Monsters Beget Monsters

This is a revised tale from my Twilight Nightmares compilation. To read all 50 stories, click here!

The hot summer melted Harvey’s garage into a sticky sauna. A cup filled with a recipe he found on the dark web stood upon the table in front of him. Inside was a black liquid tinted purple with a thick yellowy head. He took a deep breath, clenched his teeth, and closed his eyes.

Nine weeks ago, a drunk ran down his wife and son. Alexis died immediately. Charlie, however, flew forty feet from the accident. In the hospital, the boy fought hard to survive occasionally waking long enough to ask where his mother was, but soon died. The final blow came when the judge freed the drunk with only probation and a fine. Apparently, growing up affluent didn’t afford him the necessary experience to make good choices. For this, the murderer walked.

Anger seethed from Harvey’s eyes, raining hot madness upon the surface below. He gripped the edge of the table and his thick veins slithered just below his skin. He didn’t know what would happen if he drank it, but he didn’t care. It would either kill him or help him get revenge. It was win-win.

He grabbed the glass, and some of it sloshed over, stinging his hand. He pressed the rim against his quivering lip, and finished it in three searing gulps.

He didn’t wait long before an acidic burn trailed up his esophagus. He retched, and then vomited the brew onto the table. He heaved until nothing but stringy bile hung from his lips.

Suddenly, the spot just below his ribs began to hurt. He looked down at his nude torso and watched a claw tear its way through his skin. As he fell to his knees, another ripped through the other side. He rolled over, screaming.

Black flaps shot from his shoulders spraying flecks of red against the floor. Bones snaked through them forming bloody wings, and the bone pierced through the ends resulting in sharp bat-like points. He climbed to his hands and knees, coughed, and watched his teeth blast out of his mouth and spin across the floor. Blood drained from his lips as he reached for his gums, and he found jagged fangs pushing through the soft tissue. He leaned back as the skin on his chest split and burned as if someone had doused him with fuel and lit him ablaze. The pain was so intense he scratched and clawed, ripping the skin away, which revealed a hard, scaly armor.

He uttered soft cries as he used the table to climb back to his feet. He lumbered to a mirror, legs shaking. He looked upon a monster. Inky-black wings. Pointed teeth. Sharp claws replaced his hands and he had two extra arms. He felt stronger, though, and when he ran his new claw along the scales, it didn’t pierce. However, he *hadn’t* changed because he was still the same bloodthirsty man that would make all of them pay. Every last mother fucker that wronged the world would pay.

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This Is How The World Ends

If only we could show that we've changed...
If only we could show that we’ve changed…

Over the past few days, we called it a vacation. By convincing ourselves this was okay, that’s how we coped. It was easy, too, because I’d always been resistant to change. Even in the hours leading up to this inevitable and unavoidable end of the world, I still deny it.

When we step into the warm sand, I look out at the water. The sun blazes at the farthest end of the earth as it lays itself to rest, and a brilliant citrine shaft glistens from the calm, blue ocean. The orange sky is empty of everything but small clouds that hang there like soft balls of gossamer laced with thin, golden threads of silk. The crisp breeze eddies from the sea, contrasting the final moments of the dying sun. It’s everything I had hoped my last moments would look like, except for one thing. I glance back to find Crystal. I want to kiss her, feel her soft lips upon mine just one last time, but I can’t. She’s already gone.

I follow the remnants of her existence across the beach. It starts with her sandals followed by her thin, peach shirt as the breeze folds it over. Her white shorts lay half-covered in the creamy sand. Her bra hangs from a jagged, brown rock jutting from the earth. A pair of blue satin panties I always liked on her float languidly at the center of a tide pool. Her footsteps thin by the time they reach the ocean where hundreds of thousands of crabs play over each other. Crabs that used to be human.

Three weeks ago, The Makers returned. Those who created the world. Those who constructed humanity from nothingness. Those who watched us for centuries. Those we disappointed with our humanity.

After imparting their disgust with us, they allowed us a few questions, because they knew, as humans, we had many. Nothing we said or did changed their minds, though. We already proved, through years of unchange, that we’d never get better. They maintained that we’d still wage wars if left alone. Irrespective of how many of us had grown to accept those who were gay or of a different ethnicity or religious belief, there were still far too many of us that couldn’t respect or love their fellow humans. We failed, and thus had to pay the ultimate price.

Not long ago, they required us to surrender to a mutation that retrogressed us to an undetermined point before we were human. Many fought this, and many died because The Makers had no problem exterminating anyone who refused. Which led me to this beach.

I take a deep breath, and stare down at the green laser line in the sand. All I have to do is step through it, and I’ll transform, too. This is the end for us, but I suppose it’s also a new beginning. I shrug, whisper my last goodbye to those I love, and step into the transmogrifying light.

To Kill A Mocking Rabbit

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When worlds collide, Bugs just can’t help himself.

I wake up, and realize I must still be a little drunk from the night before. That’s my best explanation, anyway, because I had opened my eyes to a strange new world. I look up at the sky and see the man on the moon staring down at me. This isn’t pareidolia. It’s an actual face staring down with an alarmingly creepy smile. It’s even stranger that I have an inexplicable desire to kill Bugs Bunny.

I suppose I should be afraid of the moon or the fact that the world around me isn’t the reality I’ve always known. I mean, the night is blue, and everything has a cartoon quality to it. It still looks real enough, but light diffuses the surfaces unlike anything I’d ever seen. Add to that the fact the trees and grass in the meadow seem to dance without wind, and it all seems completely surreal.

Back to my desire to kill Bugs. It’s a desire I can’t suppress. Imagine an alcoholic surrounded by booze and everyone in the room encourages him to take a drink. That’s how I feel. I’m scared, alone, and in a strange place, and the only thing I have to cling to is this murderous craving. So what do I do? I pick up the double-ought shotgun that magically appears next to me, and set off to hunt a rabbit.

Unlike your typical reality, I don’t have to search very hard. In this new hybrid cartoon world, I start thinking about Bugs, and suddenly, I hear the earth quaking and deep roots cracking. A continuous mound passes through the field, and stops right in front of me. I know from experience as a kid what that meant. So, I point the gun, and out pops a giant grey rabbit.

His ears flop comically as he stares into the two barrels. He gives me a judgmental eye, and then reaches into the hole and pulls out a map. He opens it and says, “I knew I should’a taken that left turn at Albuquerque.”

“Yep,” I say, and pull the trigger.

The blast tears a hole through the paper, and a cloud of black soot obscures my view of the dead rabbit. When it disperses, there’s no body. Just a rabbit hole and a dead map. That’s when I feel someone tap my shoulder.

I turn, and Bugs leans on my shoulder as if we’ve been pals for years. He chomps down on a carrot and says, “Nya… what’s up, doc?”

“I’m hunting wabbit.”

What the hell did I just say?

He says, “But it’s duck season…”

“No, it’s wabbit season.”

“Duck season.”

“Wabbit season.”

“Duck season.”

“It’s—” I begin to say, but he plants a long distracting kiss on me. For some reason, I worry less about the giant rabbit raping my face, and more about why he smells like the latex mask of a Halloween costume.

Anyway, when he stopps kissing me, sit there in a daze. I finally come around a short time later, and the damn bunny is gone.

“Ooooooh!” I say in frustration as I squeeze the shotgun.

I cross the meadow and enter edge of the forest. I step carefully through that ticket, keeping a keen eye out for that rascally rabbit. After a short time, I come to a tiki bar with a suspicious looking man serving drinks.

“You see a giant bunny pass by?” I ask, specifically avoiding any words that use an ‘r’ because apparently I can no longer pronounce them correctly.

“No, sir!” says the man with a terribly dubious southern accent. “I ain’t seen no rabbit come through here. Care for a drink?”

“Okay,” I say as I ease onto the barstool. Picking my next words carefully to avoid my newfound speech impediment, I continue, “This is kind of an odd place to set up shop.”

“Nya, it’s a living,” he says, and that’s when I know it’s Bugs. “Thirsty?”

“Sure, surprise me.”

He sets two glasses on the counter and turns to grab a bottle of alcohol. He spends an absurd amount of time picking a beverage, but that gives me time to use the poison that magically appears in my pocket. After quickly draining the bottle with the skull and crossbones stamped on it, I toss it behind me just as he turns back around.

While he pours the drinks, I prop the shotgun against the counter. The drinks have an incredible amount of froth spilling from the top and an oddly animated sparkle.

He smiles a big buck-toothed grin at me, and I point at the trees behind a tiki torch. “What’s that!”

Bugs turns, and I wait. He turns around, and narrows his eyes at me. The trees rustle, still no wind. The napkins on the bar begin to fly away. He manages to grab the stack, but not before two squares float away. I turn to grab them, and hear a very faint clink of glass against wood. I smirk for a split second before turning back around.

I immediately claim my drink, and he grabs his. “Bottoms up!”

We guzzle the booze, and it tastes amazing. There’s no words in any language I know that could describe the flavor. It was a menagerie that reminded me of an orange and purple sunset over a blue field of grass where pink clouds hung in the sky while a soft melodic tune plays from no discernible source. It. Is. Heaven.

We stare at each other for a short time, and suddenly, he begins to choke. His eyes bulge large, and he makes a series of jerks. Then, he becomes stiff as a board, props a white lily on his chest, and falls to the ground dead.

I enjoy my victory, but I know it’s short lived. Growing up, I spent a lot of time watching cartoons. I know how their minds work, and to beat Bugs, I had to play by different rules. I had to use my humanity to kill him, and in doing so, I also had to kill myself. It was a small price to pay, but in the end as the world around me went black, I was happy knowing I also managed to rid myself of that desire to kill a rabbit after all.