Here is a flash fiction entry that didn’t win – (250 words or less)
I could have saved her. If I had just one more moment, one more breath, I could have saved her.
She wasn’t conventionally pretty. She wasn’t a Princess Leia or anything, but cute for our small town. She was wider than most models in magazines, and her hair wasn’t as shiny, but she turned my head that day. I watched her wiggle toward me, swishing her hair back and forth. She wanted me to see her; girls didn’t wiggle like that if they didn’t want the attention. She wore a red scoop-neck sweater that hugged her ample top and jeans that were too tight on her thighs. One arm swung in time with her hips while the other clutched a small purse. She pranced by me in a moment with a sly smile and glance, but that moment was all we needed and all we had.
He looked nice, sort of sweet; in a dorky Star Wars fan way. I walked by the sidewalk café every afternoon on my way to work, but this was the first time he’d been there. We had sophomore biology together last year, but we never talked. Luckily I was wearing my favorite sweater that fit perfect. I called it my “scoop-them-up” sweater because the scoop neckline seemed to “scoop-up” the guys around me. He noticed me, and I put a little more twitch in my hips, just to make sure he really saw me. I didn’t look at him directly, but in my side vision I noticed him staring. I smiled. He was watching, and it felt good. I didn’t know it was the last good thing I’d feel.
We froze when wicked cries shattered our flirty moment. I knew the sound. It was the Takers, the ones that came from below. Their evil cries of attack pierced our brains like hot pokers, and we screamed. She dropped her purse and fell to her knees on the sidewalk in front of me. She was too vulnerable. Without cover they would take her.
I heard rumors they were back, but those were only rumors. The Hunter said he killed them all. He said they would never come again. He said we were safe. We believed him, but they were back and we were powerless.
Their cries were debilitating, but I tried to reach for her. My vision blurry from the pain, and my outreached hand shook violently, I called her. She lifted her head. Her eyes, full of fear, plead for help. If I could just get her under the table, maybe they wouldn’t see her. We inched closer, only a moment more, and I could reach her. She stretched her arm to me, our fingertips touched softly, and she was gone. A flash of shadow, smell of earth, and prickle of evil, and she was gone.
If I had one more moment, one more breath, just a second, I could have saved her. I only needed a 2nd second.
Here is a short story (less than 2000 words) for an October Horror contest.
I didn’t win *sigh*
It was a mid-summer day and like any other fifteen-year-old I was sleeping through the sunshine. Mom totally disturbed my slumber when she burst into my room hollering for me to get out of bed. She was always yelling at me, but that day she was raging. My sixteenth birthday was the next day and she was having a big party. I didn’t want any of it, but mom insisted. I wanted a car, which would have been so much better than a stupid coming out party. I wasn’t some debutant, pure and angelic? Not in the least! Mom liked to pretend I didn’t have purple hair and black nails. Actually she hated all of my clothes, all of my friends, all of my music; I think she even hated me a little. I could tell when she looked at me she wished I was different, more what she wanted and less what I was.
I sulked around the house the rest of the day, complaining and debating the party with Mom. She never backed down and the party was happening, period. It was around dusk when I felt the headache coming. I popped a couple of Tylenol and parked in front to the TV. Before I could get through one rerun of The Simpsons my head was pounding. It felt like my skull was splitting in half. I imagined little minions in my head clawing at my soft pink brain, shredding it making chunky brain soup. The brain soup sloshed behind my eyes as I groaned in pain.
“What’s wrong with you?” Mom barked from the kitchen. I couldn’t answer, the pain had taken over. All the neurons that aloud my mouth to move had been severed by the brain minions, I could only groan. “What is…” she stopped mid-sentence. I sensed she was standing over me. “I’ll be right back,” she said, almost perky. Maybe she liked to see me in pain. That was pretty sick, even for her. When she returned she lifted a glass to my lips and said, “Drink, it’ll help.” At that time she could have given me a diarrhea shake and I would have drunk it. Whatever it was, it didn’t taste must better than a glass of dirt but it helped. My head stopped pounding and the imaginary minions died off. I sighed and looked up at Mom. She was beaming. Why was she so damn happy? She cured a headache not cancer!
“You are late!” She said firmly placing her hands on her hips. Oddly she didn’t sound like she was talking to me.
“What are you talking about Mom, late for what?” I winced from the last bit of pain and sat up.
“We have lots to do, I’ll call the regulators, and you rest. This is all so exciting!” She bounced out of the room all a twitter. I concluded she had finally lost her mind.
I reached up to rub my eyes and something didn’t feel right. Above my brow was something rough and scaly. I jumped up and ran for the bathroom. Pure horror ran through me. Reflected back in the mirror was a monster, but me, sort of me, but mostly monster. My skin had turned a dull gray with darker, almost black, patches of scales. It didn’t cover all of my skin only around the hairline, ears, and splotchy everywhere else. I looked dead, like a zombie corpse in a bad B rated movie. My hands were covered with black hairs and my nails were grotesquely long and sharp. I was a freak! I wanted to call the police or maybe a zoo, someone, anyone. Mom had seen me and didn’t flip out. She knew and was happy? What kind of super freak did I spawn from?
I went looking for Mom and found her in the kitchen talking on the phone. It sounded like a foreign language, but not. There were clicks and grunts along with some words. After the grunt fest was over she looked at me. Her eyes were the color of glowing amber and she was smiling. Just a few hours ago she was just a disgruntled soccer mom with green eyes an SUV and a problem with my nail polish. I didn’t recognize the woman standing in my kitchen.
“What is going on?” I asked meekly.
“You are!” She laughed deeply and it sounding more like an animal growl than my Mother ever did.
“What do you mean?” I took a few steps back. She wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Mother. The flight response was strong and I just wanted to get the hell out of there.
“Don’t even think about it.” She said firmly. I stopped. “Where would you go looking like that? Besides, you need me if you want to live through the change.” I just stared at her. “I was really thinking it wasn’t going to happen. You are almost out of the changeling phase. But now,” she smiled.
“What are you talking about? What is all this crap on me?” I demanded, motioning to my scales and fur.
“Well, all that crap is you, the real you. I am so happy it’s finally here and I can stop pretending. This ruse was really starting to get on my nerves.” She waved her hand in a big circle and suddenly she changed shape. She, or it, was a huge beast covered in fur and scales a wicked cross between a Sasquatch and an alligator. The face was round and fur lined. The eyes sunk deep and glowed amber. The nose much like a pug dog, stout and wide, shined with mucus. The mouth was large and filled with jagged teeth and a black tongue. It smelled like a mixture of rotten lettuce and wet dog, I gagged. I must have looked as bad at it smelled because she sighed and waved her arm again, changing back to the form I knew, my Mother. “You better get use to the sight of me. Your father insisted we raise you with the humans. If it were up to me, you wouldn’t have had this life and my form wouldn’t be so disturbing.”
“Is Dad?” I was shaking. “Is he a monster too?”
She smirked, “No, he isn’t. He’s human. So yes, you are half human. Although now the change has begun, that part will be devoured. You won’t know it anymore. You will be just like me.” She smiled and I cringed. “Not to worry daughter, you won’t miss it.”
“I don’t want this, I want to be a human, and I want to be normal!” I shook with anger. “Where is Dad? He won’t let this happen.”
“Why? Are you hungry? I could go get you a snack, perhaps the Johnson’s dog or the Walkers tabby cat?” My eyes widened in horror, but she was serious. Disgusted I shook my head. No. “Don’t worry, the regulators will be here soon and they will bring someone to eat.” I heard her but the words didn’t make since to me, none of it made and since.
The sound of the doorbell jerked me straight.
“They’re here!” She smiled wide and went for the door. I wondered if I could escape, but where would I of gone? I could have tried to find Dad, he would have hidden me. Before I could act, five men followed Mom into the kitchen. They were all different but similar. There was a tall man with gray hair in the front, followed by a fat one, a short one, a young one and one that drug a large tan sack filled with something lumpy. “Here she is,” Mom said proudly. It was the first time I had ever heard her sound proud of me.
“A fine changeling,” The tall one said eyeing me up and down. My skin crawled and I instantly wanted a shower. “Has she feed?” the fat one asked.
“Not yet,” Mom responded cheerfully.
“First the ceremony, then she will feast.” The tall one announced and all the men growled and grunted in agreement. My body shivered with fear and excitement. My stomach lurched with nausea and hunger. I felt I was tearing apart.
Mother grabbed my arm and ushered me down stairs. I had been down there like a million times but I had never seen the stone door to the right of the furnace. We walked through the door and down a tunnel to a circular room lit by torches. A large stone chair sat in the middle of the room. Mother sat me down and I watched the men gather around me. The one with the sack dropped it near my feet with a loud thud and something moaned. I pulled away from it. God only knew what monstrosity might be in it.
The men took positions in the circular room, mimicking a star. The vision of a pentagram flashed in my head. The short one raised his hands, closed his eyes and began to chant. The other four men followed. Mom was behind the stone chair swaying with the chant.
The chant sounded through the room and echoed off the walls. The torches flared and burned bright orange. With a shiver all the men uncloaked and stood in their true form. The gray one was tall and thin with gray fur and scales covering his body. They all were fur and scales, but different in small ways. I looked back to see Mom smile and change into her monster.
Suddenly pain rocked me forward and I clutched my knees. I groaned as the chanting grew louder. I flew back in the chair, my head slamming against the stone. I could feel the warm liquid trickle down my head and neck. I clutched the chair and screamed. My skins quivered and rolled like ocean waves across my muscles and bones. My human teeth fell from my mouth, tumbling across my shirt, tingling as they hit the stone chair. They were painfully replaced with large sharp teeth that cut the inside of my cheeks. I felt each excruciating hair and scale grow all over my body. The pain was so intense I couldn’t breathe.
The chanting slowed. I hunched over and was covered with sweat and mucus. My entire body felt foreign and ached all over. The hunger was crippling and all I wanted to do was eat.
“It’s over,” Mom said while passing to the front of me. She bent to the floor, her animal grace frightening and oddly settling. She untied the sack that lay at my feet. “Now you eat.” She stepped away; I looked at the sac and all I could smell was food. The scent flooded my nose, my stomach ached for it. My mind snapped and the hunger took over. An animalistic blinding fury filled my every cell and I lunged at the food. The first bite was pure heaven, soft, warm and juicy. The bones were soft and easy to chew. The smell and taste was intoxicating. I bit something hard and spat it aside. I swallowed in huge gulps, devouring the meal, savoring the aroma of meat and salt. My face, arms and chest were covered in the sweet wetness of the meal. My hunger subsided. I felt strong and tingled all over.
“Your humanity is gone, you are one of us.” Mother said as she stood over me and the remains of my feast. I nodded. I did feel different, changed. I knew life wouldn’t be the same, I knew I wouldn’t be the same.
I stood and licked my fingers clean. Something bright caught my eye. It was lying in the pool of fluid and blood at my feet. It must have been the hard thing I bit into. I picked it up and saw the bite mark on the metal band. I looked at it puzzled and thought how small my fathers watch looked in my hand.