Indie Snippets is currently closed to submissions.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

From "Plato's Dream" by Edward Arnold

The Memphis City Cemetery is being prepared for the Resurrection...

Wooden boards, long turned to dust, came together with names written upon them: Jerry, Carrie, David, Joshua, Christine, Jonah and hundreds more.
Its work on this section of the cemetery was not complete. The white mist continued to swirl as infant toys long turned to dust reformed. Dolls made from cloth and the husks of corn; wooden tops and carved wooden animals; rattles made from wood and many different toys decorated each grave. They were as the day they were placed by the loving hands of grieving mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends.

Its work on this section of the cemetery was complete. The white mist stopped swirling and expanded, moving outward from the children’s section. The mist moved up the gold staircase to the African section of the cemetery and through the opened gates to the pauper’s cemetery. The mist continued to expand, covering the entire City Cemetery. Its work on the surface was complete; all who slept had been judged.

The white mist, the breath of God, moved by the will of God, began to sink into the soil; to prepare all who slept to be awakened.

From "Chicken Feed" by Ellen Ghyll

‘How’re things with you these days?’

Paul, grabbed a grey-looking cloth and unenthusiastically began re-distributing the grease on the counter.

‘Not marvellous,’ he replied, ‘Roxi’s two months pregnant and Kelly’s four.’
There was a stunned silence.


He nodded, despairingly.

‘It’s true,’ he paused from his labours, ‘phoned me up last night, they did – both of ‘em.  One after the other.’ He examined the cloth and shook the gathered crumbs out onto the floor. ‘Just as I was thinking of cooling things off too; must be bloody psychic or something.’

Brendan gazed at him in awe.

‘Good God.’

‘Dunno how it happened either,’ he assured the assembled company, ‘honest.  I thought they’d be on the pill or something.’

Owen sipped his tea.

‘So which one of them’s your wife, then?’ he asked innocently.

Paul sighed.

‘Neither. The wife’s not pregnant.’  A more than usually lugubrious expression crossed his face. ‘At least I hope she’s bloody well not.’

From "Committed" by Brenda L. Foster

“Logan! Turn that jeep around and come home now!” Derek shouted.
“I have to go Derek! Messiah is cold and alone somewhere,” Logan said softly yet determinedly.

“Logan, I forbid you to go!” Derek was adamant but kept a cool head.
“You forbid me, Derek?” When Logan repeated what he said, he knew it didn’t matter then. She was going anyway. He cursed beneath his breath and tried a new angle.
“What about our talk?” he asked. “It’s our anniversary!” Logan’s body tensed from the annoyance of her husband’s single mindedness and for the moment she had had enough. There was a four year old kid missing in a city with several feet of snow and all he could think about was himself. She hung up and tossed her phone onto the passenger seat. When the line went dead, in frustration, Derek tossed his phone on the bed and dropped himself into his lazy boy chair. “Damn…” he moaned.

From "The Penance List" by S C Cunningham

Day three, Chelsea, London, England

Standing over the mattress, he took a leisurely sip of wine and stared down at her beautiful naked body, pinned out, star shaped, waiting his attention. The delicious vulnerability made his cock hard. He smiled; she was ready to be cut.

As she slept through the drugs, he had stretched her out on thick plastic sheeting and staked her limbs to the bedposts. He set up two spotlights; one at each end of the bed, their harsh light burnt directly onto her tanned skin, blanching it ethereal white. He gently stroked the length of her body with a wet cloth, bathing away the musky sweat of their sex. Her body glistened, she was beautiful, it was a shame, he would miss her.

He painstakingly applied makeup to her sleeping face; the finishing touch, a slash of whore-red lipstick dragged across her mouth. He stroked the blonde fringe from her forehead and fanned her soft tresses out onto the plastic sheet, gently combing through the tangles, trying not to pull on her scalp. The long blonde hair formed a golden halo around her head. She was his angel… fallen, but his.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

From "Vestal Virgin" by Suzanne Tyrpak

Elissa Rubria is a priestess of Vesta sworn to chastity on penalty of death, and Nero is the emperor of Rome who recently executed Elissa’s brother...

“I—” Elissa’s voice caught in her throat.

“Do it!”

Nero moved toward her, pushing her against the wall, the heat of his body causing her to sweat, his breathing, rapid and uneven, rasping in her ear. Reaching above her head, he removed a knife from his collection. A pearl handled secespita, the narrow blade designed for sacrifice.

Elissa opened her mouth to scream.

“Don’t.” Nero pointed the secespita at her throat. “Your brother plotted with my long-lost brother, didn’t he?”

Elissa shook her head, her eyes focused on the knife.

“I could kill you now,” Nero said. “But I have other plans for you.” He drew the blade over his palm then took her hand in his, gently as a lover, and drew the blade again.

Blood beaded in her hand.

Pressing his palm against hers, he said, “My great-grandfather worshiped an Egyptian queen, dark and powerful like you. Be Cleopatra to my Antony.”

He’s madder than Caligula, Elissa thought.

“I’ll make you immortal. Declare you a goddess, and together we’ll conceive the heir to Rome.”

She tore out of his grasp, ran to the door, flung it open. Blood dripping from her hand, she bolted down the corridor.

"The Directionless Son of Brain" by Saurabh Sharma

Story of a directionless boy named Mind...
"Who's there?" asked Mind.

"It's me, your Uncle," replied Wisdom.

"Uncle Wisdom!" he exclaimed.

"Yes, my son," said Wisdom.

Mind immediately opened the door and greeted him. Wisdom blessed him.

Mind invited him in.

"Nice room," said Wisdom as he walked inside the room.

"Thank you!"

"So how are you son?"

"I am fine."

"What are you up to these days?"

"Well, I have not been doing anything lately."

"Why so? Is everything alright with you?"

"Yes, everything is alright. Maybe it's just a phase."

"These things usually happen at your age. You can share your problem with me. I am your best
friend, am I not?"
Mind replied, "No, no it's nothing like that. Everything is fine."

"Hmmm.. okay, leave it. Let's talk about something else. Tell me, what is your aim in life?"

"I don't know," replied Mind. "Thousands of thoughts come and go. I keep on wandering. I always try to identify myself with the thoughts so that I could know who I am and what I want to do with my life! In the end, all goes in vain, and I get even more confused. I am absolutely directionless."

From "My Troubles With Time" By Benson Grayson

I could see the weapons of the firing squad aimed directly at my chest. Involuntarily I shut my eyes as the captain gave the orders to fire. I heard the sound of the volley. My next sensation was a feeling of unnatural cold, although I experienced no pain. I wondered if this was what death felt like.

Then I seemed to hear laughing. Laughing? In Heaven? In Hell? I opened my eyes. The members of the firing squad were standing where I had last seen them, but they were convulsed with laughter.  One was laughing so hard he had dropped his rifle.

I looked down an realized why they were laughing. All my clothing had vanished. I was standing there stark naked. Kupinski’s first law had struck again!

From "Varangian: The Stone of Babylon" by Sabine K. Atkins

Caren glanced at the leather-tube strapped across Edric's back. "Did
you kill Delion?"

Edric's jaw was tense. "No."

"He saved my life," Renata groaned.

"I only assumed Delion would die like the others." Edric tried to avoid Renata's grateful glances. "He said he's got copies of the manuscripts."

"Awesome," Caren said sarcastically.

He helped her lift Renata over a rock. "I'm going after him, Caren."

She calmly looked at him. "Delion's a criminal. Let the authorities deal with him."

He began to unbutton the collar of his sweater. "Delion is now the second most dangerous man in the world. I'm the only one who can stop him."

She saw the golden chain glittering around Edric's neck. She needed to ask the following question, even though she was afraid of the answer.

"Why?" Her voice sounded flat. She glanced at the wonderfully strange object resting on his chest.

He covered the Stone of Babylon with his trembling hand. "I'm now the most dangerous man who ever lived."

From "Tell Me You Want Me" by Amelia James

“My father taught me that love is for romance novels, Hallmark cards, and getting laid on Valentines’ Day.  Romance doesn’t last so just have a good time—no strings attached—and no one gets hurt.”

Jane took a bite of chicken and thought about that.  “There’s nothing wrong with having a good time.”  Isn’t that why she decided to go out with him?

  “But don’t you want more than that?”

Austin gave her a blank look.  “Like what?”

“Like commitment, a relationship, someone you can spend the rest of your life with.”

He didn’t budge.  “Nope.”

Jane picked up her wine.  “Oh, sorry.  Is that too boring for you?”  She scowled at him over the top of her glass.

“No, not boring.  I just don’t think it’s possible.”

She glared at him, searching his eyes for that mischievous sparkle, but he stared right back at her, completely serious.  “I think it’s possible.”

“Well, that’s where you’re wrong.”  He still did not smile.

“It is possible if you meet the right person,” Jane protested with a little more desperation than she intended.

Austin cringed.  “And who would that be?  I can’t possibly be the right guy for you—or anyone."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

From "Never Saw It Coming" By Mike Jordan

Tim Finnegan has tracked the two men that abducted his brother, James, at gunpoint to a river camp in Evansville, Indiana, after retrieving his inheritence: A Remington 870 twelve gauge shotgun...
   “Look, we was told to grab him and pound on him for bit, then hold tight.” Ziggy whispered, “We get told to kill him, he’s over, if not we leave him here and he might live. I don’t care what this guy did or didn’t do, what I care about is my money.”

   “I know, Ziggy, but---“

   “Shut up, Tiny!” Ziggy whispered harshly.

   Tiny turned the whine up a notch, “Don’t shush me, Ziggy!”

    “I heard something, bitch, be quiet.”

   To his credit, Ziggy had heard something. He heard the click when I switched my safety off. A few seconds later, the front door to the trailer swung open.

   A brief moment of clarity struck me: I am not Tim Finnegan.

   I am the twisting maelstrom of excrement and broken glass that befalls my enemy. I am my enemy.

   I am this gun.

   I am a spark. I am a chemical reaction. I am hot steel shot. I am the cloud of blood, bone and brain matter that used to that guy’s head.

   I am not done yet.

From "Thus Saith Eve" by Chris Wind

I have been condemned for choosing knowledge over ignorance: the fruit I ate came from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In a society that praises pursuit of knowledge and honours men of wisdom, why have I been viewed with disfavour? Had Adam reached out first, would he have been so rebuked? Or is the state of ignorance requisite for women only? (Histories pass on Socrates, they pass over Aspasia.)

In the same vein, I chose experience over innocence. In a context of attitudes that value experience, the disapproval of my action can only imply the desire that women, like children, live in a state of innocence.

I have also been condemned for disobedience. If that were the issue, then why wasn’t the tree so named—‘the tree of obedience and disobedience’ or ‘the tree of temptation’. By naming it what it was not, God either deliberately tempted me or deliberately deceived me. And he should be judged, not I.

From "Father 27---Murder at the V.A." by James Hays

V.A. Chief of Police Webb, CSI Canton Fish and Deputy U.S. Marshals Peters
and Cornell have just been called to the hospital theater...

  “Excuse me. Let us through. V.A. Police,” Webb led the trio through the
gathering crowd. “Would someone please turn up the lights,” Canton

  “This guy is really screwed up.” Peters whispered.

  “Oh my God,” Cornell said. “Look at that!”
  The elderly black man sat in the back row of the theater staring grotesquely toward the stage. His wide-open eyes dripped blood and his dentures were clenched halfway out of his mouth, giving the appearance of a hideous grin. In his agony, the man had bitten off the tip of his
tongue and it lay like a bloody pen-wipe in his lap. A screwdriver had been hammered into his heart so deep that just the handle showed. The other end extended through the back of the seat. The handle of the tool was wrapped with a white cafeteria-style paper napkin. The dead man's
face contorted like a ghastly Halloween mask. It was his death face.

  Canton reached in the man’s pocket and wrestled out a wallet. He read the I.D. card “August Lee Mitchell. Age sixty-six. United States Marine Corps, Retired.” He unfolded a piece of paper. “Hmm. This letter is addressed to Colonel Mitchell. Full Bird.”

  “Ooh-rah” Peters said.

From "The Moon Coin" by Richard Due. Illustrated by Carolyn Arcabascio

Lily and Jasper, having broken into their uncle's home and turned on the Tesla generator, watch the flying seahorse, Oscar,—along with the rest of the birdfish—come to life...

Covered in varying shades of bright red plumage, he couldn't have measured more then ten inches fully stretched out. All along the reef were mounted more of the small golden perches, each occupied by equally strange-looking creatures, though the rest were more bird-like—or were they fish? It was hard to tell. Their wings were short for wings, and their fins were long for fins. And their mouths, though wide like fishes' mouths, were hard like birds' beaks. And now, with the Tesla generator supplying electricity, they had begun to twitch, their heads jerking in little jolts as the airborne electric current pulsed through their bodies.

The red seahorse untucked his head. Still quivering, he stretched out his stubby wings and began testing them in short, rapid bursts.

All along the reef wall, birdfish were testing their wings.

Oscar opened his beak and let out a loud burble-squawk. He shook his head, ruffled his feathers, and opened his eyes wide to take stock of his surroundings, eventually settling his blinking gaze on Lily and Jasper. This appearance of wise scrutiny was completely at odds with his birdbrained nature. And yet. . . .

Lily nudged Jasper. “Oscar knows things,” she whispered.

Monday, September 26, 2011

From "Marooned" by P.J. Druce

"You don't own me," I say.

"You're absolutely right. I don't own you. I created you. If it weren't for me, you and your mother would be toiling in some factory right now, or worse, you'd be on your knees trying to coax food from polluted soil."

This isn't the time for this argument, but I can't stop myself. "Doesn't sound so bad. As long as you weren't around."

He jerks on my arm, spinning me to face him. "Little girl, I'll always be around. Don't think of me as your father, because I'm not. Don't think of me as your mother's husband, because that means very little to me anymore."

"So," I ask with a sneer, "I should think of you as an ass?"

"No," he says, "I hold the power of immortality." He leans in close. His lips pull back, baring his teeth, and he whispers, "You should think of me as God."

From "Sam and Cam" by Aaron Ewell

Heather is detailing her revenge plan against Sam for dumping her at the altar...

“Shut up!”  Heather stepped back and took a deep breath.  “You’re not going to deter me from my goal,” she said.  “I promised you would be sorry and I meant it.”

“Oh really?”

“Yes.  I have elected for you to have ECT.”

“What the fuck is ECT?”

“Electroshock Treatment,” she answered with a wide smile.  “Whenever they think someone has lost it, they try shocking them back to reality.”  Heather’s eyes lit up.  “You’ve lost it Cameron…so it’s my duty as your wife to do everything I can to bring you back to me.”

“You’re not my wife.”

Heather chuckled.  “According to the marriage license that you signed, I am.”

“I didn’t sign anything.”

“Yes you did.  A week before the wedding, we went to city hall and filed it.  So regardless of whether or not a wedding took place, I’m legally your wife.”

“A fucking technicality?”  Sam was incredulous.  He also cursed Cameron for being such a fucking idiot.

“That’s all I need,” Heather replied victoriously.  “I want you to suffer…I want your mistress to suffer…I just lucked out that you gave me ample means to accomplish both my goals.”

From "Liberator's Ruin" by P. J. Johns

Nathaniel is introducing, Fran, his newest crewmember, to the rest of the crew of the Storm Brother

Fran suppressed a gasp when she saw him. Grekhis was a short man, barely 5 feet tall. Although rotund, he was powerfully built, his short arms and legs heavily muscled. The coveralls hid his body, but his features, though male were definitely not human. His head was covered in thick, bristly fur, and two pointed ears poked out from high up on the side of his head. His nose was snout-like, and flat against his face. Two tusks protruded from between his lips. He stared at her with little black eyes that gleamed with hidden intelligence.

No, Grekhis was not human at all.

‘I’m a Markynd,’ he supplied. ‘Don’t suppose that would be a problem, will it?’

Fran gathered herself and shook her head. ‘No, no it won’t. You just took me by surprise is all. I’ve never met a Markynd before.’

Grekhis grunted. ‘No surprise. My race tend to keep to themselves.’

‘Most humans don’t react well to Markynds, I’m afraid,’ Nathaniel added.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

From "Tainted Blood" by Nina Hobson

“Come on out Ron,” coaxed Kevin jokingly. “I’ll help you fix your bike.” 

“Okay,” answered back a voice from the dark alley to his left.  Out came the kid on his flat-tired bike moving directly under the streetlight yet somehow managing to stay cloaked by the darkness.  “I’ve got some tools over by that garbage can; we could have it fixed in no time." 

 “That’s okay I don’t need’em, I’ve got the only tool I need right here,” said Kevin as he flicked open his switchblade slowing his pace even more to savor the moment.  This time he was going to gut the boy and leave him for rat food in that alley. 

Kevin expected Ron to scream or cry or try to run but the kid did none of those things.  Instead he climbed off his bicycle and began walking towards him.  Kevin’s steps faltered and he stopped dead in his tracks.  So did the other kid; still seeming to drag the darkness along with him. 

 Something felt terribly wrong about the situation now. 

From "The Cosy Knave" by Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen

“Half-time,” Evy sighed, staring helplessly at Rhapsody. Perhaps she had begun to wonder if Tuxford´s elephantine screen was such a good idea after all.

“And now we are going to lose the match, aren´t we?” Miss Cadbury-Flake asked, amazing them all by her clear-sighted prophesy.

Jack jumped out of his chair, ready to throttle the former headmistress, but Tuxford grabbed his shirttail and pulled him down again. “No violence on our premises.”

“Why don´t we go home and watch something nice and cosy on my telly, Rose. Football isn´t much fun.” Miss Cadbury-Flake appealed to her younger colleague, but Rose didn´t stir.

“Rose?” Mildred, who was sitting next to the armchair, put out a hand and shook the navy-blue sleeve. “Rose, have you fallen asleep?”

Surely nobody could sleep through all this commotion. Rhapsody got up and approached the chair, but the butler reached it first. He bent down and touched Rose´s midriff while an expression of disbelief spread on his face. She saw the red smudge on his forefinger.

From "Ruin" by N.M. Martinez

Paula, recently banned from the Neutral Territory, learns a little bit about the history of the Wildlands from a couple of Wildlanders...

"They say that it was a girl who let the First Experiment out of the lab.” Maria looks at me and her lips curve into the tiniest of smiles. "She saw him from far off and felt sorry for him, so one day she opened his cage and let him go."

In school, when we learned about the Revolution, we never really went into much detail. Admittedly, I never gave it much thought myself, but the Revolution had to start somewhere.

Angel smiles at us. “My favorite is the one about the technician who spilled his coffee on the control panel.”

But these stories aren't real. No one seems to know the exact truth, though Maria and Angel share these strange stories about the First Experiment as if he were a real person.

"What's the truth?" I ask. "Is the First Experiment a real person? Wouldn't he have shared his story already?"

Maria pauses with her glass halfway to her mouth. She sets it down on her knee and looks over at Angel and Mitchell with surprise before turning back to me. "You don’t know? He didn't tell you? Your father is the First Experiment.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

From "First Enlistment: War for Profit Part One" by Jed Fisher


Halfway between the center of the Milky Way galaxy and its outer edge was the Prussia star system, and on its fourth planet, Ostreich, was its capital city of Ostwind. The city was home to the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission, housed in the largest building on the planet. Standing four hundred meters tall and a hundred meters square at its base, the titanium alloy-framed and transparent-armor-covered building was filled to capacity with the agents and associates and staff that managed the planet’s largest industry: Mercenaries. Nine centuries before, Ostreich was little more than an operational base for space pirates. As more planets became inhabited, Ostreich grew to be the economic and professional center of the Galaxy’s mercenary industry. Above the building’s main entrance doors, in bronze letters three meters high, were the words “LEAVE WAR TO PROFESSIONALS.”

From "I'm just an ordinary girl: The Sharon Kinne Story" by James C. Hays

Sharon Kinne just put her infant daughter in her crib in the other room. She didn't want little Danna to see her father being murdered...

   Sharon entered the bedroom; James lay on his right side with his face to the wall. His snoring echoed around the room, drowning out her footsteps. She walked to the edge of the bed and reached with her left hand for the pistol. Without removing it from the pillow, she placed her thumb on the butt of the gun and her forefinger on the trigger and squeezed. She was so hyped, so scared, so excited, that she never heard the shot.

   James' body twitched and he rolled over on his back. Blood began to stain his pillow. His eyes didn't open but his face took on a contorted, agonizing expression. It was his death face. His head rolled violently from side-to-side, as though trying to shake the bullet from his brain and his mouth opened slightly, emitting gurgling sounds from deep within his throat. A thick, red froth oozed down his chin and the irregular, raspiness of his breathing caused small bubbles to form between his lips. An eerie looking bump appeared under his right eye. The skin around it stretched and turned black. Sharon ran from the room and the horror she’d just witnessed. Or, the evil she'd just perpetrated. There'd be no turning back now. Sharon Kinne signed on for keeps.

From "The Red Horde: Story I" by Geltab

You three are different than all others. I have been waiting for your return for four thousand years, since the last defeat of the red horde. There was not victory only a setback, four thousand years is nothing to the red God, he was not defeated only delayed, his return was inevitable. He has been biding his time, building his strength to ensure he will complete his task this time without fail. He has no idea the power you three will bring to bear when the time is right. He thinks such power has gone from the world and he can conquer at will. We want the red God under that impression as long as possible.”

Sul was motioning the server for his fourth refill of ale already. Verg, Rega and Basner sat in stunned silence, maybe it’s the food, but no, it was the crushing news, having the weight of the world placed on your shoulders unexpectedly. The more ale Sul consumed the more he openly talked of their past, the red God, the red horde and things to come. Their heads were filled to bursting with information. They could not imagine what more there could be to learn.

From "Harmonica + Gig" by RJ Astruc

In the summer of 2057 a nineteen-year-old Joaquin Magdellin had chased a whim and a peroxide blonde down a stretch of WestAsian coastline. After five days without a word his over-anxious parents contacted the police. For weeks their plight headlined internet dailies and six AsiaNational television channels. But if Joaquin had been remiss in advising his family of his plans, he had not forgotten to tell Harry, phoning her collect from a cut-rate backpacker hostel in Bombay.

‘Missing your legs, baby,’ he’d slurred into the vidphone, sunburnt and cheerful. ‘These Indians are a fucken riot. Want me to bring you back a cheap carpet?’

He called her again in 2060 before embarking on a four month lone odyssey through barely-charted bushlands--a journey to find himself, he explained. Self-awareness, SouthAsian style. He sent her a series of postcards via vidphone, posing barechested and openhearted against backdrops of ghost-tree gullies and featureless plains of red sand; she watched him clamber up razor-back ridges and down dunes from the comfort of her living room.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

From "An Unlikely Arrangement" by Patty Wiseman

    Her hands remained clasped in front of her, settled against the soft folds of her velveteen gown; eyes downcast. Rage coursed through her body, her heart pulsed with the beat of it. Face-to-face with a man said to be her future husband, white-knuckled, she fought for control. Mother is angry, yes. Of course, I knew there would be consequences but I never expected this.    “Dear, please do not be rude. Give Mr. Kirby the courtesy of acknowledging his presence.”
She lifted her trembling hand to his out-stretched palm. Her throat constricted, and she could not look directly at him. Instead, she focused on his gray pinstripe slacks and moved up inch by inch until she reached his handsome face. He stood over six feet tall, solidly built, and she felt small in his presence. She was not sure what she had expected, wasn’t sure she expected anything at all. A woodsy fragrance tickled her nose. Broad muscular shoulders complimented the rugged look, but at the same time exuded finesse, well-schooled manners, and proper decorum. His eyes were kind and compassionate, and her hand fit in his warm grasp like a comfortable glove.

From "Earth Bound" by J.A.Taylor

No! No! No!  Matt just had time to have the words light up in his mind when he realized that he was already too close. Too close and too late, he couldn't stop quickly enough before he hit a wall that was the creepy-crawlies multiplied a thousand-fold. It enveloped him instantly and completely.

His brain exploded.

From "Mandiev" by M. T. Dismuke

Scared to death, Mary jerks away and begins pulling her arm down with all her might, and with one final tug, her wrist brutally slips down over the handle of the chrome dagger and falls limp to the side. In morbid pain, she screeches sharply as her other wrist slips down over the other hilt. Her body slowly turns, facing Phillip, as she plummets toward the bloody seal below. She cannonballs through it, shattering it into hundreds of fragments. Above her, Phillip releases his tentacles from the roof and dives down after her. The two chrome daggers reform into spheres and race down and swiftly orbit his waist, wailing with a high-pitched hum as he soars toward her.

Falling into a void of darkness, she watches him swim thr
ough the air above her. As he closes in, he extends all four tentacles outward as if to snatch her in flight. Spread open like the letter X, his body races downward with roaring speed. He lets out a high-pitched squeal, and with one final hiss, his body slams into hers. The impact stuns her, and all goes black except for the piercing ringing inside her head…