's 2014 Horror Write-off:

" Going Blue "

Submitted by Claude Turner

Let it be known, as of this moment, I have yet to fall to madness.

At the current time, I am living in what was once a warehouse, which was presumably used for storing goods, before the wars. Time has taken its toll, but even in its degraded state it has served as my home for two weeks, as of now.

I am running out of food. The creature that has accompanied me, as of this moment, has been distinctly petulant on the topic of obtaining me proper food. I will soon starve, as it would seem as if I have been abandoned by my colleagues.

Now, on the day I had finally run out of food, I was outside, sitting at where, many years ago, a docking bay once was. While I did not enjoy being out in the open, I did not enjoy sitting in the former warehouse; it smelled like rot, and the roof leaked terribly.

The sky was an iron-grey color, and cloudy; mostly due to the climate, as opposed to anything regarding actual, normal weather. I had long since disregarded that the waters of the bay, far from looking appropriately uninviting, were a bright, sparkling blue, with little brightly colored fish swimming in the shallows, like the ocean was merely an especially large pond. I sat on what could be called a ‘lawn-chair’, a foldable plastic chair that, while not especially comfortable, provided me with a place to sit that was not at ground level. The docks themselves were cracked and nearly green, now, with grass and weeds and small shrubs that bore small pink fruits. I dared not to try them.

I planned on entertaining myself with reading material, but, as it would turn out, catching up on the works of the Russian masters was a horrible idea, given the current state of my surroundings, so I simply sat and stared at the unnaturally shimmering waters, and attempted to ignore the monster that had been my companion for the last two weeks.

The creature that sat near the water had skin the color of an old bruise, a dark grey-color. It was thin and short, with big almond eyes and blunt little claws for toes and fingers. It had a full head of long, brown hair; while the rest of its body was hairless, its hygiene was abysmal enough to where that was probably some sort of adaptation for it, if it was a truly natural creature. Its hair was full of twigs and leaves, and looked as if it had never been washed; presumably, it never has.

It wore no shoes; the skin around its feet was visibly darker and rougher than the rest of it, and it had little issue running on the concrete. Combined with the little claws, I would assume that they were somewhat bird-like in construction, but I never asked..

It was sitting near the water, crouched like a cat; this is not hyperbole. Its back was bent at an angle that was entirely impossible for a human spine to reproduce, it faced the water with determination as it occasionally swiped at passing koi, as if the fish would not simply beach themselves if commanded to do so.

The creature, while abrasive and lacking anything resembling a conscious, had put on some amount of clothing, at my request. At the moment, a large worn white shirt, made for a human twice its weight, was strewn over its shoulders. It looked patently ridiculous, like a child wearing its parent’s clothing. The shirt itself seemed to bare the logo of one of those fast-food chains that existed long before my time; I dared not ask where she obtained it, lest I am dragged into some hideous domain where its kind were far more prominent, but given the symbols it bore, I would suspect it was written in some sort of dead language, such as French.

The creature had made for sour company. It often refused to reply to my questions, and in daylight hours it stalked around the area, sometimes catching small rat-like beasts and consuming them whole, bones and all. When it did decide to speak to me, it was never in terms favorable to myself. However, I was simply satisfied that the creature had yet to kill me; I was expecting it to do so within the minute I had met it, but as of now it seemed relatively unconcerned with my presence.

When it rose from its position near the water, it came towards me; I felt a slight bit of revulsion when I noticed the blood smeared around its wide mouth, but not nearly as much as I would have before I came to this place. It was smiling; its teeth were only a little different than human teeth, just a little sharper. Its teeth was the most human thing about it; this fact has distressed me for quite some time.

“What’cha reading?” it slurred out, its voice sounding high and forced, like an especially clever parrot.

My first instinct to any sort of conversation that I didn’t wish to be involved in was to be quiet, but this creature could gut me with its pinkie, so I obliged it.

“I am reading a book.” I replied, diplomatically.

The creature seemed to find that amusing, and to my dismay it sat down nearby, facing me. There was a smile on its face; it was awful.

Than, just as easily as it smiled, it frowned.

“I don’t get any of you.” it declared suddenly, giving me a look that indicated some amount of sudden, acute confusion, “All of you keep resisting.”

I was thoroughly confused, but this was the first time the creature had brought the subject up; I decided to humor it, as I did not wish to become lunch.

“Resisting what?” I drawled, having a vague idea what it was referring to, but not caring.

The thing blinked, big wide misplaced tiger-eyes narrowing for just a few seconds, before it spoke. It frowned lightly.

“You all keep resisting.” It replied, sounding almost disappointed, “Even now.”

I had spent enough time with the creature, to my general displeasure, to realize that this was a breakthrough.

“Resisting being eaten?” I asked, not bothering to sugercoat my sarcasm, “Or resisting being enslaved?”

The creature scowled.

“Yes!” it declared, sounding like it was victorious in some great battle of wits, “You keep fighting and fighting until you all die for no reason at all!”

I wasn’t especially surprised by the creature’s comment; that said, I was more than a little annoyed.

“To most, freedom is valuable.” I said calmly, given the circumstances. “The freedom to not be made livestock is something most humans value.”

The creature made a face of disgruntlement; it took a moment to fiddle with its hair, as one of the greasy brown locks had fallen over its face as it leaned forward a few moments before.

“Changelings are not cattle!” it said sharply, its choice of words unsettling me rather badly, “They’re like your fish!”

I was rather confused, as I did not understand what it meant by that; the creature seemed to understand that, and after a few moments it spoke again, its voice carrying a tone of apology.

“Goldfish.” it said, looking bizarrely cheerful, “I read a book about them! People like you found them, and thought they were pretty, and when they thought they could get good things, like pretty colors, they got them to mate! And then you get their descendants to do it until they’re what you want them to look like!”

It paused, and giggled lightly, like the last thing it just said was utterly hilarious. Its laughter sounded heinously normal and unassuming.

“I mean,” it eventually continued, “you all haven’t been too good yourselves without us! You keep culling each other in the places where you can’t live too well in, but you mate faster than you die, and for every one of you that got culled two little chubnuggets pop out! If we didn’t step in, you would all just eat up all the cows and chickens and dogs and kittens until you all would have to start eating each other.”

I narrowed my brow, and replied to the creature, even if this conversation was likely doomed to devolve into a talk about how humans are delicious.

“You are talking about infants.” I replied. It wasn’t a question.

The creature nodded its head; it was a jerky motion, almost looking unpracticed.

“Yes! Absolutely! Human larva are adorable! They’re squishy and warm, and if you get a little hole in their tummy you can just slurp up the insides really easily.”

The creature smiled broadly, and its unnatural cat-eyes all but sparkled with complete and utter infatuation.

“In this city,” it said, and motioned vaguely towards the ruins behind the two of us, “there was a huge place that you all kept your sick and wounded! I was one of the first ones to get here, and it was dark, and I found the room where you keep the new larva!”

The creature paused. “I didn’t need to eat for a week after I was done! The best part are the little digits, because the bones they had weren’t really hard so after you got the meat off, you could chew them a bit.”

I had seen the pictures of the first attacks, but to hear of them like that disagreed with me, greatly.

“Why humans?” I asked the creature, plainly, “For all the other creatures in the world, why choose us for your food supply?”

The creature seemed puzzled by the question; its thin mouth contorted into a heavy frown, and its general demeanor became sloppy, far from the tense, giddy entity I was used to.

“You taste delicious!” it said, its voice sounding strained, “Everything was great at first, back when you talked to each other with funny grunts and lived in mud huts, but then you started growing stuff and cutting down trees, and started making settlements made of metal! You needed to keep track of everything, to keep in touch of every one of your kind! Back when you lived shorter lives and there wasn’t many of you, we helped you! But then we ran out of room, so we had to fight back!”

The creature’s words made me pause; for a few moments, I did not know how to react.

“Could there have been any way for this not to have happen?” I said pointedly, waving a lazy arm towards one particularly descrept tower, “There are five million humans left, now, because of your kind’s actions.”

The creature became riled up, causing the oversized shirt it was wearing to wrinkle and twist around its thin frame.

“No!” it screeched, “We had to step in anyway, or you would have killed yourselves off! The more of you that are changelings, happy and polite and harmless, the less damage you all do by existing! The more that come over to us peacefully, the less we have to go into where you live and take what we need! You used to give us what we needed, but then you changed, like you couldn’t decide if you wanted to be happy or just miserable!”

For a creature that was so gleeful in describing infanticide, its reprisal surprised me greatly.

“You are upset that humans,” I paused, considering what I could say, “decided to become independent.”

It nodded its head, fiercely, “Yes!” it yelled, once again sounding like a small child that had won something.

“You would have prefered for us to be cattle, then.” I said, very calmly.

The creature, as opposed to actually answering my question, hissed at me. For a few seconds, I thought I was going to die.

Rather than attack me, however, it, with some amount of hesitation in its eyes, turned away from me and sprinted towards the ruins behind me; I did not turn around, to look at it. Undoubtedly, we would be forced to interact, in the coming hours.

I made no move to leave from where I was, even as the sun began to dim. I had no food left, and I had no intentions on dying quietly. I still had my knife, the only protective object on my person. The creature would undoubtedly attempt to consume me, now that I have angered it; alternatively, one of its kin might see me as fair game. However, I did not intend on becoming something’s lunch.

I wouldn’t think that I should be edible; I still have some principles, even if nothing else here did.