The Burnt Yam
This is where we can share our short stories. Feel free to share yours!
The Reflection- 327 words
Life is lived in patterns. History repeats itself. Habits become routine. But routine is comfort. Routines can be trusted. Routines are order and order is calm.
The routine of a student doesn’t change much. You wake up, you go to school, then work. You return home, do homework, maybe watch TV or play games, then sleep. Maybe you get a day off from everything and either socialize or veg out. Then you repeat the process until the days become gray and monotonous. The days never seem to end.
Sigmund Freud mentions a phenomenon in which a repressed memory causes the patient to be “obliged to repeat the repressed material as a contemporary experience instead of remembering it as something in the past.” The routine is built in. The routine continues, but it provides order. Order is calm. When something upsets the order, small changes take root in the psyche. Something traumatic happens or something fun that brightens the world a more saturated hue than lint trap gray. You seek those instances and hunger for them to give life some ounce of meaning as you feel it fade away once more in the order of routine.
They say you haven’t been yourself lately; that you’re spinning out of control. They see that you’re living in a world beyond stormy sea gray and that it’s just not like you. Routine is order and order is calm. They know your routine. They know your order. They know you’re not calm. You know they’re right. You have a problem, an addiction to the oranges and reds and greens of the world. You have lost most of your gray and that scares you. You return to the routine. The routine is order and order is calm.
You look in the mirror and a flash of life looks back at you, a flash you had never seen before.
You finally realize it.
The sparks of color were beyond your control. Your world is ordered. Your world is calm. And it dawns on you.
You were the reflection all along.
The Bite- 703 words cw: pandemic but werewolves!
No one is quite sure when it started or why. It just happened. Ghost towns spread across the country, the residents all abandoned or slaughtered in the panic. The government tried quarantines and military action, but nothing stopped it from spreading. We tried spraying pesticides, but even that didn’t have an effect. As researchers, we thought of everything that could contain any sort of pathogen, but nothing was successful. The only thing we could do was wait for night to come to begin our lives.
It’s only at night that we are truly safe.
It starts with a single bite in broad daylight.
It doesn’t matter what bites you. In the beginning, we assumed it was a dog or other carnivore, but it may have been insects or other people. The specific source was never identified, but from experience, it always starts with a bite. When we were first notified of the new contagion, we assumed it was something viral, but what it was was something fantastic that we had never imagined we would ever see.
From the bite, a toxin spreads creating an itchy rash.
The more the subject scratched, the faster the rash spread. We tried treating subjects with various remedies to quell the scratching, but nothing proved effective. We wondered if it was more of a psychological symptom. By the time the rash has spread throughout the body, the subject has torn through their skin leaving long lacerations in their arms and legs. Subjects were sutured up and bandaged and restraints were applied until their wounds had healed.
But an interesting thing occurred if they were subjected to sunlight.
The progression of the disease had caused the iron in the blood to become more electro-magnetized and when their lacerations were exposed to sunlight, the blood would jut out of their skin in large spikes resembling fur. As the blood coagulated, the iron would build and build and the subjects would be coated in the crusted “hair”.
Subjects then develop a taste for rare meat.
Supermarkets would sell out in a couple of days while people tended to their blood lust. At first we thought it was just a craving for meat in general until several subjects were caught licking up blood in butcher shops and slaughter houses. Everything was fine until there was no more blood to satisfy their hunger.
They started biting people, eating them to quell their thirst.
The death count soared. The bodies of those who were attacked were collected and thrown into mass graves where their corpses were burned, hoping to prevent any insects or wild game from potentially taking in the pathogen and spreading it further.
The few who were unlucky enough to escape developed rashes around their bites. If they were lucky, the military would quarantine them before their neighbors found out. The forces were soon spread too thin.
In the country, farmers would shoot anything that came within a hundred feet of their property. Suburbs started witch hunts and killed anyone with any sort of bite, scratch, or rash. Dozens with skin conditions were slaughtered, whether they were bitten or not. Those with eczema had no choice but to hide until they could escape, but most were still unsuccessful. In the cities, hospitals were turned over by angry citizens who wanted the nightmare to be stopped, unaware they had become the new nightmare. The military pulled away from their quarantines and went to deal with the citizen revolts.
It wasn’t long before the creatures in the quarantine escaped.
We focused our efforts on trying to find a cure. The subjects that were never exposed to sunlight had retained their mental composure, never developing the blood lust. It was then we realized the sun was the catalyst. Before we could continue our research, a brigade of citizens broke into the lab and destroyed everything.
We fled into the night finding several creatures sleeping peacefully. That’s when the idea arose. If we could get to a broadcast station, we could inform the public.
We’re still not sure how it started, but we continue our research into finding a cure. Our research starts once night falls because it’s only at night that we are truly safe.