's 2017 Horror Write-off:

"And Then...!"

Submitted by Dandelion Steph

Kelly awoke to an uncomfortable weight on her ribs. By the dim light of her window, she could see the source of that discomfort: there were feet propped up on her chest. Square-tipped human feet, to be precise, feet she thought a little too big.

Still groggy from sleep, Kelly looked down on her body. Those square-tipped feet extended from legs-odd, flabby, hairy legs. And further down, sitting on her, was a small, naked human-like creature.

Its head and neck seemed too thick, or perhaps it was merely contorting its neck oddly as it poked and prodded at itself. With each poke, its skin dimpled slightly, like clay. Occasionally, it would pinch and tug at some bit of skin, pulling at it absently, leaving tiny cones of flesh.

The creature seemed to not notice Kelly, with all the obliviousness and focus of a baby sticking its own foot in its mouth. After a minute or two of blankly staring and poking at its own body, it looked at Kelly.

Its eyes widened, and a big grin grew from its mouth, as if eager for an audience. It tucked its feet back under it, shifting its pose and kicking Kelly a little in the process.

"Soon, an amazing thing will happen!"

Kelly flinched. It spoke too loud for an "indoor voice".

Kelly was going to ask just what that "amazing thing" was, but the creature continued. "First, the chest!" The creature stood up on Kelly's abdomen, and Kelly could not help but cough. It felt like the thing's footprints were sinking into her guts.

The creature spread its spindly fingers in front of it. With a slight wiggle and flourish, it pinched two warty growths on its chest. "It will tug on the parts!" it exclaimed, with enthusiasm that reminded Kelly of that late-night TV salesman of sponges she couldn't recall the name for.

"And then! It will get all big and jiggly!" The creature suddenly pulled at the warty growths, producing two huge flaps of skin. The flabby flaps drooped over its body, like the jowls of a bulldog. As the creature released its grip, the flaps smacked onto its body.

All of Kelly's grogginess evaporated right then.

I'm having a nightmare. I have to wake up.

Kelly moved to pinch herself, but to no avail. Kelly felt...spiel-bound, somehow, like the creature's very words were paralyzing her. Ever-smiling, the thing continued.

"And then! The seeds will be planted!"

The creature curled in on its own body, its left hand clenched. With an even, zigzagging motion, it seemed to sprinkle something onto its lower abdomen, little dark specks like fleas.

"Time for watering!" The creature raised its right hand, fingers stiff and splayed. Each fingertip started to swell.

No no no.

Look away. Look away.

"And then! It will grooow!"

Kelly managed to look away, up at the ceiling, as the thing squatted on her abdomen. The drywall of the ceiling was brighter than before; morning was approaching.

The thing continued with its too-loud spiel, grabbing another part of its body. "And then!"

Kelly tried to move away, but felt pinned in place, like a helpless, still-living butterfly trapped in a little glass box.

Finally it was quiet. The creature stopped moving, stopped trying to stretch out its clay-like body.

After a few seconds of this blessed silence, she could feel a pressure on her chest-little hands scrambling, the thing crawling on all fours, crawling towards her face.

"And then!" The creature said, quieter this time. It was still smiling.

It was too close. Too close. She couldn't ignore it.

Its face was right next to hers, colors slowly returning as the sun rose.

Up close, the thing had human-like eyes.

"You'll be...."

One blue eye and one green eye. Just like her own.