By Gabriel Ricard

As always, not an original idea it would seem. It still has been kicking around in my head long enough to warrant some effort in order to shut it up. It borrows from, and pays homage to things I am fond of. Enjoy.

"Three? In the morning? No…can't be," Lauren reached up to the shelf attached to her bed. Taking the clock, she held it closely to the light of her television. It used to have a small reading light as a combination, until she had broken that off because it never worked. Lauren was fond of twisting thing, distorting them slightly. She felt by doing this, the object was hers and not a mere carbon copy.

With added light from the snow on TV, she was able to confirm that it was four. Five hours later than she had intended to sleep. Making a mental note to strangle her Dylan, her younger brother, she rolled out of bed as if she was being pushed, landing on her feet and standing straight up. She reached for the light switch, the light of her TV not being helpful as before.

Instead of directly finding the switch, her index finger pushed a half empty glass of milk. This was not exactly what she wanted to do. The cup crashed on the table, startling her as the milk began a mad scramble for her floor.

"God damn it all to hell," without thinking about it, she turned her light on. She gave a quick regard to how easy that had just been and swore loudly, faced with the prospect of spending five minutes cleaning up, she swore again and opened the door. Her feet couldn't find the strength to do anything but allow themselves to be dragged forward. It was three and she had missed wrestling entirely. The highlight of her entire day was going to be cleaning up milk. Shaking her head, she walked downstairs. Not bothering at any attempt to do so quietly. The stairs were so old that it was futile to bother moving down them with the tips of your feet.

She could hear the television in her family's play room without having to turn from the stairs and walk in there. Guessing that Dylan was still up, probably watching some acting impaired erotic thriller on Cinemax which was all right by her. She had done the same thing until she discovered that adult entertainment did not have to use a plot to muddle up the real reason for watching. Her other sibling, Emily who was also younger, wouldn't be going to bed for at least another hour and Lauren imagined she was on the computer. Absorbed in an fantasy horse racing league or whatever her online interest of the month was.

Suddenly realizing she had left her cigarettes under her pillow, Lauren groaned and then shrugged to no one in particular. "I can get them later." Meaning that she would rush upstairs to get them in ten minutes when the need for one suddenly overtook her for no particular reason. She almost went back up, thinking it over a second time. She had matches and that was half the battle. She sighed and turned her body back towards the computer room from the last stair when she had been prepared to go back to her room.

Lauren walked into the room that used to be her parents, but had been changed to a computer room when it became too inconvenient for other people who wanted to use the computer.

No one was online after all. Her foot was met with something she couldn't see in the darkness. She realized what it was and wondered if a small wire basket garbage can was supposed to be on it's side, crumpled paper and empty cigarette soft packs strewn all over the floor. She slid everything out of her path with her right foot. It wasn't her responsibility to pick any of this trash up. Coming, she felt more beyond the paper and cigarette packs. Book and unpaid bills were now covering the thin wooden floors. Along with other items that were supposed to be on the shelf next to the computer table.

Finally, she was close enough to see that someone was sitting in the chair, but they were slumped over as if sleeping. Three inches away, Lauren realized that it was her sister. Her eyes were taken from her for a moment to the computer box which was set up on the floor. Now, it was also knocked over. Lauren moved her gaze back to her sister. "Emily? What the hell are you doing?" she touched Emily's shoulder and reacted only in a single moment of shock, jumping back and screaming. Touching her shoulder revealed to Lauren that her sister's head was nearly separate from the body. Now that she was aware of it, the sight was so obvious to her. Somehow, it was only now that she could see the area where the rest of her neck should have been. Blood was still running from the source though it had probably slowed down since starting.

She screamed again, this time making a barely conscious effort to call for her mother or father and failing. Nothing but a wordless screech could be managed. She wasn't sure if her eyes were going to pull themselves away and they didn't, even as she walked backwards to leave the room. She tipped over when she came to the garbage can. Her eyes focused into closing, her right shoulder managing to absorb most of the fall. Tears finally began to burn her eyes and this broke her away from shock long enough for her to make it back to her feet and actually turn around in order to escape the room.

Speech returned to her without notice too. She opened her mouth, the words exploding out from having been trapped for so long. She called for both her mother and father but no one answered. She tried for Dylan and when she got nothing from that, desperation almost blinded her. She stumbled and nearly toppled over again, trying to run into the living room. The ceiling light was and the fan moving at it's casual, steady pace. Her legs lost control briefly and she looked down, realizing she had almost slipped on something and also that it was blood. Enough to form an entirely new layer of the floor in every immediate direction. She found the source, her brother Dylan lay on the floor. His back resembled the sight of a grenade having gone off on it. Lauren was somehow possessed with the need to reach down and touch his face. Almost believing that he wasn't actually dead. After a low crying sound, she looked ahead. "Dad," she stood up, her body taking over with an almost paralyzed composure. She approached her father sitting on the couch, she stepped on his arm which was no longer a part of the body, before she was close enough to be able to touch him too.

She didn't scream this time, she wanted to, but was once again regulated to being inept at making any sound. Kicking the arm aside, her need to physically confirm death once again took over. Her hand stopped in the middle of action as the sound of her breathing was buried by a growl whose origin she knew was behind her in the doorway leading to the kitchen.

She had never met or seen the figure standing in her doorway. Given that she lived in the country, new faces rarely entered her life. This particular face seemed to be holding on to consciousness and quickly slipping away from it. Despite his body hunching over slightly, he was at least a foot taller than Lauren and much heavier.

"Who are you?"

Her fear didn't give any rise nor was it diluted from his continued lack of response. The obvious fact that he was the one who had instigated the carnage around her was a blunt one. Her body finally seemed to process this and she stepped back. She was in no hurry to find her mother. The figure was coming to her now, apparently sensing that Lauren had something he wanted.

She snatched a video from the shelf next to the television. Not considering the absurdity of it, she threw the tape at the man. It hit his face as it would anyone else, but he acted as though nothing happened. He only growled and continued to take large, stiff movements towards Lauren.

She was close to the door she had used to enter the living room, she approached it from behind. The more she looked at this seemingly comatose walker, the more a verbalized hysteria started to run it's course across her lips. She could hear herself asking what was happening over and over again. And even that part of herself was losing it's self quickly to this chaotic, unexplained moment.

A brief, clear and unsettling thought came to her that this was a dream. The idea was rejected an instant after it materialized. The man grabbed her arm and feeling the flesh wrapped around her skin, Lauren felt nothing from it but a fierce grip and a chilled palm which gave the impression that whoever this man was, he had just come from participating in a snowball fight with his bare hands.

Lauren cried out, more in anger. She kicked the man in the stomach. The kick itself appeared to have not done any real or noticeable damage, but it knocked him back with enough force that he released her arm.

Lauren seized the opportunity and turned to run. Another person crashed into her. A bloody, damaged face flashed in front of her for a second before they both crashed to the ground, actually going so far as to fall into the laundry room. She recognized it as her mother's.

Her mother knocking into her and the hacked sobbing that followed was only evidence to Lauren that proved her mother was still alive. Not thinking, she gave her mother a shake, "Mom? Mom!"

Holding her, Lauren saw that her throat had been scratched to the point where it looked to be on the verge of being inside out. Her nose had been mashed into the flat surface of her face and Lauren could see blood still trying to escape from her stomach, arms and chest.

The man, quickly becoming instead a creature, was forgotten as Lauren watched her mother die as soon as she had found her. Lauren's mouth hung open and her eyes were almost useless from sudden stinging.

The man returned to her current state of life, thrusting himself down upon her like a sick dog with weak legs. Lauren was overwhelmed immediately and struggled to not find herself with this man on top of her.

His appearance was deceptive as it related to how much he seemed to weigh. Lauren was able to get both her feet under her and sprung them out, pushing the man off. She pulled herself up and ran back for the living room which would provide her only alternative to getting away.

The doorknob, leading to the way out of the house from the kitchen, was in her hand. Wildly trying to turn it so that it would be useful. Before it could come to that, she felt the hand grasp her shoulder and nails plunging into her skin without a second to feel them scraping their way in. This hand with all it's attachments was quickly establishing a feeling of disgust and terror in her mind.

The terror was not without a single advantage. Her reaction time to anything seemed to triple in it's calculations to when it would be a good time to move forward with a decision.

She thrust her forearm back and caught him in what she believed was his throat. Like the last time she struck him, the force was enough to knock him back to the point where Lauren could dodge him. She realized she wouldn't make it trying to get through the kitchen door and made her way to one of the drawers near the refrigerator. She hoped that despite her haste, she would find the drawer holding the knives. She did, pulling out the knife her mother used to cut things that required that extra dedication.

The timing to seize the knife was perfect, the creature was making another go at trying to kill her. She had thrown away the idea that this was a man and swung the knife at his face.

The gash opened like a mouth previously invisible. The creature gave a low animal murmur of what should have been pain. Lauren went to stab him around the bridge of his nose but was stopped when her face was assaulted with a thick green mold that spewed from the wound she created.

Lauren closed her eyes and tried to swat away anything that was coming at her with her free hand. She decided it to be futile and began throwing the blade in several frenzied, disorientated attacks. When she felt the knife difficult to bring back, she let go of the knife and scrambled left, hoping it would be out of the creatures grip. Wiping away most of the green form, she turned around long enough to see what the knife had done. The wound was closed up from the weapon and this stunned the creature momentarily. He tried to pull it out but gave up and gazed at Lauren.

Lauren saw that she had two options. She half realized that she was crying again.

a). The door leading to the porch in her late parents tiny bedroom. Tiny when compared to her room or her siblings.

b). The door in the basement. The downside to this was that the door had a solid chance of being locked. And if did, the access boxes and her fathers reptile cages would make moving around almost in possible if the creature was to catch her at the door.

Either of her choices seemed to offer death if they failed to work. Being that it was close to summer and basement was not air-conditioned, which Lauren felt would hamper her attempts at escape, she threw a chair at him and didn't bother to watch its effects. The chair was only intended to slow him down. She ran through the living room and around the blood, despite it having mostly dried up.

She slipped charging up the stairs, "God damn it Lauren, move your fucking ass." She threw her self against the wall in order to succeed against her traitorous legs and made it to the top.

Looking down the stairs, she watched him make his attempt to follow. Failing at first, but grasping the concept of the ground rising slightly with each footstep, the creature began a slow walk up. He still seemed confused with the entire process, allowing Lauren get inside her parents room and lock the door behind her.

The door was out of place with the rest of the room. It was the kind of wood that belonged at the entrance to a log cabin somewhere in Canada.

The sound tearing through the room, of the creature smashing it's body against the door forced Lauren to act quickly. She grabbed the door and began turning the knob, gaining little in either direction. Screaming, she pulled at the knob and kicked at the door.

"Son…-kick-…of…-kick-…a…-kick-…bitch. Just because no one opens this door…-kick-…they have to lock it?" she kicked the door three more times. Going for an equally futile fourth, her parents door exploded open behind her. The creature had accomplished his goal. Lauren saw nothing that she could do. She tore a lamp from it's comfortable place and socket and jumped onto her mother and father's bed. She leapt off and held the lamp above her head, bringing it upon the skull of the creature who gave a startled grunt and stumbled out of the doorway. Lauren felt her opportunity pushing her. She ran after him and met him at the edge of the stairs, striking him again before he could recover from the first blow. She was aiming for him to fly off the ground and sail down the stairs. The force of the hit didn't quite give her what she wanted, he still fell backwards, reaching out to try bringing Lauren down with him and missing her shoulder by several inches.

He came to a stop at the bottom and remained there.

A dawning came over her suddenly, watching this fallen pursuer of hers. This entire episode was very much like a horror movie. With a bit of time now standing before, she scratched at the notion further. Deciding that more specifically, this was similar to the type of horror movie in which an angry man, unknown to the girls he is interested in, chases his latest victim all about the a part of the world before he catches her or she stops him and retains her life. The only difference she could think of, with her limited knowledge of the subject, was that this creature wasn't wearing a mask of some kind and used only his own body as a weapon.

Her vague ideas did tell her this much however. That it would not be wise to walk down the stairs and attempt stepping over the hopefully stillborn killer. Though looking at her options, she saw that there was little choice. So with this in mind, she began a cautious descent. When she was within a footstep of being able to walk over him, she stopped, wondering if she could ease herself past the edge of the first step and by doing so, maintain the safest possible distance.

She decided on this course, pressing her heels against the stair and almost sliding herself across in a horizontal direction.

She breathed a small sigh, mostly due to relief, when she was past him. The error she had just made failed to kick in until the creature suddenly sprang to problems again, taking a steel grip without prior warning. She wished she had bothered to see more of those movies. By doing so, she may have realized sooner that breathing any sort of "I did it, I got away, ha ha," was considered almost a death warrant. Even more foolish, Lauren tried pulling her leg away and collapsed, her elbows devouring most of the impact.

She let out a sound that was an odd mixture of a growl and a shriek. She tried crawling away but found this to be impossible. He was crawling with her, moving up her body and soon making it impossible to move at all. She managed to roll onto her back, using her forearm to keep at his throat and also prevent him from diving his face onto hers.

Panic set in, feeling her arm weaken against the constant strain. Her options, which at the moment didn't exist, whirled around her. It was then that she saw the knife, still where she had left it before. A fighting object of some kind, she knew, would be of great use at this moment. She struggled her free arm up and clutched the handle, she pulled it out and nearly dropped it as the green mass that she had encountered earlier was back. The creature let out a cry of his own, pressing his hands against the fresh, open sore and flaying back.

Lauren wasted little time when she was on her feet. She swung the knife down like a guillotine, slashing open the creatures throat and stabbing at him wherever her suddenly enraged mind saw fit. All the while, the slime exploded out under the impression that it would go on forever.

Lauren was not the least concerned with that. Easily ignoring this strange new layer of skin that was developing at a stunning rate. She continued stabbing him and stopped minutes later when she realized that there was nothing left whole to damage. Only when she noticed that nothing was emanating from the cut on the creatures forehead, did Lauren decide that he was dead. Or the very least, as she had come to confirm, deader than he was before.

Weakness came over her body. She felt an almost intense urge to lie down. For the time being, all she could bring herself to do was stand over the body. The thoughts of her family came to her relentlessly and she was at least able to feel tears falling down her face in rapid numbers.

She walked over the gory chunks and into the living room, using everything she had not to look down at her brother. The knife was still with her as she stopped at meeting her father and Dylan. Who stood facing her, silence filling the entire room and his eyes resembling someone she had just met tonight. His throat seemed to now be a casual part of him.

Dylan seemed to have incredible pains in trying to stand up with a back that spread out both left and right as if they were wings. His glasses hung off one ear with one of the lenses cracked at the center.

All the same, she reached out to him. "Daddy?" she hadn't called him anything but 'Dad' in thirteen years. The response was a simple, familiar growl. Lauren stepped back, meeting someone. She turned her head and nearly lost her balance. Her mother was blocking the doorway. The mutilated skin was even more apparent in a room that was better lit than the laundry room lacking lights of its own.

It was at that second that Lauren recalled another branch of horror film: The zombie movie. The notion of un-dead human beings and all the typical rules that went with them. Her grieving came to a surprising, if only momentary end.

Lauren had never thought it possible, but she could actually feel her stomach trying to collapse itself when she realized what she would have to do to her parents and brother to get out alive. Looking ahead to the kitchen, an idea came to her. The thoughts of killing these people was erased by possibility. She held out her weak defense and ran through her family, making sure to pull back when she struck anything besides air.

She listened to their movements towards the kitchen, keeping herself from looking back at them. Lauren felt around her right pocket and produced the pack of matches. She struck one to it's small flame and brought the rest to life. Opening the oven door, she threw the entire lot inside and keeping the door towards the linoleum, she turned the oven on and unsure if it mattered, set it to 500 degrees.

Arms were taking a hold of her shoulders and without facing them, she cut the hand. She felt it still holding onto her shoulder as she reached for the door and found success in opening it. She closed it behind her, finally forcing herself to look inside. They were gathered at the door like deranged moths.

"Not much time…Jesus Christ." She pushed through the final door and felt the early morning air strike her. Almost immediately going to work on bringing the dried green blood to life. She had to run farther away. She leapt off the stoop leading out to her vast backyard and landed on her knees. Hunched over, she stumbled a few feet forward and picked up speed again. The force of her home exploding was still close enough to thrust her forward. She was able to keep her face from taking the brunt of the pavement walk by keeping her hands in front of herself.

By doing this, her palms began stinging her through her arms.

She watched flames move through to the outside of her house with ruthless ease. Her entire life was gone and there was more time for that to be clear than anything else.

Several minutes, each feeling like a day of its very own, passed before she stood up. Her hands fell to her sides, the knife dropped next to her. "It's all over." Saying that didn't seem to change her. She repeated it perfectly walking onto the grass. Her bare feet hardly registering with the grass that poked at it. "It's cold this morning." She laughed, what a ridiculous thing to say.

She glanced at the peanut field that was owned by a man named Pete up the road. There were dozens more. She couldn't make any of them out from where she stood, but she recognized them easily. They were all exactly like the thing she had battled in her late house. "No…"

Lauren felt her eyes burning. Her throat went dry and she still suddenly wanted a cigarette. With nothing else to do, she picked her weapon back up and tried to stop the water spilling from her eyes. She hadn't had much luck with it so far and by now, wasn't trying hard to stop.

Terror and the indescribable feeling of mourning was still evident inside her, but that didn't matter anymore.


Well wasn't that quite simply the worst fucking thing you've ever read? Come on now, don't be shy.