Free Flash Fiction:
A Raincoat Would Suffice
By: Jae El Foster
It slithered inside of her while she slept, and when she woke, she did so with a muffled scream. Sitting up in her bed, freezing and naked, she reached into her mouth and found it – the slimy, disgusting thing that was now slinking through her throat. She pulled at it; it slid against her tongue and left a putrid aftertaste. When it was freed from her, Melody held it out before her.
The thing was over a foot long from end to end.
She rushed from her bed and dropped it into a trashcan. Leaning over the can, she vomited. At least half a dozen more of the slug-like creatures were expelled from her.
Once she felt she was free of them, she stood upright and wiped the sweat from her face. She looked down and saw that the largest slug – the one she’d just pulled from her throat – was beginning to move up the side of the trashcan. Quickly, she put the lid on it.
Melody had been clothed when she’d gone to sleep. Now, she was naked and covered in trails of slime.
She walked forward a few inches and stopped. With her legs parted, one last slug fell from her to the ground. She looked at it in horror as it started to grow. Without thought or hesitation, she stomped her foot onto it, squishing it.
She looked at the bedroom window. It was open, although she knew it had been closed. It was still raining outside – a rain of slime and slugs that fell from the heavens. It had been like this for nearly a week. If it was a takeover, she thought, it was a hostile one.
Melody had not left her fifth floor apartment in days. She had arrived home only minutes before the first sticky drops fell from the sky. She’d thought it was just rain, but as she turned on the television and watched the news reports, she learned that it was much more.
Some considered it a plague sent forth by God to wipe out the wicked and cleanse Earth. Others insisted it was an invasion of an alien species, determined to obliterate mankind and make use of our resources. Melody was not sure who was correct, as both television and radio went out the day after the event began.
There were neighbors, but she could not talk to them. She couldn’t trust them. Two nights ago, she had gone to the vending machine on the first floor to fetch a snack. The night watchman was there, but as she conversed with him, he began to change. Slug-like extensions pushed through his ears and out of his nostrils and mouth. His eyes bulged and his words became a gagged. When his stomach ripped open, she backed away. Tiny hands protruded from him; they were not like human hands – they had needled claws and were gray in color.
Panicked, Melody had retreated to her apartment and secured her door. She had not left since.
She locked the window and looked at her closed bedroom door. She felt unsafe; there was something unknown in her apartment. Something or someone had opened that window, and whatever it was had stripped her naked also.
She saw her pajamas. They were piled on the floor by the nightstand. The appeared clean of slime. She went to her closet – cautiously – and drew back her fist. When she opened the door, she threw her punch but hit nothing but clothes. She took a breath. She was shaky. She pulled a shirt and a pair of pants from their hangers and put them on. From the bottom of the closet, she chose running sneakers.
Shutting the closet door, she walked to the bedroom door. Looking around as she walked, she searched for something to use as a weapon. She chose an empty wine bottle from atop the dresser and clutched it so tightly that it made her knuckles hurt.
Opening the door with the bottle raised, she jumped backward and shouted aggressively, but again, no one was there.
Her first instinct told her to flee, but she didn’t dare do so without protection. She needed more than an umbrella to venture outside. A raincoat would suffice, but she hadn’t one. She would have to layer up, but first she had to take care of whatever still lurked in her apartment. It was fight or flight, and flight would have to wait.
Standing in the middle of the hall, she saw the bathroom door to her left and the open layout of her living room and kitchen just ahead. She took timid steps forward, saw nothing of threat, and went to the kitchen where she exchanged the wine bottle for her largest, sharpest knife.
Melody walked to the bathroom door and pressed her ear against it to listen. She could hear the soft spray of her shower.
With as steady a hand as she could muster, she turned the knob and pushed the door open.
The bathroom was foggy and moist; the shower curtain was closed. She approached it with the knife ready to strike. Swiftly, she took hold of the curtain and jerked it open.
On the floor of the tub, naked with his slimy back against the tiled wall, a creature – half man and half slug – looked up at her in terror.
“All I wanted,” he croaked in a voice that was far from human, “was to surprise you…” He gagged and choked. Thick, gray spittle drizzled from his lips and slid around his pulsating cheeks. “I – I’m home.”
Melody looked into his eyes – eyes that were far from those of a man and more like the eyes of horror. She searched his voice, looking for a memory of him… at least a trace of him. Then, on his right bicep, partially covered in gray mucus so thick that the water could not wash it away, she saw the sign she sought. A tattoo that bore a division of military. Her husband was home from the army.
“I wanted to wake you,” he said, his voice straining and Melody’s eyes filling with tears at the sound of it. “I wanted to wake you with my love… and then this… this monster took over.”
“Why,” she whispered through a sob, “did you come in through the window?”
He shook his monstrous head. With a mouth full of mucus, his words were gargled. “I used my key.”
“Jonathan,” she cried, wanting to hold him but afraid of what he was becoming. She knew what would happen – what this transformation would bring. “Jonathan, I love you.” She then drove the knife into him, repeatedly, until he neither moaned nor cried nor breathed anymore.
She washed her hands at the sink, having left the knife in her husband’s chest. A new fear swept over her. There was another threat in the apartment. Something else had entered through her bedroom window.
Stepping from the bathroom, she felt a sudden pain in her stomach. She stopped with urgency and touched her belly. Her expression surpassed one of horror. She dropped to her knees on the carpeted floor and began to scream. She could feel it; it was growing inside of her. Somehow, even after vomiting, she had managed to miss one.
Behind Melody in her bedroom, from beneath the bed that she and Jonathan had shared, a slug the size of a man slid out – thin and oozing. It stood to full height, and extending one of its mutated hands, it unlatched the window and opened it. The creature then climbed through it and jumped forward, falling down to the cement road below. On impact, it splattered into countless pieces, and each piece then formed into a brand new slug – living and ready to inherit this new world.
Copyright Jae El Foster, 2018