I have posted my flash fiction for Orla Hart's Authortube Anthology Vol 2! It is called Soul Eater and is horror. Subtitles are available. I have posted the actual story down below if you want to follow along. Story is complete at 1,015 words. The theme was "unnatural."
by Laura Nettles
It all starts when I lose my front tooth. The pristine porcelain is hollow and rotted from the inside, dark sludge oozing from where the roots should be. My dentist says it must have been a cavity and to floss more. A new voice inside my head laughs.
Over the next few weeks my teeth continue to loosen and fall out, one by one. My gums shrink and recede, red and blotchy, festering. I can eat only liquids, but after a month, even they can not satisfy my new hunger.
“You will feast soon enough,” echoes the now familiar voice in my brain.
The air crisp with winter holds new scents to me. Every time I pass someone bundled in their coats and scarves, a hint of something sweet wafts over me. Fresh baked bread pales in comparison to the allure of these people.
“Breath it in my pet. All in good time.”
When passing the gym, the smell of human sweat fills the air, turning my stomach. Some people’s body odor is rank, yet that sweet allure still floats overtop of it. I am hungry for them, but not their bodies.
“Bodies decay, not worth consuming.” The words slither up my spine.
A pain grows in my mouth over a few days as a large bridge of something hard replaces where my human teeth had been in my top and bottom plates. It is sharp and a yellow ivory color, growing larger and fuller as the days progress. I can no longer go outside without being stared at, their beady eyes burning into me.
A fully developed beak stretches my jaw wide and splits my lips into ragged strips to make room. My nose recedes into my skull, nostrils wide. My eyes sink deep into their sockets, a red film covers my vision, the world darkening. Skin slackens as my muscles wane, yet I am stronger than ever.
The heady sweet smell is no longer resistible. I crack open the front door of my studio apartment. The moonlight caresses the landscape in red silhouettes, the world macabre. Down past the parking lot, the forest meets civilization. My blood sings in my ears. Home.
My long, thin limbs launch me over the railing, bypassing the stairs, straight down four flights. I land in a crouch, my splayed bare feet catching my light weight on the cement sidewalk. The smell of decaying plant life in the undergrowth washes over me as I run on all fours, fingers and toes like claws digging into the good earth for purchase. Light filters through the canopy in irregular patterns, animated by the wind. Carried with it is the sweet scent of human something.
There, amongst the lower boughs of ancient trees, a man stands talking to a woman. Their aggressive words increase in tempo and volume. I shouldn’t go to them. They are just people.
“But people’s souls are so delicious,” comes the luscious voice from within my transformed head.
Souls. That is what I am smelling. The immortal souls of humans.
A predatory scream tares through my throat, ravaging my shifted vocal cords. An all-consuming hunger washing over my brain, drowning the humanity.
The command was the trigger to release my tightly wound muscles as I spring forward, beak wide, honing in on the source of the sickly-sweet vapor now visible to my veiled eyes. It glows brighter than a searchlight and emanates from the area of their stomach, above their navel.
Strike. Snap. Twist. I gouge my beak deep into the guts of the man around the glowing entity that is his soul. The vapor solidifies at my touch. I shake my head, turning it this way and that to break the ethereal bindings. An unholy shriek from the spirit rings in my ears, fueling on my animalistic death roll, my whole body spinning in mid air to jerk the soul from its seat. Blood oozes down my face and splatters the trees in abstract beauty. The soul writhes in my beaked mouth, but I swallow it down whole.
The taste is magnificent. Spicy yet sweet at the same time. Like the best type of confection at Christmas. Stronger than gingerbread and more potent than rum cake. It filles my whole being with warmth. Knowledge not my own fills my mind and I am drunk off the sensation. The multitude of lives this soul has lived rushes through me. The gaping hole of need I have been feeling is now filled to the brim and I do not know if I can take in any more. I have reached nirvana.
“Very good my child,” the voice in my head echoes. “Now, complete your transformation.”
Pinfeathers push their way up and through my loose skin feeling like fat needles. They angle every which way without beauty. The agony intensifies as fully formed feathers grow in next, black as ink and jagged. My vocal cords finally tear as I scream, blood collecting in the back of my throat. I am drowning. Then, I am vomiting the last things I consumed as a human. My hands and feet are knives as talons overtake my nails, wickedly curved. My beautiful blonde hair falls out and I am left transformed; an unnatural, soul eating abomination.
A sound pulls me out of my agony. The woman falls to the ground in shock and terror, the dead man prone before her in the unruly undergrowth. Her frosted air rending screams are melodious and cause my skin to ripple in pleasure, newly form feathers on my arms and neck rustle against each other, sticking up at odd angles. The clouds of mist coming from her mouth waft in the dancing breeze, not a care in the world. Like me.
The first light of dawn peaks over the hills. My red veiled world is blinded. I am no longer suited for the world of the day. I take one last look at the woman and vanish into smoke, descending into the depths of her nightmares as I flee the rays. Until next the moon rises.