Morph (Definitive Edition)

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

After getting feedback of the original, this is the final draft of the short story. I hope you enjoy reading the 'definitive edition' and feel free to provide any constructive criticism that you might have! Have a great day!

Rafael looked out from the bushes he was hiding in to scan the area – a beat-up trailer at a campsite littered with trash. The people who were here must've been eaten, he thought. Doesn't look like any of Them are still around.

He rose up out of the bushes and started towards the trailer, moving through wrappers, empty cans and boxes on the way. Upon opening the trailer door, a horribly pungent smell punched his nose. He had to pull his shirt up to block the smell, else he would puke. Just like outside, the floor of the trailer was covered in trash. When he sifted his foot through it, dozens of rats scurried out from underneath and fled out the door.

“Now that just ain't right!” he shouted, pulling out his bow and notching an arrow. He was able to kill thirteen of them before they disappeared into the surrounding woods. “A baker’s dozen of rats,” he sighed. “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

He went back into the trailer and searched through all of the cabinets and drawers. One of them had a half-empty bottle of alcohol, but the rest had nothing but more garbage and insects. Shoveling the trash out of the way to see if there was anything he could make use of, he found the source of the foul smell; a decaying dog. Most of its skin had dissolved and Rafael could see the dirty skeleton sprinkled with fur. He held back bile.

Next to the body was a first-aid kit. “Guess they were trying to save it,” he said. He picked up the kit and put it, as well as the bottle of alcohol, in his backpack.

He got out of the trailer and began collecting the rats he impaled. Carrying them all in his arms, he looked over towards the shrubbery he was previously hiding in. “Okay,” he said aloud. “It’s safe. You can come out now.”

The bushes rustled and a little girl came out of them. Her long, soiled, brown hair covering a face of desperation. Light brown skin, pale from a lack of food or water. Stumbling from the pain of an open wound on her upper arm, she walked over to the fire pit as Rafael came over with the rats.

Rafael dropped the rats at the edge of the pit. “Okay. Let’s get that cut cleaned up.” He sat down next to her and pulled out the first-aid kit and alcohol.

“This is going to hurt a little,” he warned her, handing her his jacket to bite on.

When the alcohol was poured on her injury, she bite down on the jacket, screaming into it from the burning pain. Rafael had to hold her down as she moved violently, tears streaming down her face.

“We’re almost done,” he told her, pulling out a thread and needle from the kit. “Just a little bit more.”

The girl squealed every time the needle penetrated her skin.

“There. All done,” Rafael said, wrapping the wound. “You were very brave, Beatrice.”

 He stood up and got some firewood from a pile near the trailer. Dropping it in the pit, he pulled out lighter fluid and some matches from his backpack and started a fire.

“Are you hungry, Bee-Bee?” he asked her.

She held her stomach as it growled like that of a wolf.

“That’s a yes,” he said solemnly.

He took out his combat knife from its sheath on his thigh and began to skin the rats, preparing them for the fire.

When the rats were done, he handed a skewer of three to Beatrice.

“I know it ain't the ideal meal, but-,” he was unable to finish his sentence before Beatrice snatched the stick and began tearing into the rats, not even stopping to breathe until she had finished all three of them.

Man, this sucks, Rafael thought as he handed her another stick of cooked rodents. She’s starving and the only thing I can give her is a bunch of nasty rats.

As she continued to eat, Rafael got up and walked into the forest to find a tall, thick tree close the campsite. About eleven feet up, thick branches extended horizontally. Perfect, he thought.

He walked back over to Beatrice to find that she had finished all of the rats and he could see that color was returning to her face. “Come on,” he said. “It’s getting dark. We need to get up high.”

The pair walked to the tree that Rafael had found and he put down his backpack, quiver and sword and bent down in front of the trunk. Beatrice climbed onto his back and he began climbing up the tree.

He set her atop the highest branch that could support her weight and secured her legs with some rope. “Remember to keep yourself upright so you don’t fall,” he told her. He then climbed back down to get his backpack and weapons and tied himself down a few branches under Beatrice.

Rafael closed his eyes and tried to fall asleep, but felt something hit his face from above. Instinctively jerking upright and drawing his bow, he looked around to see what had attacked him. Glancing upwards, he saw Beatrice staring at him. “Goodnight,” she said softly.

Rafael smiled and put away his weapon. “Goodnight. Sleep tight.”

ò ò ò

Rafael woke shortly after dawn. The sky was blue, but it was not too bright yet. He scanned the ground below before trying to come down and saw a deer wondering around. It ventured to the campsite looking for anything to eat.

Rafael notched an arrow and aimed it at the deer. He released it and heard the satisfying whistling as it flew towards the deer, cutting through the air. The arrow sank into the animal’s side, through its lung and into its heart. The deer tried to run when it felt the projectile penetrate its body but wasn't able to get far before it fell to the ground, dead.

Happy that he could finally give Beatrice something decent to eat, Rafael smiled at his kill and untied the rope securing him to the tree to retrieve it.

“Hey Bea–,” he looked up and saw Beatrice still fast asleep above him. Deciding not to wake her, he made his way down.

He reached the deer’s lifeless body and pulled out his rope, tying its legs together. He then went over to a tree and tied the deer upside-down. Pulling out his knife, he began cutting down from the genitals.

While he was cutting, a chilling feeling swept over him. He turned around with his knife pointed at the intruder. “Holy crap, Beatrice!” he shouted, letting out a sigh of relief. “You scared me!”

She had a blank expressionless look on her face that Rafael had never seen before. “I was watching that,” she said.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, puzzled. “Is your cut bothering you?”

“I was watching that,” she repeated, now with a harsher tone.

“What were you watching? And how did you get down from the tr–,”

Rafael looked up towards the tree to see Beatrice still fast asleep. A feeling of panic swept over him. Crap! He thought.

Rafael dropped his knife and went for his sword, unable to take a stance before the Morph jump at him, knocking him on his back in the gravel and causing him to lose the blade.

Morph Beatrice was atop his chest. Her lower jaw split in two, making a larger opening for a rotating spiked tongue. It then lowered its head and the deadly tongue drilled its way into Rafael’s chest.

He shouted at the excruciating pain as the Morph began to feed on him. It took all the strength he had to pull out his Glock 18 from its holster on his leg. The rotating tongue drove deeper into his chest, now only centimeters from his heart.

Fighting through the pain, Rafael took the safety off of his pistol and shot Morph Beatrice in the stomach multiple times. It screeched in pain and fell away from Rafael. He took the opportunity to crawl over to his sword, leaving a trail of blood in the gravel.

Grabbing the katana and struggling to stand himself up, the Morph got its bearings and charged at him with its drill tongue engaged and long, claw-like nails extended.

Rafael used every last ounce of strength he had to swing his sword and lop off the Morph’s head, killing it. The body, still standing upright as the head rolled away and slowly leaned to the side until it finally fell.

The laceration in his chest squirted out blood profusely and Rafael was starting to lose consciousness. I have to get it, he thought. I can’t leave her alone.

He slowly and painfully walked over to the body of the Morph and fell on his knees. Pulling out a syringe from his thigh pocket, he extracted the cloudy, blue liquid flowing out of the body and, falling on his back, he injected the liquid directly into his exposed heart.

He cringed as he began to go into cardiac arrest and started to have a seizure until he fell into a coma.  

ò ò ò

Rafael’s mind awoke at the sight of a long corridor with an extremely high ceiling and strange blue-light symbols pulsating throughout the entirety of the walls. There were a multitude of doors on each side of the corridor. All of them were sealed tightly, save for one. A strange, pulsating red light shone out of the wide open door.

Rafael slowly approached the door and peaked inside. Three Morphs in their natural form – tall, thin, semi-transparent creatures with long, sharp claws and no eyes – stood over a table. On the table was a human man with some kind of object in his stomach; the source of the pulsating red light. The person twitched and fidgeted violently as the object in his stomach moved around inside of him.

The man’s skin slowly began to lose its color as his body started to elongate. Fingernails turned into claws and his eyes popped out of his head, dropping to the ground. Rafael was horrified to see that the human had been turned into a Morph.

One of Them standing over the human-turned-Morph hit the table in anger. “Another failure!” it shouted. “We were so close!”

Rafael fell back as the Morph made a noise that was so high pitched, it made his ears hurt. They turned and saw him on the ground. “You again?” One of them said angrily. “How do you keep getting in here?”

Rafael quickly got up and ran back the way he came.

“Come back here!” They shouted in unison.

Rafael reached the end of the corridor and it split into two separate paths. Rafael had no time to stop and think about which turn to take and rushed down the left one.

“Crap!” He shouted, panting. “Dead end!”

He turned back around and tried to make for the right turn, but it was too late. The Morphs had already made it to him.

“This is the sixth time you have been in here,” the Morph in front said, annoyed. “How are you doing it?”

Rafael could not respond. The fear prevented him from formulating words.

“It does not matter. We need you. Your type - the dark-skinned ones – are the missing piece in the salvation of Earth.”

The Morphs advanced towards Rafael and backed him into the wall. The lead one reached out and put a hand on his shoulder. “Come wi-,” It stopped and cocked its head to the side as if it were thinking. “I see,” it said, turning back to Rafael. “You are not really here.”

The Morph bent over and whispered into Rafael’s ear and then shoved its claws into his chest, through his heart and out the other side.

òòò

Tendons, muscles and bones suddenly began reconstructing themselves piece by piece from the wound in Rafael’s chest until there was not even a scratch on him. He jolted upright in a cold sweat, breathing very heavily. That time was different, he thought. What the heck is that place?

Not bothering to finish skinning the deer, Rafael stood up and went over towards the tree. He climbed up to Beatrice and woke her up.

“Good morning,” she said with a yawn.

“Come on, Bee. We gotta go.”

“Is something wrong?” she asked. A look of concern swept over her face.

Images of what happened during his coma suddenly flashed in his head. “No,” he assured her, dismissing the flashbacks and smiling to erase her worry. “We just can’t stay in the same place for too long.”

Beatrice got onto Rafael’s back and the two climbed down the tree. They started on their way through the campsite and Beatrice noticed the decapitated Morph.

“What is that?” she asked.

Rafael quickly moved into her path of sight and put his hands on her shoulders. “It’s nothing,” He said. “Let’s keep moving. We have to get further East before nightfall.”

Beatrice agreed and the two went on their way. They reached a cliff that looked over what seemed like the entire world. The sun, breaching the trees, painted the sky in a beautiful reddish orange light. A fresh breeze blew into their faces, carrying a bright scent of flowers with it.

As the two stood in awe of the magnificent sights and smells, a chilling feeling swept over Rafael.


Submitted: May 21, 2015

© Copyright 2021 Anthony Quest. All rights reserved.

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