Boston’s Bad Day

They unfurled from the sky, glistening against the hatching sun, glistening with their own secretions; glistening with newly absorbed blood.

At first, Boston thought them to be a series of banners trailing behind prop planes high above the city’s stretching fingers, marketing genius promoting a new brand. Down, down, curling down in slow motion, cleaving with surgical precision the clouds. Boston sipped his bitter coffee, wincing as it singed his tongue, noting how odd the greenish-gray hue of those tentacles appeared towering over his head.

He spit caffeine from his mouth.

Tentacles.

Gathering beneath the common din of the city, the marching feet, the impatient idling of cars, Boston heard it at last. Suction, similar to that from a vacuum; felt it, the popping inside his ears.

A final tentacle unfurled.

The woman ahead of Boston seized his attention. Slowly, her long, ebony hair lifted until taut at the roots. Beginning at the hem, her sundress flipped upside down, rising up, up, exposing an hourglass figure, thong, strapless bra. Rising up, up as her arms jut crooked over her head, mere tree branches; rising up, up, tearing free from her body, along with her hair.

With morbid curiosity, Boston stared at the bloody scalp, drifting skyward, a lost balloon.

A man clutched Boston’s forearm. Boston met his panicked eyes, two bloodshot orbs overcome with stress, a long night of gin. Like grapes, they popped from the man’s skull, claimed by the mounting suction. Sightless, the man staggered; his arms as well snapped above his head, the sky snatching his suit clean; his jacket, the pants. His tie a noose around his throat, the man gasped until his head parted from his shoulders.

Boston walked into the scalpless woman, outstretched hands sticky against her tissue exposed back. Yelping, he pulled away, pulled away from the muscle parting her bones.

High, high above, the tentacles undulated; the blood, the gristle rose.

The city reacted the way a city would react; a breakdown of cohesion; a canyon of screams. People scrambled; people shoved. Boston shoved with them, elbowing his way without direction, pumping his limbs without momentum. The morning crashed, an ocean rippled by pulpy waves of red.

A bus jumped the curb, slamming into a newspaper stand. Headlines fluttered, black and white confetti telling of a world gone mad. Frantic hands beat upon glass; Boston watched skin flutter from open windows of the bus like toilet paper spun from its reel. He looked away.

From baby strollers burst small fountains of pink spray.

Lower, lower the tentacles rolled, revealing serrated suckers, awful, greedy mouths absorbing human existence, its inherent disease. Boston struggled against the tide of commuters; the surge swept him away. Ahead, he spied a bodega.

Feverishly, Boston pushed against fleshless mannequins, shoving aside bones. Seconds thundered in his ears. He battled across the street until breathlessly grabbing the door; a pair of liver spotted hands resisted opposite the glass. Boston tugged, felt the tug matched in turn. “Open the door,” Boston hissed, wrenching the handle from the hands. The old man jerked forward; utilizing the momentum against him, Boston flung him into the frenzy of the crowd. Boston slammed the door shut as the suction teased the top of his head.

“Poppa,” the choked voice of a clerk from behind the register. Boston ignored her. Death, dust; Boston inhaled it all. His eyes darted about the store, spying shelves pockmarked with emptiness, crumbling walls.

Crumbling walls. Boston exhaled; he would survive this. “Lock the door.”

“Mi esposo se ha ido!”

“Lady, lock the door.”

“Mi esposo, mi esposo!”

Chaos splattered the windows; the glass blew inward. Boston fell, toppling a display case of Goya beans. He kicked them from beneath his feet, propelling his body forward toward the crumbling walls. Boston sunk his hands into a hole of deteriorating drywall, yanking frantically. Dust caught in his throat; he kept pulling, widening the hole, exposing the crumbling lath behind the wall, the electrical wires running along a wooden stud. Just enough space existed between the lath, the drywall, for him to squeeze between.

The clerk’s hysterical shouts for her husband transformed into something far worse. Boston refused to turn; he heard the tear of fabric, the wet pluck of teeth from the jaw. He tore free another section of drywall then hauled himself face first inside the space. Boston whimpered as a nail dug into his back. Inch by inch, he wiggled deeper along the interior of the wall, nose scraping the lath.

Boston held his breath a long, long time.

He held his breath even as his flesh slathered the lath. Craning his skinless neck, Boston glimpsed a tentacular club molesting the wall studs. His eyes ruptured; the world turned dark save the sound, the sound of vacuumed suckling, a newborn at the breast.

The sloppy sound of marrow drawn straight from Boston’s bones.

~ Joseph A. Pinto

© Copyright 2016 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

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About Joseph Pinto

Author of the poignant novella Dusk and Summer (2014). Horror author of the novel Flowers for Evelene (2005) as well numerous published works of dark fiction. Member of the Horror Writers Association. Cofounder of the Pen of the Damned. Rumored lycanthrope. New Orleans Saints fan. Pancreatic cancer advocate. Twitter: @JosephAPinto Share his unique spin at josephpinto.com Indulge in Pen of the Damned with Joe and the Damned at PenoftheDamned.com

32 responses to “Boston’s Bad Day”

  1. Matthew Tonks says :

    That was such a fun read, awesome stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Angel with dirty wings says :

    Oh blimey , wow , and ewww! Well I woke me up! As always beautifully written , with a poetic use of words and capturing human nature in a very shocking manner! 8 thumbs up from the breakfast table horror dude! So using this in my creative writing class today! Awdw x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joseph Pinto says :

      Hello, Angel with Dirty Wings! Thank you very much, I appreciate it (as always). How did your creative writing class go? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Angel with dirty wings says :

        Was awesome! We are using you guys next week! 😈😉 have to say so glad to be back at college , I was getting a little bored at home and that is when the bad stuff happens . I had almost decided to try and make the wifi work and sort my own laptop out! (Last time I did anything like that I pulled a tv off the wall, spilt water on the mains and knocked out half the streets power for 3 days!) will keep you post!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Joseph Pinto says :

          Yes, please keep me posted! The Damned might be able to take your class over via Skype muah-ha-ha!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Angel with dirty wings says :

            Sir that is a very awesome offer! But unless your bonkers, a masochist or insomniac not highly practical! (My class is on a Tuesday morning at 10 in the uk, so you would have to get up silly o clock) . But thank you for the offer! I will keep you posted , maw ha ha ha!

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Veronica Magenta Nero says :

    Some great imagery in there Joe, visceral! Delightful chaos unfolding, you had me clutching my head…I don’t want to be scalped..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. adeleulnais says :

    oohhh this was really scary. A fantastic new take on alien invasion loved it

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    The Great One rises… or more accurately, descends! Visceral yet melodically descriptive at the same time. Another wonderfully quirky tale with some serious bite! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. deidremeyrick says :

    Gah! The imagery! Bravo on eliciting the need to check overhead when the AC kicked in & blew a strand of hair across my brow.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marc Berman says :

    Shiver me timbers up and down my spine I can feel the words, another killer Joseph great job, you always make me feel it not just read it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lee Andrew Forman says :

    I loved the chaotic and frantic nature of this story. The way you portrayed humanity breaking down in the face of indescribable horror was fantastic. And tentacles, can’t lose with tentacles. Great story, Joe!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Toneye Eyenot says :

    A bad day indeed and makes for one awesome read! 😀 Brilliant stuff, brother! Love the poetic way you tell it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jonolsonauthor says :

    Amazing story, Joe! I really enjoyed the feeling of unrelenting terror and chaos that never lets up once the first tentacle appears. A truly horrible way for the world to end! Nicely done, brother!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jonolsonauthor says :

    Reblogged this on Jon Olson Author and commented:
    BOSTON’S BAD DAY by Pen of the Damned’s Joseph Pinto

    Liked by 1 person

  12. domainofshane23 says :

    Dirty, cringing, and just freaking well written

    Like

  13. Thomas Brown says :

    Just catching up, Joe – simple yet irresistible! No need for exposition or complex plotting, just striking visuals and some genuinely descriptive writing. Love me some tentacles. Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

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