Archive | January 2015

Nine Lives

The edges of the jungle dance to the tune played by the vibrant colors of the burning village, twisting, cavorting shadows interspersed with the unknown entities hiding beyond where no light will go.

I know what lurks within the boundaries of the dense undergrowth. Most of what resides there is not good. Death lives and thrives at its core and spreads out to capture ever more territory when the veil of darkness works in its favor.

For now, at least, the fire is saving those of us still alive from being entombed within the snare of annihilation. I wonder if that’s a good thing, though. Sure, we’re saved for now, but at what cost? Capture later on? Torture?

Some fucking life! Yet, some of us can’t condone rolling over and accepting a fate of doom. Better to resist and fight ’til the end than to subjugate yourself to the wishes of the tormentors.

Fuck! I don’t make the rules. This is war. One side wins; one side loses. It’s as simple as that.

Most of the villagers waste no time in leaving their former homes. No sense in staying now. All that remains is burned rubble and ash. We help those who will accept it to get on their way. Their stares tell me what I already know without a word having been spoken: the burning of their village, the forced evacuation from their meager existence, it’s our fault. Yeah, in their minds, the ‘Cong were after us and they are paying the penalty for this retaliatory strike.

How the hell are we supposed to fight and win a war where no one respects us or what we are trying to do for them? They would rather roll over and capitulate to the commie bastards than fight on their own behalves. Not all of them; but a great many feel that way.

It appears that twenty or so of us grunts are left. No sense in leaving now. As long as the fires are raging, we’re safer where we’re at. We better dig in, though. Once the air around us loses the brilliance of the fires and the all-encompassing darkness takes over, we’re sitting ducks.

“C’mon guys!” I holler out. “You know what we have to do. Let’s do it.”

“But, Sarge . . .”

“No buts, soldier! Just do. That’s an order!”

The Captain and Lieutenant both were killed in the battle. Lucky me. I’m in charge now. These guys are my responsibility until I get them back to the base.

My eyes scan the horizon looking for signs of the enemy when it comes into view, rushing around in some sort of haphazard circle, completely on fire, howling in pain, the stench of its burning fur filling the air. I run out from my point of shelter behind a mixture of unburned wood planks and a few sand bags with a blanket and a couple of canteens in my hands. Reaching the distraught animal, I can now see it’s a cat: a rather large, strangely shaped animal perhaps, but a black cat none-the-less. I douse it with the contents of the canteens, and as gently as I can, smother the rest of the fire out while cradling it in my arms. There is no resistance from the animal, almost as if it is entrusting me with its care.

“Geez, Sarge, what are we going to do with that critter? It’s just going to die anyway.”

Staring into its eyes, I see a sign of intelligence I wouldn’t expect from a mere cat, but I see more as well. I see an animal on the mend, rapidly morphing back into what it was before the fire tried to consume it. I’m puzzled. How can this be? It should be merely existing at best, not thriving as it appears to be doing.

“Doesn’t look like it’s dying to me, Corporal,” I say.

He takes another look, stares back at me, and shakes his head. “You know, Sarge, this ain’t normal. It ain’t right.”

Sweat pours from my brow, a mixture of confusion, anxious bewilderment, and just plain heat. “Maybe so, but it’s not bad anyway.”

The big tom cat purrs in my arms, getting stronger by the moment – and seemingly larger. Even after this short amount of time, I feel as if I can barely hold it any longer.

Shit… shit, things start spinning around me, standing no longer an option. The big cat jumps out of my arms as I slide down onto the ground, using a tree to slow my descent.

“Oh, my God! You’ve been hit, Sarge! There’s blood all over the back of your shirt,” one of the men says.

That explains the sudden weakness; I’m coming down from my endorphin rush. The battle is over for the moment. My body is returning to normal. But in this case, normal isn’t good. The bleeding; I have to stop it now before I bleed out or go in to shock.

The sight of my blood creates panic in my men. They don’t know what to do. They’re inexperienced as it is, let alone with this sort of thing.

“You have to cut my shirt off and press down around the wound. Once I’m stabilized, you’ll have to remove the bullet; maybe more than one – I don’t know.”

“But… but how will we know when it’s okay?”

“I’ll tell you, that’s how. If I pass out, you’re on your own.”

Trembling more than I am, even with shock already starting to move in on me, the Corporal slices my shirt open with his knife and calls a couple of the others over to help him. They gently remove the worst of the blood with what’s left of my shirt and apply pressure to the multiple wounds.

I feel myself slipping away, the pain not even able to keep me awake any longer, but if I drift off and don’t fight it, I’m done for.

A hiss cuts through the air and all the hands are gone from my back. Instead, I feel the moistness of a rough tongue licking away at the torn skin, saliva digging in to the cuts, stinging horribly at first before a sort of calming comes over me, and I fall off to sleep.

The fire is no longer burning when I come to. Everything around me is calm: too calm. I feel the presence of something, something close, but there is no noise, no movement, no odors, and nothing to be seen.

Yet, it’s out there. Something. More than one; yes, they are patient, waiting for the perfect time to attack. But when, I don’t know.

My men have laid me in a secure, partially dug out area. If something comes up, I’m in as protected a place as there is. But, my strength is returning fast. As with everything else that’s happened since the arrival of my burning black friend, this makes no sense. I’m recovering as fast as the cat did. It’s almost as if he gave me some sort of life transference. The nine lives are growing.

They’re growing fast.

My furry friend is next to me, purring contentedly, my arms around him. I notice that no sentries have been posted; not the wisest of moves, but I’m not concerned. Somehow, I know I’ll be ready when the time for action comes.

I drift off to sleep again, but it’s not a deep sleep; it’s refreshing rest, but I’m still alert, aware of everything around me, my senses super sharp.

My friend wakes and stares at me, his yellow eyes telling me we can no longer stay where we are. The time has come.

“Corporal!” I say, shaking him, waking him from his sleep. “The ‘Cong are coming. Let’s get ready for them. I’ll go out and flush them in to you from behind.”

He wipes the sleep from his eyes and gives me an incredulous stare. “Don’t worry,” I say. “I know what I’m doing.”

I grab my M-16 and swing to the left, somehow knowing where I’m going, what I’m doing. My vision is sharp, even though the night is dark as coal. I mow the enemy down and push the others towards my compadres.

My ammo runs out! However, the enemy is still here. There are many of them and only one of me. But wait. The cat, my ebony pal is here, and he has grown in size. He is about the size of a small tiger, showing his long teeth to the ‘Cong, spittle dripping down from the edges of his mouth, and his eyes… his yellow eyes are seemingly the size of saucers, and they exude not only ferocity, but cunning as well.

All eyes are off me for now and on the cat. Surely there is plenty of firepower for all of them to dispatch this unexpected nemesis easily enough. But wherever they shoot, the agile animal is one step ahead of them, appearing to know exactly where the bullets will land. Closer and closer he gets to them, his claws no longer retracted, ready for action.

Deep inside me, gut feelings talk to my soul, tell me what to do, alert me of what I can do. My friend needs help; he gave me this power I now possess; the least I can do is help him out.

So fast I don’t believe it myself, my body grows thick, black fur everywhere. The pain in my mouth is excruciating as huge canines form, dropping down into sight before my mouth has completely adjusted to the new me, tearing through my human jaw, blood pouring everywhere. My screams travel on the moist, still air, and cause terror in the eyes of the ‘Cong; they can’t believe the change coming over me.

What’s left of my clothing tears apart from my huge change in size, and I bat the useless garments away with my fully-formed front legs; my razor-sharp claws finish the destruction of the fabric.

My friend advances from one side, and I do the same from the other. I still retain my human brain and reasoning, but my senses are super enhanced inside my cat persona. From the instant of my reformation, I was able to dodge the bullets and perform other miracles of agility totally hidden from me until now.

My friend’s saliva! It saved my life once before, and it is doing so again. I sense we are the same now. We are brothers.

We slash and tear without abandon, bringing our antagonists to their knees, and then their deaths. Once we are sure there are no more of them left to usher into the next world, he changes his size down to a large tabby, and my body morphs back to human form. Yet, my soul, my brain, my senses, belong to both parts of me.

I bask in the glory of what I have become and the powers I possess. But with these powers come responsibility. I must use my strengths wisely.

We return to my men, still waiting for the enemy to be flushed out to them. They can’t help but notice the blood on my jaw, and the fact that I’m stark naked is causing them to wonder what happened.

“Don’t ask,” I say, waving my hand to the side. “The battle was short but brutal. The enemy are all dead.”

The corporal looks at me and shakes his head. “Looks like you and that cat friend of yours are a lot alike. You both have nine lives.”

I laugh. “We have less than that right now.”

The Corporal is right in one respect: he has no idea how much alike we really are.

My yellow eyes capture everything around me. They always will…

~ Blaze McRob

© Copyright 2015 Blaze McRob. All Rights Reserved.

Lake Lurkers

Martin Maddox wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand and resumed hacking away at a particularly thick tree branch with his hatchet. He was halfway up his ladder preparing the large black spruce tree in front of his one level home on Lake McCready for the coming storm. There had been a few branches touching the side and roof of his house in need of trimming so they wouldn’t cause any damage during the high winds and rain of the impending hurricane. With a final swing, the hatchet powered through and the branch toppled to the ground.

“Just a few more,” he said. He climbed up two more rungs and began hacking away at another branch.

Hurricane Hazel had stormed its way up the eastern seaboard and was barreling toward Nova Scotia. It was expected to make landfall later that evening as a Category Two hurricane near the town of Westwood, only ten kilometers south of Lake McCready. Unless it made a sudden and drastic turn, Martin knew that he would be hit straight on.

When he finished chopping the last branch, he climbed down and started to pull the ladder away when something caught his eye. The tree’s roots were breaking through the soil. He applied a little pressure to the ladder and the root rose a bit, splitting more ground. Trimming the branches wouldn’t do any good if the root system was weak. The strong winds and rain would no doubt pull them free, causing the tree to fall wherever the elements desired.

He looked at his watch and it seemed time was against him, too. It was nearly five-thirty and he still had to board up the windows. He would have to roll the dice and hope that the roots held. Shaking his head, he placed the ladder aside, grabbed the branches from the ground and tossed them beside his small shed near the edge of the lake.

Martin took out large planks of wood he had purchased earlier in the year and carried them up the slight slope of the backyard to the house. Setting them down, he turned to retrieve his hammer and nails when he found himself staring at the edge of the lake. The calm before the storm triggered a memory he had buried since he was six years old. The threat of the hurricane had him dreaming snippets of it recently, but now it came back in full, leaving him just as terrified as he had been so many years ago.

***

He was in the same house, although it was a cottage back then. From the living room window, he watched the lake’s surface turn violent in the strong winds of Hurricane Gladys, the only other hurricane he had ever experienced. Over the wind and rain he heard barking and saw the neighbor’s German Sheppard, Hank, at the edge of the lake. Martin wondered why the dog had been left outside during the storm, but before he could think of a possible answer, six little creatures emerged from the water.

Initially, Martin thought they were fish until noticing their large hind legs and smaller front arms, all clawed, with mouths salivating at the prospective meal before them. Hank tried to jump away but they were on him quick. High pitched barks and squeals of pain pierced through the thunder and heavy rain – sounds Martin would always remember and never stop trying to forget. Hardly blinking, he watched as the dog was torn apart in mere seconds.

Stumbling from the window in absolute shock, he looked outside but the creatures were gone. The rain already washed away the blood that remained on the ground, leaving nothing to corroborate his story except a silly rhyme the other kids had taught him.

“The creatures lurk beneath the lake,
Leaving carnage in their wake.
Swimming hard and baring teeth,
Ravenous for a piece of meat.
Onto land they stalk their prey,
With deadly precision they strike and slay.
The feeding frenzy is a terrible sight,
No one can escape with all of their might.
It is a nightmare from which one cannot wake,
From those creatures that lurk beneath the lake.”

Not wanting to be accused of making up stories, he chose never to tell a soul.

***

Martin shook his head, pushing the memory back. He was losing precious time and moved quickly to retrieve the hammer and nails from the shed. The job went relatively quick compared to the trimming of the tree.

He looked up and saw that the sky was already overcast. Stealing a quick glance out to the lake, the water turned choppy as the wind picked up. Martin returned his hammer and nails to the shed and secured the door with a large lock. He made his way towards the house and realized that he had left the hatchet out front. Cursing, he went around and picked it up. He didn’t have the key to the lock on him, so he took the hatchet into the house.

Martin entered through the front screen door that slammed shut on its spring, then closed and locked the solid oak inner door in the kitchen. The house had been built with an open concept, with no real division between the kitchen and living room. Beige and green tiles covered the floor of both rooms. Two couches were set up to face the unplugged television sitting on the floor. On the walls hung a couple of paintings. One depicted fishing boats tied to a dock; the other, a lonely lighthouse standing guard over an unknown coast.

A table was set up between the couches and Martin placed the hatchet atop it. It also held essentials for the storm: three four liter jugs of water, some cold cut sandwiches he had made up earlier in the day, a first aid kit, a Coleman lantern and a single speaker battery-powered radio.

He could hear the wind gusting outside. The house seemed to shiver as he sat down at the table and turned the radio on. He adjusted the tuner with his thumb until he found the local station WOSK.

“… Hurricane Hazel has made landfall three kilometers outside of Westwood. No reports of extensive damage have been made but emergency crews are standing by and preparing for the worst. The Westwood Police Department, as well as the RCMP, have asked that people remain in their homes and stay off of the roads as well as…”

A loud burst of static cut through just as the power flickered and went out. Martin attempted to find another station but only found more static and white noise.

As night began to fall outside, he could see lightning flash between the boards on the windows, followed by booming claps of thunder. The rain pounded against the siding and roof like golf balls. Martin turned the Coleman lantern on and bit into his sandwich.

He gasped when he heard a high-pitched shriek within the wind. He waited, but didn’t hear it again. He returned to his meal.

After another crash of thunder, Martin started hearing scratching noises. They were quiet at first, and he initially thought they were tree branches scraping against the house. The scratching, however, echoed from different parts of the house and sounded deliberate.

“What the hell is…” he began but stopped when a wet thump sounded at the door.

He stood and took a step when another thump came from one of the windows.

And another.

Then another.

They almost seemed to drown out the symphony of the storm. Martin couldn’t help but think that the carnivorous little bodies were slamming into the house, trying to find a way in.

A shriek from outside the door pumped his heart faster – even more so when it was answered from the back of the house.

There were more shrieks and more thumping knocks. He could almost see their little teeth trying to chew through the wood when a strong gust of wind shook the house violently; he heard a tired moan coming from outside. The knocks and shrieks stopped suddenly.

Oh shit! The tree!

A heavy thud hit the roof, shaking the house and causing Martin to squat lower to the ground. The ceiling gave way; the black spruce crashed through amidst a blizzard of debris.

Martin dove but a branch struck him in the head, knocking him to the floor, severely dazed. The tree landed just a few feet away, crashing through the table and scattering all of the emergency supplies. Rain flooded his house as he stared up through the large hole in his roof. A flash of lightning illuminated not only thick storm clouds but also seven little bodies clambering over the jagged edges and into his house.

Stunned yet nonetheless coherent, Martin rolled between one of his couches and the wall.

No more the size of a small dog, the creatures’ bodies were covered with grey and green scales. They resembled raptors with larger, powerful hind legs; four clawed toes and six clawed fingers on smaller arms. Each had a tail akin to a tadpole and longer than their bodies. Their faces were flat, large mouths full of teeth. They had large black eyes yet all sniffed out his sandwiches, rummaging through what remained.

Martin saw the hatchet laying just a few feet away and stretched out to grasp it. Something warm ran down the side of his face; blood dripped onto the floor. He grabbed the hatchet and pulled it towards him just as one of the creatures began sniffing the air.

It let out a short but deliberate snort. Now all their heads turned toward him and Martin began crawling backwards, trying to put as much distance as possible between him and them.

Suddenly, they shrieked simultaneously. Martin struggled to his feet, keeping the hatchet at a defensive position. His mind replayed the image of Hank getting torn apart as the seven creatures cautiously approached him with mouths agape, white foam collecting at the corners.

One edged closer, braver than the others. Martin focused on that creature; if he could kill it decisively, it just might intimidate the others into backing away. His idea clashed with the images of Hank’s last few seconds when the creature lunged.

Martin let out a loud cry and swung the hatchet as hard and precisely as possible. The blade struck the creature’s ribs and forced its way through its body, severing its spine. It let out a choked cry as it flew and splattered against the wall. Crippled, its mouth snapped at the air. Martin brought the flat edge of the hatchet down, crushing its skull. He quickly turned his attention to its mates.

Maybe it worked. Maybe they –

The remaining creatures leapt into the air. Martin swung the hatchet wildly, connecting once but inflicting no real damage. He felt teeth and claws tear into his skin. Blood rushed out, washed away by the rain as Martin felt his strength fading fast.

One of the creatures bit through his Achilles tendon, sprawling Martin onto the floor. With their prey down, the creatures went berserk and ferociously ripped into his flesh…

~ Jon Olson

© Copyright 2015 Jon Olson. All Rights Reserved

LaLupa

It’s that time of month again and rent is due. Evening is falling fast, drowning the city in dark hues of purple. I’m starting to get a little edgy, a little nervous, as I walk to work. Every night is my first night, every night is my last night.

From outside it looks like any other exclusive strip club. Black painted walls and door, no signs, no neon. I’ve certainly done a lot worse. At least there are no homeless junkies sleeping out front.

The guy at the door gives me the once over and a nod of approval.

“Have a good night sweetheart,” he says politely as he opens the door for me. He has a neck like a tree trunk, a black tee shirt clings to pumped up muscle.

***

Inside it’s tasteful enough. The furnishings are plush red and black. Not too big a space, which is good. I like an intimate audience.

A cute blonde girl is stocking the bar. She smiles and waves at me cheerfully.

“The dressing room is through there,” she shouts.

In the dressing room, which is in fact a storeroom crammed with furniture and boxes of stuff, I meet Candy and Amber. There is always a Candy and Amber in every club. I put my bag down on a brightly lit table, glance at myself in the large mirror and sigh. I begin to unpack some things when Candy comes over for the standard welcome.

“Hi, I’m Candy,” she tells me. Her icy blue eyes sparkle. She stands too close to me, one hand on her hip. Her nails are long oval points, painted white. She is wearing a tiny silver dress; her fake breasts look painful and her skin is a baked orange colour. I stare back at her, bored. It’s that time of month. I’m cranky and hungry. I’ve skipped a few meals lately.

“This is my table. You can use one of those over there.” She points to the cluttered corner.

I get a flash of her gutted from neck to belly and I can’t stop my eyes from twitching. She says something else but I don’t catch the words; I have to concentrate, slow down my breathing. Amber comes over to mediate.

“Don’t worry about Candy, she’s just very territorial.”

Amber smiles warmly at me and gives Candy a nudge, unsettling her on her platform stilettos.

“I’m Lalupa,” I say.

“La what? Is that, like, a Mexican name?” Candy chuckles to herself and wanders over to a clothes rack to flick through costumes and lingerie.

“Have you met Andy yet,” asks Amber.

I shake my head no.

“Well you should get dressed and go meet him. If he doesn’t like your look he won’t let you work tonight.”

I nod and start getting changed.

Amber sits down at a table nearby and begins to style her long red hair. Soon a few other girls arrive. Chatter and laughter fills the dressing room.

I keep to myself, hoping not to get drawn into conversation. I don’t want to make friends and I’m eager for the night to get underway. I hate hearing the same old stories. I don’t care that you are stripping to pay for your law degree or that you have a happy husband and two kids waiting for you at home. I’m here because I like the thrill and the cash. A girl’s got to eat.

***

A wave of nausea rolls through me; my skin prickles with heat. There’s a stabbing pain building in my head. I take a few more deep breaths.

I prefer to wear a vintage style. Black lace corset, fine seamed stockings, shiny black patent heels – I hate those horrendous stripper platforms. My glossy black curls bounce around my pale face as I inspect myself in the mirror. Candy glances at me then mutters to her pals and a round of giggles erupts. Let them laugh. While they can.

***

I find my way to the manager’s office. He’s chatting with a guy sitting by his desk. I stand in the room, still and silent like an ornament, waiting for him to acknowledge me.

They’re both wearing tailored grey suits. Merino wool, I can smell it. Silk ties and crisp fine cotton. Their short haircuts are gelled carefully to appear casually tousled. Thick designer cologne cloaks their skin. A fresh ocean scent with base notes of vanilla and spice. Beneath the cologne is the distinct stench of their sweat. Lean, firm flesh, rippled with fine streaks of fat. My mouth begins to water again.

Finally he looks over at me.

“Nice outfit honey,” he says, “but I hope it comes off pretty quick, this is not a burlesque club!”

He laughs a dry, cruel chuckle and the other guy chimes in. Flesh taut with obsessive exercise and a diet of fine food, tears off the bone in thin strips.

“House takes fifteen percent?”

“Straight down to business. I like it. That’s right honey, House takes fifteen percent, the rest is yours. Pretty generous for a classy place like this. Tonight’s a trial shift. If I like your routine and you’re hot on the floor you can come back tomorrow night.”

“I’m always a crowd pleaser.”

“Are you now? Well, good for you! You’re on after Candy. She’s a hard act to follow.”

Now it’s my turn to laugh, which confuses them for a moment.

“What’s your name again, honey?”

“Lalupa.”

“Lupa? Okay, have a good night honey, milk ‘em dry.” They both chuckle as I turn to leave.

***

Things start to heat up as the night rolls out. I stand at the bar, trying not to shake or twitch, and watch the patrons come in, waiting for a likely hit. I watch the other girls too, as they saunter, smiling, chatting. They look delectable.

I set my sights on Mr. Average White Collar and strut over casually. He is self-conscious and uncomfortable and will easily blow all his cash on me.

I give him a sweet girl next door stripper smile and ask if he wants a dance. He nods and throws back his Scotch as I step in close and begin to sway and swish, swivel and shake. He pays generously but I decide to keep moving; his anxiety is irritating. I circle the floor, bidding time, choosing the men I want to dance for and chat to. I ignore the ones who are too obnoxious or rude. Andy is poised at the bar, watching me and frowning.

Candy comes on stage to cheers and whistles. With a beaming white smile she waves at the audience, blowing kisses, striking provocative poses. Obviously the darling of the club but I’ll soon change that. I head to the dressing room to freshen up.

***

The moon is full and high in the sky. I can feel it, gleaming, beckoning. It’s making me tremble.

Finally the DJ cues my music and I take the stage, happy to be in the limelight.

I love working the pole; I have a real talent for it. My unnatural dexterity gives my routine a flowing ease. I radiate confidence and power. Men sense it, they sit up in their seats, intrigued. Soon all eyes in the room are on me. The men are under my captivating spell – the women glare at me jealously. I’ll be cleaning up tonight. I’m going to empty their pockets. As I dance I’m checking the exits, scanning the room with all my senses. There are never too many for me to handle.

I can feel it coming as I spin and twirl, bubbling under my skin, beginning to shiver through me, a blissful terror. I get so excited I grit my teeth to hold it back. I like to hold out as long as possible, give them a bit of a show first. After all, I’m a really hot dancer. I stretch my fine limbs, shimmy and slither. With legs wrapped around the pole I use my free hand to unhook the corset and flick it off. Men cheer. I flex and hang upside down, spinning slowly. I close my eyes and enjoy the rush. It’s that time of month and I can’t resist it anymore. The moon is singing to my soul and I need to respond. A growl builds in my throat as I embrace it. It is so close to the surface now, about to burst out of me.

***

The men in the front row see it first. Something strange is beginning to happen.

Hair sprouts, thin and fine, along my forearms and thighs, on my chest. It spreads slowly until a dense fur covers me.

A few men chuckle thinking it is part of the routine. I can see Andy, still standing at the bar, looking really pissed off. I can make out the confused faces of the women, frozen in mid lap dance, staring at me.
My body buckles and shakes, I can no longer hold it back or slow it down. I love this part, morphing from an object of desire into an object of terror. I love seeing their faces change, from lust to disgust. I drop from the pole to the floor as the bestial force surges. I begin to convulse. Nobody comes to my aid. Everybody watches. I can feel their bubbling fear, their fascination and perverse satisfaction.

My knuckles bust through skin; tendons bulge. A wail of pain escapes me as I paw at my face with bloody hands. My head is down and they can’t see my jaw stretching, sharp fangs painfully pushing out of tender gums. Thick whiskers sprout on my cheeks and chin. My black curls stream down my back in a heavy mass. The crack of joints and stretching bones, each vertebra popping, the wet sticky sound of elongating sinews and muscles, resounds in my ears.

Finally it is complete and I crouch, heaving from the exertion. My breath begins to slow down as I settle into my new form.

There is complete silence in the club. The DJ has stopped the music, the patrons and staff stare at the creature on stage.

I lift my head and they see me for what I am. I watch them with eyes glowing yellow. I raise my snout and sniff deeply; terror, glorious, delicious terror. And a comforting, familiar smell; my pack. They are here. They have entered the club and are manning the exits.

I stretch, throw back my head and howl –  a maniacal call. Screaming begins and in that fantastic moment, as hysteria breaks out, I plunge.

I take out the line of guys down front, one after another, with fast swipes. Shredding them easily, ripping chunks out of their chests and thighs as I take their wallets. Green bills flutter and float, drifting down into growing pools of blood.

There is no way out; my pack closes in. They are crouched, snarling, snatching the runners and pinning them down. The thick smell of slaughter erupting is intoxicating.

I leap from the stage and land on the bar. I can hear the bar girl, curled underneath the bar, sobbing. I glare at Andy as I crawl towards him slowly. He doesn’t move as I sniff his chest. I can hear the frantic beat of his heart. His eyes are wide with shock. I bite off one of his arms. He begins to emit a high whine, not quite a scream, a peculiar dying noise. I take a chomp out of his chest, snatching out his heart, and gulp it down greedily. He drops to the floor and I on top of him.

I leave my pack to finish off the crowd. I am drawn by another exhilarating smell. Several dancers have locked themselves in the dressing room. I can hear their hysterical, muffled tears.

***

I tear the door off its hinges and they burst into screams, scampering into the corner. They dare not glance at me. My beauty is of another realm. Covered in coarse hair, mangled claws for hands and feet, sharp-pointed ears and snout, breasts hanging long and loose. I roar at them and they shriek, huddling closer like mice.

I can no longer make out individual faces. I scoop up one of the girls, collecting her by the scalp. I lick her skin. She is coated in so many strange flavours; sweat, tears, alcohol, makeup, deodorant, talcum powder.

I bite into her neck and shake her vigorously. Each taste makes me more ravenous. I eat quickly, snapping spines, crushing skulls, crunching bones, guzzling organs. A decadent blood drenched mess surrounds me.

***

It’s that time of month. I am not quite myself. I am more than myself. The full moon is glowing as bright as the sun; it makes me ache with rage. I howl a blissful song but my hunger is far from satiated. I leap at the small window in the room, tearing away the bars and bricks. I bound out into the warm night; the city is a feast waiting to happen.

~ Magenta Nero

© Copyright 2015 Magenta Nero. All Rights Reserved

Inner Workings

This was the fourth one this week and James could easily do four more. Truth was, there could never be too many.

He pushed the door open and a wicked grin crossed his lips while the wrinkles at the corners of his eyes etched deeper into place. James was an addict and this was his drug. The arousal that built inside of him as he entered his ‘studio’ could never be matched by any other drug or the touch of a woman. His skin flushed with heat; his body knew what joy his actions would soon provide.

He entered the room to find the unconscious woman on the table in the center of the space, her arms and ankles bound to the cold steel table. The familiar scent caused butterflies to take flight in his belly as if it was his first time. His hand trembled as he stood over the assortment of scalpels and retractors spread out in front of him. Though adrenaline forced his unsteady nerves, the smooth, rigid instrument in his hand always steadied him. He was born for this.

Holding the scalpel in one hand, he drew in a cleansing breath, holding it momentarily before exhaling. With his empty hand, he pulled back on the tender flesh of the woman’s belly before placing the blade to the taut skin. James drew the blade in a meticulous manner, splitting the pale skin to reveal the glistening thin layer of yellow fat just beneath the surface.

His racing pulse slowed to a rhythmic thumping in his ears as it always did when he was focused. He watched the rise and fall of her chest, in awe of the fact that she was alive though did not feel or react to the incision. As he worked his way deeper into the site, he became fully aroused when his hands pressed deeper inside her abdomen. The warmth, the wetness, all of it inebriating. Modern medicine was a spectacular thing; so easy to render someone unconscious, too easy.

He continued to work his way through her layers until a curious smile etched its way onto his face. James worked quickly and soon held the treasure of his search in the palms of his hands. He removed the contents and time seemed to stop. His pulse hammered as the silence grew deafening. The others in the room moved to his side, each one gazing at the prize he held at arm’s length in front of them.

James passed the bloody mess to their groping hands and they scurried around the room in controlled frenzy, each taking turns poking and prodding, pulling and stretching. He looked into the face of the unconscious woman and tears pooled in his eyes. She’d sacrificed so much and would continue to do so for many years to come.

Nearly thirty minutes later, James’ work was complete and he rested his hand on the forehead of the woman who was now semi-conscious, her glassy-eyed gaze a clear indication that she was not fully aware.

He simply smiled and took one last look at the group huddled in the corner before walking to the door. Just as he reached for the handle, it swung open and a woman stood in front of him.

“Oh, excuse me,” she said.

James smiled and stepped aside, gesturing the woman inside. “That’s quite alright.”

The woman returned a coy glance and stepped into the room. “You too, Dr. Green.”

James removed his surgical cap and left the room, leaving the doting parents to tend to their filthy, screaming newborn. James never did care for children, though the insides of a pregnant woman were especially intoxicating to him.

James learned early on that he had a craving for exploring the inner workings of living things. His obsession started with small things; lizards, frogs and such. Soon though, they didn’t satisfy his morbid curiosity and neighborhood cats began to disappear.

After much counseling and failing to assure his parents and therapists that he wasn’t a vicious person, he learned to hide his obsession. After watching a documentary on surgeons as a teen, he decided to create the perfect persona that would allow him to indulge his macabre fascination. He’d become a surgeon. Not only would he be allowed to feed his odd hobby, but society would pay him handsomely for it.

Dr. James Green, renowned surgeon to the stars, was indeed the perfect wolf in sheep’s clothing.

~ Craig McGray

© Copyright 2015 Craig McGray. All Rights Reserved.

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