Pure light engulfed Harold. A
pulsing in his ears drove him to his knees, vertigo assaulting him. Where was
the ground? He was falling, but not landing. Head over heals, knees over
elbows, crown over tailbone. Insides over outsides.
Bang! His side slammed into
something solid, unyielding and cold. He was laying down. Finally.
Chitter, chitter. Click.
“What?” Harold asked groggily,
opening his eyes now that the all encompassing, blinding light had faded to a
more natural, mid-day intensity. Was he having a hangover?
Large, bug-like creatures were
leaning over him, examining his face. Had he been drugged?
Click, chitter, click.
One mantis type creature pushed one
of the many buttons on its plated armband. Harold was once again weightless,
now floating at thorax height. His brains slowly stopped swimming around his
scrambled head. “Where am I? Who are you? What are you doing?” he asked, unsure
if they would even understand him. “Please, let me go. I want to go home.”
Tears came unbidden to the corners of his eyes, and slid down the sides of his
face into his ears. It was uncomfortable to hear the saline enter and creep
towards his eardrums. More tears welled
against his will, compounding the problem.
His clothes disintegrated, ashes
falling to the metal flooring, only to be swept away by a small electronic
Harold was let down onto a bed
of some sort, but his skin stuck to it. It was molded out of some type of
viscous, yellow sap. He sank into it. An inch. Two inches. The yellow substance
crawled up the sides of his face.
Chitter, click, click.
Harold’s body went rigid. All
non-essential muscle function seemed to have been turned off. He could not
close his eyes. The world tinted amber as his eyes were slowly encased, his
nose sealed. It oozed down his nostrils towards the thin plate protecting his
brain. His breathing brought the substance into his airways, coating the
finger-like membranes lining his lungs.
No more air.
There was nothing
he could do,
vision darkening. The last sight imprinting on his retinas: grinning insectoids
chittering in laughter.
Laura Nettles is a graduate of
Brigham Young University where
she earned her BFA in animation. By day she lights visual effects for film and
television, and by night she pens her own terrors.
She has a couple short
stories and flash fictions
published already including "Frozen Retribution" in Shiver: A
Chilling Horror Anthology, "Fairy Godmother" in Frost Zone Zine, and
"Boy in the Wallpaper" in the upcoming issue of Lovecraftiana.