Salt Lake Monster

Chapter 1

I don’t like concerts. They are dark, sweaty and way too loud. Macklemore was the last concert I went to. I went with some “friends”. We got there early and stood as close as we could to the stage. The crowd was huge, and we started getting pushed around in the mass of people. My friends all locked arms so they could stick together, but they didn’t lock arms with me. Maybe they don’t like me. Maybe I stink. I couldn’t have been as gross as everyone else though, throughout the concert I must have been sweated on by at least ten really sweaty guys. There were girls on guys’ shoulders blocking the view, lasers in my eyes, and people smoking weed around me. Mackelmore looked at me though. He had a disgusted look on his face. I was wearing earplugs because I care about my hearing. He saw them.

Anyway, that was during the school year. I’m back home for the summer in Salt Lake City with my parents. I had hoped it would be a nice relaxing summer full of video games, Dungeons and Dragons, and no homework. It’s only been three days and my mom is already trying to get me out of her house. I’ve been playing Skyrim on the Xbox for the past few days. She doesn’t get it. The game has a deep story, my character is a werewolf, and I am a dragon-hunter. But to her its a waste of time. She threatened to make me get a “real” job this summer or find another reason to get out of the house. I told her that I have a job already, I have a blog online that makes money when people click the ads. But no, she doesn’t understand that either.

So I am getting out of the house tonight. She needs some space. Seth called, he got tickets to the Ellie Goulding concert. Seth is cool, he comes over and plays Dungeons and Dragons every weekend in the summer. I didn’t even have to look out the window to know Seth was here. You can hear him a mile away. He drives an old 90’s Honda Civic that he thinks is a race car. It is really obnoxiously loud. Whatever, the concert will be even louder. I put some earplugs in and walked outside. When he saw my earplugs he immediately went “Why do you have earplugs in? We’re going to a concert—the point is to HEAR the music. This is Ellie Goulding, yo, it’s gonna be insane.” He looked down and put an Ellie Goulding disc in the CD player. “Whatever dude, you’ll regret it when you look back on this rad concert and realize you missed out”. “And you will regret it when you’re in your 30’s and can’t hear anything” I replied.

He sped off down the road. After a few minutes of driving, talking about our plans for the summer, we came to a stop light. There was a mustang convertible next to us. “Oh great, I thought”. Sure enough, Seth started revving his engine. “Dude, thats a mustang. You don’t stand a chance”. “No way man, I’ve raced mustangs before, this guy’s got nothin’”. The mustang had two big guys in the car. One was wearing a black “Monster Energy” shirt and the other one had a black “Tapout” shirt on. They were probably going to the concert too. The light seemed to take forever. I just stared straight ahead, avoiding eye contact with everyone. Seth kept revving. After what felt like 5 minutes, the light finally turned green. The mustang launched ahead of us, it looked like it went up on two wheels. Seth furiously shifted as best he could, but he just couldn’t keep up. “Dude, your car is so slow” I said as he accepted the loss. “No way, I just missed a shift. I could totally take them.” We pulled up next to them again at the next stoplight. The guys in the mustang were laughing at us. I stared straight ahead, beet red, wondering why I chose to ride in Seth’s car. Then Seth made it way worse. He rolled down my window and yelled out “You guys are lucky I missed a shift, your car really is a piece of junk”. The guys in the mustang erupted into laughter. The sad thing is, Seth was completely serious. “Oh you guys think thats funny huh? We’ll see who’ll be laughing at the next stoplight. You want to put twenty bucks on it?” yelled Seth. “Heck yeah I’ll take your twenty bucks!”, said the driver in the mustang. They laughed even harder. “It’s on” Seth said, and then finally rolled up my window, only to start revving again. Then he put on his sunglasses. It was night. “Seth I hope you have twenty dollars to give that guy.” “You have no faith in the Civic man, she’s tougher than she looks”. Seth was too busy being an idiot wearing sunglasses at night and waiting for the light to turn green and the other guys were too busy laughing their heads off to see the police car pull up in the distance. I saw it and told Seth. The look on his face changed. The light turned green. The mustang sped off again, wheels squealing, up on two wheels. Seth slowly accelerated. The cop’s lights started flashing in the distance as it pulled out behind the mustang. Seth and I started laughing hysterically. He gave me a huge high-five as we passed the guys in the mustang, pulled over, raging. “Haha those guys were such idiots!” Seth yelled. Seth seemed to have immediately forgotten it was his idea to race them. “We better hope they weren’t on their way to the concert too” I said, as we headed toward the concert building in the distance.

The concert was being held in the Saltair, a big building made to look like a palace. It sat right on the edge of the Great Salt Lake. The original Saltair was a grand resort built on the Salt Lake in 1893. It was huge, and had a train service running to it from Salt Lake City. Probably so idiots like Seth could get there without street racing. The original Saltair burned down long ago, but this new Saltair was going strong. It was an old Air Force hangar converted into a palace for concerts. The parking lot around the building was busy. Big spotlights danced in the sky above the building. We pulled into the parking lot and started walking over. It was packed. As soon as the music started I was glad I had my earplugs in. It was really loud inside.

To my surprise, I really enjoyed the show. The laser lights seemed to be just avoiding my eyes, and it was fun. I got separated from Seth but I expected that to happen. Some dumb teenagers towards the front of the crowd were pushing each other, trying to start a mosh pit. Ugh, I thought, thats the last thing I want to do, be punching sweaty teenagers to soothing music. As I turned around to move back, I saw a big guy, no, two big guys, not even ten feet away. One had a monster energy shirt. The lights were flashing and I immediately recognized them as the guys in the mustang. Crap. I very slowly turned back and tried to get low so they wouldn’t see me. I looked over again and they HAD seen me. They were pushing through the crowd to get to me! I panicked. They were almost to me. I didn’t want to go home black and blue, so I quickly pushed the guy in front of me into the forming mosh-pit. I ran in myself, punched a teenager, and threw another teenager back into the big mustang guys behind me. It was pandemonium. The teenagers were loving it. I quickly made my way to the exit. Security was already mobilizing to break it up, but I slipped past them. The concert was really good, and it was a shame to leave early. But I didn’t want to get caught up in anything with the big mustang guys.

I went out the door into the warm early summer air. The concert smell, you know, that smell of sweat, weed, and special smoke effects, slowly faded away as I walked away from the Saltair. I didn’t want to just hang out in the parking lot—that would be weird. I decided to walk out towards the Salt Lake. Some years, when the water was high, the Saltair was right on the very edge of the lake. But this year, the water was low, and I could walk out onto the lakebed for a while before I reached the water. The moon was about half full and as I headed toward the water, I noticed some black shadows all over the dried up lakebed. They couldn’t have been dead fish—none live in the lake, just brine shrimp. I walked closer to one of the shadows. It was a dead bird. It smelled bad, but so did the concert, so I wasn’t too grossed out. I looked around, there were hundreds of them. “What killed them all?”, I wondered. There weren’t any predators around the Salt Lake, and besides, if something killed them, it most likely would have eaten them too. I bent down to take a closer look at one of the birds. Nothing seemed unusual, no bite marks or blood, and then from the distance towards the water came a loud sound.

It sounded like a muffled, heavily distorted electric guitar. I looked around. It was coming from the Salt Lake. I got an uneasy feeling, surrounded by the dead birds with the strange sound coming from the lake. I decided it was time to go back to the Saltair. As I power walked back towards the concert, the sound stopped. I turned around and looked back at the lake. It was so peaceful. Calm, still water, lit up by the moonlight with Antelope Island in the distance. The only way the scene could have looked better would be without all the light pollution from Salt Lake City. Then way off, I saw movement in the lake, about 500 feet away from shore. The water churned, lifted up, and a huge shape began rising out of the lake, dripping with Salt Water. I heard the sound again too, much louder this time. What the heck was happening?? The shape continued rising out of the water. I couldn’t tell what it was, or how big it was, it was too dark and too far away. I was stopped in my tracks staring in awe, until the shape started getting closer. It was alive. A monster, at least 30 feet tall, coming towards me. I snapped out of it and started running back towards the Saltair. It roared again. Running as fast as I could, I looked back and saw it gaining on me. Now that it was closer I could make out a few features. The thing had at least 10 legs, like a giant, deformed centipede or something. It was less than a football field away now.

I was almost to the Saltair. I could hear the noise of the concert inside. The back door that I had slipped out of earlier was locked. The monster was almost to the Saltair. I headed around the corner to try and enter the front of the building. Security saw me and tried to slow me down. Then we heard the roar again. We could see the monster on the side of the building. It let out a roar. The security guard let me go and started running away, towards the parking lot. The other security guys started running also. So much for security. The monster rammed the side of the Saltair with its head, shaking the building. It was going to rip the wall in half. I had to get away, but I wanted to get Seth out of there. With the Saltair security running for their lives, I ran into the concert. Thousands of people cheering, with no idea what was trying to break in. I had no idea where Seth was. The building shook again— the monster was still trying to break the wall. A bit of dust fell from the ceiling. It shook again. There was no way I was going to find Seth in this mess of people. I ran back outside right as the wall ripped in half. The crowd saw the monster and it was a riot to get outside. The music and lights stopped abruptly. I was running towards the parking lot. I heard screams behind me. The first concert-goers out the door were already sprinting past me beyond the parking lot. I turned to see the wall of the Saltair ripped in half, the monster standing tall on its hind legs, roaring. As I turned back to run for safety, someone ran into me, knocking me down. I tried to get up and keep running, but someone else tripped on me, kicking my head, and I blacked out.

Chapter 2