Tag Archives: thursday prompt

Fiction from the Chimeral World: Monstrous

Writing 150(This is the latest bit of fiction for the Thursday Prompt published by the Furry Writers’ Guild. One of these days, I’ll remember to actually link to the prompt over on FurAffinity, but for now you’ll just have to take my word that it exists and that more people do it than just me.

The prompt this week was monstrous, which I thought immediately would be a good fit for some Chimeral World fiction. I gave it to a couple of beta readers for their initial responses, and they had pretty salient things to say. I’ll go over their input and try to edit this piece into something better in future entries, just to practice editing things and stumble through the process in the most public, embarrassing manner.

There won’t be blog entires on Friday or next Monday, I’m afraid — Further Confusion 2013 is this weekend, and I’ll be busy enjoying myself and drinking with friends. 🙂 I’ll be back bright and early on Wednesday with another blog entry or two.)

“I’m sorry, Matthew, but you are no longer in the bosom of God.” Aunt Cookie looked down at her white gloves, the smooth suede handbag that matched her shoes. “I don’t know what you’ve done to be punished like this. But you’re a monstrosity, son. You’ve lost your soul.”

For a moment, Matthew forgot how loopy the painkillers were making him, and that deep pain in his jaw the medicine couldn’t quite reach. He simply stared at the woman who couldn’t bear to look at him. Could this really be the woman who gave him the first Christmas present he truly loved? The woman who sang him to sleep during those weeks his mother was in the hospital? Was she really telling him that he was a soulless creature, that he wasn’t going to get to heaven?

He looked down at his laptop and considered typing his reply. Most of his head was covered in gauze at the moment; his jaw had broken again, and they were trying to give it some support while it reformed itself. Between the gauze and the pain, talking was simply out of the question. He couldn’t get into a detailed response with her, but he had no idea what else to say. How do you argue with someone who believes you have no soul?

Then where did my soul go? What’s been left to talk to you? Matthew thought it would be best to start there, supposing that she was correct. He had resigned himself to being unable to change her mind, so perhaps he could lead her to change it on her own.

Aunt Cookie startled at the sound of the computerized voice Matthew was using these days. She briefly looked at him, and he recognized a mixture of revulsion and pity in her eyes. He must have been quite the sight, mostly bandages marked by islands of thick brown fur. “I don’t know,” she said. “But Pastor Jenkins says that only human beings have souls. If you’re not human no more, then you must’ve lost your soul somewhere. And as for what’s left –” Here she looked down, fiddling with the fingers of her gloves. “–honey, I don’t know. Maybe you’re like a ghost, what used to be my nephew, saying the things that he would say.”

So my soul is already in Hell? Matthew could feel his heartbeat quickening in his chest, feel his ears slinking back over the thick wrapping that supported his skull as it fused back together. He could feel himself losing it, typing more quickly, making more mistakes that he needed to backtrack for. I’m being tormented for living the way my mother raised me, going to Church every Sunday, praying before meals and bedtime, for donating to charity? That got me Hell. And now I’m just some echo that doesn’t know what it is, getting mad for telling me so?

Aunt Cookie shook her head. He could hear his own breathing and heartbeat. He wanted to shout at her. Look at me. Look into my eyes and tell me that I’m in Hell. But all that would come out was a deep and awful sound, and he would hurt himself bad enough that the morphine wouldn’t be enough for a while. He had to watch her fiddle with her gloves, try to puzzle through her own shit, try to make it OK that she would never see him again.

“I know it’s hard to hear, baby. And I wish it weren’t so. But I didn’t make the rules, the Lord did. We all just have to try and abide ’em as best we can.” She took a deep breath and drew up her courage to look at him. “Somewhere along the way, you strayed from the path Matthew. Might’ve been when you went to college, or when you started dating that Godless girl. I know you’ve had sex with her. That’s when you turned your face from God. Now, He’s…He’s turned His back on you.”

She started to sniffle, and Matthew couldn’t help but roll his eyes. It was his life that was changing here. He had been the one forced to endure the endless parade of friends and family members unable to look at him, telling him goodbye by lying to his face, insulting him, telling him he must have done something wrong. If she expected some kind of sympathy or grace from him because it was difficult for her to disown him, she was about to be disappointed.

I never turned my back on God. I don’t think he’s turned His back on me, either. I think you have. You don’t want to deal with me because I make you uncomfortable. That’s what this is about. Justify it however you want to, but that’s what it is. I know it and you know it. Don’t bring God into your own moral failure. If you can’t stand by your family because it’s inconvenient, then that’s your problem, not God’s. Get out. I’m tired.

His bluntness shocked him. It scandalized his Aunt. She simply stared at him, hurt flickering over her face before she masked it with a fanatic’s righteousness. Matthew knew he wouldn’t reach her, but damned if he was going to let her make this something it wasn’t. He didn’t have the time or energy for that any more.

“The boy I knew would never have spoken to me like that. I…I don’t know what God has planned for you, but I’m going to pray for you. I’m going to pray that you realize the wrongness of your path and you do something for the salvation of your soul.” She stood up, clutching her purse in her gloved hands. The tan of the leather made her dark chocolate skin look almost black in comparison.

What God has planned for me he’s already done. Don’t bother praying for me.

Matthew watched her go before he shoved the platform the laptop was on away from him. Then he collapsed, ignoring the jostling of his pillows or the way his head moved disturbingly underneath his bandages.

People like his aunt would only find grace if they needed it themselves and had it shown to them, he decided. He had tried to have long conversations with his mother and father, his own pastor, his friends, a Theology professor from his school. None of them had any idea what to do about him. They seemed to seek their own comfort more than offer him anything. His entire support network had failed him, just like his body, just like his aching head. He could only hope that a new one solidified around him, like his body, like his aching head.

Matthew picked up the morphine controller and pressed the button a few more times. He was so tired. He didn’t want to feel anything for a while. He knew that in the morning, a doctor would bring someone else who wanted to tell him they were cutting themselves from his life, face-to-face. And then someone would change his bandages, touch him in his most sensitive spots to see if it was healing.

“Does that hurt?” they would ask. And as always, he would look at them in dumb disbelief.

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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Furries, Thursday Prompt, Writing


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Sleepwalkers Fiction: The Balance

Writing 150Prescott’s ear twitched as he looked down at the paper before him. He had written words and numbers on it, all laid out in a nice little chart. The source of income or expense in the far left column, and money going into his bank account in the middle one. At the far end went all the money that left his bank account for whatever reason, from the beginning of the month until now. At the bottom, the balance in his checking account, as it stood now: $-87.33.

He stroked his nose, from the twitching tip up to the top of his eyes. It soothed him to be petted, even if he was the one doing the petting. And right now, it was the only thing keeping him from having a small panic attack in front of all these nice people inside Zia’s Cafe on Allegheny. He double-checked and triple-checked the numbers. It simply couldn’t be right.

His phone buzzed. He plucked it carefully and read the text message displayed on its screen. Now I know why you wanted me to buy you lunch.

Prescott looked up and gave the man sitting across from him his best disapproving stare. When you were a six-foot tall walking rabbit, that only worked so well. Vitaly merely smiled back at him, hunched in his comically undersized chair, cradling the comically undersized phone in his massive hands.

To each other, they looked as they truly were. Prescott was the perfect blend of rabbit and man, with big brown expressive eyes, oversized buck-teeth hidden under a blunt and boxy muzzle, a thick coat of white fur covering his entire body. He favored baggy jeans and a light sweater this time of year; his fur was more than enough to keep him warm, but he couldn’t walk around naked when most people couldn’t see that he was keeping modest. Vitaly was an enormous blue troll of a man, thick white hair forming a mane that nearly hid the small horns and pointed ears that still managed to poke through. He had an underbite to match Prescott’s overbite, thick, sharp canines jutting up from his lower lip. He wore simple and sturdy clothing, blown up large to contain the impossible, ancient strength that was his birthright. He had learned restraint by living in a world made far too small for him, and had come to have the patience of mountains.

To the cafe’s other patrons, they were merely an eccentric couple — a hulking man who was constantly texting, and a strange younger fellow carrying out what looked to be a one-sided conversation. They came here together every Wednesday. The smaller man ordered for the larger one, and he had an odd, jokey way of talking. It was simultaneously hilarious and frustrating.

Prescott rarely told the truth outright after he came upon his true nature. It was the birthright of his kind, apparently, and it made simple conversations rather interesting affairs more often than not. He did his best to at least make it entertaining to decipher the truth, but that only went so far and inevitably people got fed up with trying to puzzle him out. Vitaly was the only person who knew what he was getting at most of the time, and that was an immeasurable relief to him. In exchange, he served as the troll’s translator so his muteness wouldn’t make things weird for anyone. They were the best of friends, and they fought often enough to prove it.

Today, Prescott was too nervous about his bank account to really give Vitaly a good rejoinder. “Ha. Very funny. I’m overdrawn in the first place because I bought lunch for you last week. You could have stopped after your tenth sandwich, you big ox.”

It was a lie, and they both knew it. Vitaly simply smirked and tapped away on his undersized phone. It was nothing short of magic that he was able to type anything with those fingers the size of soda cans. I know I could have. But it was more fun watching you sweat.

Prescott allowed himself a small smile. “If you think it’s fun watching me sweat, you have a pathetic and incredibly boring life.”

Vitaly shrugged, then ate the last quarter of his sandwich in one quick bite. Prescott looked down at his balance sheet and sighed. His ears folded as he thought about the bills he still had to pay. Money had never been his strong suit.

“I have everything under control, of course. My student loans are well in hand, and so are the utilities, and I certainly won’t make a late fee on the credit card. I know you think the negative in front of my balance looks bad, but really, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m in excellent shape.” Prescott’s heart raced as he thought about it. Where could he get the money?

His phone buzzed. Is no worries. I give you $500 now, and you pay me back over time, OK?

Prescott looked up, stunned. “But you make even less than I do. I mean, you’re practically a peasant! Where did you get that kind of money?”

Savings. I save while you buy video games and hair dryers and what not. This is interest-free loan, pay back when you can. But I help you budget your money, yeah?

The rabbit’s whiskers and ears lifted. “I don’t see what help you could possibly be, but I suppose it couldn’t be the worst thing.”

No, worst thing is borrowing money from Brendon. He lords it over you until the end of time. Lucky for you, it’s just me. Vitaly smiled, then reached over and grabbed the other half of Prescott’s sandwich in those big fingers. The troll sniffed it, made a face, and then ate it anyway.

Prescott snickered and rolled his eyes. It’s amazing how money in one’s bank account could lift your spirits. “Arrogant grand-standing is far better than some lummox eating you out of house and burrow, that’s for sure.”

They both laughed, then, Prescott loud enough for the two of them.

(This week’s prompt was balance, and I wanted to take it to a different place than most people would have thought of. Balancing a checkbook can be rather boring, but…I thought for these two it would fit rather well.

Prescott and Vitaly are two of the Three, a group of characters who find new Sleepwallkers and help them with the realization of their true nature. I really love the idea that they both find basic communication challenging for various reasons, and rely on each other to make things a bit easier. Prescott is the mouthpiece for the group, and all the twists and turns and verbal rabbit-holes can be useful in their line of work. When he needs to be earnest, he can trust Vitaly to decipher what he’s actually trying to say. Vitaly, for his part, can’t speak at all. For him, those tiny cell phones are a god-send. Also, I never get tired of seeing giant people trying to use tiny gadgets.

That being said, trying to figure out how Prescott and Vitaly actually speak to one another — and to ‘civilians’ around them — is a bit of a challenge. I know that I’m not a good enough writer to really pull it off yet, so I want to get in a lot of practice. They’re fun to write, anyway, so expect to read a lot of these guys in the future.)


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Short Fiction: Matthew Prepares for His Birth

Writing 150(The Thursday Prompt last week was “forever”. That got me thinking about what forever means to us, and how we would never really want something to last forever. People were made to exist in a changing universe, and the drive to adapt is coded in our genetics. That lead me down a rabbit trail and into this story, which is undoubtedly influenced by “The Homecoming“, a wonderful Hugo-nominated short story from Mike Resnick. I think it conjures a good idea of what ‘forever’ really means to us, a vague state of affairs that will exist long into the future after we will. Anyway, here’s the story, 1344 words.)

“Forever? What do you mean forever?” Matthew shifted in his bed, his ears scraping against the headboards. They felt so strange, higher than they should have been, long and fragile and immense. They were flaps of skin, really, perfectly shaped for catching sound. He had no need for them. He didn’t want them. He felt the developing muscles at their bases fold them downward, and he knew immediately that it was a signal of his mood to the people in the room. It made his stomach roll. He was already getting used to them.

Dr. Patel stood to the left of him, a mask over his face, a clipboard in his hands. The man looked tired, but that was to be expected. Counting Matthew, there were 14 other cases that broke out in the immediate area and chances are they had all come here. How many times had he had this conversation? How many times did he have to look at a misshapen face in mid-transformation and try to sound sympathetic?

“What I’m saying is, there is no known cure for your condition.” Dr. Patel’s accent and low voice made him difficult to hear under his mask. Matthew’s left ear flicked up, scraping the thick mane of hair he was growing and the wall. It was like turning up the volume on the TV. Suddenly he was as clear as a bell. “We have no idea how it works, why it does what it does. For now, the best that we can do is make you comfortable through your change and prepare you for what your life will be like…after.”

Matthew’s mother began sobbing at the foot of his bed. He watched his father go to her, standing behind her chair to grab her shoulders. He looked like he was about to cry, too. It struck him that they were grieving for him. Right then and there, while he was still in the room. His heartbeat quickened, and he felt a flash of anger. His parents. His own parents. To them, he was as good as dead.

Yet in so many ways, he was. The transformation phase was the contagious phase, at least as far as the CDC had told the public. But that wouldn’t stop him from being fired, from people crossing the street when they saw him approaching. It wouldn’t keep his landlord from finding a reason to evict him, and it wouldn’t protect him from the gangs of anti-chimeral activists popping up all over the world. He would either need to seek sanctuary at the CDC in Atlanta and submit himself to biological testing, or he would have to find one of those reservations out west and live off the grid as much as he could. Either way, his life was over.

He felt his breath quicken. His jaw hadn’t broken yet, but he could feel the pain along stress points as he spoke. His eyes were wide, he knew it. He could only imagine how he looked. “I…I got out of the water as soon as I could. As soon as…I….I knew…”

Dr. Patel put a hand on his shoulder and pushed him back down on the bed. Matthew hadn’t even realized how far he had sat up. “I know. You were only exposed for a very brief amount of time, but the agent was very aggressive. By the time anyone knew what was happening, it had taken hold for most of the people on the beach. I’m sorry. I truly am.”

Matthew remembered being in the water, the coolness and moisture and salt in the air as he splashed with Amy. The sun was sinking low over the buildings behind the boardwalk, and night approached from the ocean. There were ribbons of brightness in the waves as they crested closer to shore, but everyone thought that was just the sunlight reflecting on the water. No one had any idea something was wrong until a little boy started to scream and slap at his skin as if he was trying to put himself out.

Then Matthew felt it, the water starting to burn on his skin. It was like someone had slipped enough acid into the entire ocean for it to start scouring things. He grabbed Amy and waded back to shore in a panic, and he practically had to drag her on the beach those last few feet. Ten minutes later and the boardwalk was lined with black vans, grabbing people, pulling bags over their head, carrying them away. He saw a man in fatigues grab Amy and lift her over his shoulder, kicking and screaming. He was on the southern edge of the beach by now. He turned and fled.

That was the last time he saw her. That night he drank himself to sleep, chased by a pounding headache. The next morning he woke up with long, rabbit-like ears covered in fuzz that matched the shade of chestnut-brown his hair had become. His parents recoiled when he stumbled downstairs, and they immediately called the hospital. Three days later, and they’re still quarantined. His mom and dad will likely go home, eventually. But he’ll simply disappear.

Dr. Patel told him what he could expect in the coming days — there’ll be pain as his body’s changes grow more and more severe, and they’ll come in waves that will last anywhere from hours to days. Bones will stress until they break, and then re-set themselves. His body will be flooded with adrenaline most of the time, and the stress on his heart will be tremendous. They have painkillers and tranquilizers ready to counteract it, though. At some point, maybe in a month, maybe three, he’ll be something new, unmistakably and irrevocably, and he’ll be released into his parents’ care.

His mother had to leave the room halfway through the doctor’s speech. His father left a moment or two after that, and the doctor left as soon as he knew there would be no other questions. The silence descended around Matthew’s bed, thick and total.

Matthew knew that this would be one of the last times he’d ever see his parents. His mother wouldn’t be able to handle the sight of his body mangling itself to become something alien, and his father always retreated from the things he didn’t understand. They might tell all of his friends that he died with Amy, and even have a funeral. Of course there would be no body. It would have decomposed long ago to make room for whatever form he’d be walking around with by then.

He flattened his ears and closed his eyes. His life was over. The death would be painful, and at the end of it he would have a brand-new, more difficult life that he would need to learn to live. He knew he wasn’t ready, but whoever was? No matter how much time you had to prepare for it, death was always sudden. You could never know how to deal with it when it comes.

His mind spun. He thought of Amy, Mom and Dad. He thought of his coworkers at the office, his drinking buddies, the college friends he always looked up when they came home for the holidays. He would need to say goodbye to each and every one of them. He would have to let them go, forever.

Abruptly, he grabbed the remote and flipped on the television. He watched the news reports of the giant rising out of the Atlantic Ocean and devastating the boardwalk just hours after he ran. The military managed to kill it before it contaminated the entire city, but the loss of life and property was immense. That alien was still stretched across the length of the beach, he knew, covered over with plastic and being slowly dissected by the CDC. The creature had been the death of him, he thought.

But it had also birthed him.

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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Writing


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Fiction: Robert’s Harness

I wouldn’t have tied up Robert if he hadn’t been so insistent. He had been acting really strangely since Jocelyn disappeared, and I figured it was just the stress of losing his wife or something without knowing what happened to her. Over the past few weeks, though, he had confided in me more and more, and I quickly realized that this went beyond Jocelyn’s tragedy. This guy has been going steadily insane, and the process had started well before his wife went missing.

He had a number of strange obsessions. I quickly learned that he was something of a carnivore, or at least he was one of those Paleo guys. His fridge was stocked with nothing but meats and the occasional leafy green vegetable. He was hyper-focused on scents, too. He went on and on about “the stink of the city,” and there were a number of times I caught him wearing a piece of Jocelyn’s clothing. It kept him calm, he said. I didn’t think much about it at the time; grief takes you to strange places, and I wasn’t going to judge.

Then I learned that he had this weird ability to know exactly what phase the moon was in, and what phase it would be in for any given date in the next five years. He knew exactly how the moon affected the tides, all the lore about how it affected people, words that had anything to do with it. A favorite of his was “lunatic,” and he’d reserve that word for a certain kind of person only. He’d look in their direction, take a deep breath, and tell me. “See that guy right there? In the business suit? He’s a lunatic. I can spot ’em a mile off. You don’t want to see him coming towards you in a dark alley.”

I assumed he was just ragging on power brokers or something like that, because it was the fashionable thing to do. I had lunch with him every day for three weeks, and in different spots around the city he pointed to different people and branded them. A bouncer at that dive bar on Oyer Avenue. A jogger who ran by in Clearance Park. An old professor-type on the bus. The city was getting crowded, he said, with lunatics and homeless people. It was weird, but who knows what connection that had for him with Jocelyn? Maybe he thought someone had taken her. She volunteered at a food bank. It put her in contact with all kinds of people. Maybe he had an inkling of what happened to her, and wasn’t ready to admit it to himself yet.

“Maybe you should talk to the police,” I told him a few days ago. We were having lunch at a shawrma place on Palace Blvd. He was picking the meat out of his pita. “If you have a hunch about someone at the food bank, they should know about it.”

“I need you to tie me up on Saturday.” He said it just like that. “Jocelyn used to do it, but she’s gone, and you’re the only person I trust.”

I laughed, nervously. He looked me in the eye, put down his empty pita, and grabbed my forearm. He had a surprisingly strong grip for a bank teller. “I’m serious. I need you to come over this weekend and restrain me. I…I know this sounds weird, but it’s really important to me.”

“Why in the world would you ask me to do that, Robert?” I pulled my arm away and stared at him. I didn’t want to even entertain the thoughts I had, but I couldn’t help myself. “What are you getting at? Is there something you need to tell me?”

He sighed, and looked down, and then around to make sure nobody was listening. “I’m one of them,” he said. “I’m a lunatic.”

I would have laughed again if he didn’t look so earnest about it. There was something in that desperate, lost expression that unnerved me. “Maybe…maybe we should go to the police. Or a doctor. Have you talked to your therapist about this?”

Robert shook his head vehemently. “I can’t talk to anyone about this. I can’t go to the police, or a doctor. I’ll…listen, I’ll be fine, really. As long as you come over and…and babysit me this weekend.” He couldn’t bring himself to look at me. He started to stop in mid-sentence, as if he was about to say something, thought the better of it, chose a different word.

The conversation ended only when I told him I would think about it. Over the next couple days, Robert revisited the question several times a day and got increasingly agitated when I tried to blow him off. I thought I would be able to wait him out on it, but nothing doing. When he started telling me I would be responsible if he hurt himself or someone else, I figured I’d better agree just to keep him calm. There was no telling what was actually going on, but someone had better be there just in case.

He asked me to come over early Friday afternoon. Well, not so much asked as made me promise. He’d provide the bindings, he said, and the food. I just needed to make sure he had everything he needed all weekend. I packed an overnight bag, made sure that Robert’s doctor, therapist and the detective investigating his wife’s case were all on speed dial, then I headed over.

As soon as I got there, he barked order at me. Here, do this. There was some sort of apparatus that was half-cage, half-incomprehensible complex of leather and chains that he wanted me to buckle him into in a very specific manner. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but I did the best I could. Some of the little buttons and straps were a pain in the ass, and they were redundant anyway, so I didn’t bother with anything that took longer than say, thirty seconds. He made me test them, and he squirmed and tugged as much as he could, but there was no getting out of it. Only when he was sure he was totally secure did he actually relax.

By then, the sun was going down and we were both sweating. He had a goofy grin on his face, and his expression told me that I had passed some barrier between us that I had no idea existed. Whatever was going on here, we would be stuck together for a few days. No time like the present to press for honesty.

“So…mind telling me what all of this is about?” I tried to be casual, to keep my tone light. It helps widows keep their spirits up, I’d read somewhere.

Robert laughed and looked out the window. The sun was reflecting off the windows as it set. It made all the buildings look like they were melting in fire and blood. “You’ll find out here in a few hours. Would you mind grabbing a couple of steaks from the fridge?”

“I hope you don’t expect me to feed you all weekend.”

“No need. Just put it on that standing desk and wheel it over to me when it’s done. I’ll be able to reach it.” Robert kept watching the window. The streets below his apartment were growing dark now, and the darkening sky was just revealing the first and brightest stars.

“Fine. How do you want it cooked?”

“Cooked?” He looked confused.

“Yes, cooked. How did Jocelyn make your steak?”

I stopped rooting through the impossible amount of meat in the fridge to look at Robert. He had finally looked away from the window, towards the front door as if he was expecting someone. He went quiet for a time, then shook his head. “She just opened them up and put them on a plate.”

I raised an eyebrow. What the hell was this? “Cold?”

“Yeah,” he said. He looked at me, and I shrugged and retreated into the kitchen. “She would put the steaks on a plate, and we would wait for nightfall. She’d put on a movie and sit with me through the night, and sometimes she would sing and play her guitar. It made me…made me feel less crazy.”

His voice was choking up, I could hear. I lifted the steaks with a pair of tongs I found and slopped them onto the plate. Raw as they were, that was roughly two pounds of meat there. I put them on the table, wheeled it in front of him, and then smiled. I didn’t know what to say to him all of a sudden. This was way too weird. “How about I put on a movie?”

Robert blinked back tears. “Sure.”

So I did. The TV remote was coated in a fine layer of dust on the coffee table, and we immediately dumped into one of those old movie channels when it turned on. I figured that would do well enough — neither of us would be watching it anyway. I turned to make sure that Robert was all right. His head was down, his face was pale, his breathing harsh and irregular.

“Robert?” I moved to get up, and the blanket covering the couch slipped away. It would have been so much better if I hadn’t looked, but a flash of color caught my eye.

The couch had been ripped to shreds. The stuffing had been pulled out of it, but flattened underneath the blanket. It looked like everything had been splashed with red paint, aged and dried until it had turned a liver-brown. I stepped back, horrified. I meant to ask Robert what this was, but the question died on my lips.

Robert was hunched over, trying to clutch his stomach. His back and neck was sprouting hair, so much of it that his skin disappeared. Something was bubbling inside of him, warping his torso and limbs, and all the bindings strained with it. There was an awful crack, and his mouth hung like his jaw had been broken. I couldn’t tell if he started screaming first, or if I did.

His torso and arms were swelling terribly. His shoulders hunched and grew like someone had stuffed hams into them, and his chest looked like it had been pulled apart before it puffed up. His scream deepened into a half-growl, half-roar, and when he rose up the top of his head was a full foot from where it had been. He was still changing.

His body changed in fits. Bones snapped or lengthened, and Robert whimpered and howled. I couldn’t say anything. Everything was telling me to run, but I couldn’t bring myself to move. I kept backing up until I bumped the television. It tottered, then slammed against the wall behind me.

The thing where Robert stood looked up. Its yellow eyes caught the poor light coming in from the window as it stared at me. There was nothing of my best friend in there anymore. I didn’t want to know what had replaced it.

I broke for the door. It tugged on those bindings and snapped right through them. That’s what the redundancy was for, I thought to myself. Way to half-ass it.

The monster was insanely fast, and its bulk blocked the door before I even made it two steps. I stopped, put my hands out. “Robert. You don’t want to do this. There’s…there’s meat for that!”

I pointed to the steaks on the table. It followed my finger with a disinterested glance, then looked back at me and growled. Then it leapt.

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Writing


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