In these stories I have tried something new. Each is exactly two hundred and fifty words. For some not more than a paragraph. Two hundred and fifty words to create three (maybe) unrelated tales that are designed to unsettle you my dear audience.
I have been watching for some time. I flex and move slowly, rippling and feeling empty. My skin folds and waves. I know hunger, have known hunger before but not like this. I have asked for food, again and again and again. Pawed at the doors where they keep it, but they keep ignoring me. Normally the noises I make bring them to me, eventually.
The smallest one has not blinked, I know why, it is the smell that is on the presents that I leave carefully as gifts for them. The ones they roar with pleasure at then shriek and hide from me in the shiny lidded place.
I am hungry, I have eaten the scraps that were left, combed the room myself and the small one remain in. I don’t have energy to force myself against the sides of the room. The hunger is relentless, draining.
Noise from the machines, beasts of glinting and smoke, the ones that have taken so many of my own friends, even some of my own brood. The thought makes me angry, and I draw teeth and claw and hiss from deep within myself.
I see the shadows ripple and I know what I must do. I move with a lithe liquid grace, sidling up, purring in expectation. The hunger abated for seconds, returns. I gently paw at the creature that fed me and held me (often against my will). I nuzzle to the barely warm cheek.
My mouth widens in anticipation.
“Please!” The words echoed again, and the sobs reached, swallowed by the space as minutes ticked. Blackness, how long had it been? Another drop of water fell from the unseen sky into her open eyes. She felt it trickle but could not see.
She had not seen for a long time, pictures of events lodged fuzzily in her mind. She had followed the sound, the one smooth as liquid glass, inviting warm. Not noticing the increasing isolation and loss of the hum of life.
Like a switch it disappeared, her sense, the one she relied on now more than any other stripped away.
The occasional prod of something, like a fork testing meat to check for gristle probed at her.
She knew something was close, could imagine the feeling of hot rancid breath at the nape of her neck then withdraw. She longed for safety, reaching out hands in the hope of feeling something, anything solid.
The glow grew, she could see. In amazement she stopped, sank to her knees not understanding. Staring like an animal would at headlights. Her hands now reached towards the sight. Diverting her attention. “Please,” not wanting the image to disappear, not wanting it to be a trick.
She cried, joyful. She never even noticed the smooth sheathing of sharp teeth into her neck. Odd considering the ferocity and intensity. Her attacker needing sustenance to ensure survival of their own brood.
No malice just necessity.
What was left of the woman would soon be worthless.
“Hello” the toddler said, the syllables mashing into one another, a noise that those close to him could decipher. The young boy was staring at the window smiling and waving. Frank grinned as well; it was cute. The way he would wave at anyone he saw and reiterate the same phrase over and over again.
The boy waddled over to his father and repeated the phrase, rushing back to the window then back to his father. After two or three rounds of this, he made a high-pitched wail and clung to Frank’s trouser leg. He was inconsolable.
Frank picked him up cuddling the now wailing child. Rocking him making sure he was safe. The boy’s mood changed again into smiles. And for the rest of the day he was perfectly happy. The boy avoided the window from that moment, skirted round it. On occasion he would look over to it and wave and say hello, safely from behind a toy or sofa.
Frank still thought it was cute but had not noticed one important detail. The boy only said hello to people he saw, with one exception the window. Frank assumed the boy was chiming to a reflection. Frank’s assumption was wrong.
The boy did see something in the glass, a figure, hanging, loose skin warped into a smile beckoning him.
Unknown to Frank, many years from now. The boy would come to the figure, the figure had such delights in store for him, to share and to relish in.