The Phone Call
Something wasn’t right. This feeling of anxiety runs through me. I pull my phone out of my pocket and my stomach drops. My hands shake as I read the notification.
Missed call: Mom
You are more likely to have a stranger living inside your home without your knowledge than to be bitten by a dog.
I opened my eyes startled to hear the noise. My hand moved toward the bed lamp. I flicked the switch, but the lamp was still off.
Ah, just my luck. No power and whatever had been purring was now staring right at me.
It blinked & I stepped out of my bed. But its eyes started to follow me. I ran down the hallway and hid in one of the guest rooms.
I placed my hand on my chest. My heart was beating quite fast. After I thought all was clear, I heard a knock at the door. I gulped.
Oh no. Uh, I forgot to lock it. Whoever it was opened the door and left it ajar.
I crawled under the bed and waited silently. All was suspiciously too quiet.
I jumped when I saw a pair of eyes staring at me. The same ones that had been in my room.
The eyes were fixed on me and seemed to peer into my soul. I couldn’t look away.
The thing took all my memories. My mind was (now) a vacuum.
My heart ached at the loss of something that was stolen, a vital part of me. I couldn’t recall what was taken, I just laid on the floor feeling lost & afraid.
Are you alone?
She reached her home,
Where she lived alone.
She had run into some theives,
On the way.
And while she breathed,
A loud sigh,
At having escaped,
She could not hear the footsteps,
At 11:49pm on October 30th, a red fire engine skidded to a stop in front of 1891 Oak Street. The corner house was in flames. Mrs. Duncan stood outside in rollers and fuzzy slippers. “No one lives there. That house was abandoned. Don’t risk your lives going in. Just put out the darn fire before it spreads to my house.” she spat. “But, I swear I saw the silhouette of a girl in the upstairs window!” The man from across the street panicked, rushing over, “Please! What if she gets burnt up?” The firefighters looked at each other questionably. Up in the top window, a girl stood emotionless, hair blowing in the wind.
Despite Mrs. Duncan's protests, Chief Booker sent two men into the burning house. Just as the firefighters entered, the girl's figure disappeared. After a moment, the Chief attempted to contact his men over the radio to no avail. "Lee, get in there and check on them!" he huffed. Lee rushed in without hesitation, just as the town clock struck twelve. In a matter of seconds, the fire began burning out of control. "You lousy excuses for firefighters aren't doing your darn jobs! If you all don't get to sprayin, I'm calling the state!" Mrs. Duncan roared. At that, Chief Booker gave the word for his team to begin fighting the flames. After the fire was finally extinguished, the Chief stepped into the ruins himself to find his three firefighters frozen solid in their suits among the rubble.
Footsteps echoed silently through the night air behind him. Nervously, he glanced back, quickening his step.
An owl swooped past his head, making him jump and curse.
To his right, the open graves were shadows in the moon. Gravestones tilted, pushed aside as soil parted to release the dead.
The bodies were gone, an hour before he arrived on the path he used as a shortcut home in the dead of night. Like us all, he was uneasy about passing a graveyard at night. Though he normally held his nerve, chewed his gum and walked steadfastly on.
But tonight, as he looked ahead, the clouds parted revealing the bright full moon, bathing the cemetery in a soft light.
He glanced over the wall and was shocked at what he saw. One hundred graves, open and bare! Empty!
Too scared to run, he strode out, hoping to reach the end of the path in double quick time,
His hearing sharpened, convincing him of whispers in the night and footfalls all around, though nothing could be seen, as the fateful moon slipped back behind its curtain of cloud.
He passed the aged cemetery sign, long since too worn to read, on this unkempt and little used path, he knew he was almost there and would soon emerge safely into the brightly lit estate.
Just as he saw the light, it went. Dark forms blocked his path. He turned to run, but they were behind him too.
He knew this was the end!
The door slammed behind her. Her first day and she was going to be late. Eastward the night sky was just now graying. Maybe if she hurried!
The porch light caught its glimmer even as she skipped down the front steps and flew moth-like to its trap. It struck foremost across her face, sticking there, stretching around and into her painstakingly perfect hair. Her eyes clamped shut instinctively, the silken threads surrounding them, and her mouth. Fear muted her scream to little more than a warbling wail of dread.
With no clear direction to safety, her feet ran in place. Frantic hands slapped at her face, smearing webbing and make-up together. She felt it crawling, but couldn’t see it through clamped eyelids. Her stimulated imagination felt crawlies on her neck, inside her shirt, in her ears. The web sucked inside when she tried another scream. She spit, slapped, spit, and scratched as panicked tears began.
She clawed herself, ripping at hair, skin, and webbing, heedless of the damage caused. Invisible strands stuck to her fingers so that she had to stop to shake her hands before clawing again, then shaking, and slapping, all in vain.
Sensing something, her eyes opened. It was perched on the end of her nose, its hairy legs crouching, fangs pulsing, predatory eyes returning her gaze.
She gave a great swing that cracked her nose, splattering blood and spider guts over her outfit while hundreds of teensy spider babies scampered across her face in every direction.
Apocalypse (modification of earlier version)
Little Danny Martin ran to his mother.
“Mama, look,” he said, crying, pointing to his arm.
“What’d you do, sweetheart?” she asked, thinking he must have fallen.
“Nothing, Mama. I was playing with Jake and then he pointed at me and started laughing, saying I had the cooties. I said no I didn’t and went to punch him, but he jumped back, laughing and told me not to touch him ’cause he didn’t want cooties, too.”
“Did you fall down?” Mrs. Martin asked, taking out the alcohol and some cotton balls.
“No, Mama. I was just playing and then Jake pointed and I saw the skin was peeling and then I felt the pain I didn’t notice while I was playing and then I came inside and…”
“Okay, baby. Let Mama clean it for you.” But as Mrs. Martin reached out to wipe little Danny’s arm, the skin began to disintegrate. “Merciful heaven! What in the world…”
“Mama!” little Danny screamed in agony.
Mrs. Martin watched helplessly as her little Danny’s skin ruptured, bled, peeled, melted away leaving him a crumpled, molten mass of human tissue. Simultaneously, the air around her was pierced with the screams of tortured anguish as every citizen of her town suffered the consequences of an event that had nothing to do with them, yet affected every living being on the planet.
Mrs. Martin watched her son die before she too became a footnote to a history none would live to write…or read.
It's a horrible feeling. Being in the woods on a cloudy night, nothing around you but the looming trees and thick, unrelenting darkness. When every cracking twig or rustle of foliage makes your heart skip a beat. Makes you question if, in fact, you really are alone. Or if it's just your thoughts playing nasty tricks. But the worst feeling of all is knowing. When you come to the realization that the noises in the forest behind you aren't just little bunnies at play, or that the rustle of leaves above you isn't the wind. Because in the middle of the night the forest creatures are tucked away safe in their dens...hiding. Because there is no breeze tonight to make the leaves quiver like that. The worst feeling of all is knowing why every creature steals away to their holes well before sundown, and that you should have too. Because at night, it hunts. Sliding through the darkness. You can't see it. You can't run away. You can only feel it, hovering over your shoulder in the blackness, then a soft brush of ice cold air on your arm as it slips away when you cast a glance over your shoulder. It loves to play games in the dark. And none have ever won against it.
"Sorry, Marie... it's your turn to feed Chim."
"...Fine." the scientist took the tray and made her way to the room.
"CAUTION: DANGEROUS ANIMAL, AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY," a sign read on the windowless door. Marie had to type in a code to open it.
She didn't get far into the room before encountering parts of its inhabitant: a reptillian tail pooled on the floor; an avian wing outstretched on the wall; an insect-like limb attempting to keep the door open.
Almost bored with this routine, Marie kicked the spindly leg, prompting a deafening screech from the Chimera.
"...Is that for me?" From behind her, a canine head attached to a giant squid's tentacle spoke to her.
"Y-yes..." Still unsure of where to direct this response to, she looked at the floor.
I'm never going to get used to this job, she thought.
"Lovely. You can leave it wherever."
Marie decided to give it to a nearby pair of talons, which eagerly took the plate and retreated to their hungry host.
Her stomach dropped when she turned to see another wing covering the exit.
"This was a nice snack and all... but I need a main course too." A human mouth on the wall licked its lips.
Before she could scream, a clawed hand reached out and covered her mouth.
"I'm kidding, I'm kidding... just go."
She got her cardio of the day by running out of there.
"Not taking chances, huh?" The Chimera's voice(s) followed her out of the room.