Claire looked at the pencil and said, “What the fudge am I supposed to do with this?”
Chris shrugged, waved his hands a little bit and then said, “I don’t know! Stab it or something!”
Her gaze shifted from him, to the pencil and then to It. It was about the size of a soft ball and had short, soft looking fur. There were no apparent legs, arms, eyes, ears or nose. It was just a blob; rather like molding jello. It was a dark, dirty yellow color. When they talked, It would jiggle and ooze in the general direction of the speaker. It seemed interested in them, but what did it have in mind?
“Do you think It would hurt us?” she asked.
“How would I know?” He asked, hands fluttering about again. “Just stab it!”
Staying silent, she watched It’s body pulse in his direction. Did It even think? Was It aware of them like she was aware of It? She gripped hard onto the pencil and debated her options; all the while It slowly worked It’s way forward.
Claire was starting to be aware of Chris’s attention on her. He was waiting, and she was running out of time. The tension between them was rising. The blob was probably ignorant of it, it simply inched its way forward… and forward. She shivered just thinking of that thing coming closer to any of them. He glanced at it again, saying “come on, what are you waiting for?” Soon he would run out of patience. What would he do then, she had no idea.
“Do it!” He cried suddenly. It was his sudden commando voice – that voice that she was always a slave under. Her hands jerked and with the highest pitched scream of her life, she plugged the pencil into the thing.
And that is when It became Them.
She dropped the pencil and took a step back. She leaned against the wall and allowed herself a small squeak of a sigh. What had she done? Now there was a second blob that looked identical to the first. They moved forward; one in her direction and one in his. They paused at the edge of the table for only a moment before they trembled and then fell off the edge. They hit the carpet with a soft plop. Her room was in complete disarray and she could no longer see Them in the chaos of stuff that littered the floor. She swore to herself then that she would clean her room as soon as all of this was over and that she would keep it clean!
Strange slurping noises came from the left of her and she looked over to see that one of Them was enveloping a small stuffed unicorn.
“Hey!” Claire gasped as she started forward, but stopped short when Chris caught her arm.
“Stop,” he hissed. “You don’t know what it will do.”
“Yeah, we didn’t know what would happen when we stabbed either.”
She scowled at him and grabbed a hard cover book from the low shelf. With a dramatic swing, she hit the blob that was ingesting her unicorn. It made a wet sound that was similar to a sponge hitting a flat surface. It was flung back and bounced off the wall, leaving a smear of yellow goo and little tufts of fuzz. Her unicorn remained It’s captive.
It had fallen down among the disarray of her room and was again out of sight. The other one was also hidden.
“We should get out of here,” Chris said.
“And leave them here?” Claire asked. “And what about when mom and dad come home?”
“They could kill us if we stay here,” he said.
“They haven’t actually done anything to suggest that they want to hurt us,” she stated, after reflecting on what the blobs had done so far. She had to consider the fact that it had been her and her brother that had been the aggressors.
“What do you suggest?” He seemed to actually consider her line of thought.
“Maybe we can catch them.” She scanned the room, looking for something that she could trap one of them in.
“Maybe one of the cookie jars?” Chris asked.
“Yeah, glass is pretty good.” She nodded.
“You go get one and I’ll stay here at the door to make sure they don’t leave the room,” Chris said.
She dashed into the kitchen and began to dig through the cupboards. She took hold of the teddy bear cookie jar and dumped its contents onto the floor. She went back to her bed room and presented the jar to Chris. But he didn’t seem to notice.
He was too busy staring in horror at the image of his sister’s face wavering over the blob’s surface. It hadn’t changed color and was still fuzzy, but it had mimicked her features to a startling detail. Making no sound, It’s mouth moved identically to Claire’s.
“Yeah, glass is pretty good,” It mouthed.
Claire dropped the jar and it broke at their feet, sending chunks of glass into the bed room and hallway. The pieces skittered across the linoleum in the hallway and nestled among the chaos on her bed room carpet. She briefly realized that she had just created a field of caltrops, but then her mind slipped into emptiness.
“I’ll stay here,” It mouthed.
She looked at it with an unseeing gaze.
“Claire?” Chris shook her, but she gave no response.
He turned and pointed at the blob. “What did you do to her?” he yelled.
“She fell down,” It mouthed.
“What?” Chris looked back at Claire to see that she was still standing; not moving.
When he looked back to It, the second one was at It’s side and It now bore his face.
He covered his face with his hands and yelled “I can’t look at you.”
When Claire looked at her blob, she spaced out. I can’t look at it!
He backed up, bumping into Claire and then stumbled out into the hallway. He turned and pressed his back against the wall so that he could no longer see into the room and if They should look out of it They could not see him.
He looked at Claire again and wondered what he could do to help her. She just continued to stare into the room. She seemed unaware of everything that was around her. Normally she would have punched him in the arm if he had run into her like that…
He saw the edge of one of the blobs slowly moving from the room.
“Aw, crap!” he whispered.
But then It seemed to move back. And then forward again. What was It doing?
Crap! I have to look. It is up to something, I know it!
He peeked around the door jam and gaped. The blobs were pushing themselves up against the broken pieces of glass. Each time they cut themselves, another one was created. There was already a small herd of them. He stopped counting a 20.
“Crap!” he gasped.
He grabbed his sister’s arm and pulled her away from the door. He couldn’t let them get to her.
How many will they make of themselves?
He went into the kitchen and looked around. There had to be something that he could use against them. He clutched onto his sister with one hand while he dug through drawers with the other one. He picked up a spoon.
I could smack them around with this.
Then he tossed it back into the drawer, not convinced of its value. His hand then fell upon the small torch that his mother used to make those tasty toasted desserts. He couldn’t remember what they were called, but he could remember that the edges had bubbled up and browned when the flame had gotten close to the edges.
Yes! This is worth a try!
He pulled his sister into the living room and pushed her back into the couch.
“Stay there,” he said. He wasn’t even sure that she could hear him. He hoped that she wouldn’t do anything before he came back.
He ran back towards his sister’s room, but stopped at the end of the hallway. There was a squirming and pulsating pile of Them pressing out from the door to his sister’s room. There were more of Them then he could count.
“Crap,” he whispered.
He turned and went back into the kitchen where he retrieved the large spoon that he had previously discarded. He returned to the hall. Taking slow and careful steps, he approached Them. He used the spoon to fish one of the blobs out. It stayed still while he balanced It on the spoon and walked away from the rest of Them.
I wonder if It doesn’t want to fall. Or does it just want to go this way?
He set It down in the kitchen sink and lit the torch. A high pitch whine was softly emitted from the blob.
“Are you scared?” Chris asked.
There was no reply. He hadn’t really expected one. Chris brought the flame closer to the blob and smiled when the blob tried to pull away. There was no where for It to go. When the fire hit the surface of the blob, It screamed. Chris dropped the torch and covered his ears. The fire went out as soon as he released the trigger. He looked down at the blob and saw that there was a place on it that no longer had fur and was oozing a thin grey fluid.
Another whine came from it and Chris smiled. Now he had a weapon he could use on a lot of them at once. And that was needed now.
Chris screamed when the hand clasped onto his shoulder. He whirled around. His sister pushed him and stepped up to the sink.
“I found out that fire can hurt them! We can use it to torch them all!” he said while waving his hands and gesturing toward the scorched thing in the sink.
Claire gave no response. She reached down into the sink and scooped the injured creature up into her hand. It quivered in her palm. She looked at him briefly, then turned and left the room.
He clapped a hand over his mouth the second the swear had come out. Normally, his sister would have punched him and his mother would have given him that death stare of hers. There was no swearing in this house.
Maybe there should be today.
“Shit,” he said again.
Chris picked up the small torch and carried it along with the large spoon to the table. He set them down and them plopped himself into a chair. Looking at them, he felt as though they were meager weapons.
What can I do if they are going to use Claire? What if they make her attack me or jump in front of the fire?
He sighed and slumped forward in the chair while running his fingers through his hair. He was feeling defeated.
What do they plan on doing? And where did they come from?
He thought back and realized that he had no idea where the first one had come from. His sister had squealed in distress and he had gone into her room expecting to find her pointing at a small spider in terror. That was pretty much what he had found, but it wasn’t a spider that she had been pointing at.
“Well, I have to do something,” Chris muttered as he got up.
He wondered where his sister was and what the blobs were doing now. He was afraid to find out. He stood at the kitchen doorway and listened. There really wasn’t much to hear. Just the usual back ground noise of traffic and the neighbor who obsessively mowed his lawn. He clutched his weapons and tried to convince himself that he needed to go back to Claire’s bed room. He had to make sure that she was alright.
He took a deep breath, like he would before diving underwater, then slowing blew it out. Once the air was gone, he gasped in another breath and pushed himself forward. He saw nothing from the hallway except the broken bits of glass. He scanned the hallway, trying to imagine every place that they could hide. It occurred to him then that they could probably ooze through even tiny spaces.
He peeked into Claire’s room. He stared a long moment before he charged forward.
“Claire!” he screamed.
He dropped his weapons and grabbed at her arms. She was sitting on the floor and the strange blobs were in a wiggling pile around her. They slowly moved up onto her legs. From there, she was picking them up one at a time and was eating them.
“Stop it!” he screamed.
He pulled again at her arms and she dropped the two blobs that had been in transit to her mouth. She looked up at him, but her eyes failed to focus on him and her expression did not reveal recognition. Chris felt a small breeze of despair blow into his heart. He pulled on her harder. Screaming her name louder. He disregarded the desperate tears on his cheeks and the strange things squishing beneath his sneakers.
Finally, she rose to her feet and followed him out of the room. Chris led her by the hand and hurried through the house, tugging on her in an effort to get her to run. He stepped out onto the front porch and looked around at the row of houses that lined the street. He didn’t know where to go. Was there any where that would be safe?
He left Claire on the porch and went back into the house. He closed and locked the door behind him. He went back to the bed room and looked down at the oozing mass. They quivered in a ring. At the center was smears of yellow and grey. It took him a moment to realize that was where he had been stepping on them while he was trying to help Claire.
Feeling like things had finally tipped in his favor, he plowed into the room. Jumping and stomping, he moved in erratic circles. They were slow and every one that he bore his foot down upon was crushed beneath it. They could not escape. Once the pile was ground into the carpet, he looked around him.
They were every where. One rolled down the edge of the bed. Another sat in front of the small mirror on Claire’s desk as though it was admiring itself. Yet another was on a pillow and had sunk into it almost completely.
He jogged back into the kitchen and grabbed one of the cast iron frying pans that hung by the stove. He hefted it. There was more weight to it then he’d expected, but he could think of no better weapon for squishing blobs.
Once he returned to the bed room he started kicking the bits of broken glass out into the hallway. He shoved everything that was near the door out, hoping that any shards of glass mixed in the other things would go out with it. He then closed the door and began to hunt.
Swinging the pan, he brough it down on each one he saw. Bang! Bang! Dents and black marks were left on the walls and on the desk along with the snotty smears. He looked under everything. He had to be sure that each of them was ground into nonexistence.
Panting, he looked around. There were no more. There was a nagging feeling in side him though that they had oozed out into other places in the house. How could he ever be sure that he had gotten every one of them? He checked the room again. Then he went room to room, checking in every space he could think of.
There were none.
That just left Claire. What was he supposed to do now.