By Nomar Knight
Joe Garcia sat at the kitchen table in his modest apartment, reading the day's front page headline. LITTLE GIRL VANISHES. His bald head sparkled from the overhead lamp's illumination. He wore gray slacks and a white dress shirt with sleeves rolled up past his elbows. He scratched his forearm while examining the article.
His wife, Cynthia, sat on a black sofa staring at the blank television screen. “I’m hungry.”
Joe stopped reading the paper, turning his attention to what appeared to be a small insect bite on his forearm. He scratched at the red spot and loose skin. He peeled a layer off the surface and a tiny amount of pus oozed out. The itch annoyed him to the point he decided to scrape the sore with a blade.
As he took the knife to it, black bits of hair exposed themselves from the inside out. Curious, he pinched the skin and peeled it back further. Instead of red blood, a green fluid seeped out onto a pink linen cloth releasing a musty odor.
Joe scowled as the itch took on a life of its own. A high-pitched sound buzzed in his ears. He found it annoying but maintained his concentration as he continued to peel, poke, and prod his wound.
With every pinch of his insides, he pulled back more skin revealing a red layer which he smoothed away with a dishrag. Instead of pain, curiosity ruled the moment. More hair surrounded the gash as if it grew in defense to what he did. Fresh green fluid leaked out and spread across the table cloth.
The high-pitched humming reached an unbearable level. Joe shook his head like a golden retriever shaking off excess water from his coat. With every increase in decibel, his desperation grew. He expunged some of the meat and plunged the knife into his arm, expecting to hit bone. A clang of metal striking metal drew a whine of confusion. He pulled out the knife, mystified that the tip had broken off and remained stuck in his arm.
Anguish loomed across his face as the rest of the green gel-like substance wobbled on the table. He grabbed a rag and polished deep inside until the base of his arm revealed a strong golden metal alloy.
His wife awakened from her hunger-induced trance. She smirked, “I'll call the Fixer."
Joe lifted his golden arm and asked, "What's happening to me?"
She ignored him and reached the fixer by phone. "Come quick. Joe peeled himself, again."
Joe whispered, "Again?"
She hung up shaking her head, "Why do you insist on getting out of your suit?"
"What am I?" He slammed his alien arm cracking the table. "Oh no; I'm not human."
"Yuck! Why would you want to be one of those inferior creatures?"
She twisted her ears off and placed them on the table. Then she stretched her chin, pulling skin up over her hair until revealing a bronzed head with two plastic mosquitoes for eyes. Her coiled nose slithered in a constant circular motion like a centipede. She opened her mouth and a slew of steel tarantula legs flickered, stabbing the air.
The thing, known to humans as Cynthia, spoke in high-pitched clicks just like the humming Joe heard before. This time it didn't bother him because he understood her.
He said, "I'm sorry, dear. Sometimes when I'm starving, I forget who I am. Please forgive me."
The doorbell interrupted them. As usual, little Jessica Peterson snuck out of her apartment and wanted to play with Joe. The poor girl's drug-addicted mother must have passed out again, leaving the child to fend for herself. They both smiled, grateful that humans were not good at finding missing children. Cynthia swooped the items off the table bagging them in the stained cloth. Then she hid with the contents in a closet.
Joe rolled down his sleeves, covering his golden arm, and let the adorable little six-year-old inside. He licked his lips for the month long dry spell of needed nourishment was about to end. He beamed upon seeing the beauty before him. Her golden locks twirled like a scrumptious snail’s shell. Jessica's inquiring eyes glowed with the realization that Joe and Cynthia always had a tasty treat for her.
"Hello, Jessica. Would you like to play a new game before we eat candy?"
The innocent child jumped for joy.
Joe said, "It's called feed the beast."
"Sounds like fun.” She flashed a dimpled smile. “How do we play?"
Joe led her to where a salivating Cynthia waited.
"The game is in the closet, honey. Go ahead. Open the door."
Little humans were so delicious and tasty.
- 777 words