Today’s story was inspired by a news article I saw the other day. Residents of a street awoke to find someone had left porcelain elephants on their doorsteps.
Kelly couldn’t save them all, he knew that. Not all the people in the country. Not even all the people in the town. The best he could do was to save the people in his street. Outside the moon rose for the last time before returning full, revealing all the hidden places on the surface facing the earth.
The cardboard box was heavy and barely holding together. He steadied himself against the wall and evened out the ornaments so there was less chance of them chipping. With fumbling hands he locked his door and went to his nearest neighbour, placing the first porcelain elephant on the doorstep.
When he’d got the warning about what was coming, Kelly had spent weeks going around charity shops and antique dealers collecting as many of the pottery animals as he could. Didn’t matter if they were realistic are comical. As long as they were tusked and trunked, and as long as they were shaped from the dirt of the earth, they would work to turn the gaze of what was coming.
In the distance the church bell rattled three in the morning and he placed the next elephant on the next step, tucking it in behind the milk bottles. Throughout the early hours he worked his way up and down the street, the box becoming emptier as each house was protected by his gift. Finished, he returned to his bed and pulled the duvet over his head against the coming day.
Outside was dark by the time he woke. He turned on his phone and checking Twitter.
The tweet from the local police account was confused and slightly mocking, explaining that the residents had been unsure why someone would leave ornaments outside their front doors.
For a moment Kelly was tempted to open the curtains, but then he heard the clatter of claws down the street.
The Ancient Ones had returned, carrying only appetites and their fear of the tusk faced gods who once imprisoned them. Kelly knew there was nothing he could now do to save anyone else. Sheltering in his bed surrounded by many elephant statues, he listened to bricks crumbling under stained broken teeth and ten thousand years of hunger.