Nov 14, 2008

A little icing

Okay, so I've been informed that I need to update my blog more often, so I'm going to add one of my short stories. Enjoy!

Liza bit down. Hard. She bit harder and harder, driving her teeth into her fleshy lip until it opened up, spitting out a stream of blood. A tear rolled down her cheek, involuntarily. She shook it away in irritation. She was not crying. The tear was reflexive; a coping mechanism of her body’s intolerance of the pain. A memory of a small girl with disheveled golden pigtails flashed through her mind: her older sister, Emmy, at six years old. Tears gushed from the child’s eyes, as Mother cooed and hummed and stroked her head.
Liza imagined herself crying now, snot sliding in a stream from her red nose to the lines of her lips, mixing with the tears that oozed from swollen eyes. Surely, if there was ever a time to cry, it would be now. But crying solved nothing. She had known this as a toddler less than two, watching Emmy blubber over her skinned knee. In the four years since then, Liza had cried only once: the day that the leeches had come. The day that they had swarmed into the hospitals, where blood was found in copious amounts, its pungent smell reaching out to them, drawing them in. The day she saw them projected on tele-announcers, feeding on the wounded and the weak. That day, her common sense had submitted to her fear, unleashing unbidden wells of water from her heart, which leaked from her wide, grey eyes.
But she was a soldier now, and she knew what must be done. They knew enough about the leeches that the streets were no longer littered with lifeless, staring corpses, but still they were not safe. It is impossible to live and avoid blood excretion completely. Children fall down, dry weather causes nose bleeds, open cold sores afflict many, and women’s menstruation cannot be avoided. The acrid smell of rusty iron on human flesh would be a literal dead give-away. The leeches would be there, heeding the call of blood that lured them. They would not wait.
Liza pressed her bloodied lip to her shoulder, her chest, anywhere it could reach, and smeared violently. They must come. She knew she would die, and yet she knew this is how it must be. God had planned it this way. The fate of the world rested in the hands of the children-- the infants whose genius both frightened and intrigued the adult world. It was they who had finally discovered the enemies’ weaknesses: The leeches were blind and deaf. They relied completely on their senses of smell and touch to feed their taste. So, menacing and destructive as they were, with their scaley bodies and raptor-like claws, they were defeatable. And all it took was bait.
Liza lay with her eyes closed, her arms and legs tied down, so she could not be tempted to run. She knew she would not be tempted. She could hear throaty growling squeals of excitement in the distance. The trap was laid. It would be over soon. Blood rolled onto Liza’s soft, pink cheeks as she smiled.