Eight Minutes Of
Eight minutes of, the gala was in full swing. Women adorned in their finest gowns, men in their spats and tails. All twirled the dance floor with inebriated glee.
Seven minutes of, the lights dimmed, the glass baubles above took on an amber glow as heads lifted in wonder and delight.
Six minutes of, the largest crystal began to gleam, none could draw their eye from it; they froze entranced.
Five minutes of, the bloom grew blinding: the skin around each reveler’s eyes began to darken and crack; to ooze brown rivulets as they gazed beyond the light. Slack of jaw, their lips began to curl exposing desiccated gums. Teeth clattered to the floor as sockets shrunk and tongues retreated to withered husks.
Four minutes of, the first horn emerged from the starburst, followed languidly by the enormous beast – it struck the marble with a resounding crack as it landed upon cloven hooves and bent claw.
Three minutes of, the aberration stalked among the paralytic ensemble. The men it had no use for – it sought only breeders. It sniffed, it tasted; it rent the unworthy to pieces. Gold and silver damask rippled through the air as it discarded one female after another.
Two minutes of, it chose a single sheep, a prize in grand finery festooned with shimmering gems.
One minute of, the creature stepped back through the starburst having seeded its offspring. The assembly of revelers fell to the polished slab; their flesh dusted the air upon impact, what clothes remained lay poised in eternal waltz.
At the stroke of midnight, the brilliant glimmer of the seven pointed star diminished to the chandelier’s soothing glow as a single scream ushered in the new year.
~ Nina D’Arcangela
© Copyright Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.
6 Comments | tags: beast, flash, flash fiction, Happy New Year, horror, New Year's Eve, Nina D, Nina D'Arcangela, Pen of the Damned, prose | posted in Dark Fiction, darkness, Flash, Flash Fiction, Horror, Writing
I first heard the sound of scrabbling footfalls upon the roof, then scratching at the windowpane. An odd whining seemed to accompany both. Lifting the curtains aside, I peered out to see a dog-like creature with its nails embedded in the exterior wood moldings. It saw me as well, and let out a terrifying howl. Peddling backward, unable to keep my feet, I watched as it freed one forepaw and used it to rip the window casing from the wall. As the glass shattered, and it flung the wooden remains behind it, it leapt through the opening. I could see that it was wounded, shot in the gut and bleeding, as it panted before me.
I tried to shove backward with the heel of my sneakers, but it would have none of that. With lowered head and bared teeth, it placed one enormous paw on my leg to halt my movement. I became paralyzed with fear; it must have sensed as much and began advancing. With its feted breath sharing my own, it growled louder, its curling lip revealing more of its fanged jaw. Then it faltered, weakened by the buckshot in its gut. I reached sideways into the corner and grabbed for the police issue MAG-lite my father had given me. I began slowly edging toward the wall again; it watched with a wary gaze, then its anger, perhaps hunger – I couldn’t say – grew. It hurled itself at me with all its formidable strength. The two of us slammed into the corner battling for our lives. It tore at me with teeth and claws that felt like grappling hooks. My jeans shredded, the flesh torn off the bone of my thigh, it ripped a piece free and gulped it down. Beyond shock, beyond pain, feeling nothing but revulsion, I leaned over and threw up the entire contents of my stomach as it continued to tear at me. Not willing to die without a fight, I lifted the flashlight and brought it down upon its head. A moment of shock stilled both of us; I was terrified I’d simply enraged it more; it was apparently stunned by the blow. Encouraged, I swung again — this time it did enrage the beast; its jaws snapped at my face, my arm, anything it could close its fangs upon. Its raking claws slashed at me. I did all I could to fend off the flesh rending blows. Then, it made a mistake.
In its frenzied attack, it turned its head sideways and lodged its fangs into the wood of the dresser. It jerked and pulled, struggled to free itself, but it had sunken its teeth in so far, it couldn’t dislodge them. I began to bludgeon it repeatedly with the torch. Beating upon it, I collapsed its ribs, broke its hindquarters, and managed to shatter its paw just below the dewclaw. I beat its head to a bloody pulp; one eye collapsed as the upper mandible of its snout shattered. Freed of the grip those teeth held, it yanked again and pulled free of the wood. Both of us bloodied, we lay collapsed and desperate in that corner. It stared at me with its one amber eye — I looked down at its wrecked body, its destroyed head, and I realized the fight was over, I had lost. I dropped the light, used my free hand to pet it once, then twice upon the scruff. It stared back at me mournfully, realizing it was dying. Then in a final surge — perhaps it was mercy — it struck forward and ripped my throat out with one last snap of its destroyed muzzle.
© Copyright 2013 Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.
Coffin Hop Goodies!
How do you get them? Comment on my Coffin Hop 2013 posts on this blog – I’m posting something new each day, so keep coming back for more chances to win. When will they be announced? When the hop ends (after October 31st). What are they going to be? A surprise! I like surprises, don’t you? ;}
Don’t forget to visit my other two blogs that are participating:
Spreading the Writer’s Word
The Road to Nowhere…
and the Sirens Call Publications blog:
The Sirens Song
plus the blog for the writing group I belong to:
Pen of the Damned
and all the other amazing hoppers on the Coffin Hop list!
22 Comments | tags: 2013, beast, Coffin Hop, creature, fiction, flash, giveaway, horror, Nina D, Nina D'Arcangela, Scratching | posted in Coffin Hop 2013, Flash, Flash Fiction, Horror, muse, pain, the beast, twisted
I crouch cowering in the shadows of the barn. I should not be here. I was asked to stay away, yet I could not.
The unnatural sound of bones snapping, sinew tearing, and skin stretching is a thing so foreign that it rends my soul to shreds as I witness it, yet for all the breath left in me, I can not turn away from this creature I see.
I should have respected his wishes and not intruded upon his privacy – one that he has guarded so warily till this day. Trust is what I offered blindly for so long; now I see that my trust was both justly placed and unspeakably abused.
The depth of sorrow that emanates from the eyes that I have so often peered into is more than I can bear. I know now why he asked to own this anguish in solitude; I know now why he felt a need to protect me from the torture of his full nature; I know now the extent to which he wished to guard me.
He suffers more pain, my heart weeps. I reach out to touch him, he begs me to stay away with his agonizing gaze – so longing, so loving… so final.
Struck by a rising terror I’ve not felt before, my mind screams that he is no longer mine but belongs solely to the night. If only I had not violated our trust, we would have been as one forever.
Fully morphed he stands before me, yet I still see only him. He turns one final time – his eyes saying all his misshapen mouth is no longer capable of speaking.
A blink; he is gone.
Rushing forward I see all that remains of him torn and twisted upon a nail while I listen to his baleful cry carried upon the night’s harsh wind.
2 Comments | tags: beast, flash, loss, pain, the night, trust | posted in darkness, Flash, pain