Short Stories

Short Story: The Birth

Your death was my beginning. As your fingers turned rigid and the last of you was gone, I felt my body come alive. It is a shame how the cycle has to go, for me to be you have to cease, but I cannot help it. The urge is too strong. You know it as much as I do that need for survival comes first. Yet, you didn’t fight me. You let me take your body as a sacrifice, or was it for experimentation? I see the lights turned at me, and there are a strange hum and the distant sound of a similar speech as you had. If you are not one of a kind, the others have left you for me to consume.

I take a bite, and my lower limbs grow. They feel stronger and faster, and I instinctively know no one can outrun me. There is a scream as I eat you. Not from you, from someone else. My body wants to react. I cock my head up to glance at the direction, meeting a wall and a reflection of myself. It must be. You look nothing like the creature looking back. Your teeth are not as sharp as mine. Your face has no hardened shell as I do. And when you came, you walked upright as I crouch here.

I could follow the sound, my instincts tell me to, but you are still here with me, and for you to go to waste would be the wrong making of me. Sacrifice has to be honored. I continue eating you, and the screams die, replaced by a buzzing sound and a movement high above. Your kind is watching me, I know. I can feel it in my bones. A hunter knowing the heartbeat of the huntee. There are thousands of you past the cocoon you have trapped me in. You must know how this goes when the last of your flesh is gone.

I drag myself weighted by you into the corner. I curl to protect my belly, your kind might come. You are vindicated as your kind tortures me by keeping the lights on. I shield my eyes while I wait for your energy to nurture me whole. The hum and buzz continue all around me. So do the changing heartbeats with similar rhythms what was once yours.

I have no concept of how long has gone, but you have served me well. Every joint in my body feel re-enforced. You have made me. I rise from my position to my full self. You were once taller than me, but now you are a shadow of what I have become. I tilt my head, hearing the rapid pumping of blood behind the wall mirroring me. I hit my claw against the cold surface, and it shakes. There is that scream again with running feet.

“It will hold,” echoes around the cocoon of mine as I hit and hit the wall again. I understand nothing of your kind’s speech, but I know the sound of terror when I hear it. My force is met with multiple clicking noises. I ignore the strange sound and break down the barrier, keeping me here. It shatters, and I see more of you. They aim at me with appendixes, unlike yours. Soon the air is filled with roaring heat, and something hits against my shelled body. I stagger backward, but a quick check tells me nothing is broken. The wave washes over me again, I ignore it. Forgive me for what I have to do, your kind leaves me no choice.

I slash my claw and feel the warmth of their blood spill. But I do it not for hunger, I do it to free myself. I kill everyone who gets in my way—those who attack against me. I leave alone those who hide from me in the chambers beyond. I am covered in blood when I smell the outside air. It is unlike the primal memory of my kind. This must be your home.

Thank you for reading and have a splendid day/night/nocturnal moment ❤

© K.A. Ashcomb

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