I know I’ve said this before, but this story is a little weird. Let me know what you think.
I know I’ve said this before, but this story is a little weird. Let me know what you think.
The moment I was created in that frozen cloud crucible, I knew I was a killer. I spun my six blades and my war cry joined that of my tens of millions of brethren. I fell like an arctic Abaddon, ready to destroy everything in my path. A fleshy digit was thrust out below me and I prepared to slice it to pieces.
“Look, a snowflake!”
A killing warmth surrounded me. My six daggers melted away as I puddled.
* * *
The moment I was created as a tiny water droplet on a little girl’s finger, I knew I was a life-giver . . .
Here is the second guest blogger story, written by two of my Mexican students in our fiction class.
by Amelia Victoria Nava and Karina Rodriguez
San Miguel de Allende was a small town in Guanajuato, Mexico. The main food in this place was mushrooms. People included mushrooms in all their food, like the potatoes in America or tortillas in Mexico. Most people in San Miguel were farmers and they harvested mushrooms to eat or sold them to the nearest cities. One day, all of a sudden, people got sick. At the beginning of the illness the symptoms were headache, fever and diarrhea, but later it changed to red spots on their skin. If they scratched them they started to bleed. The worst thing was, people died after a couple of days in the advance stage of the illness.
People did not know what was happening at that time. The first person with those symptoms was Mrs. J. She was a very healthy person and always helped people. She was a happy and friendly person in that town. You could see her every Sunday in church.
When Miss K realized that her friend Mrs. J had gotten sick, she went to the clinic and talked to the doctor. They talked for hours and hours about the problem but the doctor told her that Mrs. J was going to die and all infected people too. It must be a secret because nobody knew that the virus had no cure. Mr. A was a young, very smart man. He did research for the world in medicine. Unfortunately he had a problem. He was schizophrenic.
Six weeks later, you could see the town empty. No more kids playing in the parks, no students in the school and no people walking in the streets. Miss. K was very worried. She did not know why most people got sick, her friends, her family and her boyfriend too. There was no difference between her and them. Except the food. She ate all type of food but no vegetables. She started to notice this difference and started to talk to her relatives and asked them if they had done or eaten something different before they got sick.
She thought that the only thing people had in common was the food. All of them prepared their dishes with mushrooms and they were infected. Nobody knew, only the doctor.
Miss. K looked for help because she really wanted to assist the population. She planned her trip to the nearest city and talked to a group of scientists.
A month later, that group came to San Miguel in order to analyze the epidemic. Hundreds of people had died. The group did not explain why. The town had an expert in those cases, Mr. A.
Mr. D, who was the leader of the group, talked to Mr. A about the situation. The doctor only said viruses did not have a cure but gave people pills and serum to make them feel better. Mr. D was not convinced by it and started to make a vaccine to stop the epidemic but Mr. A did not help him.
One day both were in the laboratory and Mr. D found a file with all the information about the virus’s formula. But he did not say anything at all. He continued working on the research and later talked to Miss. K about the problem. He made a vaccine with the information he found. The result was that water contained a strange substance and people watered vegetables with it but only mushrooms reacted negatively. Both started vaccinating people in the town while Mr. A was on a trip.
Finally, when Mr. A came back to town, he was taken to the mental hospital. Unfortunately it was too late to save innocent people who believed in him.
I crouch, trembling, in the storm drain. I can hear the hunter slavering outside—almost feel his hot, stinking breath. He’s been pursuing me for days. I am terrified and bone-tired.
I sniff weakly around the storm drain entrance, my desperation for food bordering on panic. I have not eaten meat in days. I wonder if my little ones have already died of starvation.
“Welcome back to Day 6 of the Predator/Prey Showdown! We’ve seen some surprises but it’s all going to end soon for one contestant. Remember to text 684833 to place your bets on the winner. Call now!
Note: the title is actually a misnomer, since a bestiarius refers to a person who is forced into a combat with an animal. I could not find the Roman term for two animals who are forced to fight each other, as this story intends.
The Family Chain
The gaping hole in our backyard was my father’s retirement fund. There was gold down there somewhere; his father and grandfather had sworn on it.
It started with ten grand pirated from my college savings for digging equipment and from then on yielded a steady -20% return on investment until his bankrupt deathbed.
“I failed,” he told me. “Finish the work. Find my gold.” And I felt the heavy chain being passed to me.
I waited until after his final breath to put down that chain forever. I couldn’t let him see me do it. It would have killed him.
Free to Park, Free to Die
“No parking? What does that even mean? It’s space, your Honor. Space. You can’t own or regulate that. You can’t own anything. Matter was free out in outer space for billions of years and suddenly we put a fence around it? Mine! Don’t touch! Bullshit.
“Of course I entered the yard. I took the vegetables—I made the fire. I’m free, you know. That’s my right. I’m sorry it spread but they didn’t own that house. It’s part of the universe.
“I’m sorry they died. Really. I’m not a monster. But they were free too. They were free to die.”
Monster in the Closet
There is a monster in my closet, waiting to rip my throat out.
I wake up, exhausted. I don’t want to do this again. I just want to get up and leave the room. I look towards the closet and in the deep gloom of the nighttime room, I can barely see that it is open a crack. The monster inside is quiet: you never hear anything until that snort of discharged steamy breath when it charges and it is too late. I close my eyes. I don’t want to die again.
Eight feet from the bed to the door; six to the closet. I should be able to make it but that thing is always too quick for me. I have tried it fast and I have tried it slow but it never matters. Once I even had my hand on the doorknob before I felt pincer-like jaws clamp down on my calves, crushing my tibias and fibulas and pulling me backwards towards its lair underneath my dress shirts. I even remember the hem of that red sweater tickling my face as the creature slashed my stomach and I felt my vital organs tumbling out like sausages from a slit shopping bag. I woke up in bed, thinking of that sweater. It was always too big for me, but I couldn’t give it away since my grandma had given it to me.
I have even tried just waiting. Once, I waited for what seemed like hours, biding my time until the sun rose and burned away the mists of this unending nightmare. But the sun never rose and I waited until my bladder was bursting. I wet the bed and waited some more until I was cold and stinking and frantic. I screamed, “Come get me, you bastard!” and ran for the door.
It came. It got me.
After that, I woke up in bed, in that same eternal half-darkness. I thought I could smell a faint aroma of urine, which scared me almost as much as the monster, but I didn’t know why.
Now, I sit up in bed. No reaction. Slowly, I take one pillow and hold it to my back. I prop the other in front of me and pulling out the thinnest blanket, I tie them to me. I cinch it so tight that I can barely breathe. Slowly, oh so slowly like a sloth on tranquilizers, I lower my foot to the ground.
As soon as I touch carpet, I’m off. There is a roar and a shriek of angry, Stygian breath. My hand is on the handle when I am yanked back. I scream and pull hard. There is a ripping sound and the pillow is torn away. I yank the door open and then I am out, in the dark hallway, running hard for the front door. The monster crashes through the bedroom door behind me and I can hear the wood of the frame splintering. I can’t make it to the door in time. It will be on me in a second. Then, it feels like time slows and just before those ravenous fangs sink into my flesh one more time, I flick on the light switch.
I wake up in bed to my cell phone buzzing angrily. It is my co-worker Larry.
“Where are you?” Larry asks. “Are you coming to work today?”
“What time is it? How long have I been gone?” I ask. I must sound like a wild man because Larry suddenly sounds disconcerted.
“Settle down. You’re only fifteen minutes late. Are you sick?”
“No, I’ll be there,” I say. I hang up. Daylight is streaming into the room through the slits in the blinds. I look at the closet.
The door is open, just a crack.
There is no sound, but of course, there never is before it charges. But now it’s day. There has never been a cell phone call before. The nightmare must be over.
But I can’t explain why my heart is pounding so hard or why I can’t make myself step onto the carpet. Because as long as I stay on the bed, there is a chance that everything is fine and my closet is empty.
I find myself straining to hear breathing.
I don’t want to die again.
I don’t want to die again.
I don’t want to die—
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