A Horror Story
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This short story falls into the Horror genre. It is bloody and gory. Please read at your own risk.
And maybe not while eating.
*****END OF DISCLAIMER*****
I’d been the talk of the town for over a week now. It was hard not to notice the stares. The hospital staff had done their best to keep reporters at bay, but somehow they’d snuck in anyway. The school principal had given an announcement that morning, “Jamie Fenworth will be returning today. Please be respectful.” He also asked students to give me my space and privacy, but kids my age don’t listen. My locker had been tagged - “#zombielife,” dripped like blood down the front of it.
“Hey, weirdo, you won’t find many brains to eat here,” Chad, the football jock, yelled at me from across the locker hall before he and his cohorts broke into a round of laughter like hyenas. He didn’t seem to realize the irony of his own joke. I kept my head down, trying to find my classroom by the pattern of tiles on the floor.
It wasn’t my fault the crazy man had attacked me in broad daylight. “Rabies,” the cops said. He came shuffling toward me, like he was drunk. It wouldn’t have been unusual for a man to be drunk in the middle of the day in our town. But when he got closer, I saw his decaying skin, his black teeth. His nose was hanging onto his face by a mere thread of bloody tissue. He smelled like rotting garbage that had been left in the sun for a week. Maybe longer. By the time I realized he was coming for me, it was too late.
I rubbed The Stump subconsciously, forgetting for a moment that my arm ended halfway before it should have; the doctors had to cut it off to save the rest of me. It still felt like it was there on the inside. The doctors called it a ghost arm. Or maybe it was a phantom limb. I couldn’t remember. I became the resident weirdo with the The Stump who got bitten by a rabid psycho, and now everyone called me a zombie. As if high school wasn’t hard enough before the bite.
“Oomph!” My walking without looking came to an end as I ran straight into Mrs. Dougherty, my English teacher from hell. Which was probably lucky seeing as how plump she was; neither of us got hurt as we bounced off one another. She adjusted her hair as she turned around to see who caused the fender bender in the hallway.
“Will you please look where-” she stopped mid-sentence when she saw it was me. Her eyes took a quick glance down at my arm, or what was left of it, before catching herself. She looked at me like I was a hurt puppy. “Oh, you poor dear. Welcome back.”
I mumbled some sort of thanks at her and ducked under her outstretched arms into her classroom. My feet got the best of me in my attempt, and I reached out to catch myself on a desk as I fell. Only I forgot I didn’t have half my arm anymore and I missed. Completely. I felt the corner of the desk just barely scrape the side of my face as I went down. It could have been worse. Another stroke of luck.
“Hey! Are you ok?” I heard someone ask. When I felt sure the falling was over and no more damage was to be expected, I peeked my eyes open. Amber’s blue eyes peered back at me.
“Yeah…thanks,” I said as she helped me back up to my feet. Thankfully she was the only student in class, but the rest of the pack was starting to pad in. I shuffled around to my desk in the far corner of the room, avoiding any more conversation.
I scratched at the bandaged base of The Stump. It had started to burn and itch the last few days. My doctor said that was normal, but it didn’t feel normal to me. In fact it downright hurt most of the time. “Phantom pain,” he said. Yeah, ok, whatever.
“This fell out of your bag,” Amber said as she sat down next to me, depositing a water bottle on my desk. I realized how parched I was as the cool water hit the back of my throat. Ah, sweet relief. I caught her side-eyeing my arm.
“Thanks a lot,” I hissed at her, hoping she’d leave me alone. It worked. The bell announced the start of class.
“Alright, everyone, settle down. Let’s get our books out and continue where we left off yesterday,” I heard Mrs. Dougherty say from the front of the room. My eyes remained fixed on my desk as a sudden vertigo threatened to topple me over. My cheek felt warm to the touch of my hand. Well, crap, maybe The Stump is infected.
Instead of getting my book out, I laid my head down on the desk, relishing the coolness of the wood under my cheek. It was probably plastic, but it had a wooden pattern veneer on top. Our school was cheap like that. Mrs. Dougherty walked by, lecturing the class on what they were reading. I felt the rustle of her skirt, but she left me alone. Lucky strike number three. Three strikes and I’m out? All good things come in threes. Random cliches swirled around my head as my eyes drifted closed.
Red. The room was red when I opened my eyes again. Red and blurry. I must have fallen asleep. I blinked my eyes trying to clear them but the haze remained. It was like when a torrential downpour hit your car windshield and all you could see were fuzzy lights whizzing by. Only the windshield wipers that were my eyelids weren’t cooperating.
I lifted my head, hearing a sickening, wet peeling sound as I did so. I looked back down at my desk through the red haze and saw a chunk of cheese pizza where my cheek had been laying. Did I lay down on someone’s pizza? That’s disgusting. I picked the gooey chunk up between my thumb and my finger, although it was tricky because my hand felt like it was going numb. I held the pizza up to my eye to inspect it. Nope, not pizza. That is a chunk of my face.
I popped the cheek meat into my mouth before anyone could notice that part of my face was missing. Only realizing after the fact that part of my face was missing and it wouldn’t matter if they saw the piece of cheek in my hand. I let my gaze wander around the room to see if anyone had noticed, a sea of red crashing in waves before me. My tongue rolled the hunk of cheek around in my mouth, salivating. The texture reminded me of undercooked bacon, but the flavor was pretty spot on. I chewed and swallowed. I’m so hungry.
Amber bent over to pick up a pencil that had rolled off my desk. She placed it in front of me, her eyes fixed up front on Mrs. Dougherty. I shouldn’t have been so mean to her earlier, she was always so nice to everyone.
My stomach growled as the white flesh of her arm caught my attention. Before I could blink, I had her arm in my hand, my finger tips digging into her skin. I bit down, hard. I barely heard her screaming as I ripped meat and tissue loose, blood pouring down my hand, chin, and throat. I was so hungry, I didn’t care if I was making a mess.
The arm slipped loose from my hand, slick with blood. A deep growl emerged from my throat as my hunger demanded more. I looked up to see red, bleary faces; horror and shock undulated in front of me. The room erupted into chaos as Amber continued to scream, but the sounds were muffled as if I had my head under water.
I grabbed the student who turned around in front of me before comprehension showed in his eyes. The skin on his neck easily gave way beneath my teeth, and the flood of warm, hot liquid started to satiate the beast that resided in my belly.
Man, this guy is heavy. I couldn’t hold him anymore so I tore off a chunk of his skin to take with me; his body slumped to the floor. But as the hunger receded, I realized I was literally eating my classmate. What was I doing?? I licked blood and flesh from my fingers, sucking as much deliciousness from them as I could. I was confused. Why was I so hungry? Why did Amber and this guy taste so good?
I needed more, but standing proved to be more difficult than I anticipated; my legs nearly buckled beneath me as they bore my weight. I felt myself grunt as I caught myself, The Stump acting like a tripod. Hey, The Stump didn’t hurt anymore. Actually nothing hurt, because I didn’t feel much of anything anymore.
I stepped over the body in front of me, slipping a bit in the bloody pool that surrounded him. I reached out for anybody I could grab. I already needed to eat again. There was a bottleneck at the door as everyone tried to run out at once, and there was doughy Mrs. Dougherty bringing up the rear.
I had never eaten such a rich meal in my life, and never as fast as I was devouring Mrs. Dougherty’s half-processed breakfast. My eyes closed in ecstasy as I gnawed on her ropey intestines.
When her body grew cold, I sluggishly rose to my feet. The ringing of an alarm bell faded in and out of my hearing. My legs felt heavy as I shuffled to the door, now empty. The whole hall was empty. Where had everyone gone?
My head swiveled to the left as I heard glass shatter. I dragged my feet in that direction, hoping someone could tell me what was going on. I didn’t want to eat fellow students, and I definitely didn’t want to eat my teacher, but I couldn’t stop myself. I felt like I was going to die if I didn’t give the monster in my stomach what it wanted.
A scraping sound came from my right and I looked up to see Mr. Crofton charging at me through the red haze, an axe raised in his hands. My blood soaked eyes saw confusion and fear flash in his before he brought the axe down toward my head. Well, shit. I guess luck only comes in thre-