Friday, August 15, 2014


Genre: Horror/Science Fiction

Note to readers: This is more of a confession than a note. I've got a busy work schedule and other writing projects I've been meaning to finish, so I kind of rushed through this one to complete the story and move on to other things. Sorry if it's not as good as it should've been.

By Daniel Skye


            A day had passed and Harrison Langstrom had promptly notified the CDC, who had dispatched several top scientists to validate Langstrom’s bizarre claims of black parasitic worms and inexplicable mutation in the case of Bobby Edward McNamara.
            Bobby Mac was the first, but certainly not the last to mutate.
            Irvine Walsh’s grotesque transformation was a sight to behold. Not that his wife Melanie lived to tell the tale.
It was young Patrick who had called 911 after his father clawed his way past the front door. The police arrived and saw the trail of blood, saw Melanie’s limp body splayed out behind the living room couch. And what remained of her gouged, chewed face scarcely resembled a face at all.
Little Pat babbled a tale of madness to the police; his father he shed his skin like a snake and what lied underneath was a shell of green scales and reptilian eyes.
            Normally any cop would balk at this story. But they couldn’t ignore the blanket of warm skin left behind in the upstairs bedroom.
            If this wasn’t evidence enough, in minutes the local police were swamped with calls from local residents claiming to have seen a reptilian creature of gigantic proportions sprinting past their houses.
            This thing that had taken over Irvine Walsh’s body, it was heading straight for the reservoir.
* * *
Word of Irvine Walsh had already spread through town like hot gossip. Even Dylan Ford and Harrison Langstrom had caught wind of the news.
It confirmed what Harrison Langstrom feared the most. Bobby Mac was not the origin of these parasitic creatures.
            The CDC arrived at noon. There were three scientists; two male, one female. With horror, they observed the worms Langstrom had been preserving in the tank. All three scientists concurred it was unlike any species they had encountered before.
            Still they remained unconvinced. That was until they saw what remained of Bobby Mac’s mutated carcass. The female scientist lost her lunch the minute the odor hit her, and the two male scientists soon followed.
            They moved back towards the living room, where the glass tank resided. “We’re going to have to call for backup,” the lead scientist, a middle-aged man with a grey beard informed them. His name was Ralph. “What can you tell us about these…things?”
            “I’ve learned the organisms are both pelagic and parasitic. They need water to survive. I’ve surmised that this is why they choose humans as hosts. Our bodies are comprised of about sixty percent water. It would make sense they’d use us. As for the mutation, the parasites are also responsible, as far as I can tell. But don’t ask me how or why.”
            “This is big,” the lead scientist said, tugging at his grey beard in an intriguing manner at this startling discovery. “This is international news. We’re looking at a brand new species here.”
            As Langstrom had anticipated, the black worms continued to deviate and multiply until the tank was filled to the top. And as he predicted, the glass could no longer hold. Dylan Ford gasped as the cracks spread and the glass shattered, the worms spilling out onto the floor, crawling in every direction.
            More than half a dozen worms found their way up the legs of Ralph’s beige pants. They moved at lightning speed, crawling up his body and entering through his ears.
            Ralph collapsed to the floor as more black pulsating worms turned in his direction. His body convulsed violently, and a thick yellow puss oozed from every orifice.
            The skin bubbled and flayed; each bloody layer of peeled flesh gave birth to a new figure comprised of dry, rigid scales.
            Dylan swatted several worms away that were trying to sneak up the leg of his jeans. He turned to say something to Langstrom, but Langstrom was gone. The two remaining scientists watched at a distance, studying their colleagues’ grotesque transformation.
            Dylan moved away from Ralph’s mutating body, moved away from the accumulating worms that were snaking about aimlessly.
            The female scientist was Brandy; she was young, inexperienced. Dylan knew that from the start. It didn’t make any difference though. No amount of experience could prepare a person for the likes of this.
            “I think we should head for higher ground,” Brandy suggested, her voice cracking with each word.
            “Where’s higher ground?” the male scientist asked. He was also young, not nearly as experienced as their infected counterpart.
            “Anywhere but here,” Brandy responded.
            Just as Dylan was about to bail, Langstrom returned, brandishing a can of gasoline. He doused the entire living room floor and produced a pack of matches from his pocket.
            With a single match, Ralph and the worms went up in flames. And the survivors headed for higher ground.
            Higher ground turned out to be Rey’s apartment. Rey was happy to see his buddy, Dylan. He wasn’t so happy to see the rest of the group, especially when he heard all the gory details of the latest developments.
            “I heard the report on Irvine Walsh,” Rey said. “It all makes sense now in some weird sort of way. If the worms are parasites, and they’re causing this mutation, maybe they’re just adapting our bodies as a means of survival. Turning us into their species.”
            “But what exactly is their species?” Dylan wondered.
            “Who knows?” the young male scientist who identified himself as Jim said. “Maybe they’re aliens. Mutated fish creatures out of some H.P. Lovecraft story. We don’t need to know what they are. We need to know how to stop them.”
            “Then we’d have to find their place of origin,” Harrison pointed out. “Easier said than done.”
            “I don’t think you have to worry about stopping them,” Rey chimed in again. “Have you heard the latest news? The governments stepped in. The entire town of Dorchester is under quarantine. If all else fails, they’ll go with their last resort.”
            “What’s the last resort?” Brandy asked.
            “Eradicate the entire town. Just blow it to bits. Wipe us all off the map.”
            “We can’t let that happen,” Dylan said. His look was that of crystal transparency. You could see right through him, and you could see like the others, he was afraid. “This is just one small town. If it did originate here, how hard could it be to find it? We have to try before it’s too late.”
            “Wait a minute,” Harrison said. “Maybe I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. I thought the worm you found in the toilet at the bar was excreted when Bobby Mac used the restroom. What if it wasn’t? What if it did crawl up through the toilet on its own?"
            “So what if it did?” Jim asked.
            “Then it could’ve only come from one place…the sewer.”
            At 2:05 PM, Irvine Walsh–or the creature that had consumed his flesh–was shot by police in the town reservoir. That was the good news. The bad news was that Walsh’s contact with the reservoir had infected the town’s water supply. Nearly fifty citizens had been hospitalized after unwittingly ingesting tainted tap water. Like Ralph, their mutation was nearly instantaneous.
            These reptilian creatures fought and clawed their way past any orderlies that stood in their path. Once they escaped the hospital, they all traveled in the same direction.
            At 4:35, the group made their descent into the sewers of Dorchester. It was far more disgusting than any of them had imagined. But they trudged through murky water and fought to stomach the unbearable conditions.
            At least they were armed, so to speak.
            “Super soakers,” Jim said, shaking his head. “This is your secret weapon against an unimaginable threat?”
            “They’re not just super soakers,” Langstrom said. “I’ve loaded your super soakers with cranberry juice. It’s a natural diuretic. A diuretic is something these creatures can’t handle. It dries them out instantly, kills them.”
            “What did you load your super soaker with?” Dylan asked.
            “Gasoline,” Langstrom replied.
            “I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Brandy said.
            “Just stick close to me,” Dylan said. “I’ll protect you.”
            “Does that ever work on a girl?” Brandy asked.
            “You’d be surprised.”
            As they navigated their way through the underground labyrinth, they reached a dead end…and stumbled upon the object of their quest.
            It was a hive; black, round, about five feet wide, five feet long. A sea of black worms festered inside, some spilling out through cracks of the hive and swimming their way through the rancid water.
            “Uh, guys,” Rey said, quivering. “We’ve got company.”
            Through the darkness, they could see the creatures gaining on them. Every mutated citizen of Dorchester had fled to the sewers. And they had found their prey.
            They pumped their super soakers, aimed steady, and starting spraying. Streams of red liquid burst forth in quick jets, soaking the green scaled monsters.
            One by one, they all fell victim. They collapsed, bodies twitching, tails trashing in the water. Their bodies dried out almost instantly, petrifying them.
            Langstrom soaked the hive in gasoline, lit a match, and then they ran like they never ran before.
* * *
            The ordeal was over. The government had revoked the quarantine. After Brandy and Jim made the call, the CDC moved in to investigate. The remains of the creatures were taken to a top research facility for private testing. Nothing remained of the hive.
            Harrison Langstrom wrote a best-selling novel that chronicled the events. Rey became a national celebrity, appearing on the talk-show syndicate to discuss the events that had transpired. And Dylan, he decided he didn’t want fame or fortune or attention after all. He went back to doing what he did best. Bartending.
            The CDC never released an official statement. The questions would always remain: Were these parasites aliens? Did they come from the depths of the ocean? What were they exactly? And would they ever return?

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