My latest flash-fiction story, In Plain Sight, just took one of the runner up spots at the WeBook Monthly Challenge!
An urban sci-fi/horror short that may just cause you to look at those living on the streets in an entirely new light…
Check it out below…
And don’t forget that Archimedes Claw and Secrets of the Samurai Squid are currently competing in the Contest Fiction Short Story Competition. Drop by and check them out, leave a tip and help support some new authors!
In Plain Sight
It had been a long, cold night; just the way we like it. The sun cast piercing shafts of light down into the depths of the city, reflected off the concrete and steel maze of this unfamiliar, urban jungle. The harsh light reached down to illuminate the downtrodden and destitute, along with their malodorous nests and dwellings. As I pulled the hood of my jacket up and over my slightly deformed head and face, the others began to stir.
We gathered and began the daily tasks of begging, panhandling and scavenging. People crossed the street at the sight of us, either in pure revulsion or as an evasive maneuver to avoid the embarrassment of our pathetic stories and propositions. It was the daily grind, but we had little choice at this point in the game. For us, it was better this way. Better to hide in the shadows by night and take up our roles during the daylight hours. Outsiders, not of our kind, came and went, though more went than came these days. New arrivals were greeted with contempt and territorial confrontations, and if they remained after the daylight had faded, we relieved them of their burdens.
The time was rapidly drawing near, and as the number of cardboard boxes, newspaper blankets and overpass shelters increased, so did our ranks. By certain standards, we were living in filth. We were considered bottom feeders to be ignored and ridiculed; or just sympathy cases here for the sole reason of allowing those in seemingly more favorable positions to feel a brief sense of betterment towards themselves. If they only knew the reality, their opinions would be very different. We could rise up right now, make our intentions known and, in turn, blaze a new trail for the path of humanity. But it was better to wait. It was better to hide in plain sight and let our numbers grow.
A tall man with slicked-back, dark hair, wearing a suit and tie and sporting a freshly shaved face approached. He was totally engrossed in a mobile call that must have been the most important thing on the planet, at that point in time, because he rudely bumped other pedestrians out of his way and loudly elaborated his points out into the early morning air. He was clearly speaking louder than what was needed to convey his message through the device. He was oblivious to his surroundings, and that was what we were counting on. Self-absorbed personalities lacking any sense of manners, mutual respect or concern for others were exactly what we were counting on. The growing trends of selfishness, and the holier-than-thou attitude of mankind’s majority, worked for us every second of every day.
As the man approached, I extended a dirty hand and started to expel my familiar prose, properly filled with misfortune and need. But before I could get the first word out, the man dismissed me with a raise of his free hand and a disgusted look. As he passed, he vocalized his distaste into his phone, “Fucking bums hassling me again..” he told the ear at the other end of the call. Then, not content with muttering his displeasure to those not intended for it, he turned back to momentarily face me, “Get a job asshole, then you wouldn’t have to beg,” the man barked at me. He quickly turned away, continuing his urgent stride and important call.
A rat, visibly emaciated and displaying a pronounced limp, attempted to scurry down the alley passed my feet. A smile crept across my face. I extended a tentacle out and around the mechanical prosthetic limb that passed as my right arm, its underside bristling with long, barbed spikes. It wrapped around the hapless creature in the blink of an eye, and the animal was reeled in before it could make a sound. Then I freed it from its burden. As I broke the creature down into digestible chunks within my feeding pouch, I contemplated what ‘important man’ had said to me.
“I have a job. In fact, we all have a job here, and it’s almost time for the next phase of work to begin,” I thought with more than a little pleasure. I chewed slowly, easing the mixed mash of nutritious soup around within the first feeding chamber and reveling in the taste of living tissue, which we had been deprived of for so long during our journey through the stars, “Soon, it will become very clear that we are indeed bottom feeders. But by then, after enough of us have arrived and taken up our positions, humans will be on the bottom… where we feed.”
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