but Jackie had vowed she wouldn’t spend her senior year the same way. During summer break she had spent hours a week at the gym and shopping at the Santa Fe mall. When she had shown up on the first day of class forty pounds lighter and with a very enticing wardrobe, she had shattered the image as the clumsy outcast.
Of course, sneaking into the locker room after school and giving handjobs to the entire football team did a lot to enhance her new reputation.
After that, Jackie quickly became the most popular girl in class, at least among the boys. Word of her escapades spread quickly, and soon every guy started asking her out. And she went out with most of them. Rather than sit around the house praying for someone to call, she now had dates two or three times a week. Nothing fancy. Dinner and a movie, a quick handjob, and home by eleven. She enjoyed every second of it. Her folks didn’t have a clue what was going on. They were so busy at the Lab[mc1] [mc2] that, as long as she kept her grades up, they never paid attention to what she was doing. Besides, it wasn’t really sex. As long as she didn’t go all the way, Jackie knew she couldn’t get pregnant or pick up any diseases.
What harm could come of it?
When Jackie increased her tempo, Ben moaned again and thrust against her hand.
“You like that?”
“Yeah, baby. That’s great.” Ben opened his eyes and looked at her. “But do it a little slower. I don’t want to finish too soon.”
She slowed her stroking, knowing she pleased Ben by the way he moaned. But after another minute, he pushed her hand away. The feeling of rejection welled up inside of her. She looked at him, unable to hide the hurt expression in her eyes. “Am I doing something wrong?”
“It’s not you.” Ben zipped and buttoned his jeans. “Someone’s out there.”
Jackie wiped her hand against her pants. “Can you see him?”
“Is it Red Cloud?” She slid back against the car door and cowered.
“If it is, I’ll teach that Injun a lesson he’ll never forget.” Ben reached into the back seat, grabbed a baseball bat, and opened the driver’s door. He stepped out onto the sand and pushed the door shut. Holding the bat in his right hand, he tapped it against the palm of his left. “Who’s there?”
A rustling came from the bushes.
The noise stopped.
“Red Cloud, come out now while you have a chance!”
The rustling resumed.
“That’s it, you son of a bitch! Your ass is mine!”
Ben gripped the bat with both hands and, holding it ready to swing, headed into the brush.
Jackie listened, but with the car windows rolled up she couldn’t hear a thing. Inching across the front seat, she turned the ignition to the auxiliary position, leaned across the driver’s side, and lowered the window. She could only hear the wind blowing across the desert. She strained to see through the dark, hoping to catch sight of Ben. Maybe she should call out to him and make sure—
A shrill noise shattered the silence. It resembled a clicking sound, only high-pitched and rapid, constantly changing in tone. Then she heard Ben scream but not in anger. His cry had that piercing quality that only comes from fear. A moment later, a loud whoosh cut through the night, almost like a fire extinguisher going off, followed by a howl of pain.
Jackie panicked. She jammed down the window control, but the damn thing wouldn’t close fast enough. Something barreled through the brush, heading straight for the car. She pushed the control harder in a futile attempt to make the window rise faster. It slid shut just as the figure slammed against the outer surface. Jackie yelped and jumped back, cracking her spine against the passenger door. She expected to see Red Cloud glaring at her. Instead, something wet pushed against the glass. For a second, she couldn’t figure out what. Then a hand clawed at the window and a face pressed against it. Despite the melted and distorted features, she recognized Ben.
“Help me,” he rasped before collapsing. As he slid down the side of the car, he left a streak of gore along the glass.
Jackie screamed. Turning around, she yanked on the handle, but it wouldn’t move. She banged on the glass and continued jerking the handle. The door popped open on the fourth attempt. Jackie jumped out and took off across the desert. She had no idea where she was heading. All she knew was that she had to get away from there, to put as much distance as possible between herself and….
The high-pitched clicking started up again, only this time much closer. Glancing to her left, Jackie saw something lumbering toward her. She couldn’t make out any details in the dark other than a large shadow bearing down on her, too close to avoid. Something wrapped itself around her abdomen and crushed. The pain was excruciating, and she was sure her hip bones shattered under the pressure. Sensory overload drove her into shock. Her screams choked off into a whimper. Her bladder and bowels emptied. Her vision went black. Thankfully, for Jackie, she quickly slipped into unconsciousness.
The last sensation she experienced before passing out completely was of being dragged across the sand, further into the desert.