Chompers was a large mechanical dog the size of an F-150, fueled by a cigarette and powered by steam. Wearing dark shades, Chompers strutted down the sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd as if he were the most popular movie star on the face of this earth. A large dog tag in the shape of a bone had Chompers written across the front.
You didn't want to get in Chompers’ way. Folks stepped aside when they saw him on the scent for what society calls an unnecessary.
An unnecessary is a person whom the government deemed useless and not productive to society. Chompers was programmed by the government to hunt down and eat all unnecessaries he can find.
An old woman named Harriet Fischer was recently entered into the unnecessary system. She retired from her office job. Well, the company called it retired, she called it being replaced by a beautiful young ditzy girl who would do the job for much less.
At her age she couldn't find a job. Nobody wanted to hire a sixty-year-old woman no matter how experienced she was. Unfortunately, if you haven't found a job within thirty days of your release, Chompers is immediately dispatched.
He'd been after her for five days now.
Chompers usually gets them in one, a day and a half at the latest, so it was ticked off. Determined to eat the old lady.
Harriet wasn't that easy. She couldn't out run him, but she could outsmart the vicious creature.
Nobody outsmarted Chompers.
Harriet was smart, you see. Three times he'd been on her scent. Three times she had escaped.
It was her special secret that helped her get by in the past and prolonged her life now. She no longer needed an address, so Chompers didn't know where she lived. She had access to all the food she needed. For an old woman she was quick on her feet.
He almost got her the other day when he snuck up on her while she was on her way out of the market. Usually she stuck to the alleys in order to stay as obscure as possible.
Chompers spotted her a mile away and was on her in no time.
Vicious, with big razor sharp teeth strong enough to chew up a Volkswagen.
"The dog is out! The dog is out!" A man screamed.
People scurried about like ants ducking into the first open door they could find. Even though Chompers wasn't targeting them, he would chew you up if you were in his way.
She slapped him on the head with her purse. Didn't know why. Silly move on her part. The dog was hardened steel and couldn't be destroyed. Just a typical old-lady reaction, she supposed.
"You're not getting me," she told the dog. “Now you get.”
She thought, How could I have been so stupid, so careless?
Chompers bared his teeth. Steam flowing from his nostrils.
"Get back," she screamed. "Get back." She poked him with her cane.
All she needed was two seconds. It had to be a peaceful two seconds though to allow for concentration.
Next time she would be more careful.
Oil dripped from his mouth as he so eagerly anticipated the taste of the old woman.
It was just in time when she was pulled into a small Italian restaurant.
Chomper's eyes flashed red. He waited at the door wagging his mechanical tale.
“Thank you so much,” Harriet told the customer who'd seen the whole thing from his table and came to her rescue.
“No problem. Hope somebody does the same for me one day if the time comes.”
“Can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Almost had me.”
“You know he's gonna get you some time, don't you? Can't run forever.”
“Not if I can help it,” Harriet said with a smile. “He's messed with the wrong chick.”
“But Chompers always gets his prey. That's the way the government has it set up.”
“They don't know me very well do they?”
“What do you mean?”
The stranger's eyes widened as he watched the old woman turn into a cloudy mist and transformed into a cat.
She tilted her head as if to thank him again, then jumped out the window. When she glanced behind her, she meowed at Chompers who was still waiting at the door.
Christopher Ridge is a short story writer who enjoys B
Horror movies, creature features and tales of mutant insects. His flash
fiction and poetry has appeared in Flashes in the Dark, a local weekly
newspaper in New York and a small Canadian magazine. He
lives and works as an exterminator in Indianapolis Indiana with his wife
and two sons. You can find more about him on his blog at The Creature
Corner. http:// creaturecritter.blogspot.com