The Raptor and The Boy by Len Kuntz

The Raptor and The Boy

The raptor moved in with us when I was six. His teeth were gray stalagmites and stalactites, sometimes wearing blood smears, other times full of feathers and quills.

He was an enormous beast, the only dinosaur I’d ever seen, and so naturally I gave him wide berth whenever he entered the room.

My mother – tipsy as ever – said, “Don’t be coy, Boy. Where are your goddamn manners?”

The raptor wore striped overalls that reminded me of Elvis when he sang Jailhouse Rock, only the raptor’s stripes went the other way, and he smelled of grease and gasoline fumes.

The raptor was always famished, always parched, always angry. There was never enough food or drink to fulfill him, and before long our house was littered with crusty TV dinner trays and empty brown jugs. The raptor had soiled the carpet and broken a window over the sink, and mounds of ash were scattered everywhere, like charcoal booby traps.

The night I heard the raptor feasting on my mother, I realized it was only a short time before he’d need to eat more, that I’d be next.

I was young, but I knew about David and Goliath, knew about underdogs, and so I waited for Sunday, after the raptor came home from the track, having lost again. I stayed in my locked bedroom listening for footfalls. When after an hour none came, I tip-toed down the steps and saw the raptor on the sofa, passed out, his mouth gaped open, showing those razor fangs and his purple tongue, while a brown jug was tucked between his scaly, reptilian thighs.

I’d taken the biggest knife from the kitchen butcher block and had been sharpening it for days. I knew about witches, werewolves and vampires, how sometimes it required a precise weapon and action, like a silver bullet or a wooden stake through the heart. But there was nothing in the library about how to correctly kill a raptor, and so I raised the knife and plunged it, hoping I’d somehow guessed right.

I watched the raptor writhe. He was desperately trying to say something—my name perhaps, or a plea for help. When he took his last gasp of air, I turned away, found my phone, dialed 911 and told them what I’d done to my stepfather.

 

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Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans.  His work appears widely in print and online journals.  His story collection, “The Dark Sunshine,” debuted from Connotation Press in 2014.  You can also find him here.

 

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