's 2018 Horror Write-off:

Awkward Day

Submitted by Mefista

He was getting bored with his almost everyday task of "find the boy, bring him back, listen to his parents get mad", but atleast that was something - otherwise, he won't be allowed to wander away at all, not after the chatty guy got himself killed, and they realised they had no protection anymore...which was a special kind of unfair. 

   It's as if no-one mattered, but Jasper and Norma.

   He turned around the corner, and entered one more big, brown room, almost tripping on the pile of sand that Dins left after sifting through it in their search for ants, but straightening himself out right before his hand brushed over one of the creatures' backs. He knew they were harmless outside of one or two days each month, but prefered to avoid touching any kind of...wildlife just in case.

    He felt shivers run up his spine as he registered the low hum, and the Din to the right of him got up from its kneeling position and turned to face the man with the shapeless fleshy vortex of its torso. Thick, slimy tongue showed its tip from the inpenetrable darkness of Din's hollow insides, and rocked left and right, while creature's smooth, delicate, human-like but too softly smooth, as if made of bad clay, legs tapped on the ground in the all-too-familiar agression display.

    Man sighed and tried to ignore it, focusing on the upper parts of walls instead: he needed to know which way is open today, and stupid animal just obscured everything with its bulk. A glint of light showed him that the left path was availible, so he made a beeline for it, trying to avoid pushing other Dins, as getting them restless would mean getting stuck here for the rest of the day.

   Once he left the sand-floored room, he realised that the corridor he ended in was unpleasantly moist, its brown walls darkened with slime, and floor clean, as if swiped. That made him relax, as conditions like this meant no creature would get into his way in the next few hours, so he could dedicate himself to his search of the boy.

   He never thought about it too much, but he probably kept running away cause everyone treated him like a child, instead of someone who spent sixteen years of his eighteen-year life in this annoyingly unnatural place, so he wanted to show them he'd manage just fine.

   "Gotta talk to him about that once I found the bastard..." - man muttered, wiping the slime from his coat with the bandaged hand and looking around for doors or branching ways, but finding nothing and so continuing his path.


   He remembered the day when he saw one, shining blue, appear in front of him on a smooth, chalky wall near the feedery. He wanted to touch it, but felt nothing - nothing but wall he moved aside, searching for something useful. And then Jasper and Norma, all lovey-dovey, as always, pranced in front of him towards it, opened it somehow, and disappeared.

   What was behind that door? He only saw light - blinding and bluish-white, that made him remember changing the lightbulbs in his library to those newer, long-living ones...what were they called? he forgot...but either way, he was sure that it was better than this place. "Not somewhere you have to dance for giant gnats just so they'll let you gather some slimy grass," - he explained to others when he returned alone.

   He was still convinced no-one believed him, even tho it made perfect sense: they were here - they allwere here - just for Jasper and Norma's sake, and, once these two patched it all up, the rest became disposable, and whoever was managing it all, withdrew the protection circle around their little camp, leaving them to the mercy of monsters - even if they were truly dangerous only once per month, they still were quite an annoyance, - and hunger, as whatever food they had brought here ages ago and rationed immediately started to spoil. 

    Chatty guy's death was the last straw that broke the sense of community, as he was so brutal and tough, people viewed him as a symbol of hope, despite his unpleasant demeanor. But he was carried away by Whistlers one night, waking everyone up with his screams, and since then, there was no rest, and only a single goal: to sirvive...

   His train of thoughts came to an abrupt end when he heard a familiar voice: the boy! Giggling happily, just like when he found something of interest (a really tiny Whistler, knot of grass that looked like a flower, an odd, rusty knife that, as it later turned out, only women could use), and, seemingly, very close!

   The man started to look around, trying to find the source, and discovered that the corner he just turned around had a door on it - slime hid it well, and it was very thin, barely enough for him to fit, but definitely big enough for certain other person...

   ...Good ten minutes later (his sense of time was impeccable, which made him quite reliable in that regard) he finally managed to slip through the opening - slime helped, but his coat, with those many pockets of his, made him too bulky, so it took five or six tries before he gathered enough mental strenght to finally undress and push it through the door separately.

   As he was putting the coat on, wiping the slime with the spare unwashed bandages he had, he suddenly noticed that the boy stopped giggling, and only his breath could be heard. He didn't think anything of it - that is, before he lifted his head and realised he is standing uncomfortably close to a Scurvy.

   Scurvies were among the weirdest monsters: roughly oblong, but never moving in ways that'd be logically fit for such anatomy - instead, they extended long, bony protrusions out of random places of their tumorous exterior, and dragged themselves to where those ended landing, at random, which led to them rotating and making short, unpredictable spurts. They were also the "angriest", and stayed agitated for almost a week per month instead of a day or two - but, fortunately, their danger was mitigated by them prefering to live far away from people and other creatures, so even during the swarmings, no-one have ever seen more than two.

   And now, he was, figuratively speaking, face-to-face with one, and so was in danger of being impaled on its "teeth" the very second it decided to move - which was to be very soon, as it already had released few of those about mid-way out, and shuddered, which always meant it's preparing to spurt. He backed away, trying to hide...that was when he heard the cough - a very quiet, delicate, "sorry-but-I-need-your-attention" one, - coming from somewhere behind the creature.

   He looked there. He looked up. Then he looked down. And, in his a-bit-too-shocked-to-think state, asked:

   - My boy, are you...having sex with a Scurvy?

   Teenager sighed, now seemingly deeply irritated, and answered:

   - Yes, I am. What else could I be doing to her with my pants down, huh?

   Man cringed with disgust, prompting the boy to tense his jaw in anger and go on a long, probably prepared in advance for such an occasion, tirade:

   - Listen, unlike all of you, I spent my whole life here, and so, I am way more accustomed to monsters than to other people. Also, there are no girls among us beside Stella and mom, and Stella is five - five! - and I am definitely not into guys, I tried...oh, and Norma wasn't relationship-availible in the slightest! So, I decided to go look if there are sexable monsters...

   - And found that walking tumors with teeth are hot enough, - man whispered sarcastically, trying to move away from Scurvy's extended bone legs and closer to the boy, where it was, theoretically, more safe.

   - No, you stupid fart! - boy snapped, angrily digging the fingers into the doughy back of his paramour, only to then retract them immediately and give the creature a soft pat. - It turned out that all of them except Dins are female, and so I started to...
 - Wait a minute...the only things to have what looks like a semi-shapely female hindquarters...are all guys?
  Boy nodded triumphantly:

   - Yes, and it's, actually, their front half, with what looks like hips being a brain case, and violet tongue-thing that hums is also a phallus. I think some of the Whistlers are also guys, or they change sex depending on time, cause similar-looking ones sometimes show an outer growth where a hole gotta be. But the rest - the Hymners, gnats, Corrodes, Pouncers, - seem to all be dames. And swarming is when they all fight for attention of males. I'm sure they keep attacking us cause they want to get to the men, it's just that no-one answers with anything but agression, and so ends dying.

   - I'll prefer death to being an inseminator for whatever Pouncers are, thank you very much, - the man snorted. - Not that the rest are any better, mind you, but atleast they don't leave rotten off pieces of themselves everywhere. So, how did you tame this one?

   He now stood nearby the boy - who, as they talked, had put his pants back on, but positioned himself in a way that isolated him from the other person with one of the Scurvy's tail-like lumps.

   - I simply found her resting in a waterhole one day, and decided that, while hella gross, this creature has very pleasant...texture to its flesh, and planned to, you know, rub it on her...but, once I got my pants off, she opened up an orifice somewhere on her side, and moved closer. And now she keeps finding me whenever I go for a walk. And you know, you creep me out way more than any monsters, so I'd rather not you get any closer!

   The man could only open his mouth in protest, and curse his social awkwardness. This day ended being way more stressfull than he hoped.