's 2013 Horror Write-off:

"I, Monotreme"

Submitted by Valerie Epry

    I was long overdue for my period. Had it been two months or three, since I had last gotten it? I was far too young for menopause, at any rate. In high school, it had stopped during the height of track and field, when I got thin as an anorexic--but it couldnít be diet or anything like that. Iíd been drowning my sorrows in treacle even more than usual. Moving to a new town had left me so horribly lonely, after all...which brings me to my next conundrum:  I hadnít gotten laid in a year or more, making pregnancy entirely impossible.

    Itís only in retrospect that I thought to connect that with equally bizarre pain I started feeling. It started with a shudder in the legs, a mighty river of goosebumps on my thighs. Then, it moved between them, with an agony like being raped in the urethra by a man whose penis was a steak knife.

    It came suddenly and went away gradually, every few days. I assumed it was probably a UTI, maybe a yeast infection. I couldnít afford a trip to the doctor, since I didnít have health insurance at the time. So I tried ignoring it.

    Except, one day, it wouldnít leave. It left me clutching my head and staring at the floor of my bathroom while sitting on the toilet; somehow closing my legs always made it worse. I could feel something with mass, weight, inside of me...mass and weight of both physical and emotional nature, malevolent and vile. The mass was clawing its way out of me a millimeter at a time, I felt like I was bleeding. It had to have been the mother of all kidney stones, a kidney stone the size of a brain.

    Finally, after much deliberation and abject pain, I felt the solid lump of evil leave me for good. I struggled to rise to my feet, keenly aware of my sore, ragged pelvic floor, and, in a moment that can only be called an expression of mankindís morbid curiosity, decided to look at what I had expelled.

    I had never in my entire life been so terrified, so mortified, to see a simple white egg. Why, it looked puny and dismal and sad, floating in toilet water among a few droplets of black blood. I didnít know why, and I didnít know how. How absurd, a human laying an egg! What was I, some echidna, some duck-billed, beaver-tailed platypus?

    Seeking to put the whole incident behind me, I reached to flush it--but the lever flopped around impotently, without a satisfying vortex and deafening, oceanic crash. I lifted the tank lid, but the plumbing was intact. It was an anticlimax in the tragedy.

    Unwilling to call a plumber and risk discovery, as well as to risk actually touching it, I was forced to just shut the lid and resort to using the upstairs bathroom instead of that one.

    A few weeks later, the pain appeared to be gone entirely, though still no sign of menses. I decided to try flushing the toilet again. Carefully, as if afraid to disturb the ominous, lurking presence, I crept into the downstairs bathroom.

    Clink. Clink. Still no flush. I looked into the bowl, and saw that the eggs had grown. Still shelled and gleaming white, it was the size of my head by now. The blood was gone.

    I couldnít sleep that night. That aberration, that abomination, had to be dealt with somehow. Resolutely, I marched to the bathroom once more. In the bowl, the water was completely black. I couldnít make out any other trace of the egg. In the tank were a placenta and a water-logged human fetus, the size of a two-year-old child, pink, smelling like raw, burned flesh, with an enormous, distended stomach, like a woman about to give birth.