's 2017 Horror Write-off:


Submitted by Drakka (email)

I am a monster, a horrible beast. My claws are way too big to have any kind of practical use, my teeth are the same way. My body can never make up its mind whether it wants fur, scales, or slimy skin that weeps sweet smelling poison.

I much prefer the scales, at least I can wash filth off of me way easier than with fur! Whatever devil have cursed me with such a form must have picked up on my thoughts, I've been having way more fur these days. Damn him too. At least my back legs are still human, even if they bend the wrong way, gotta keep whatever humanity I have left. Once more, I stumble through my usual route.

The Amazon chitters and chirps around me. Good. I fear the day the bullet ants march and all the noise stops, with my twisted body, I don't think I could run from such terrible things. I am hungry, I pray my people have cooked something today, I don't think I can take having to swallow another carcass, just to prolong my absolutely miserable existence. I can hear the machines, even from a distance. I guess that's one thing I like about this body, I can hear better. Smell better too, but sometimes that feels more like a curse than a blessing. Human voices reach me too, people, my people.

Sometimes I wish to approach them, maybe they can turn me back into a human, maybe they'll just shoot me...I'm not sure I care which they pick. They wouldn't be able to turn me back anyway. The thirteenth son never turns back, why would a female turn back? It's already an impossibility for a girl to transform like this, I guess I'm just going to get used to it. Or die, I guess that's also an option in starting to see...but not today. Today, I'm hungry.

Today's meal will be rice. I could almost cry. It smells so good and I can bet I won't have to compete with bugs for a single morsel! I pick up my pace, I can see the cabins of workers, and there's nobody around the food! This has to be some kind of gift, even just a small one feels so good! My body wobbles as I prance forward, my back legs can never keep up with my front, but I made it! I made, I made it, and it's human food, and it's so good and- A tree moans as it falls, just a mile away, and I scream.

I choke down the noise, of all times for this to happen again, it happened now! My chest hurts, like the tree fell on me, and I lost my mouthful of food! For once, I forget about my terrible circumstances and snort at the ground, leaning over to lap at the filthy, but still very tasty rice. It's strange, my body didn't feel so twisted right now...bang! I jump back, still without food in my maw, and look to see a steadily growing crowd of humans.

It was my scream, they heard my scream. They heard my scream and they think I'm a monster. I know what my eyes look like, weeping near constantly and bloody red, I can no longer show my expression through them. Yet I look at the gathering men and women, and I know their faces, even if they never seen mine. "Kkk-Greg...L-lllucas...I-I kkk-can't...hhh-hhhelp me-" Bang!

I'm shot. For a moment I stumble back, mouth twisted open in astonishment, shoulder numb, and then it starts to hurt. I high keening erupts unbidden from my throat, my weeping eyes crying in earnest, but I'm already moving. Instinctively, I lunge forward, and the dirt flies just inches from where my paws laid a second ago. My body, at least for once, makes itself capable of running. I almost drag my stupid, slow back legs as I dash like a wild animal right into the crowd. I touch none of them, but they scatter. I yelp out another "P-please!" and a bullet flies over my shoulder.

I'm nothing but a beast to them, I should have known. I should have gone far, far away, but now it's the time to think. I run. I run until the machinery, the everything, fades from hearing...and then I trip. It's the crater of a tree, and it pulses with pain...or maybe that's just the bullet hole in my side, but I at least know I have to move. I can rest a little, right? Something light but strong lands on my back, claws prickle my scales. "Oh, c-come on!" My voice booms, and I lunge back, twisting my head around until something meaty and thin crunches between my teeth. It's not gourmet food, it's not even rice, but it'll have to do. I descend on the carcass, it's muscles are strong for such a graceful looking creature, and I can see spots in the corner of my vision. Leopard, I think. I'm nothing but an animal in the moment, and it takes a second for me to drag myself back into reality, were my back legs getting this hairy?

Another tree falls, and I heave, snapping out of it when I heard a presence near me. Another leopard. It glanced at the bloody mess I made, then me, face expressionless. A tiny figure crawled behind her, a much more feral brand of kitten. She was female. Oh God. I didn't just kill her husband...mate...did I? "I'm...I'm shh-sorry...I got hhh-hungry and he touched muh-me...I'm sorry."

I was expecting the poor creature to run, or maybe attack me, but she did something even less expected. She bowed. Head down, ears flattened, she bowed to me. My breath lodged in my throat, and a terrible sense of fear made my heart beat painfully. What was she doing? What were they doing!? A quick glance over revealed the kit doing the same, and something even more terrible became obvious to her. They smell really good. It hit her like a wave, and an animal scream of despair ripped its way out of her throat, "Nooo!" And she moved, her legs flexed, and she jumped over the duo. Her legs, especially the back, felt furry, powerful. Her ears perked up, the leopards were following, along with that delightful stench. "A-alone! Wah-wanna be alone!" She shrieked, did they want to be eaten by her!? Her stomach hurt more after she ate her attacker, as if she had siphoned food from her stomach and not the other way around. Yet her legs were more steady, and senses sharper, not that she wanted to smell something so good.

She sensed movement to her right, another beast, serpentine in nature, and she swerved away. Snake, she didn't know what kind though. It smelled crunchy, she wondered if it'd be! No, no, no! She wasn't a monster! Somewhere in the distance, another tree fell, and she felt it more distinctly than ever and tumbled head over heels. Finally, she dug her paws in and halted her slide. More beasts and creatures had wandered over, and all repeated the same motion of bowing. One in particular, a beautifully colored bird stepped closer to her nose, and smelled gourmet, like something cooked.

Down in one gulp It happened fast enough that she barely noticed how the feathers tickled her nose, or how the blood did not taste good. Next was some wet smelling rodent, nearly as big as her, before she wrenched control back to herself. tasted good! The pit that made up her stomach was even emptier now, and she stumbled away. The animals made a half circle around her, eyes bright, still uselessly bowing. She fled, hunger pangs shaking her and drool hanging from her jaws. If she cared to notice, she was bigger, having grown nearly a third of her size. More coordinated too. Perhaps if she'd really been paying attention, she would have noticed the animals were herding her back the way she came.

Every tree that fell, every drop of blood she licked up, made her insides twist and turn more. Her outsides, surprisingly enough, settled. Her face more canine, scales rippling over her back before transitioning to fur. Her claws were hand-like still, and she demonstrated their power stepping on some poor insect...she promptly licked them clean...and then suddenly, she was stopped again, bumping into...something? Something new, something with only skin. It didn't bow as she laid upon it, whimpering as saliva spattered the ground. Smelled...smelled oily. "Whaaa-whhoo-" She didn't finish, body reacting to the smell before she had time to think. The thing's neck came off like some toy in her jaws, and she crunched the fragile bone, swallowing as her stomach nearly expelled its contents, despite feeling empty. It filled her up.

After all the animals she ate, this of all things, didn't make her hungrier. The animal's eyes were bright, and they watched her with an almost religious fevor...and h ...what was this?...why were the animals looking at her like that...why were the creatures in those metal things...taking her trees? why? were they prey, was that it?...they Hungry ...what... .............were.... ..............................her... .......................................legs?... ...................................................right.... ................................................................lea....pord....