Monday, November 1, 2010

NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Round 2 - "Atrophy"

For the second challenge in the writing competition I had to have fun with a little play on words with the object assignment.  I definitely went a little gore-fest on this horror, so not for the squeamish.

ATROHPY- Horror/Animal Testing Facility/ A Trophy

Steaming red globs were splattered on the bathroom tile. Sarah knelt down next to her husband’s body.  She was struck by how much the cavity in his abdomen reminded her of a bowl of Spaghetti-Os.  She plunged her hand in, scooped out some of the mangled innards, and began to eat.

At SlimPharm Laboratories, only one room was lit at this time of night. Fluorescent flickers reflected off the jars where various animal fetuses bathed in formaldehyde.
 “Damn it Tony, just make love to that trophy already.  I don’t want to be here all night.”
“Relax Sam, you’re just jealous. Face it, your scrawny ass has been wishing to have my skills since junior high.”  Tony yawned and returned to gazing at the golden obelisk sitting in front of him
“You’d probably get better grades if you weren’t so fascinated with phalluses.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, Mr. Collegiate Wrestler of the Year, maybe you enjoy your mono-a-mono mat time a little too much.  You know, who can resist sliding spandex and svelte sweaty bodies rolling over each other?”
“Bite me”
“Hey, the truth hurts. Will you get off your ass now?  Professor Davidson was convicted that something was going to happen tonight, and he’s letting you get extra credit by coming here.  Do these rats look like they are getting skinnier to you?  We need to take some measurements.”
“Can’t we just make some up?”
“No.  You know the professor is like a hero to me.  I’m not going to screw up his research to cure starvation.”
Tony pulled himself from the table and shuffled towards Sam.  For a brief instant, the sight of Tony made Sam think of a pepperoni pizza.  He shook his head to clear his mind, and went back to work.

            “Hello, you’ve reached Pascal Davidson, Professor of Dietary Medicine and lead researcher at SlimPharm Labs, please leave a message and I will return your call.”
            “Professor, it’s Sam.  You need to get here quick.  The rats that received treatment Z suddenly experienced rapid muscular atrophy. I think their bodies just began self-consuming. Shit!  The rats are eating each other now.  I’ve got to go.”
            Sam and Tony scrambled to get the rodents into isolated cages.  The ravenous creatures repeatedly sunk their teeth into exposed flesh.  When it was all finished, scratches and bites tattooed the arms of Sam and Tony. 
            “Man, I hope I don’t lose any credit because of this.”  Tony crooned.
            “I wouldn’t worry too much.  I wonder if this is what the professor thought would happen.”
            “Maybe I can help.”  The students jumped, startled by the unexpected voice.
            “Mrs. Davidson?”  Sam inquired.
            Sarah Davidson titled her head at the salutation, and then sauntered her sultry silhouette towards them.
            “Hi Sam.  Who’s your friend?” Sarah eyed Tony’s muscular frame.
“My name is Tony. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”  He reached out to shake her hand, but she wrapped it around her slender waist and nibbled his ear.
“You’re tasty,” she purred.
Tony shot a puzzled glance at Sam. Sam shrugged. The professor’s wife had a reputation for scandalous behavior.
“That’s quite the impressive hardware,” said Sarah as she stroked the trophy. “It looks like you’re a very capable guy.  Did I hear you say something about needing credit?”
Tony nodded.
“I could convince my husband to give you all the credit you want, as long as you do a little favor for me.” Her serpentine tongue traced the crimson outline of her lips. Sarah stepped towards Tony, her needle fingers slipping her blouse buttons undone.
Tony raised a lustful eyebrow as he allowed Sarah to come in for a kiss.  As his hand traversed the small of her back, her hand reached over to the nearby table. Before Sam could protest, Sarah chopped the Wrestler of the Year accolade into Tony’s skull. His body crumpled to the ground.
Sarah turned to Sam. The trophy dripped crimson ink.  Something about the way the drops splashed on the laboratory floor made Sam’s mouth water.
“You know Sam, my husband always raved about how brilliant of a student you were.  He was greatly impressed by your motivation, by your infatuation, by your devotion.”  She paused.
            Sam’s head spun, trying to comprehend what just happened. He started to reply, but was stopped short by two scissor fingers resting on his mouth. 
            “Hush” cooed Sarah.  “I already know how much you’ve done.   I was watching when he gave you the injection. I watched you grow thinner. I asked him about it.  When he told me, I said I would expose his secret study unless he treated me as well.  I loved it.  I could go weeks without eating. But then, I got hungry.  Really hungry. Are you getting hungry Sam?”
            Sam’s stomach churned.   He was famished, but he was also disturbed by what it was his body craved.  The fantasies of feasting on flesh flashed in his mind. 
            “Give in.”
            Feeling like he was in a dream, Sam retrieved a scalpel.  His hand trembled as he went to make his first incision.
            “Do it.”
            Sam strengthened his grasp on the knife. He pressed the blade into his friend’s skin. But then, he pivoted and plunged it into Sarah’s chest.  She clutched the blade as she fell to the floor, a low moan gurgled from her mouth. 
            Sam felt dizzy.  Rivers of blood flowed along the laboratory floor.  The urge to lap it up was overwhelming.  He fought to control himself.  He made it to the rat cages. He undid the doors.  The rats poured out and were soon feasting on the corpses, their teeth crunching into the bones.  As Sam observed the smorgasbord he thought to himself, “I wonder how rat tastes.”

Here are the judges comments

WHAT THE JUDGE(S) LIKED ABOUT YOUR SCRIPT - ...............The character of Sam has an interesting arc, and a strong moral dilemma on his hands, competing urges. Toned down, his decision to give in could be quite unsettling................Good concept, using the diet drug. Interesting and original. .............................................   WHAT THE JUDGES FEEL NEEDS WORK - ...............Don't mistake perversion for horror. Horror still requires that tension build, that we feel engaged enough in the story to feel threatened ourselves. In a very short story, just a suggestion of their cannabalistic impulses would be far more effective. ...............Some problems with word usage and some clumsy sentences. Too much explaining in dialogue................…........................

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