World of Radiation


Continued from ‘Blood Battling

Immobile, I lay in the dirt. Next to me Alice rasps each breath like it’s difficult for her to breathe. I long to reach out and touch her, reach out and help her, but my hands don’t move. My fingers don’t even twitch. What’s wrong with me?

Movement catches my eye. A shadow flits across the sky above me. Yet, parts of the shadow let sunlight through, like they aren’t solid. They wink in and out of view as the shadow moves past me and another sweeps in to take its place.

One of the shadows swoops down towards me. My heart pounds in anticipation of what it might do, but my body doesn’t react. No reflexes kick in even as instinct tries to get me to flee. Just before reaching me, the shadow yanks up. Air wafts against me. It brushes against my bare skin, momentarily quenching the blistering heat before vanishing again.

As the shadow sails back into the sky, the sun splashes over it, giving it color and distinct traits. It flies like a bird, but it has no feathers. Rather, the long, narrow body is black and the wings are at least six times the size of the sleek body. Unlike birds, this creature seems to have four wings that overlap. They expand out like giant triangles from the tiny body. Yet, the most amazing part are the colors. Deep blue, darker than the sky, fills the wings between the body and the black fringes.

Angling back towards me, there’s no beak. It has no visible feet, but two black sticks protrude from the creature’s head, aiming right towards me. What is it?! My heart lurches again in my chest, willing my jump to jolt and flee, but it doesn’t respond. It does nothing as the featherless flyer sweeps mere inches from my face. Dust falls from the wings. It invades my nose, my eyes, my mouth. I try to cough, but my muscles don’t react, even as the sensation grows unbearable.

Despite not being able to move, my nerves still react to something touching my leg. I strain to see what it is. The nerves notify me again, but this time it’s not just a nudge against my leg. Something slippery slides against my skin.

Air tussles my hair. My eyes snap up to find a different shadow looming over me. It stands next to my head, staring down at me with beady black eyes. For a moment, it stares at me, breathing on my face with its rotting breath. Saliva drips from its mouth. The sticky substance oozes down the side of my side, mixing into my hair. Inching closer, its tiny black nose pokes my cheek. My head lolls to the side even as I struggle to keep eye contact with it.

A high-pitched noise splits the air. Short and grating, it assaults my ears. Another creature responds, sounding like it’s next to my leg.

My heart slams against my chest with enough force to be painful. My lungs scream to accept enough oxygen to keep it beating, but they’re losing. They ache. My breathing labors like my lungs are refusing to work.

What is it going on?!

Next to me lays Alice. Still unconscious, she doesn’t react to the small creatures sniffing about her. Unlike the flying creatures, these have no wings. Rather long, furry tails almost match the length of their narrow red bodies. Their tiny black feet kick up dirt as they circle Alice.

“Gee aay!” I shout, my lips not moving appropriately to form words.

Pointed, black-tipped ears flick in my direction. Two sets of black eyes snap up to me. The two red, narrow faces point towards me when another high-pitched noise startles them. Ears flatten to their hands and teeth bare themselves as the two creatures snarl at the one by my leg.

Suddenly, one of the creatures by Alice slams her arm down in its jaw.

“Nuuuuhh!” I scream, trying with all my might to get my legs and arms to move. I gasp for air. I do everything I can to stop them, but my body doesn’t move an inch.

The other red creature bites into her side, snagging its sharp teeth on clothing. Yanking back, it rips it from her body, exposing her midsection, along with a thin trickle of blood. Even so, Alice doesn’t move. Her breathing’s even more labored than mine, but like me, she doesn’t jerk or react to the bites.

Pain shoots through my thigh like someone’s driven a dozen tiny blades into my flesh. My scream splits the air. But the creatures don’t run away. They don’t seem the least bit frightened by my anguished screams. They don’t even jolt in surprise. They do nothing but tear at the flesh in my hip, ripping me apart like dinner.

Next Installment: Shredders

2 thoughts on “Dinner”

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