Hunting Season

Janet Boxley nudged the SUV deeper into the desolate backwoods, peering through the passenger’s side window, searching for her pups’ eyes.

Once she’d made it back to camp, she slammed the truck into park and grabbed her flashlight from the glove box before stepping out; her breath pluming the crisp air.

Her sandals sank into the moist ground and mud squished between her toes. “Dammit!”

She waddled her way to the back of the rusted out Ford Explorer and lifted the hatch. Inside were supplies for the upcoming hunting season which started in the morning: gallon-sized jugs of water, some large plastic water bowls, and several bags of food which she’d either been given by local restaurants or stolen from their dumpsters.

She hated the trips she was forced to make into town, but they were a necessity. The small town was none too kind to her. She was ‘different’ and most made it clear she wasn’t welcome. Even the small shops on the main street would lock their doors as she walked by. The kids, cruel little bastards, would poke at her, call her names before running away laughing. None of that mattered, she was back where she belonged now.

Making an odd clicking noise with her tongue, she pointed the flashlight toward the dense cover of leaves guarding the edge of the woods. The beam of light zigzagged along the trees, slashing through the moonless nighttime air but finding nothing.

“C’mon now. I know you’re in there!”

Massive cramping stabbed at her gut and she paused, inhaling deeply before releasing it in a long sigh.

Janet turned back toward the cargo area and stuck the flashlight under her fleshy arm before grabbing a gallon jug, several bowls, and one of the bags of food.

Moisture had wicked its way onto the bottom of her ‘housecoat’ as she called it, though in all reality it was just a floral dress large women wear in order to cover their ample mass from the judgmental eyes of society.

Still making the clicking sound with her tongue, Janet walked toward the trees. The sharp snapping of twigs and ruffling of leaves in the distance brought a smile to her face.

She rested the supplies on the ground and swept the flashlight over the small clearing. Several sets of reflective eyes peered out from between the branches.

“There you are,” she said as she stepped through the veil of leaves.

High-pitched whines and cries filled the air as the pups greeted her.

Many years ago, she’d made a covered area that was sufficient enough to give her a place to rest and also keep the little ones dry when it rained during the wet season. She left enough slack in their leashes so they could get out of the rain but not too much that they might choke themselves on nearby trees. The shelter was spacious enough for her, several days worth of supplies and her ‘babies’ to gather around. She used the term babies but they hadn’t been small for quite a number of years now, and in fact, most were full-grown.

She used to have at least ten at any given time, but in the last few years, the litters were smaller and smaller. She figured after generations of inbreeding amongst the pack, Mother Nature kind of figured enough was enough and put a stop to it. Probably a good thing too, because the youngest ones were born with severe deformities. Several of them had extra toes, others had missing appendages, and the last ones were born with wide-set bulbous eyes, like googly-eyed goldfish.

Janet’s abdomen continued cramping while she poured water into the bowls and unleashed the younger pups. Twigs snapped, and leaves crunched as the older siblings emerged from the dense forest behind her. Chance, the oldest of the group, was always the first to greet her. He was the friendliest of the pack, and the obvious alpha male often setting the over-zealous younger ones straight whenever they got out of line.

Janet reached over and scratched him between the ears. “How’s my Chance doing?”

Chance sat on his haunches at her feet while the others filtered into the space, each in turn rubbing against her before taking their place at Chance’s side.

It was a gruesome sight, hybrid creatures who bore only a slight resemblance to anything human, yet they didn’t look much like their canine ancestors either. Mutants resulting from many generations of genetic cloning and its failures; just like their mother.

They waited patiently, though some of them whined while others seemed focused on nothing in particular. Janet set the bag of day-old bread and pastries next to her make shift bed on the ground; several old bean bags and tattered sheets had been arranged in the corner, giving her a soft place to rest while they fed. After maneuvering herself on top of the mound, she turned to the group, their anxious eyes devouring her. Janet’s body shuddered when another contraction speared through her belly.

Janet sat up and worked the fabric from the lower part of her muumuu up to her waist, exposing her corpulent thighs. When sitting, her legs oozed onto each other, creating the illusion of one giant mass with the consistency of raw turkey skin and the pallid shade of a corpse.

She continued to peel away her clothing. Raising her arms overhead, she removed the sweaty article of clothing altogether revealing not only innumerable folds and crevices of skin and overfed flesh, but at least six pendulous and malformed breasts aligned in staggered pairs down the center of her torso. Her arms were too small for the size of her body, like short paddles, they protruded from her sides. She leaned over to grab the bag of food she’d placed next to her makeshift bed.

Their craving eyes sent adrenaline coursing through her veins. She began to gorge herself on the contents of the bag while her ‘babies’ crept closer, licking their dried lips and stretching their mouths into wide O’s, preparing for their meal. She would need the energy from the food to sustain herself over the next few arduous days.

Janet reclined back, her head lolling to one side, and closed her eyes. She spread her massive legs and endured the pain as waves of contractions rolled through her body and the first of her pups spilled onto the ground; a malnourished still-born.

The feral children moved in, some on all fours like animals, others stood on spindly legs with crooked spines. The last few dragged their useless lower limbs behind them as their arms pulled them closer to feast on the lifeless body of the runt. Several more lifeless clumps thudded onto the ground before three healthy males emerged and took their first breaths.

Chance scooped up his newest siblings, moved past the insatiable frenzy, and laid next to his mother. He placed each of the pups on her generous belly and helped each latch onto a teat. Chance then nuzzled in close, finding the fullest of her flaccid breasts for himself. Janet placed her free arm under his head and patted his back as he drained nourishment from her bosom.

Janet, exhausted from the effort, allowed the voracious sounds of feeding to lull her into deep, tranquil slumber. Janet dreamed while her young fed. She dreamed of the hunt that would begin once their bellies were full and of the abundance of flesh that would wander into their woods when hunting season opened in the morning.

~ Craig McGray

© Copyright 2014 Craig McGray. All Rights Reserved

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About Craig McGray

I write horror and dark fiction because the whispering voices in my head tell me to. My mild mannered persona is the perfect disguise for the strange things hiding inside of me. Many of my horrific tales play themselves out in my mind's eye during the times of self-torture while training for triathlons. Proud member of Pen of the Damned www.penofthedamned.com When I'm not writing or torturing myself through exercise, I spend time with my wife and beautiful daughters. They are the key to my existence.

29 responses to “Hunting Season”

  1. jaimiengle says :

    WTF, dude?? That was AWESOME!!

    Like

  2. jonolsonauthor says :

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    HUNTING SEASON by Craig McGray

    Like

  3. jonolsonauthor says :

    Great story, Craig! Enjoyable, disturbing and dark all rolled into one tasty treat! Well done, sir!

    Like

  4. Craig McGray says :

    Thanks for the reblog, Jon, and the kind words. This was a fun story to write for sure.

    Like

  5. dylanjmorgan says :

    What a lovely lady. Reminds me of an ex-girlfriend.

    I’m kidding, of course.

    Great story Craig. Really loved the descriptions: disturbed, gross, and totally awesome. Nice work.

    Like

  6. blazemcrobblaze says :

    I love this story, Craig! It certainly makes me happy that I don’t hunt. I wouldn’t want to be in the woods with these creatures. Truth be told, I know a woman who actually has a particular fondness for dogs, if you know what I mean. No litters, though. 🙂

    Blaze

    Like

  7. blazemcrob says :

    I love this story, Craig! It certainly makes me happy that I don’t hunt. I wouldn’t want to be in the woods with these creatures. Truth be told, I know a woman who actually has a particular fondness for dogs, if you know what I mean. No litters, though. 🙂

    Like

  8. Joseph Pinto says :

    Great story, Craig! You know, you take from the land…and eventually the land will take from you. This truly was one disturbing gem of a tale; I’m so glad I’m off to vacation at the ocean and not near the woods 😉

    Like

  9. Magenta Nero says :

    I loved this story Craig ~ grotesque and gruesome! I really enjoyed the way you take the reader from empathizing with the character to shock and revulsion . Well done, thank you 🙂

    Like

  10. Thomas Brown says :

    Grotesque is precisely the choice word, Magenta! Great closing paragraph, and your descriptions are thoroughly unsettling, in a visceral, body-horror way! A Damned litter if ever there was one.

    Like

  11. Craig McGray says :

    Quite honestly, Thomas, you played a part in her story. How, you ask? The female dog and her litter from your piece, Do Not Recycle, spawned her character along with a local lady I see from time to time who feeds feral cats behind a local mall. Inspiration is everywhere, my friend. Thank you for the kind words and for the inspiration. Cheers!

    Like

    • Thomas Brown says :

      What a wonderful thing to read, Craig – thank you. I’m honoured to have helped inspire some darkness here. I wonder how much we do inspire each other, consciously or otherwise?

      Like

  12. abbiefoxton says :

    the eyes, the flesh, the imagery is etched – hell of a ride Craig, really enjoyed it 🙂

    Like

  13. Craig McGray says :

    Reblogged this on From Bright Minds Come Dark Things and commented:
    Check out my story, Hunting Season. It is this week’s free horror on Pen of the Damned. Come get some!

    Like

  14. Tyr Kieran says :

    Beautifully dark and disturbing, my friend! Brings a whole new meaning to Man-cub. Well done. Thanks for the Damned good read, Craig!

    Like

  15. zkullis says :

    Fantastically dark and wicked tale, Craig! The imagery of the feral children and the brutal struggle for life was amazing.

    Like

  16. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    What a deliciously twisted tale, Craig!! I love it – not only for its depravity, but the for its nearness to what could actually be. So wonderfully sick, yet almost poignantly sad at the same time. Monsters, yes in there deformity; but the desire to nurture her offspring so very human. And the reaction of those in town, again – distinctly human in the least flattering manner. Fear what is misunderstood; shun what is different. I really enjoyed reading this, Craig – it’s a great piece! ;]

    Like

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