sighted

Day had aged beyond recognition, and greyed so much around the edges that it was practically indistinguishable from night. Only the keenest of eyes could have told the difference, and, by a stroke of great fortune, I found myself in possession of just such a pair. They were dark, and incredibly dry, but they managed to do their job all the same. They whispered to me, telling me all of the things that I would need to know to achieve my task. It would be dangerous, they said, but the oncoming night would hide me. I would prevail.

The faces of the inconsequential folk that passed me sneered imperiously, no doubt jealous of my unwashed growth of masculine facial hair and my hand-crafted patchwork leather jacket. I had long since become accustomed to the petty mutterings of the unimportant, and had taught myself to ignore their stares. A small child dared to smile at me, so I smiled back. Then, I quickly uncurled my fist to give him a glimpse of the dried eyeballs clutched in my oily palm. He screamed and ran from me. I hurried onward, stifling a chuckle.

The eyes whispered for me to turn left, and I swung without looking into a dark and grubby cobbled alley. The smell of urine washed over me, and I breathed deep. My boot landed with a squelch in something sticky. I smiled. A quick, harsh whisper from the eyes told me to hide them, so I deposited them hastily into the inside pocket of my jacket. Hardly had I managed to conceal them before two youths appeared at the end of the alleyway, laughing to one another in the cruel tones of the young.

‘Look, look, there’s one!’ one of them said, raising one of his stubby fingers to point in my direction.

‘He’s dirty, man, I don’t wanna know,’ the other said, waving a dismissive hand.

I smiled, not quite looking either of them in the eye, instead focusing intently on a fixed point behind them.

‘Good evening, gentlemen,’ I said, my voice soft. ‘What can I do for you?’ The eyes were telling me frantically to run, to stay away from these young men, that they would impede our progress. But I didn’t listen.

‘See, I knew he’d be game,’ the first of the men said. ‘Would you give my mate a blowy for a fiver?’ he asked, offering the £5 note to me as though it might tempt me.

‘For £5, lads, I’ll bite his whole cock off and swallow it!’ I replied, allowing a broad grin to sweep across my face. ‘Watch, watch. Look how excited I am!’

I pulled my trousers down just a fraction, low enough for my penis to make an appearance, flanked by the bushy growth of my pubic hairs. They looked at it in horror, and I made the most of their hesitation. I seized the opportunity to run at them, simultaneously forcibly engaging my lower abdominals, and felt the familiar sting as hot urine began to trickle from my dangling member. Before I had reached the two men, it had become a powerful stream, pungent and golden. I could see their eyes watering in fear as they scrambled away. I managed to mark both of them with my scent, and it scared them both enough that they ran until they were far out of sight. A small gathering had formed, all watching on as my limp penis continued to spill its aromatic contents across the cobbles.

The faintest hiss of a whisper came from my pocket and I knew that I had lingered here too long. The eyes urged me not to tarry as I sped away, hoping to eventually catch sight of our goal. The faces around me passed as nothing more than stunned blurs, and I knew with unwavering certainty that they would never forget this day. The cobbled street turned a corner, and I was faced with yet another stretch of quirky little shops, selling all conceivable varieties of knick-knacks, trinkets and bric-a-brac.

My feet pushed me ever onward, spurred on by the hissing of the eyes, who had somehow made their way back into my hand. They were like that, at times.

I heard them whisper that we had arrived, and I looked up to see our destination. The bright orange sign of the amusement arcade loomed overhead, and from within I could hear the electronic singing of the machines. I shuddered with revulsion, and felt the eyes chide me silently.

I stepped through the threshold, giving the young man on duty the most cursory of nods. He shook his head in bewilderment, and I realised that my penis was still peeking out from my waistband.

‘A thousand apologies,’ I offered sincerely. He nodded vigorously, and I could tell that this was his chosen means of apology. I forgave him.

I approached the change kiosk and rapped on the glass to gain the attention of the middle-aged man seated within. At length, he looked up from his newspaper.

‘Yes?’

‘Is this where I go to receive change?’ I asked.

He looked me up and down. ‘We don’t just give it out, you know.’

I smiled. ‘I think you’ll find that you do,’ I said simply, showing him the eyes in the palm of my hand.

He turned deathly pale, then did something very odd with his hands. ‘Are those… What.. How… Why?’ he mumbled.

‘SPEAK UP!’ I screamed at him. I was unable to suppress my glee, and issued a small, girlish giggle.

‘What do you want?’ he asked, cowering.

‘Money. All of it.’

He reached into the register and started producing the bank notes stored inside. ‘We don’t keep that much in here…’ he started to explain, but I quickly cut him off.

‘Not the paper. We want coins.’

He looked briefly puzzled, but his fear soon overcame him. He gave me handful after handful of coins of all descriptions, and I thanked him for his custom.

I strode across the amusement arcade to the Elvis Presley machine, inside which I could see an enticing assortment of small rubber animals. The eyes hummed with pleasure as I began jamming every coin imaginable into the slot, and they reached a crescendo as four of the little creatures fell into the slot at once. I bent down to the compartment beneath to claim my prize, and the eyes’ song quickly changed from ecstasy to warning. All too slow, I turned around, only to find my face being met with a solid club from a heavy object.

I fell to the floor, feeling the blood gushing from my nose and mouth, and blinked away the tears of pain to see a short, stout woman standing over me, dressed in the orange garb of an arcade worker.

‘Think you can steal from us, eh?’ she said, raising her baton high above her head. She brought it down sharply onto my skull, causing me to see stars and lose all sense of self for a brief moment.

The eyes sang a song of comfort as she continued to rain blows down upon me, and I clung desperately to life as I felt my strength disappearing.

The last thing I remember was my hands uncurling before my face, one still clutching the dried eyeballs, the other holding a small rubber elephant, splattered delicately with dark blood.

pandemic

I couldn’t sleep. I sat there, half slumped back against my pillows and half sitting up, ready to give up on sleep entirely, just listening to Sadie snore. It sounded as though her sinuses were tearing themselves apart every few seconds, which wasn’t entirely as unpleasant as it sounds. She would occasionally make a small snorting sound, shift slightly, then continue snoring. However, as loud as it was, it wasn’t what was keeping me awake. Something far more troubling was racing through my mind.

It had all begun with a throwaway piece on the evening news. Sadie insisted that I was wasting my time watching it; she said it was all just pig shit being shovelled into our brains by the government, and on the whole I suppose I agreed with her. But on that particular broadcast, my favourite Scandinavian newsreader, Julia Xing, had delivered a strange piece of news with an indulgent smirk.

‘In other news, a man on the coast has claimed that French pigeons have given him a disease – and it’s making his bones grow. Our very own Molly Taylor spoke with him earlier today.’

It cut to pre-recorded footage of an ageing man being interviewed outside a local ice cream shop.

‘I was sitting in the park just over the road there, and this great blue pigeon comes over, and I can tell he’s French by the way he walks, you know, they walk different over there, and he rubs his little belly on me, only I knew he wasn’t being affectionate, it was orchestrated. I was given a disease. Now look, I’m all growing out of shape.’

With this, the man pulled down the neck of his pristine t-shirt to reveal a sickeningly enlarged collarbone. The skin that covered it looked stretched and painfully tight against the bone, and the man was in visible pain as he presented his chest to the camera. The broadcast cut back to the studio, where a smiling Julia Xing warned viewers to ‘watch the skies’. Sadie scoffed and left the room. I remained in my well-worn groove on the sofa, thinking over what I had just witnessed.

The nights since then had stretched on impossibly long. Sleep had abandoned me, my only rest coming in the few minutes that my brain shut down and forced my eyes to a close, but my conscious brain would kick back in as quickly as it could to allow me more time to consider the problem. Disease.

It only took six days for my fears to find confirmation. An article online about multiple cases of “Boneitis”, a new condition in which people were finding different parts of their skeleton to rapidly grow out of proportion, leading to agonising pain. There was no way to treat it, doctors said.

The following day, the man from the news, Biff McNut, was found dead with his collarbone protruding from his upper chest. There was speculation that the disease was spreading. I decided not to leave the house again.

The next morning, Sadie woke and began to prepare herself for a day of work. Her muscular frame and broad shoulders were a silhouette against the curtains, framed in early morning light.

‘Don’t go,’ I begged.

‘I have to,’ she said. I could tell she didn’t take the threat of Boneitis seriously. Against my better judgement, I let her go.

I spent the day scouring the internet for new cases, possible treatments, news on existing patients. A community of “Boners” had formed, all of them like-minded individuals who knew the dangers of catching Boneitis, and we began sharing ideas between us of ways to combat the spread of the disease.

CalciumGirl420 suggested quarantine in a secure location, leaving everything and everyone we loved behind. Many of the Boners agreed, but I couldn’t leave Sadie. She would need me.

Hours later, Sadie returned home.

‘Okay, I believe you,’ she said. ‘I met a woman with that disease.’ Her face was solemn, but her tone was unreadable. ‘Her mandible was swelling. Y’know, her jaw. She looked grotesque.’

‘I see,’ I said.

‘You were right. Boneitis is dangerous, I should have listened.’ She crossed the room and threw her arms around me. I felt my shoulder growing wet as she pressed me in an uncomfortable embrace, and I realised she was crying.

‘Sadie, it’ll be okay. We’ll stay here and avoid contact with the outside world until this all blows over. The Boners think it’s transmitted just through touch.’

Sadie released me, jumping back, her face aghast with wordless horror.

‘Through… through touch?’

I nodded slowly. ‘Did you touch the woman’s jaw, Sadie?’

She nodded back at me, and then dropped her gaze to the floor.

We didn’t speak again that evening. I watched in silence as Sadie did her weight training, and then we went to bed.

The following morning, Sadie awoke with a groan. I had not slept.

‘Everything okay?’ I asked.

‘I’m a little sore,’ she said.

I nodded again. I had expected this. ‘Where?’

She sat up and gestured towards her chest. ‘Too much weight last night, maybe.’

‘Maybe,’ I echoed, not believing the lie.

Over the days that followed, Sadie’s chest grew larger and more painful. I remained seated on the sofa, ignoring the painful sores that I felt developing on my thighs and backside. I continued to watch the news for updates on Boneitis. Jackie Xing had developed a case in her left cheekbone, and Molly, the interviewer, had already died when her pelvis had pushed its way out of her body.

Sadie did not complain, but I knew she was struggling to cope with the pain. She had stopped singing her operas as she lifted her weights.

One afternoon, I noticed that her ribs had become incredibly pronounced. My first thought was that she had lost weight from the stress, and then it dawned on me that Boneitis itself had ravaged her previously beautiful form. Her ribs had grown.

She clutched at them for hours, howling in pain. I watched from the sofa, ignoring my own pain. It was becoming increasingly difficult to remain seated; it felt as though I had worn away all the padding in the sofa cushions. I would not move from this spot, to do so would be certain death.

Eventually, Sadie passed out from the pain. My neck was beginning to ache from sitting upright for so long. I ignored that too.

It wasn’t long before Sadie came to, screaming and grabbing at her chest. She jumped up, a crazed look in her eyes, and I realised that this was it.

She took her hands away from her chest. They were covered in blood. What had previously been a rippling expanse of muscular abdominals was now a wasted mess of blood and bone. Her ribs had forced their way through her skin, and she was bleeding profusely.

‘I love you,’ she said breathlessly, before collapsing face down on the floor. She did not get up again.

I am not sure how long had passed, because I fell asleep. The exhaustion and the growing pain in my neck and my buttocks had finally caught up to me. I dreamt that I commanded a flotilla of ships, and I was woefully unqualified to do so, so I was hung by the neck from the mast of my own vessel.

I awoke with a start, my back on fire with a pain that I had never before experienced.

As I leapt to my feet, I could feel something wasn’t right.

I reached slowly behind me, knowing in my heart what I would find.

My spine had erupted through my neck at the top, and through my lower back at the bottom. My clothes were damp with blood.

Boneitis has claimed me.

addiction

I stumbled to the cupboard, my hands shaking. I wrenched the door open, only to be met with empty shelves. There was nothing.
My hands continued to tremble as I frantically searched all the other cupboards, even though I knew I wasn’t going to find what I needed. I just wanted a drink. A beer, a mouthful of wine, even a sip of fucking mouthwash would do. But I knew, even as I searched, that I had consumed every possible avenue to glorious Buzz City.
Fuck it, I thought, Mrs Patel will have something.
I practically ran from the house, leaving the front door open. Fuck the cat, I told myself. About time the lazy little fucker learned some road safety, anyway. I made my way as quickly as my shaking, suddenly itchy body would allow me to the top of the road. I glanced briefly in each direction before disregarding the oncoming traffic and sprinted across the road, colliding heavily with the door of Mrs Patel’s shop.
Mrs Patel was a kindly middle aged Asian woman who ran a small corner shop under the watchful eye of her husband, Mr Patel. Mr Patel was a hateful bastard who always gave me filthy looks whenever I would come into the shop. He had some issues with the way I flirted with Mrs Patel, as if she was his property; just some piece of spicy meat that he didn’t want to share. He tried to ban me from the shop a couple of weeks previous for suggesting that Mrs Patel should flash me one of her tits. I only wanted to see a nipple, and the jealous little prick was willing to lose his best customer over it.
Today, however, Mrs Patel was alone. Her husband was nowhere to be seen as I burst through the door of the shop, and I sauntered casually to the fridge and scooped up four cans of Budweiser. I turned, approached the till and slapped the cans down in front of the beautiful Mrs Patel. The light shone off of her plastic eyepatch, dazzling me and setting my heart aflutter. My manhood stiffened.
‘Just these today, Mrs Patel.’ I shot her a casual wink. Then another casual wink from the other eye.She nodded, and gave me small smile.
Fuck. He’s here. He’s watching us.
‘Isn’t the football good?’ I asked, trying to catch her eye. She avoided it, clearly terrified of her husband. ‘I said, ISN’T THE FOOTBALL GOOD?’ She startled slightly at my raised voice, so I dropped it to a reassuring whisper before adding, ‘Where is he?’
Her eyes shifted nervously towards the back room as she took the £5 in loose change I had deposited in front of her. I nodded at her.
I grabbed my beers, opened one, and drained it in several gulps. I opened the next, and guzzled it down as I pushed my way past the lovely Mrs Patel and through the curtain that led to the back room. I opened a third can and poured it down my throat as I scanned the room for Mr Patel. He wasn’t immediately visible, so I opened the last beer and chugged it. I turned to ask Mrs Patel where he had gone, when I felt my legs suddenly give way.
I crumpled in a heap on the floor, my legs an apparently boneless mess beneath me. Mrs Patel emerged through the curtain. She was smiling now.
‘Whuu–‘ I started, realising my tongue had swollen grotesquely in my mouth, making intelligible speech impossible. I gagged.
Mrs Patel laughed. ‘Shhh, my boy,’ she said, putting a finger to my lips. ‘He’s not with us any longer.’

She ran her fingers through my hair as she walked past me. She approached a dirty old blanket on the other side of the room, grabbed the end in one hand, and turned to me with an odd expression on her face.
‘Slmm…’ I said, my erection intensifying despite my unease.
She pulled the blanket away, and revealed the rotting corpse of Mr Patel. His face had been partially melted away, his features destroyed but not indistinguishable. Mrs Patel smiled again, winking with her one remaining eye.
‘He’s gone,’ she said. ‘It’s just us now.’
She walked slowly towards me, wiggling her hips erratically.
‘Ptttfll…’ I said.
‘The beer was drugged. I wanted you to see this the right way. It’ll wear off soon, my love.’ She touched her thighs gently, and laughed a strange, high-pitched laugh. She continued towards me, tapping her eyepatch in rhythm with her steps.
I was unable to move. Whether it was the drugs or love that was holding me down, I couldn’t say, but I was rock hard and rigid all over.
Mrs Patel kneeled next to me. For one dizzying moment I thought she was going to kiss me, but as she leaned in she lifted one hand to her eyepatch. Without a word, she lifted the patch, showing me the angry, infected socket beneath.
I opened my mouth to speak, but her hand darted out and grabbed my tongue, killing my words before they had formed. She leant in closer, pulling my tongue towards her, and gently placed my swollen, meaty organ into the pus-filled socket. I gagged at the taste, then vomited involuntarily, filling the small hole in her face with the contents of my stomach. She moved back, and as she replaced her eyepatch, flashed me a small, wry smile.
She turned, and began to walk away. I had climaxed in my pants. It was the best sixteenth birthday ever.

the contender

The rest of the world had faded away until it was all but non-existent to me. There was nothing there but me and him; not the cheers and screams of the massed crowd baying for blood, not the officials watching on, their mouths agape in awe of what they were seeing. My whole universe at that moment was just me and him: my opponent.

He swung a wild left hook at me, I rolled just under it and came back with a forceful right cross, catching him on his blind side. Whether on instinct or blind luck I couldn’t say, but his left shoulder came up just in time to catch the blow and deflect it away from his jaw, where it would have almost surely put him down.

Luckily, I kept my balance and composure, and managed to move back as he swung a flurry of punches at me, each missing in turn as I took several quick steps backwards, moving my head as my weight shifted from foot to foot.

Before he could bring his hands back up to defend himself, I popped him square in the nose with a stiff jab, stunning him, then followed up with a short right hand shot to the throat, which actually caught him uselessly on the collarbone, sending a jolt of pain through my right hand that only registered in my brain for the briefest of moments. Before I had even processed any of this, my left hand had shot back out in an instinctive left hook to his body, which connected viciously and satisfyingly with his kidney.

He clutched pathetically at his right side as he fell to his knees, then slumped over, rolling in pain with a groan that made it sound as though I had stabbed him.

At this point, the official rushed in, waving his arms and pushing me back, away from the crumpled heap that was my opponent. All I could hear was the rushing of blood in my ears and the hammering of my heart in my chest.

I felt a few short moments of elation, before I realised there were more officials rushing towards me, grabbing at my arms and wrestling me away. I allowed them to take hold of me, and my feet followed them, weak and exhausted, as they led me gradually back to my changing room.

The last thing I noticed before leaving my adrenaline-fuelled trance, or rather the first thing I noticed as I re-entered the normal, waking world, was that the crowd had fallen deathly silent.

We walked the last stretch of corridor in silence, the burly official behind still holding my arms back as though I was resisting him in some way, and even though I was not, the two others in front of me kept shooting nervous glances back at me as though I might break free and attack them.

The door to my dressing room was thrown open and I was thrust inside, shoved roughly onto the stool that sat in front of the dressing table and its lit mirror.

I’m not sure how long I sat there, nor how many concerned and terrified faces came and went from the room in that time. It was explained to me that not only would I be facing criminal charges, but I would never be allowed to play Tennis professionally ever again.

street dentistry

I stepped out from the shadows and into the blinding light of day. The rays of the sun hit me with the force of golf balls fired from a slingshot, and every moment I stood in that light was more painful than the last. When I couldn’t take it any more I stepped quickly back into the shadows, narrowly avoiding being jostled by an obese middle-aged woman. She turned her head to me and smiled as she passed.

“Bitch,” I hissed at her. She stopped, struck dumb by my outburst.

“Excuse me?” She said, blinking in disbelief.

“CUNT!” I screamed the word at her, spittle flying from my mouth and splattering her slightly wrinkled, pasty face.

She leaned in towards me, a wry smile creeping across her fat features, pleasure creasing her flabby jowls. She reached out and gently caressed my cheek with one hand. With the other, she slapped herself unbelievably hard across the face. As her cheeks jiggled with the impact, blood trickled out of her mouth. She hit herself again, this time with a closed fist, and several teeth rattled loose in her oversized mouth. She plucked them out, and gently placed one in my hand, before closing my digits tenderly around it. Then she popped the remaining two onto her tongue like tic-tacs, and swallowed them with a gulp. She then opened her mouth wide to prove to me that they were gone, and walked away wordlessly.

the frog man

As I walked down the bustling high street, I gazed up into the early afternoon sky. It was autumn, but unseasonably warm and the sky was clear and blue. Hiding in plain sight, tucked between two distant chimney stacks, was the dirty smear of a crescent moon. I sneered as I looked away from it, indignant that it would dare venture out in the daytime, outside of its allotted hours of sky.

As I continued on my way, hurrying slightly even though I had no destination, I began to hear a noise. It started quietly at first, a faint slapping noise, and as it drew nearer it became a booming noise, mingling with the growing murmur of the degenerates lining the street. I froze as the noise approached me, and the crowd parted, revealing its source.

There, a handful of metres away from me, and closing the distance at considerable speed, was a man-creature. I’m sure that at some point he was a real man, but time and misfortune had clearly twisted him into another sort of being. He moved in short, sharp bursts of motion, the jerky movements of a poorly animated cartoon character. He was hunched over somewhat, and he looked up at me through his brows with bulging, bloodshot eyes. The skin of his face was a mess of angry boils that seemed to pulse with his every move, and what remained of his hair was thin and sparse, situated on top of his flaky and badly burned scalp.

He stopped, standing at arms length, and continued to look at me. As the assembled crowd around us became silent, I realised that he was trying to speak. His words were unintelligible, coming out as a low croak, but his tone was unmistakable. He was angry.

“I’m sorry,” I said, fighting to keep my revulsion in check, “Is something the matter?” As I spoke, a light breeze blew, and his aroma blasted me in the face, hot and sticky and reminiscent of rotting meat. I gagged violently, and in spite of myself a small amount of bile filled my mouth. The smell of this creature was hampering my ability to swallow it back down, and instead it trickled out of my mouth and over my chin, soaking into my silk shirt.

“Mmmm…grrrmmm…rrrrkkkkk. Mkkk-mkk-mkk.” The creature seemed to find this amusing, and his features twisted into an impossible smile, revealing his toothless mouth and the black gums inside of it. I gagged again, this time managing to keep my bodily fluids contained.

The crowd around us began to chuckle, and the creature spread his arms out wide. The crowd’s laughter turned into cheering, and the creatures arms shot inwards, the blistered claws that were once his hands grabbing at his face. His long fingers found the largest boil on his face, a great, pulsating mass that was dwarfing and almost encompassing his nose. He started pressing on it, squeezing it, and I braced myself for a sickening explosion of pus.

To my horror, when it burst, there were no bodily fluids. Instead, it erupted with hundreds of tiny flies, and even as they were spreading their wings for the first time, the creatures mouth was snapping them up. His hands were moving almost imperceptibly fast, snatching them out of the air and into his mouth, and the crowd around us was going wild, cheering and applauding, ecstatic to see him feasting on the creatures that had been nesting in his face.

When he had finished his meal, he looked at me once again.

“Grrrrkkk… mrrmm?” His eyes were assessing me, waiting for an answer to his question.

I smiled and nodded, and the crowd cheered once more.

king of the jungle

The first time I saw him I knew that there would be trouble. He was just sitting there, staring vacantly into the distance, unchallenged flies circling him endlessly as he scratched his reeking posterior with one mangy hoof. I remember my disgust had mingled with curiosity and I had had to resist the urge to speak to him. I satisfied myself with a disdainful sniff in his direction, which had given me much more information that I had expected. Or wanted.

He stank, even more so than horses normally do. It wasn’t just the vague hint of shit that one would expect, but the overpowering stench of one who could not or would not control their bowels. The worst part was that he also carried a strong odour of semen, and even from a distance I could see that most of his back was covered in a thick white crust. I assumed that the two were connected.

I remember turning to my good friend, Zebra, and saying: “He had better not be staying. This jungle has no room for a horse with no wits.” Zebra had simply chuckled politely, not really understanding what I was saying. One way or another, the Sloppy Horse would be leaving my jungle.

After a few days, it became clear that he would not be wandering on. In any case, he seemed to lack the faculties to take basic care of himself or manage his own survival, begging the question of how he had come to enter my domain in the first place. But some of my more sentimental subjects had taken pity on him and shared their hard-earned food with the simpleton. He repaid their kindness by spraying their habitats with endless steams of liquid shit, and then stared blankly into their eyes before moving to the next group of animals. He truly was a parasite.

Now, my Queen is a fierce and formidable hunter. She has proven time and again to be the perfect match for a ferocious king such as I. However, at times, she is easily drawn by matters of the flesh, and when she first glimpsed the Sloppy Horse, she looked past his obvious and unnerving retardation, instead seeing only his oversized phallus. His member was nearly the size of my hind leg, although it was more often than not covered in dried-on bodily fluids, and occasionally leaked pus from beneath him. But my Queen cared only for the pleasure she imagined it would bring to her.

One night, she went to him. She presented herself, as she would to any other potential mate. The Sloppy Horse failed to notice. So, while he stood motionless, staring intently at the bark of a tree, she positioned herself under him and coaxed him inside of her. The Sloppy Horse instinctively bred her, but panicked at the moment of insemination and voided his bowels. He then promptly, while still climaxing, turned and began eating his own excrement. My Queen then vomited loudly, alerting the nearby Gorillas.

After that night’s episode, I decided that enough was enough. The Sloppy Horse must go. And so I hatched a cunning plan.

It would be far too obvious to maul the creature. Besides, that would only sow discontent in my kingdom, and that could lead to a rebellion. I must not be seen to discriminate against the differently abled. So I was left with the dilemma that all those with power inevitably face: How do I get rid of the retard without openly attacking him?

I spent many days and nights pondering this question before the answer came to me. In the end, it was the obvious solution, the one that all those in my situation eventually come to. I must poison him. I conspired with Zebra (who naturally shared my hatred for the Sloppy Horse) to gather the pink berries that grew by the river. We would then hide them inside the carcass of a Wild Boar, and feed the meal to the Sloppy Horse. He would be dead within an hour of eating the berries. The ingenious part of the plan was that the horse was too stupid to know how poisonous the berries were, and I was fairly certain he was also nearly completely blind, which would only make my victory much, much sweeter.

The preparations for the assassination were achieved without incident. I had the Chimpanzees deliver the carcass to the Sloppy Horse, and would then let the Hyenas kill the Chimpanzees involved, thus thoroughly covering up my involvement in his death.

I watched from afar as the greedy Horse tucked into his meal. While eating he passed several large bowel movements without even blinking, and he continued to eat until there was nothing but bones left of the Boar. Then he keeled over with a thud.

I had known that it was far too quick for the berries to work. I should have known not to approach, but I did. I walked towards the foul-smelling creature to ensure that he was dead. I was close enough to touch him, and I reached out a forepaw to do so. Just as my claw made contact with his rancid body, his entire corporeal form exploded, showering the trees, the Boar’s skeleton, and my own regal form with steaming entrails that somehow smelt even worse than the Sloppy Horse himself had.

The worst part of the ordeal was that the shock cause me to void my own bowels, the result of which landed on a small pile of the Horse’s entrails.

But then, just as I thought the nightmare had passed, my Queen appeared. With no warning, she turned, squatted down on her haunches, and expelled not a Princely Cub, but a little Dead-Eyed Calf. The Calf stood on uneasy legs, and made his shambling way toward me. I was frozen in shock and horror as I watched the creature begin to eat my droppings and the inner workings of the Sloppy Horse. Then, the abomination looked up at me with his dead, expressionless eyes, and it spoke.

“Da-Da.”

maria

It was bonfire night. I was never quite sure why that was a big deal, and I understood the history of it. It just always seemed a little weird to me, celebrating a failed terrorist attack with fire and loud noises. Normally I avoided it like the plague – it was just irritating kids, drunken teenagers and quietly judgemental elderly people – but this year something was telling me to go. Little did I know that it was fate calling me, and boy howdy, did I answer.

So I left the house. It was a big deal for me. I first had to scrub three weeks of filth from my skin, brush my teeth and cut my fingernails. It was at this point that I also decided to shave my head – leaving me bald and defenceless. But it was right. And it was my destiny.

I walked along my long, dimly lit driveway and reached the road. All was still quiet but the night was young and the festivities were yet to start. I walked in the road, trying not to look into the blackness of the woods that ran alongside it, feeling more uneasy with every passing second.

And then I heard her voice for the first time. It floated to my ears on the icy breeze, comforting and intriguing and ever so slightly husky. It felt like a dream, and I concluded that I was hallucinating from the ‘shrooms I had taken before leaving the house, although deep down I knew it was real. She was calling my name.

I broke into a run, both away from the darkness and toward the voice. Before long I had reached the outskirts of civilisation – the small medieval town that was my destination. I could hear the murmur of a crowd now, and I swallowed my fear. I knew she was there, and I would not be put off.

I made my way to the high street, where families waited, cold and impatient, for the event to start. There would be a small, macabre procession, filled with painted faces and flaming torches, followed by the bonfire and the fireworks.

I scanned the crowd, but to no avail. I barged through the hordes, shoving children and clawing at strangers, desperate to find her. I was slowly working my way up the high street when the crowd slowly began to part. It was starting.

I took one last frantic look around before the madness began. My head swivelled this way and that, desperately searching for her. And, just as I was about to give up, I glimpsed her, disappearing into an alley.

I ran after her, knocking pints from peoples hands as I approached the pitch-black, cobbled alley. I stood at the entrance, and nervously ran my hands over my freshly bald head. I took a deep breath and stepped forward. Once my eyes adjusted to the dark, I could find my way down the alley with more confidence. I skipped around a puddle of strong-smelling urine and over piles of litter. I emerged into a small backstreet, lined with ancient looking shops with no signs and doorways only five feet high.

But she was there.

She was more beautiful than I could have imagined. She stood leaning against a wall under a street lamp, and bathed in the orange glow her pale skin seemed to shine. Her straight, dark hair fell to her shoulders like a rich chocolate waterfall, and her delicate porcelain features were striking even in the low light. Her eyes were a deep green, and the whites of them seemed to be so brilliantly white that they almost hurt to look at.

Without realising, I had been walking closer and closer. I had now come close enough to realise just how tall she was, and painfully noted just how much I had to crane my neck up to stare into those beautiful eyes.

“Hello,” she said, with a slightly nervous giggle.

“Hi.” I was still awestruck at the angel I had stumbled across.

“I’m Maria. I can’t deal with the crowds.” She gestured back towards the high street, where I could hear the drums of the procession booming steadily along.

“Me too. But I’m glad I came,” I replied.

“Follow me,” she said simply, and started off down the street.

Naturally, I followed her. Her leather boots clicked slightly on the cobbled street and her soft hair was blowing gently in the breeze. We emerged into a small car park. A little strange, but I was happy just to be around her. She sat down on a low wall, and patted a space next to her.

Hesitantly I sat down beside her and she reached across to touch my hand. As I looked down at it she gently pulled my face towards her and kissed me, slipping her meaty tongue into my mouth. I kissed her back, shocked but instantly aroused. She must have noticed because her hand started to rubbing my unit through my jeans.

I shot up.

“Maria, stop. I’m not sure about this…” I looked at her, intimidated by her beauty and intrigued by her confidence. She looked a little hurt and I was unsure what to do.

The drums of the procession were dying down now, which probably meant that they were getting ready to light the bonfire. Maria smiled at me, almost manic, and my intimidation grew. She was TOO perfect.

“Okay, we don’t have to kiss,” she said, nodding frantically. “And we don’t have to manually stimulate each other in this car park. That’s fine. But I know something that you’ll love!” She produced two sticks from her pocket and waved them around. “Sparklers! Watch this!”

She pulled out a lighter and lit one. Then she held it in her teeth while she lit the other one, unflinching as the sparks attempted to her kiss her face.

She stepped towards me, a sparkler in each hand, waving them in small cricles, dizzyingly fast. I was momentarily disorientated, and was too focused on her impossibly perfect features, and that was all it took. She plunged both sparklers into my eyes, and my vision flashed red and white before it all went black. I convulsed as pain shot through my body, and all I could hear was Maria’s heavy breathing, feeling its warmth against my face. The shock and adrenaline began to push the pain away, and I slumped down to the floor, clutching at my charred and useless eye sockets.

“You cut your hair, you stupid fuck,” she mumbled, and I heard the soft click of her leather boots as she walked away. I thought gratefully about how her face was the last thing I had seen, and was vaguely aware that high above me, the fireworks had started.

At least Maria would get a good view.

the night i lost my toes

This is a story that I will never forget. But it’s also one I have never told – until now. It happened when I was only twelve years old, a boy desperate to be a man with no clue how to go about it. There are many places that I could begin this story, all of them valid and relevant, although I will tell it exactly as I remember it.

I was laying in bed, staring up at the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to my ceiling, wishing that my parents would die. That particular sentiment stemmed from earlier that day, when my mother had hit me with a rolling pin and my father had spat in my hair. As much as I loved them, they never knew when to quit, and this is ultimately what killed them. But that came later.

So I was looking at my ceiling, and suddenly I felt a change. It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but once I realised what it was it was unmistakable. My heart dropped into my stomach. My toes weren’t on my feet.

They had been there just minutes before, and I hadn’t moved at all. I threw the covers off of myself, and grabbed at my feet with my sticky, sweaty hands. There were no appendages attached to either of them. I was toeless.

My first thought was that I had been cursed. My mother was rumoured to be a local witch, and although I didn’t usually put any stock in the stories of the local children, I automatically suspected her. I mumbled a few strings of gibberish under my breath just to throw her off the trail before jumping cleanly out of bed. Landing on my feet was easy, although I fell over almost immediately. Balancing without toes felt very strange, but luckily I had very large flipper-like feet and I managed it with little difficulty once I had set my mind to it. I walked slowly at first, but gained in confidence as I crossed my room to fetch my machete. I always kept it razor sharp and on hand near my bedroom door, in case of intruders.

I stepped from my room, machete held high. I saw a shadow moving quickly along the hall, very low to the ground, and stopped myself from hacking at it when I realised that it was my cat, Oliver. I kicked him hard for startling me, and he made a loud yelping noise and then flatulated. I turned to the stairs and set my mind to the difficult task of descending them.

I thought the easiest way would be to slide down on my bottom, so I lowered myself to sit at the top and then slid down step by step. As I bumped my way down, my body jolted, causing me to make several small cuts in my temple with the point of my machete. I swore loudly and spat on the wall before continuing down the stairs.

When I reached the bottom I was filled with sudden energy. I tried to run into the living room and tripped, falling straight onto my face, making no effort to catch myself, instead driving my head as hard as I could into the hard floorboards. I tasted blood and erupted with laughter, rising up from deep in my stomach and booming out, shaking the walls.

I stood and caught my breath. I walked calmly to the kitchen for a drink, and opened the fridge carefully. Inside all traces of sustenance had disappeared, but instead there was a plate with a piece of paper on it. I lifted the paper and saw my toe underneath. I quickly snatched the toe and placed it gently in my pocket before reading the note on the paper.

The note was written in neat, clear script, simply stating, ‘If you want the rest, check the shed.’

Without hesitation, I threw open the back door and stepped out into the cold night. The wind cut at my face and my hands shivered so much that I couldn’t hold my machete still. As I approached the shed I buried the blade in the door, hacking at the wood until it was split and giving way, and then I delivered a powerful kick to the door with my large, toeless foot. The door flew off the hinges and I stepped into the rickety wooden structure, casting my eyes about for any sign of my toes.

My eyes caught the white of another note, and I snatched it up, finding three toes underneath it. I pocketed those too, and then I strained my eyes to read the note in the sliver of moonlight coming through the shed window. I could just barely make out the words, in the same neat writing – ‘There’s more in the bathroom.’

I sprinted back through the night and into the house, knocking over lamps and bumping into multiple items of furniture, no longer worrying about waking my family or the neighbours, now frantic in the search for my lost toes. I ran straight into Oliver again, knocking him over, but he sprang to his feet and followed me up the stairs and into the bathroom. The light flickered to life and I saw a note on the mirror as well as several toes in the sink.

Upon closer inspection, the sink contained four more toes, which I placed carefully into my other pocket. I then checked to make sure that I still had the other toes, and to work out how many I was still missing. I produced my severed extremities from my other pocket and looked down at the four dirty, shrivelled, lint-covered toes in my hand. There were still two unaccounted for. I took the note from the mirror and read it. This note was written with much less care, just three hastily scribbled words – ‘UNDER YOUR PILLOW’.

I threw myself across the hallway and back into my room, and launched my pillow off of my bed. There was a single toe underneath it. I picked it up, and cast my eyes around for another note telling where to find my last toe. But there was nothing on my bed.

“Just one left.”

The voice came from my doorway, causing me to jump almost right out of my skin. I spun, but could see no-one. At least, until I cast my eyes downward.

Oliver was standing there, black as night but bold as day.

“Take that toe, and push it to the back of your throat until you vomit.” He was speaking as a human would, in a human voice, his mouth moving and making sounds in a way that was incredibly unsettling given his feline features. He grinned as I began to cry. I did not question him. I knew where the last toe was.

I forced the ninth toe into my mouth, gagging at the taste of the dirt under my toenail, and then gagging at the foreign object pushing at my throat. All at once, the vomit surged up, and I withdrew the ninth toe from my mouth just moments before the tenth emerged, bringing with it a small sea of vomit before splattering unceremoniously onto the carpet.

Oliver laughed, and began to lick the vomit from the floor. He purred as he did it, and I felt a sudden surge of anger. I realised that I was still holding my machete, but before I could even form a thought I was swinging it, and it cut cleanly through Oliver’s neck, severing his head. I watched as his impossibly small head flew across the room and bounced off of my wall, then landed with a dull thud on the carpet and rolled across the room and back to my feet, resting in the pile of vomit about an inch from my toe.

I had done it. I had won. I was a man.

 

metamorphosis

I was a little into my nineteenth year on this Earth when it first happened. One morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I discovered that I had an amazing ability. It happened innocently enough, I was brushing away vigorously at my pearly whites (as I always did), and all of a sudden I changed.

I saw it happen out of the corner of my eye. I was staring intently down at the sink, but I just caught the sudden change in the mirror in front of me. I had gone from an awkward, skinny, gangly sort of man to someone entirely different. I had become Kurt Russell.

Now, I love Kurt Russell as much as the next man. He has the natural charm and charisma that we all long for, and I had spent many nights laying awake wishing I was more like him. But now, I was looking in the mirror and Mr. Russell’s face was staring back at me. It was terrifying. At first, I panicked. I ran from the bathroom, still foaming at the mouth with toothpaste, screaming my lungs out, my limp penis slapping against my naked thighs as I ran. I stopped at the bedroom mirror and confirmed that my eyes were not deceiving me. I really had taken on the appearance of Kurt Russell.

I paused a moment, admiring my chiselled jaw and strong features. A few seconds later, it once again hit me how strange this all was, and I began clawing dementedly at my face, leaving deep, bleeding gashes down my cheeks. I collapsed to the floor, panting heavily, my heart pounding and my head spinning. I started to attempt to make sense of the situation and slowly came to realise that looking like Kurt Russell would have its advantages. To begin with, I’d be sexually irresistable to women, men and animals. This thought aroused me enough that I realised the rest of my body had changed too, and I now had several more inches of penis, bringing me up to a more average size.

I was starting to feel good about the change when my face started to sting. The stinging quickly intensified to a burning sensation, and I soon began to feel as if someone had poured acid onto my beautiful new features. I stumbled back to the bathroom and grabbed some painkillers. I threw six or seven into my mouth and eased them down my throat with a moist gulp. I then sat down on the floor and waited for the pain to subside.

A short while later, I was feeling better. I stood and walked to my wardrobe to dress myself. It didn’t take long for me to realised that my clothes no longer fit me properly, but as I had nothing else, I simply forced them on. I poured myself into a pair of smart blue pinstripe trousers, too short in the leg so that they rode halfway up my calves, and a white shirt that buttoned tightly across my chest , the small round fastenings straining to break free and reveal my new masculine form. I topped off the ensemble with a small trilby hat, which sort of perched on top of my beautiful new hair.

I walked along the road attempting to ignore the stares of the peasants around me. I sneered at them in happiness, feeling every inch a real man for the first time in my life. I entered a busier area of town, and a young woman approached me, clearly nervous and excited.

“Oh my God, it’s you! I’m such a massive fan, can I get a picture with you?” I was unsure what to say, so I simply smiled and nodded to her. As she leant in close to me to get her picture, I instinctively placed a hand on her tight glutes and gave them a squeeze. She jumped about a foot in the air, and turned on me with a stern look. “I said I was fan, but I never gave you permission to touch my chocolate factory, you dirty old man!” She spat in my face and I caught it in my mouth, my penis stiffening as I did so. She screamed and ran from me, and I decided not to chase her. I didn’t want to look like a weirdo.

I continued on my walk, smiling and waving at my fans as my confidence grew. People were pointing and smiling, no doubt thinking of their favourite Kurt Russell movies. I soon encountered a public gallery, and decided I would inquire within as to what Kurt Russell themed art they were displaying. As I entered the gallery, I was hit by a wave of sweetly scented cold air. It was a nice contrast to the hot day outside, and I took several deep breaths of it before stepping up to the front desk.

“Hello, young lady,” I said to the tattoo covered creature on the other side of the desk, “Do you display any Kurt Russell themed art?”

She looked me up and down with disgust before laughing at me. “And why would you be interested in that?”

I tried and failed to hide my impatience with the silly girl. “Because I want to see some real beauty, not these half-cocked landscape paint-by-numbers pieces of shit.”

She snorted with contempt and stood up. She stepped around her desk and said, “Follow me, then, Mr. Bridges.”

My entire body shook with my building rage. I was aware that most of my blood had rushed to my head, and my hands had clenched into meaty fists. “MR. BRIDGES?!” I bellowed at the clueless girl, “I AM NOT JEFF FUCKING BRIDGES! HOW DARE YOU CONFUSE ME WITH THAT WASHED UP, ANCIENT SHITSHOW?!” I hadn’t realised it, but as I spoke I had grabbed her by the shirt front and lifted her in the air. I let my anger consume me and backhanded her as hard as I could, knocking her unconscious. I felt her body go limp and lifeless in my hands, and I slapped her again for good measure. This one seemed to bring her back around a little, so I dropped her to the floor where she lay in a heap at my feet. I grabbed her by the ankle and flung her effortlessly against a wall, which she bounced off of like some sort of rubber mannequin, her head cracking open as she did so to splatter the cool, marble floor with her brains. I started to walk briskly across the lobby to view the art, and slid on her brains, causing me to slide out of the room and through a door.

The door I had slipped through had taken me to a bathroom. I thought I should probably splash my face with some water to calm myself before viewing any art, and I stepped up to the sink to do so. But before I could turn on the tap, I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks. I froze in horror as I looked into the mirror and caught my reflection.

The face looking back at me was Jeff Bridges’.