Mark, the cleaning person, was going through his usual routine. He did a large library with a lot of bathrooms. First he would empty all the trash, and then take it out to a dumpster located inside a wooden enclosure in back of the building. One day, he was emptying several bags of trash. He opened the wooden door, and then lifted the plastic cover, preparing to throw the bags in. He heard a rustling inside. 'Oh well, must be a rat or something,' he thought, and tossed the bags in. Instead of a squeak, he heard a most peculiar growl. It made him pause, but he closed the wooden door, and re-entered the building to continue his work. A few hours later, he finished up. Setting the building alarm, he closed the back door, and headed for his car. He heard the growl again, only this time it ran up and down in volume and intensity. His hair stood on end. 'Whatever it is, I'm out of here,’ he thought to himself.

The following week, a news item appeared in the local paper, in the Metro section. It caught Mark's eye: "Dogs disappearing in the vicinity of City Library/City Hall drive." Reading into the article, Mark noticed that it was not only dogs, but cats and other small animals. Could it be? Naw.

Next Sunday rolled around: Mark's work shift cleaning the library. He waited until the clerks had all left for the day, and then entered the building. He glanced at the Dumpster, but it was silent. He shook his head, and entered the building. He clocked in, and then began his routine, doing the trash run. He finished that, and then approached the dumpster once again. He lifted the wooden bar, and opened the door. There sat the dumpster. He listened, and still did not hear anything. So he lifted the plastic cover, and threw in a bag of trash. Nothing. Another. Rustling. The last bag, here it goes! He threw it in, and heard the keening growl again. "Fuck you stupid animal!", Mark yelled. An even louder roaring noise, and the dumpster shook. "What in hell are you?" Mark was getting really concerned. More rustling and vibrations. He quickly closed the doors, and replaced the bar.

Later, Mark and his co-worker were taking a quick break. "I think there is something in the dumpster," said Mark, sipping his soda. Rick, his co-worker, stroked his chin. "Might be a Raccoon? Or squirrel? I don't know, maybe a rat.”

"No, this is bigger. This thing made a real loud growling or something. Say, since you are leaving soon anyway, go listen by the dumpster and see what you think it is."

"OK, whatever you say," Rick said in a voice that hinted, 'you scaredy-cat.'

Awhile later, Mark was finishing up his vacuuming. Rick had left, after doing his share of the downstairs. He remembered about Rick listening by the dumpster. As soon as he finished the vacuuming, he went to the back, opened the door. Rick's truck was still there. Odd - he wasn't in the building. So Mark looked over at the wooden cage containing the dumpster. The door was half-open. And he heard noises. Going cold, hardly believing what was happening, he crept over to the dumpster cage. Red liquid was pooling on the ground. He circled to face the doors. Rick's body was half-in the dumpster, still quivering, and spurting out blood. There was a thing, large, brown, biting and grinding his upper torso with several sets of teeth. For a moment, it ignored Mark, intent on its meal.

But only for a moment. Four, reddish-orange eyes flicked open, and focused on Mark, just as soon as he let out his involuntary scream. All Mark could do was whimper, "But why?"

Then the creature tossed Rick's body aside, and leapt out of the dumpster at Mark. It was about nine feet long, and burly. And very, very fast. Mark did not last long, but it was not due to any mercy, rather to the voracious appetite of something very ancient, and very irritable. Something freed by recent excavations in a building site at the edge of a fast-growing town. It had slept a thousand years before being aroused by the vibrations of earthmovers. Fearful at first, it had sought out a hiding place. Now it needed to eat - a lot, to make up for the long hibernation. The library began losing more patrons than books shortly thereafter.

"Dumpster Dangers"
Copyright: © 2009 Mike Wilson
Mike Wilson is a member of the Iowa Poetry Association, and also writes short stories in various genres including science fiction and horror. He lives and writes in Des Moines, Iowa.

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