The Boy and His Beast
Bobby, Dillon, and Frank were loitering the halls after school. The couldn’t decide whether to break another locker, take one of the full trashcans and spill the contents in the parking lot, or maybe trap the janitor in the supply closet again. One thing they all knew, they were *bored*.
That was until Frank spotted a potential victim. He shoved Bobby’s shoulder and pointed before the other boy could snarl at him. “Look.”
Down the hall they could see Jackson at his locker, switching out textbooks before heading home.
Bobby grinned. “Hey, we haven’t messed with that freak in a while.”
“Yeah,” Dillon agreed. “And he’s been even freakier this year.”
Jackson had always been a loner. School year after school year. There were troubles at home, though the three boys’ didn’t care to find out what they were, and Jackson never piped up about them either. This last year, however, he had become even more withdrawn and he looked like ****. Dark bags under the eyes, struggling to keep on weight, and not a care to what shape his clothes were in.
Bobby squared his shoulders and stalked towards the hapless boy, his two friends at his heels. Jackson had just closed his locker when Bobby’s fist swung around and crashed into the metal above Jackson’s head. It made a loud bang, but to Bobby’s frustration, Jackson didn’t even jump. He had hardly blinked.
Dull, bored eyes went from Bobby’s fist to his face. “Yes?” he asked in a quiet voice.
Bobby was quick to mask his disappointment with a sneer. “What’s up, **** Face? Thought we’d come over and say hi.”
Jackson gave a half wave. “Hey.” He slung his backpack over his shoulder. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m heading out.” Before he could turn, the backpack was knocked from his shoulder and the sound as it hit the floor echoed through the hallway.
“Did I say you can go?” Bobby hissed, coming threateningly close.
Jackson sighed, staring at his backpack and then at Bobby. “What do you want?” He sounded annoyed now.
“We just wanted to have some fun.” He shoved Jackson, making him stumble back. “So come on, **** Face, let’s have some fun.”
The word came out so forcefully it made Bobby stop for a split second. The glare from Jackson also made a slight shiver rattle Bobby’s bones. The eyes that gave it were no longer dull. They were fierce and cold. Predatory, was the first word that came to mind.
“Leave me alone,” Jackson all but snarled and then went so far as to take a step forward, his face close to Bobby’s. “You aren’t worth my time.”
Fear. Actual fear raced up Bobby’s spine. This wasn’t the quiet, lonely Jackson they had grown up with. Something was different. Something was wrong.
The voices of his friends snapped him out of it.
“Come on, don’t take take that from him.”
“Yeah, punch his ******* lights out.”
Pride overtook his basic instincts. He couldn’t look like a ***** in front of the other two. He grabbed Jackson by his jacket and slammed him into the lockers.
The grunt of pain encouraged him and he pulled back his fist. His knuckles struck right into the bridge of Jackson’s nose, whipping his head back into the metal.
Jackson blinked, the blow slow to register. He put his hand to his face and it came away red.
Bobby stepped back, admiring his work as Jackson stared at the blood in his palm, ignoring the rivulets that dripped past his lips onto the floor.
“Are you going to cry, **** Face?” Bobby’s smirk vanished when Jackson began to laugh quietly, a grin stretching from ear to ear. “What’s so funny?”
His eyes met the other boy’s and Bobby could have sworn they flashed gold. “I wouldn’t have done that if I were you.”
Before anyone could ask what he was talking about or laugh at him, Jackson’s body convulsed and he gripped his chest. His eyes bulged and he started to gag.
“The ****? Is he having a seizure?” Dillon asked, taking a step back.
Bobby had no idea. He was tempted to shake the kid in case he was just putting on a show. That was until Jackson threw his head back, tongue dangling out of his mouth, and his neck began to stretch. It was like a scene from an alien movie. It swelled and the flesh fluttered and spasmed as *something* was trying to come up.
Jackson fell to his hands and knees and heaved. Saliva and bile pooled on the tiled floor until something crawled out of his mouth and plopped onto the slick surface.
All three boys recoiled and backed away from him and the *thing*.
“Ugh what the **** is that?” Dillon was close to retching himself.
“Is it a parasite?” Frank muttered.
Jackson wheezed and gave them a manic grin. “He’s much more than that.”
Bobby opened his mouth to say something, though he had no idea what, when the thing wiggled and flopped. Then, before their eyes, it began to grow. Limbs lengthened, sinewy muscles thickened, and it just didn’t stop.
The boys scrambled back as it grew to the size of a horse, but it was definitely not a horse. Its front arms were pure muscle and its digits were more like fingers that ended in claws that were inches long. Short, gray fur covered its rail thin body, but its back legs were powerful and made for sprinting. A mane of thick tendrils covered its head and trailed down its shoulders. Its muzzle was elongated, sharp teeth poking out through its lips. The skin was so thin there it resembled more of a skull than a face. It stared at the boys with one piercing, golden eye, the other scarred and useless.
The boys were pulled out of the horrifying sight as Jackson sat back and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
“Not for nothing, but you guys really ****** him off. If I were you, I’d start running.”
The creature opened its maw and released a deafening roar. One so forceful the boys were nearly blown back.
The hallway was filled with a chorus of screams. They ran for their lives as the monster charged after them. They whipped around a corner and claws knicked Frank’s heels as the monster lashed out, but was going too fast and careened into the lockers. It scrambled to get its feet back under it and continued its pursuit.
Bobby and Dillon reached the doors to the outside first and banged through them, stopping long enough for Frank, screaming and shouting at him to hurry. The moment he was through they slammed the doors shut and braced against them.
The following collision of the monster on the other side nearly took the hinges off. They screamed and held the defense for only a moment before bolting and running off the school grounds as fast as their feet would carry them.
Jackson had hauled himself over to lean against one of the lockers. His whole body hurt, but **** had that been worth it. He only got a moment’s reprieve before hot air rolled across his face. He cracked open an eye and smiled at the creature’s snout that was barely an inch away.
“Good job, Boy. Did you have fun? I think one actually wet themselves.”
The creature groaned. It was a low, worried sound. A long, thin tongue snaked out from between its fangs and began licking at the now dried blood under Jackson’s nose and on his chin.
He chuckled and pushed the creature’s head away. “Stop that, I’m fine. I’ve had worse, trust me.”
A threatening growl rumbled through the creature’s chest.
Jackson rolled his eyes. “You’re such a mother hen. Now, you better hurry and get back in. Their screaming may have gotten someone’s attention.”
The creature huffed, but obeyed. He began to shrink, no longer hulking over Jackson, until he was the size of a small rat. He climbed up Jackson’s arm to his shoulder.
The boy took in a big breath before opening his mouth and allowing the creature to clamber in. Little claws pricked his tongue. He had to hold back his gag reflex and clenched his fists as the creature slithered down his throat and back to the sac he had created within Jackson’s body.
He coughed and heaved a little bit, but soon the creature was settled and everything was all right. The process wasn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world. The creature always tried to be as gentle as possible, save for the last exit since he was enraged and quick to go to Jackson’s defense.
At least someone finally was.
Jackson laboriously got to his feet, brushed off his clothes, and retrieved his backpack.
*Should have eaten them.*
The voice was deep and gruff and reverberated in Jackson’s head.
“That actually would have been a bad idea. Can’t really cover up three people going missing. No matter how big of ******** they are.”
A low growl was the reply.
He had almost made it out of the school when the creature piped up again.
*Am hungry, though.*
Jackson barked out a laugh. “When are you not? I’ll stop and get a burger before we go home.”
He sighed and rolled his eyes. “You always want chicken. Okay, fine, since you scared the **** out of those guys I’ll get some chicken tenders.”
Jackson skipped down the stairs of the school and headed for the mall.
“Well, duh, of course.”