Growth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Not suitable for younger readers.

Cover image: pixabay.com.

Growth

“Mom! Dad! There’s something wrong with Flicker.” Amy dashed into the kitchen, not even pausing to kick off her muddy boots.

“Hey! Hey! Slow down, Ame. Where’s the fire?” Frank Grebe joined his daughter. He was about to remind her of the rule about muddy boots when he saw her stricken face. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

Gulping back her sobs, Amy managed to say: “It’s Flicker! There’s something really... wrong with her. Come quickly... Please!” She tugged on her father’s arm, pulling him out into the yard towards the stable.

The pony could barely keep herself upright. Her eyes were rolled into her head and there was froth around her mouth.

“Easy, girl,” Frank said as he walked inside the stable. Instantly he could see a lump on her side, a huge swelling. “Amy, think carefully now. When you took her out yesterday did she have a fall?”

“No, Dad. Of course not.”

“Were there other animals around? Could something have bitten her?” As he asked, Frank let his hands explore the animal, keeping them well away from the lump.

“N...no.” Amy stepped towards the pony but Frank signaled to her to stay back.

“One last question, Ame, okay? Was there any wire, you know, like Mr Fowler uses?”

“I’d never go near there with her, Dad. Honest! Is Flicker going to be okay?”

Frank let his hand travel nearer to the lump and the pony shrieked in terror. “I’m sure she’ll be okay. What I want you to do is run back to the house and get Mom. Go now, Amy.”

“But... she wants me to stay with her.”

“Amy, please don’t argue. Just go!”

While his daughter was gone, Frank moved himself into a safe position and placed his hand on the lump. He could have sworn something beneath the skin on Flicker’s side moved, but the pony kicked out and he was no longer certain that what he had felt was anything more than her muscles tensing up.

He was about to let his fingers go probing again when the stable door burst open. Amy dashed forward, pulling Anna, her mother, behind her.

“What’s going on?” Anna gasped when she caught sight of the lump that was now visibly pulsating. “Oh, my god! Look at the thing growing out of her. Get her to a vet now!”

Frank shook his head, nodding towards Amy who stood white-faced, tears streaming from her eyes. “We can’t move her, Anna. Phone Vic, tell him it’s urgent that he gets out here right away.”

Stepping out of the stables, Anna pulled her cell phone from her pocket and punched in the vet’s number. It went straight to voicemail so she left a message and dialed again. After the third attempt she gave up and rang his emergency cell number.

The phone rang twice before he picked up. “Hello?” The vet sounded far from his usual affable self.

“Vic? It’s Anna. Anna Grebe.” She was about to start explaining about the pony but he cut her off.

“Let me guess. It’s Flicker and she’s got some unexplainable lump on her side.”

“But... how do you know?”

“I’m out with the Wilsons. Every single one of their horses have developed the same thing. Then there’s the Landers; their ponies are the same. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“The thing is, Vic, Flicker is terrified and in agony. What can we do until you can get here?”

There was no answer for a minute or so, but then Anna heard a sound that chilled her. The sound of a horse, screaming in agony, filled her with even more dread. From inside the stable she heard her husband call out for her.

“I’ve... I’ve never seen anything like this!” she heard Vic say. “There’s something moving in here. Look...”

Anna heard more muffled voices and then a panicked yell. “The skin... it’s splitting apart.” And then there was nothing but yelling, screaming, the sound of footsteps and bangs and something...else. A noise that she had never heard before. And then silence.

Flicker let out an agonized scream from inside the stable. “Amy! Frank! Get out of there now! Please!”

Anna ran towards the stable door then stopped dead. The screams she could hear were no longer those of the pony, but of her daughter, her husband. And then, in the silence that followed, Anna heard the same alien sound that she had heard from Vic’s cell phone.

Something banged into the stable door from inside, then again, with such force that the entire front of the stable seemed to shake. Whatever was inside there was not going to be kept in there for long.

Jolted into action and crying as she ran, Anna made for the house. ‘Keep going,’ she told herself. Not much further and then she’d be inside, could call the police, get back to Vic and find out what was going on.

So near and yet so far. Anna heard the wood of the stable door rip apart. She dared not look back but forced herself to keep on running. And then she fell.


Submitted: October 26, 2020

© Copyright 2020 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Mark A George

Loved it, Hulla. You really build suspense well. I like how you leave it to the reader's imagination to fill in what happens next.

Mon, October 26th, 2020 7:13pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mark. I wasn't very comfortable with writing this... I don't like to put animals through agony, even if they are imaginary ones.

Sun, November 1st, 2020 3:27am

Mike S.

Scary excellence, Hull

Mon, October 26th, 2020 7:46pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Mike!

Fri, October 30th, 2020 9:58am

Joe Stuart

I agree with Mark about leaving what happens next to the reader's imagination. That is often more horrifying that a graphic description, and there is always a chance that the victim escapes.

Mon, October 26th, 2020 10:59pm

Author
Reply

That's true. I've not been writing quite so many deaths into my stories this last week or so.
Thanks so much for reading, Joe.

Fri, October 30th, 2020 9:58am

Robert Helliger

A great story, Hull.
The writing is excellent, too.

Tue, October 27th, 2020 2:11am

Author
Reply

Thanks so much, Robert!

Fri, October 30th, 2020 9:56am

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