Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween ^^

A little something I wrote for a horror-story contest. Enjoy. ^^


When it awoke it gazed lazily through the gaps amidst the leaves. It could hear the shrill yipping of ten urgent animal voices, but their owners were nowhere in sight; all it could see were its usual prey, the mute cockroaches, centipedes and lizards that wandered about on the rough cement of the yard. By instinct it stayed absolutely still, taking care not to disturb the pile of leaves that served as both shelter and camouflage. Once the unsuspecting prey had wandered within its reach, it shot out fibrous tendrils from beneath the leaves and paralyzed its prey with a swift-acting poison. It relished the slow act of digesting an immobilized victim. The juices of surrendered flesh, frozen in a state of permanent shock and fear, enlivened every fiber of its carnivorous being, more so if the victim had struggled or fought before the poison set in. Lately, however, it had grown weary of its steady diet of strong-willed cockroaches and sly lizards. Compared to the heady rush of warm blood from a still-pulsing heart, the cold juices of an insect or a tiny reptile were bland and unappealing.

It had gotten its first taste of warm blood by a stroke of good luck a few days before. A wary little sparrow had landed a few feet away from the leaf pile; it hopped about on tiny clawed feet, pecking stale bread crumbs off the dry cement. It maintained a safe distance between itself and the leaf pile, as if it was aware of the invisible eye-stalks watching it forage for food. However, the leaf pile stood absolutely still, and there was a large, tasty morsel several inches away from the leaves... It hopped closer, all senses alert, agile wings poised for flight at the slightest sign of movement. There was none. The large bread crumb was only a few inches away. It hopped once, twice, thrice—

Fibrous tendrils shot out from the leaf pile. The startled sparrow spread its wings and tried to fly away, but it could barely hop off the ground. Spasms jerked its wings in a grotesque parody of flapping as it quickly lost its control over its paralyzed wing muscles. Its heart beat furiously for a few tense seconds before coming to an abrupt halt.

Somewhere in the depths of the leaf pile, a ravenous creature was exulting from a dying sparrow's adrenaline-spiked blood. After disposing of the shriveled corpse, it eagerly awaited other warm-blooded animals, its tendrils trembling slightly from barely contained excitement.

For days it waited. No sparrows landed near the leaf pile; no sparrows landed anywhere on the cement within its range of vision. Every day it could hear the yipping of animal voices—full, throaty, vivacious voices, from bodies much larger than the unfortunate sparrow's. It threw away half-consumed lizards and completely ignored cockroaches. Its fibers and sinews hungered for warm blood.

Just as its hunger had reached an unbearable peak, it saw a densely furred little dog dart from an open doorway; the animal voices had grown louder, as if protesting the dog's escape. It yipped excitedly as it dashed from one corner of the yard to another, sniffing and marking its newfound territory with abandon. It was unaware of the eye-stalks underneath the leaf pile that eagerly following its movements.

A cockroach skittered in front of the dog; the dog followed, trying to snap up the cockroach. The cockroach, terrified, headed straight for the cover of the leaf pile and disappeared beneath the leaves. The dog, still sniffing, approached the leaf pile cautiously; it began to bark in its shrill, urgent voice, but the cockroach failed to reappear. The leaf pile was absolutely still. The dog slowly inched forward.

Beneath the leaf pile, a multitude of fibrous tendrils sprang to life. They shot forth, impatient, bloodthirsty, ravenous for the kill.