Victory or De-Feet

Flash
Genre: Horror

Words: Roughly 1000

Origin: My feet! Take that as you will.

Premise: A story of forbidden love, and feet.


The first thing he’d noticed about her was her feet. He’d thought it strange at the time, but now, as he studied each perfect toe, it seemed natural.

Her feet were dirty, as they always were. The darker coloring crept up from the bottom and over the sides, though the tops were pristine. He envisioned his lips brushing the arch of her foot and kissing his way up the graceful curve of her calf. His tongue passed over his lower lip as the vivid image took hold of him.

“God, you’re disgusting.” She stepped back, no doubt trying to get her foot out of his line of sight.

He broke his gaze away from her lovely foot and raised his eyes. She held a shotgun in the crook of her elbow; the barrel pointed at the center of his chest.

In a whisper he said, “I’m sorry, Belly.”

“Stop calling me that.”

At last he managed to look her in the eyes. They were brown like the center of a sunflower. Her mouth tightened into a pinched scowl.

“You used to like it.”

“You used to be normal.” Her eyes shone, but she held back the tears. “Look what you’ve become.”

“A monster…” He looked down at his hands and curled his misshapen fingers, suddenly ashamed.

“Tell me what you’re really doing here.”

He focused on her feet again. “I miss you.”

What he couldn’t tell her was that he had come back because he was hungry. A powerful, aching hunger began in his chest and crept outward until he thought it would consume him. The craving only got worse the longer he looked at her feet, so he raised his eyes.

Her face tensed and her eyes widened until whites showed around the dark irises on all sides. “You should leave now.”

Scaring her was the last thing he’d wanted, but now that fear quickened her pulse he could smell the tang of her sweat. His mouth watered and he swallowed past tightness in his throat. He took another step closer. “Bel…”

The sound of her tendons tightening as her finger tugged on the trigger gave him an instant’s warning. He dodged aside and then closed the distance between them, pushing the barrel of the shotgun into the air. Wrapping an arm around her back, he pulled her closer to him. The fear scent rising from her skin intoxicated him. Despite the head rush, he took care in how he held her; he didn’t want to crush her ribs.

She struggled in his grip and between her panting breaths she demanded that he let her go. After a few minutes, she seemed to realize that he hadn’t hurt her, and calmed.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he said in a soft voice.

She blinked several times and then nodded, her lips pressing together.

Loosening his hold on her, he knew the hideous picture he must make. His lips no longer covered the sharp teeth that slanted out from his mouth and most of his hair had fallen out. “I know I look horrific, but inside I’m the same.”

Her eyes flickered over his face and then she seemed to relax. “What happened?”

He looked away from her, ashamed once more. “A curse, she told me my outsides would be as lecherous as my insides after she caught me staring at her feet. They weren’t nearly as beautiful as yours.” Thankfully, his ashen gray skin no longer showed the flush of his embarrassment.

“That’s terrible.” Her eyebrows drew down. “What exactly are you now?”

Her swift change should have shocked him, but in her eyes he’d gone from dangerous predator to sympathetic victim in the space of an instant. She’d always been too soft-hearted for her own good. Even as it bit her, she would cuddle a rabid stray.

“I don’t really know, some sort of troll, I guess.”

She raised her hand, wonder lighting her face. Her fingers caressed his cheek with a gentle touch. “It’s actually kind of amazing. Now that I don’t think you’re going to eat me, I mean.”

As if on cue, his stomach growled. The roaring grumble echoed in the still night.

Her hand fell away and her eyes narrowed. “You aren’t going to eat me, are you?”

“No, Belly, I never would.” In a corner of his mind, he knew that wasn’t true. He could almost taste her skin and the sweet flesh beneath.

She weighed his reaction and after a moment, a tentative smile touched her lips. “Come inside. I’ll find something for you to eat.”

With that smile, the eventual outcome of his visit became obvious. Images of her bloody, torn body flashed through his mind. The dark hunger demanded her pain as the only way to sate the longing. That terrible part of him was taking over little by little and before long would possess him entirely.

He had to get away from her.

“No.” The word ached in his throat. He had to make sure he could never hurt her. Stepping away, he looked her over with a lingering glance. He concentrated on her feet for a fleeting moment, knowing that it would be the last time he saw her and wanting to remember every detail.

He swallowed the mouthful of saliva that had built up. Suppressing a groan, he lifted his gaze to her eyes for the last time. “If you see me again, use the gun. Don’t hesitate.”

He fled into the night even as she called him back.

Creative Commons License
Victory or De-Feet by Coral Moore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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6 Responses to “Victory or De-Feet”

  1. GM says:

    Wow, C. This is great! I think flash is a natural niche for your writing!

    I loved so much about this. The way you showed his heightened senses (“The tightening of her tendons…”). And “Thankfully, his ashen skin…”

    A couple of things that snagged me (slightly):

    I think you could lose the lines from “Bel…Isabel, I love you” up through “I still love you.” They don’t add anything IMHO.

    “with a colorful array of curses” seems too light-hearted for this piece. I’d just drop that part of the sentence.

    I’d drop modifiers like “a bit” and “somewhat.” IMHO they weaken the moment.

    I’d also drop the “gray” in “ashen gray skin”–“ashen” covers that. (Hey, it’s flash; every word counts. :-))

    But it’s great, really great. I am going to become a broken record, I know, but send the NEXT flash you write to Daily SF instead of posting it here!!!!!!

    • Coral says:

      Thank you! I really have grown to like it in the last few weeks. I have always said I hated writing short stories, but I think that’s because I was trying to make longer stories fit into a shorter space. If you get my meaning?

      My somewhats, a bits, for the moments, etc. do sneak in there, don’t they? I thought I’d gotten rid of all of them, but they are pesky buggers.

      I almost took those lines of dialog you didn’t like out a few times if memory serves, but I can’t remember now why I didn’t. Maybe I just forgot. :)

      Well I haven’t written any Sci-fi yet, so I don’t have anything they would accept. I do have a space idea percolating at the moment, but I’m pretty sure it won’t work in flash. Maybe I can make a short intro for it though.

  2. GM says:

    DSF prints fantasy, too, and other less-categorizable things. This is definitely speculative — they’d consider it for sure!

    • Coral says:

      I’m (not so) secretly a gigantic coward. Putting it here is okay because I can always take it back or edit it. Once I send it off to someone else it enters a whole different realm of terror for me. I will have to set a goal for myself to submit something soon just so I can get it over with. Probably not the next story, because I already have it written and it doesn’t really follow the traditional flash fiction mold. It ends with a bit of a cliffhanger.

  3. GM says:

    Lol, realm of terror. I can relate.

    Of course, you can get over that terror by finding a bigger terror. Like, say, the terror of thousands of readers actually seeing your story and maybe hating it.

    Not that I would know, of course. ;-)

  4. Duality of curse, becoming a troll (I can hear the dialogue: “You Troll.”), and the heightened senses of troll-ness. All these things come across very well. Nice story, thanks.

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