I’m delighted to share that my horror short “The Snatchers” was published yesterday in the Spring Equinox Active Shooter Issue of Last Girls Club.
Many thanks to the bold and courageous editor, Eda Obey, for promoting indie feminist horror even in the wake of a horrific personal loss. Eda inspires me to keep writing, to embrace my darker side. Yes, it’s oh so pretty.
So, do we really know our enemies? “The Snatchers” explores desensitization, what happens when virtual violence bleeds over into real life. I’ve left you a taste of this tale in the hopes that you will be thirsty and visit the Last Girls Club to finish it off.
The scratching of the Snatchers always sounds vulgar to me, like when a man itches his pubes in public. Worse than nails on a chalkboard, and I’m surrounded by it.
“Backup in B.” Radio static. “I need backup in Quadrant B.”
Soon the gelatinous creepazoids will crowd out the four corners of the room, trap me for the kill.
“Fucking four arms!” I shout, but there’s never any response. Double the damage, double the reward, I remind myself, but if I don’t act soon, I won’t be able to exit the Reel in time to collect it. This simulation is set to close in two minutes, not much kill time left. Poisonous fluid squirts from the Snatcher closest to me, paints the wall lime green.
My comrades are dead, that much is certain. I was used to working alone, the only woman in a front-line squad. The men roided-out at the beginning of the shift and barely pulling triggers by the end. Useless to me now they’ve all been plugged.
I roll out my ammo in a dial on the screen, plugging a few of the closest Snatchers in the process, before pausing to check my inventory. Nothing of worth left. The frantic Snatchers twirl their four arms, sadistic poison batons, and I see through their neon bodies to the edges of the filthy room.
Rumor has it they’ve contaminated a third of the world, and if it weren’t for us sharpshooters, they’d have poisoned the entire planet years ago.
Great. No more grenades. A can of mustard gas, pointless against these slime balls. My ammo won’t last, the shots rile them up anyways, attract more enemies. If this continues, we’ll have to forfeit this entire quad. Been defending it the last three moon cycles, so can’t stomach a retreat. I mow down a few more Snatchers within range to buy some time, but I’m trapped, and I know it.
This shift work is killing my stats. Ten hours straight saving humanity, and I’m fumbling around to find some sorta Hail Mary to save the quadrant and get me outta this slime pit with my full bonus. As I load the final clip, the weight of my virtual goggles shifts. The Reel’s the safest place to squish these creeps.
In the Reel, killing’s an art, different weapons are different paintbrushes, and the backdrops are canvasses; the ooze of my foe coat them daily. It’s my duty and my job, I remind myself, and I find a worthy weapon right as my last clip hits the ground.
One of the green suckers rushes my back, knocks my damn goggles loose. I let them hang unhinged from my face while I strap on my piece.
Only now, I’m no longer in the soft glow of the quad. Blinding fluorescent lights blink in rows overhead. A chalkboard is in front of me, letters I’ve never seen written in white. There are upturned desks in the corners of the room, and a brown-skinned man wearing a plastic badge kneels in front.
He cries out, puts his hands together in prayer, speaking in some language I’ve never heard, pleading. I see their faces pop up from behind the sideways desks, blossoms in a brown flower bed. Petal eyes, all open, all belonging to children. The afternoon daylight streams in from the window, unforgiving, burdensome.