He wore not a scrap of clothing as he lay on the grimy dirt within the coffin, so I could see that his entire body bore a ghastly green pallor. His toes and fingers were abnormally long and thin, and the toes even seemed to taper to points as the nails had grown back deformed. His ears too were long and tapered. The serene and contented smile on his face struck me as obscene.
“I have a story to tell you that you will not believe,” the fly said.
I listened. Because if I believed that a fly could speak, then I was more than ready to hear what she had to say.
And I did believe, after a fashion, when I realized that the tiny voice I’d heard whispering my name was coming from the fly that was perched on the edge of my mantel.
“We only allow guests to stay in the master suite for one night. Any longer than that and some begin to experience issues with their health.”
“Psychological issues, you mean?”
When I first entered the jungle, I walked forth into the unknown. I had no map, only a general direction. So I could say I stumbled upon him, but that would be misleading. I have been searching for him for a long while. Since before I knew his nature or his name. Since before I was born.
Shortly before the world lost contact with Tranenbloud Island, the research team reported that an islander and a member of the team had gone missing, a man and a woman. Both were later found dead and with their reproductive organs missing, presumably devoured.
A few days after that, all communication from the island ceased.
Rigo cried out and Marisela came running into the boys’ bedroom. He was standing before the left side of his bed, shining a flashlight on both the bed and the wall behind it. Alex stood beside him, speechless, clutching the cuff of Rigo’s sleep shorts. With the lights off, the only thing easily visible was the part of the thing that his flashlight illuminated.
Do you see him? Right there, between Mig and John? As if he’s part of the crew?
Nico drove up to the mouth of the cave. He got out of the truck and walked around to the other side. Normally, the young retriever would have hopped out of the open door in a rush. But Ruby lay there, still sleeping.
“Mars, help me. Help me, Mars.”
Betty Garimonde wasn’t dead. Mars could see the slight rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. Her body was so frail that when he lifted it, it felt as if all her substance were gone, and he was only lifting her skin and her bones. The light, not just sunlight, but even the light of the torches, seared her skin, so that Mars had to keep her covered from head to toe with a cloth. She looked even more so like a corpse when he did. Maybe she was close to being one. So there was nothing to lose now.
Once upon a time, a town that sat nestled near the foot of a mountain, surrounded by forest evergreen, ran out of food and fuel in the midst of a deadly winter. They were not poor, the people of this town. They were not foolish with their provisions. The winter had just lasted far longer than any in the realm had expected. Every season of that year was winter. Many perished.
“What is that? On its head? Is that a hat or…a deformity?”
“It’s too hazy to see when it’s in motion,” I said. “We’ll have to pause.”
“The lights are on. We can see everything. I thought he only comes when it’s dark.”