Behind the Bins

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I wrote another short story, I hope you enjoy it!

And it’s another bin related one too! Strong language is used, by the way!

You never know what could be lurking in the shadows…

Photo by Ekaterina Astakhova

Picture this: A cold dark night in a residential area. Inner city. Flat complex. Wind rustling through the urban planned trees. Sirens off in the distance. The crisp freshness of air once polluted during the day.

The perfect time to take out the trash.

I head out, closing the door behind me, and locking it because I don’t trust anyone, even in a gated block of flats. I pick up my temporary luggage and walk across the elevated patio and down the stone steps to the communal bins.

All is well and I’m not being annoyed by human contact. Finally, some me time!

I approach the bins across the car park but notice something shift into and out of my peripheral vision. “The fuck was that?” I breathed.

I look to my left to take a better look but see nothing. Maybe it was just something blowing in the wind. The far corner of the car park to the left of the bins did seem very dark though.

Continuing my approach to the bins, I stopped again when I saw another shadow skirt by on my left. Rustling noises start behind a large black dumpster, echoing through the space. My shoulders rose to my ears.

“You haven’t slept properly in like, forever. Your mind is playing tricks on you.” I said aloud to myself. “Just throw this shit away and go back inside.”

Steeling myself, I straightened up and walked to the dumpster on the right instead of the left one, where the noise seemed to be coming from. “It’s probably just some rats anyway.”

Wanting to avoid an encounter with any vermin and get the fuck out of there, I quickly open the bin and dump my bags in. When I closed the lid, the rustling stopped. “Maybe they ran away? Good.”

Glad to have rid the area of those critters, I turned around, starting the walk back across the car park to the stone steps. Except they weren’t there anymore.

“The fuck?” I whispered to myself.

The steps, the floodlights, the rest of the car park – it was all gone. The space was just filled with black, as if it had been erased. The darkness in its place had such a weight to it, that it looked tangible somehow. On instinct, I reached out my hand to touch it, as if that was possible.

But it was possible.

Whatever I was touching was cool to the touch, turgid and felt… scaly?!

“Nope. Nope. Nope!” I started to back away towards the bins, in a vain attempt to get away from whatever was blocking my way back to the flat. But I wasn’t looking where I was going, because you know – I’m panicking!

A thin plastic pole someone didn’t dispose of properly rolled from under me as I stepped on it. Failing to regain my balance, I fell and slammed into a dumpster. I must have hit my head or something because my vision was struggling to focus. A sharp pain shot through my lower back, probably from the impact of hitting the tarmac with such force.

With no time to recover, the creature made itself known.

“Fooood. I neeeed fooood,” it said in a slithery whisper. “Where was its mouth? Did it even speak from a mouth?” I thought to myself, trying to make sense of what was happening instead of trying to get away.

“Yoooou areeee myyyy nexxxxt meeeeaaaal,” the whispering voice said again. My heart felt like it was in my stomach. “What the hell am I looking at?! And why does it want to eat me?” I should have known my inquisitive nature would be my downfall.

Why the fuck am I studying this thing instead of getting the hell out of here?! ” My internal monologue brought me back to my senses eventually.

As I tried to get up to run, my back reminded me of its injury with a jolt of pain. I whimpered and tried to come up with another getaway plan as tears started to roll down my cheeks. “I have to get out of here! Cause if I don’t, I’m going to be eaten alive by a weird monster from behind the bins! Start belly crawling! Do something!

I just about rolled over to start my pathetic crawl towards the gates near the main road to shout for help, when the monster said in its weird surround sound whisper, “I haaaate itttt wheeeen myyyy fooood ruuuuns awayyyy. Coooome baaaack heeeere sweeeetieeee.”

My eyes widened in horror as something scaly grabbed my right ankle. My lungs finally found the power to scream after not giving me much to work with. Maybe deep down inside, I didn’t want to make any noise and wake my neighbours from their pleasant 2 am dreams.

“AAAAHHHHH, PLEASE HELP ! HELP ME,” erupted from my chest as I was being dragged across the tarmac. “HEEEEELLLPPP M- FUUUUUUUCK!” The monster had me in the grasp of what looked like a tendril, but the darkness made it hard to seem sure. It didn’t help that I was now hanging upside down, from what I could tell. This whole situation was so disorientating.

I felt a warm gust of wind hit my face that reeked of bin juice. The air somehow felt more humid. “Oh God, I think I found its mouth,” I shrieked.

Saying a little prayer in my heart to whoever was up there, I gave out another scream. A last-ditch effort to call out for help before the end came.

As I was screaming, the monster decided to join in with a shrill whine. “Why the fuck are you screaming?” I thought. Suddenly a blaze of fire burst through the creature, briefly revealing the reality of its form.

It had a 10-metre-wide scaly body and stood about 15 metres high, 6 tendrils stiff with pain, and a large mouth about 3 metres in diameter. With the light of the fire, I could see the bones stuck in a tar-like substance inside its mouth, decorating it like a ghastly Christmas tree.

The pain of the fire caused it to loosen its grip on my ankle and I dropped to the floor. The monster was almost enveloped by the blaze as I saw someone walk out from behind it with a Molotov Cocktail in their hand, ready to continue their assault on the beast.

It was all too much, and the drop took it out of me. I must have passed out at that point, because I can’t remember anything after that.

The next morning, I woke up in a bed that wasn’t mine. Blue curtains. Weird buttons. An incessant beeping noise in the background.

A hospital.

How did I end up here? I struggled to sit up and realised I had a neck collar on. Once I maneuvered my way into a sitting position, I noticed someone sitting in the chair on the other side of the room. I didn’t recognise them at first but then I imagined a bottle in their right hand with a rag hanging out of it.

“Holy shit, you saved my life!” I shouted. There was a shush from the curtain on the left.

The mystery person in the chair looked up, their light brown eyes staring at me in disbelief. “I didn’t save you,” a gruff voice stated. “I did my job.”

“Well I’m here in one piece and I have to thank someone,” I argued. “Humility will get you nowhere.”

“Au contraire, humility is the only reason why you didn’t die last night.”

“How so?” I queried.

“I gave up everything… everyone in my life and dedicated myself towards an endless cause. To protect innocent people from that creature,” they said. “If I wasn’t humble and didn’t do my job, you would have been monster chow – end of.”

“Oddly enough, that last point sounded a bit pompous,” I quipped.

“Well…” They furrowed their brow trying to think of a good response. “I don’t have to be humble 24/7. I guess I should say… You’re welcome.”

“That’s better. Take compliments where you can get them. In a world like this, they may not come that often!”

“You have no clue what kind of world you’re living in. That monster you encountered was just the tip of the iceberg of shit that you know nothing about! Don’t take the bins out at 2 am! It’s irresponsible!” they barked.

“OK, jeez. I only do it because I feel better when the world around me isn’t bustling with activity. Less stress, you know?” I offered to justify my behaviour.

“If people were around, you wouldn’t have been alone to fight for yourself!”

“But I wasn’t alone, was I?” I said with a smirk. “May I ask the name of my hero?”

“Uhhh…,” they stalled. Maybe I caught them off-guard with my logic? Or maybe it was the flirtatious nature of my response.

“You can call me Quinn.” they finally said after a silence that must have lasted a lifetime.

“Quinn.” I pondered. “A name short and sweet. First impressions – a bit curt. May soften with time.”

“Was th- was that a haiku?” they asked incredulously.

“How very observant! Yes, I like to write poetry, but only when I feel inspired.”

“I inspired you?” they inquired with wide eyes.

“You are a humble hero who doesn’t seek gratitude and sacrificed themselves towards a cause no one knows about. Yes, you inspire me,” I offered.

“Well, do you want to know more about my cause?” they asked as they approached my bed and sat in the chair beside it.

“Yes, but somehow I feel like this is going to be a long saga of pain and strife that would be better spread over time as we get to know each other. Maybe just the highlights? Give me an elevator pitch!”

“You assume that we’re going to spend more time together?”

“I have a feeling about you. Like there’s more to this than an anecdote for my grandkids. Go ahead, shoot me that Cliff Notes version – anytime you’re ready.”

“You’re one of those quirky ones aren’t you” they said through a narrowed gaze, accompanied by a smirk. I shot them a little smile and rolled my eyes as if to say Duh, of course I’m a fucking weirdo! Who takes bins out in the dead of night if they can help it?

“Fine, have it your way” they conceded. After a bit of a pause, they said, “I’m a Defender of Innocents against the hidden evils of the world. Monsters like that bastard we encountered last night prey on people in their weakest and most vulnerable states. I still don’t know why they are here or how they came to be, but I’m working on it. Ever since my aunt was brutally attacked and destroyed by one of these creatures, I made it my life’s mission to protect other vulnerable people from the dangers they are unaware of.”

“I’m sorry about your aunt, Quinn” I said to try and console them, as I noticed a tear fall down their face when they brought her up. “What’s her name?”

“Lynn. Her name is Auntie Lynn.” they said with a hardness in their voice – possibly trying to mask the true pain and turmoil they felt when talking about her. “She was the most genuine person I had ever met and she was kind to a fault. She was never the same after my mother – her sister died. Decided to take me in so I would always know ‘a home of love’ as she called it. Always called us ‘the unbeatable duo of Lynn and Quinn!’ But with my mother gone and my face to remind her of the wonderful sister she lost, Auntie Lynn was drowning in grief. She didn’t stand a chance…”

“So that’s when-” I had to stop myself from interjecting. It felt like I was twisting a knife that was plunged into Quinn long ago.

“Yeah. It got her after she came home from her ‘grieving families’ meeting. They all got an assignment to cook their loved one’s favourite meal and dedicate a toast to them. My mother always loved spaghetti and meatballs, but as Auntie Lynn was cooking it, the creature snuck in through an open window behind her. My aunt tried to throw a big pot of sauce at it but missed. It shoved her into the burning hot stove, laughing as it did.” they said as their face twisted into a look of pure rage.

“I was in the other room doing homework and ran in to see what all the commotion was about. Some gremlin looking bastard was maiming my aunt as she was helpless, screaming from the searing heat of the flames enveloping her head. I grabbed the pot of boiling water for the spaghetti and poured it on the creature. It shrieked in pain and began to convulse. In the process, it lifted Auntie off the stove and they both collapsed to the floor. I ran around the island to check on her. She was covered in cuts and scratches, presumably from fending off her attacker – but her face was… unrecognisable. The boiling water probably did more damage after putting out the flames. The creature – or what was left of it was a pool of grey goo with fangs dotted about. I called an ambulance but she didn’t make it – not completely.”

“What do you mean by not completely?” I asked cautiously.

“She…” Quinn paused, collecting themselves after seemingly reliving the tragic event. “She wasn’t herself anymore. She’s still alive, but not really. She doesn’t speak or smile or do much of anything anymore. She just stares out of the window of her care facility whenever I visit. There have been a few times where she looks like she’s about to speak, looking at me with such intensity for a moment, but then… she just looks back out the window as if I’m not there. I can’t- I won’t let anyone else go through anything like that ever again, so help me!” Quinn said this with strength and determination, but their face was a canvas of pain, sorrow and… regret.

I found myself holding their hand. I don’t know how long I had been holding it for, but once I noticed, they did too.

“Quinn, I want to help.” I said, not really realising what I may be signing up for. But in that moment, nothing else mattered. I wanted to make a difference and protect the innocent too.

“It’s too dangerous. This is my path, not yours.” they said in a stern, but worried tone. They gripped my hand tighter.

“What if I choose for this to be my path, huh? I’m already in too deep at this point. I don’t want anyone else to go through this- this… compounded suffering. How could I throw this knowledge away and not do anything about it?!” I rebutted. “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself knowing I could have done something to stop this!”

Quinn looked shocked. Completely dumbfounded. Maybe even a little bit impressed that I managed to not jump out of my hospital bed and run for the hills as soon as the grim details of their life were revealed.

“OK” they said as a sigh to gain composure, “If you do choose this path for yourself, you’ll need guidance. You literally know nothing about any of this!”

“So, you can teach me. I want to learn everything you know so I can stop these creatures from destroying more lives.” I argued. Under my breath I pondered, “Maybe I won’t be so helpless and vulnerable anymore.”

“You are stronger than you think. Your words alone are proof of that. What do you think makes you vulnerable?” they asked in a softer tone.

“I don’t know. I guess I have a really strong fight or flight response. I run away from anything and everything.” I admitted, not just to Quinn, but also myself.

“Well, you seem to be running towards me and all my shit, so maybe things are already changing.”

I chuckled. They were right. This was the first thing in my life I wasn’t running away from, even if I wanted to.

“So how is this going to work? Am I your apprentice or something?” I joked.

“If that’s the title you want.” they said with a mild, but jokey scoff. “This… won’t be easy and your life is still very much in danger. Even more so because of the creatures we’ll tackle along the way.”

“That’s OK, as long as I have you to protect me while I learn how to protect others, right?”

“It’s my job.” A toothy grin flashed across their face.

And that’s how I met Quinn – because of the creature behind the bins. This is how the story begins…

A Sign Off and a Call to Action

Thank you for reading my spooky short story for spooky month! I hope you liked it. Maybe I’ll release more stories for this in the future!

You may have noticed the main character swears a lot. Yeah I actually swear like a sailor, so that’s why. Sorry. They also have no name or descriptors so you can insert yourself into the story! Neat, huh?

Do you have any spooky short stories or know of any good ones? Feel free to share your link in the comments, email me or send me a DM on Instagram!

If you want to read more of my content, I have plenty of random posts on this website for you to engage with. From poems and short stories to essays and reflective accounts on a variety of topics, there will definitely be something to sink your teeth into on!

I also stream games to Twitch on Mondays and Fridays from 9 PM GMT/BST as AnAppleAde! Feel free to swing by and say hi! I write a 4-line rhyming poem for my go live notification which tells you what games I’m playing!

Until next time, stay safe and…

Stay Thirsty!


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By Ade

An aspiring creator in way too many areas, Ade loves to try something new, as long as it doesn't interfere with the balance of the universe too much. Trying to take each day as it comes, Ade edits videos for YouTube, occasionally records podcasts, and writes with strange mannerisms to entertain the world.