Sci-Fi

THE ENERGY…

©Tanya GroutFOR AUDIO VERSION SCROLL TO THE END

 

Night was falling fast in the mountains. Dad had planned it that way. He’d said it would be thrilling when the car swept over the top of that last hill and we’d see the sun setting on the beach down below. It was a perfect getaway to celebrate my eighteenth birthday.

“This place has a real energy to it,” he’d said, “You’ll see.”

It was all ice cream and switching radio stations; it was all hair flying out of the sunroof; it was laughter and silly jokes until something brushed over my face.

I wiped my cheek, as I would having stumbled into an unseen web from an invisible spider. Funny how they crept around like ghosts: the colour of day, landing like special ops, spinning their traps undetected.

But this wasn’t a spider or a web.

A swoosh came this time, like a wind made of soft filaments that flipped my hair up and back. It brushed a harsh invisibility over my nose and mouth, blanketing and blocking off air. It seemed to hush me with a soothing sound – urging me to be quiet, to be still, but I struggled none-the-less.

My eyes peeled open, stabbed with fear at the prospect of not being able to breathe… until I realized that this strange energy was breathing for me. It had gotten inside.

Dad looked into his rear view mirror. “You’ve gone quiet back there, missy,” he said.     

Mom, pat his leg, “Leave her alone. All girls disappear into their own heads…”

The filaments were attracted to her lyrical voice and they grew, reaching their hungry fingers over and into her mouth, probing around gums and a wolf tooth that I admired. I could feel the slender threads; feel what they were doing, like they were a part of me, a part that I hated.

Shocked by this unsuspected dentistry, mom pulled the mirror down from above. She could see nothing but her own startled expression and the involuntary movement of flesh that rippled over her teeth, as the energy explored underneath.

She tried to speak, but this strange, unseen power quickly formed needle points that pierced through each lip – jabbing in through the top, pulling down to the bottom and sewing all the way through. Her mouth was sealed within seconds.

She tried to scream but all that came out was a high-pitched squeal.

Dad looked over. Mom’s face alarmed him. He could see the outward bulge and blue crush of her stitched lips, and her stretched eyes, bitten with shock.

“Chris?” He said.

She flagged him with her hand, urging him to pull over.

The energy expanded, leaning over and rolling onto him. It pressed his hands back from the wheel forcing them up into a surrender position.

“What the Hell?” Dad yelped.

The wheel was turning by itself. He’d lost control. We all had.

The force pushed down on dad’s foot, accelerating the car up the last hill at an impossible speed. All three of us stared straight ahead, pressed back in our seats like astronauts launching into space.

As we hit the top of the hill we flew high into the air like Evel Knievel on his last drag race against comets across the sky.

Here it was: the crusted ocean and sun setting over a stunning beach. And there truly was an energy to this place, as dad had said, but it was bigger and more powerful than we could ever have imagined, and it wasn’t good.

The car took a sudden turn in the air and veered off to the left. It flew across the road below and over to the open edged cliff.

Dad tried to grab the wheel, but the energy wouldn’t let him. This whole landscape was its space. It had fully moved in. No one was welcome here anymore… No one, that was, except me.

As the car zipped over the rock face, the graveyard of obliterated vehicles below came into view. Gravity took hold and the car hit a quick descent.

We barely had time to consider our impending fate – but I wouldn’t have to, as the force threw all of its might around my little body and yanked me out through the sunroof, away from my parents, up into the unlit, dusky space above: suspended in the sky.

The car crashed so far away that it looked like a cartoon puff – of destruction, of death.

The force carried me back over the cliff and placed me on top of the hill. It let me down gently as if I had floated in on a grieving black cloud.

Deep pain took me to my knees. I crumbled and cried like any girl would. I was inconsolable – unable to believe that my parents were gone.

Deep in the middle of night, alone and moonless on top of the hill, I started to shake. I was unsure of what this thing wanted from me. I wondered if it would unclasp its grip on my own life, or if I would be enslaved to do its bidding, whatever that might be

©KYM DARKLY

 

 

SCUTTLERS…

kym darkly 1

They were in the walls, scuttling. At night I could hear their blood-sucking probes chiseling at the gyprock. They were coming. They could smell me. It had been three days.

 

I’d heard about them on the news, but only on the paranormal Channels. No one believed in the Scuttlers, but they would when they saw the video. They all said I was paranoid, but they’d see.

 

The camera was set up across the room by Freddie Fangs. Nobody fucked with Fangs, well except me of course. Stupid, stupid! But I was desperate – jonesing. I needed the money, man. I woulda fucked anybody over for one more hit. Anyone woulda done it. Anyone. Well, anyone like me anyway.

 

Thudding drew my attention back to the wall. The first hole appeared in the plaster. My stomach lurched. A probe slowly made its way through. It was violet, glowing in the shadowed room. It had a beeping sound. And there were black eyes at the back of it – large, scanning. Its probe seemed to be communicating with the others, letting them know that it had broken through.

 

Hundreds, maybe more, thundered together. The buzzing and dull thumping of their bodies made my heart beat faster. Their probes pounded and cracked at the wall – all focused on the same little spot until it split right open.

 

Like a blast of neon purple light, they flew right at me, three inches long, each. They were in the thousands.

 

My hands flew up to fend them off, but I was shackled and my arms could only go so far. As one zoomed in at my cheek another stabbed my eye. I screamed and wrestled with the chains.

 

Another tore into my throat and slipped under the skin, ripping up and down the inside of my neck, sending searing pain up into my face and down into my chest.

 

One Scuttler plunged its probe deep into my ear and pummeled in and in and in until my eardrum burst.

 

“Oh fuck! I shoulda picked the oil drum and the cement!” I yelled thinking it a better death.

 

The Scuttlers got under the rest of my skin quickly, tearing up and down my whole body, cleaning the derma off from inside until I became a raw piece of breathing meat – skinless meat. I felt like I was being burned alive, the pain so intense that it finally disappeared altogether. Shock can do that you know.

 

Jabs between my ribs turned into entry points and soon the Scuttlers were inside the cage of me eating my guts and organs feverishly: sucking, chomping, inhaling.

 

I’m not sure at what point I died. It could have been the piercing of my heart or the savage rip of my aorta, but I found it more peaceful to watch it all from above.

 

It was like looking at art. They were beautiful creatures with their luminescent indigo hues and gossamer orange wings. I liked watching them clean my body of its tissue. I didn’t need it any more. They were economical, using every last piece of flesh to fuel their little bodies, in turn revealing my skeleton underneath.

 

I didn’t have to watch my torture and death like a coward on a video. I got to watch it first-hand. It was fascinating.

 

Acceptance blew over me. It was good to be free of needing a hit. They set me free, these Scuttlers. Maybe they knew I was a good one to take, given all the pain and anguish.

 

This was the best way to die, I considered. Having been consumed by them I became a part of them and I started to enjoy the lightness of their flight and the power in their attacks.

 

Though I felt at peace I also felt excitement. I couldn’t wait for them to attack Freddie Fangs when he came back for his tape. He’d be expecting to see a body eaten by rats, but the rats had been ravaged long before we arrived. I was looking forward to the terror on Freddie’s face when the Scuttlers swarmed him, as they had me.

 

Yes, it was going to be an interesting death…

© kym darkly

SLUGS ‘N SNAILS

©Tanya Grout

The finger broken, snapped open. A gasp. A fear escaping her startled eyes. His heavy hand cracking the digit further back at the knuckle, with rage. This was just the beginning for Marshall Shaw – leader of “the movement.”

He dragged her up by the hair to the open stage, onto the village platform and yelled out, “She just ain’t human!” There was terror in his voice.

The crowd’s eyes moved like marbles on sloped surfaces, searching for answers. They stirred. How could he treat her so violently? She was his wife!

“Come look at her,” Marshall cried. “Bring your vision, and your mind, and your judgment!”

The bravest went first towards the wretched woman, now on her knees, hair twisted in his fist. Marshall held out her hand for all to see: inside the skin was a strange machinery. It wasn’t bones and blood. It looked like cogs and wires and screws… but upon closer inspection they saw that the stuff inside was made up of other creatures, tiny ones they had never seen before – wriggling and writhing, each in tune with the other.

“She ain’t one of us,” Marshall yelled.
“Maybe she’s from the future,” Old Woman Wise snarled.
“’Nother planet is more like it,” came the preacher’s reply.
“A Witch!” Yelled Marshall, “with all them critters inside.”
“Let her be,” cried the woman’s sister.
“Are ya gonna meet yer maker tonight too, little sister” he snapped back.
She had children. She would be quiet.

“Friends,” Marshall addressed the crowd, “help me to break her open!”

Ten or more men rushed to the stage. They wrestled and fought with the screaming woman until they pulled her arms from their sockets, her torso in two and her head right off.

Big greasy sluggish ropes of flesh and detailed scuttle-spiders with cog-like qualities issued from her core. Fish-like entities and jumping eels flopped and flipped. Her face melted as creatures crawled from her head, out her eyes, nose and mouth.

When the last jellyfish of a miniature monster oozed from her bloated abdomen, the human body casing was dry. In the desert heat it sparked alight and flew up into the air like a balloon; then it blew right up, sending the men scuttling towards their wives.

“Whatever they are, they’re spying on us,” Marshall asserted. “And each and every one of you’s has got to prove that your wife ain’t one of ‘em.”
“How do we do that?” One of the youngest men asked.
“By lining ‘em up and breaking their fingers open…”

©kym darkly