A horror short story I'm going to submit for a writing contest, but doubt it will go anywhere. TW: Detailed descriptions of gore and body horror, character death(also graphic), and a singular isolated usage of the word 'moist' simply because it's the only one that really fit there for me. (Also I may add on some other short stories I've made if I get requests for it, but for now this is it.)
“Ash?” I frantically called out. “Ash! Please don’t do this! I don’t know why you ran away but please just talk to me!” I had woken up this morning to find Ash gone from his bed, and when I saw his duffel bag was missing I knew he’d run away. I couldn’t just let them run out on our family, we care about them far too much. I’d tracked his phone to the local scrapyard, so I just had to find him somewhere among the rusted, junked up cars. That was when I heard it. A voice, calling out for me.
“Mom! Mom, please help!” My baby! He’s in trouble! I immediately began rushing through the lines of broken vehicles.
“Ash! Ash, I’m coming, son!”
“Mom, hurry!” I finally made it to where I’d heard the voice coming from and saw a meticulously placed circle of junkers, almost forming an arena of sorts, with only one way in, and one way out. I began walking into the ring to see if I could help, but I was cut off by a young girl of about sixteen or seventeen sprinting past me.
“Cyrus! Cy, I’m coming! Hang on for just a little longer, I’ll get you to the hospital before the baby gets here, I promise! You’ll make it! Mom is driving Bonnie over right now, we just have to hurry! Cyrus we can still make–” The urgent yelling was suddenly cut off by the sound of tearing flesh and crunching bones. “Cy?” A garbled moan echoed among the cracked and shattered windshields, then a high scream. I peeked around the cars, seeing a creature unlike any I’d ever seen before towering over the teen. It looked to be made of pure muscle, its face utterly indecipherable, save for its eyes. Less eyes than voids, pools of black ooze that leaked down the creature’s body like veins as its body shifted and seemed to change shape every time I’d look at it. Surrounding it, several people were backed against the walls of clunkers, staring on in with blank faces, seeming to lack any true life of their own. With one final roar, the creature lunged for the girl and she came apart before my eyes like a dollar store action figure. An arm, torn from its socket with a spurt of ichor and a primal scream of anguish ripping through the girl’s throat. Then her other arm, this time coming away with part of her chest. The girl fell to her knees, silent in a way only the dead could be. She dropped forward onto her face, no longer moving. The creature barely even paused. With a crunch, the girl’s back was open, bloodied flesh glinting in the moonlight, bone fragments pointing out in every direction, some with tendons still clinging to them, waiting for movement. I glanced away, unable to bear to witness any more, now worried even more about where my child was. What if Ash had been…eaten by that thing? I glanced at the ring of junkers one last time before I turned to leave, not sure what I’d done it for. I glanced among the faces of the humans along the edges, seeing a familiar face in the worst possible context.
“Ash.” I whispered. There he was. Standing on the line, as blank faced as everyone else in the arena. I felt emotion fly through me, both relief at having found him, and fear for what would happen to him if he stuck around. The monster wouldn’t be distracted for long, and would probably move on to the rest of the humans after it had finished its current, current, ugh I can’t handle to think of it this way but, it’s current meal. I snuck around the sides taking quick glances through the windows of the cars for where my child was standing. Finally I found myself standing behind a familiar fluffy black head of hair. It was Ash. Thankfully he stood in front of a car turned sideways, and I could open the door to crawl through behind his back. I cranked down the window of the old Mustang, and gently tapped Ash’s shoulder. He didn’t react at all. I leaned over his shoulder to whisper in his ear.
“Ash, honey, I’m here to rescue you. Just crawl through the window while it’s distracted, we can escape.” Still no response from my son,but that was when I noticed it. His ear had begun to leak that same black ooze as the others. As I looked over Ash’s face, I noticed more and more that I wished I’d seen before. His face was covered in gore, his clothing torn, the edges of each tear tinged a rusty red. And his stomach-his stomach was the worst part of all. It was torn open, his organs long gone, leaving only the cavern of his broken ribcage, ribbons of muscle and sinew dangling from the shattered bones. “Ash?” That was when I realized what a monumental mistake I’d made. His eyes began filling with the same black goop that had flowed down the body of the creature, and it began to flow down his face as he began to almost melt, his skin breaking away like wet paper from his flesh, leaving his body a jelly-like facsimile of himself. I began scrambling away in terror. My child had been turned. I banged the door of the car shut and sprinted with every ounce of energy I had left. I didn’t get far. A tendril of moist flesh whipped out to grasp my ankle, pulling my leg out from under me and slowly but surely beginning to drag me along the dusty dirt road back to the cars.
“Why are you leaving, Mom? You haven’t met my friends! If you loved me you’d come meet my friends! You do love me right? I love you! Do you love me Mom? Do you love me? Answer me Mom, do you love me?!?!?!”My fear for my son turned to fear for my life. I felt glass shards that littered the dirty ground digging into my back as I pulled uselessly at the muscled tendon dragging me along.
“Let me go! Please just let me go! I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die! Ash, please, this isn’t you!”
“Answer me, Mom!” The tendril lifted me into the air, then slammed me down to the ground back in the midst of the blank faced people, but they weren’t people any more. They had all grown to match the creature I’d seen before, and they were eyeing me with hunger. The second the tendril had slammed me down, I saw the mounds of black soaked flesh slither closer together, melting into what looked like one solid being, the one from before pulling the rest into itself as I looked on in fear. I moved to push myself to my feet, but as I did, I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my ribs, and my arms gave out at the sudden agony, dropping me painfully back to the ground as I let out a strained yelp.
“Ash, of course I love you, I love you, Dad loves you, please just come back to us! This isn’t you!” A strange grating, growling noise emanated from the creature’s maw, and after a moment, I realized it was laughing.
"Mom, don't you get it?! There is no me, only us." That final word echoed with the reverb of a thousand voices, trickling fear down my body like an icy river. I steeled myself before forcing myself to stand again, moving through the pain, having expected it this time. When I got to my feet, Ash fell silent, watching me with predatory eyes. I wrapped an arm over my ribs, leveling my most withering stare at Ash.
"Ash, I am your mother. I raised you, fed you, protected you, and loved you. Do you think these...these monsters will ever do that for you?" My words did nothing to move him. In fact, they seemed to make him dig his heels in even more.
"Oh, mother, you can't possibly understand... don't worry, you don't need to." His voice hardened into a cold knife-edge. "After all, we're hungry, and a good family feeds its hungry." Once again, his voice rose into an echoing thrum of thousands, and he lunged at me, the full gargantuan weight of him burying me under a slimy, writhing mass of muscle, ligament, and tendon. I tried to push him off, but all this did was give the mass an opening to fully encase me. I felt my chest tighten and begin to burn as I struggled to take in any air, clawing at the slime around me, not making a dent. That's when I felt it. It was pinpricks at first, then cold, soaked blades dragging across my flesh from every side. When I looked, I wished almost immediately that I hadn't. It was teeth. There were teeth rising over every surface around me like spiny armor and a weapon all in one. I continued trying to fight it with rapidly fading strength, my vision beginning to darken and blur at the edges as I feebly struck out at the flesh. And as I began to feel myself dragged into the depths of losing consciousness, I heard the faint voice of my son crying out into the night, the voice and its words breaking what little was left of my heart as I knew without having to force myself to think what would happen next.
"Dad! Dad help, Mom's in trouble!"