Short Story: Deep End

We lurked, ten legions, beneath the surface of the not-waters, motionless and in wait. Still and still and still the not-waters had to be, so that the Others would come. If We moved a muscle, the Others would flee, and we would have to wait longer. We could see the rippling figures as they passed, peering into the dark not-waters and saw Us not. Steady, heart beating a little too fast, body a little too stiff we held our breaths. Then an Other would appear out of the midnight forest and come to look at itself or drink from the not-waters, The poisonous silt forming a greenish film around the rim of our hiding place.

 

As the Other knelt, its pure, delicate skin reflected in the pool, We felt our lips receding, revealing fangs our mothers would never have recognized. Still, and still we waited.

A single red blood drop in the pool sent a ripple of nostrils flaring. Hearts that beat too fast pumped harder still, and we could feel ourselves growing harder. Still.

 

The Other dipped its hand in the not-waters and one of Us, near the surface, shot out and grabbed the Other, pulling It in utter surprise into Our feeding ground, Its legs waving madly as it bleated. But it was ours now, and too late.

 

Ten legions rushed toward the Other as it stared, wide-eyed and terrorized at the foaming, grinning mass that slipped in from all sides, long teeth and psychotic grins.

We swam like eels in oil, slick and hard, slashing at the lamb we’d caught. Cutting and biting, where the frenzied We could reach. The We behind fought each other for a taste, a drop, a morsel. Blood filled the not-waters, cloud-like, expanding and roiling.

 

Viscera uncoiled, and a voiceless cry bleated from the Other in the form of a gaping, unbelieving mouth, a “Why?” that went on, and on, and on, until We clamped our powerful jaws around its skull and tore chunks of bone to spit, knowing we were in the right.

 

We whispered, grinning, cackling and cooing. We shrieked and yelled and hissed, in a cacophony so shrill, the Other’s eardrums could do nothing but burst.

 

Pop!

 

We filled the Other’s gaping, slashed holes with our turgid selves as we bit the meat that hung from its face in streamers. Pissed ourselves. Fought ourselves. Slits for eyes daring anyone to deny our right.

 

“For you! For your own good! To save you from evil!” We sussurated into unhearing ears, grasping the other’s skin in Our talons, strips of shredded, tattered flesh hanging like streamers from bones we’d marrow-gnawed, and fucked and chewed. All while gutting our prize.

 

Then our work was done.

 

For a moment the bones floated clean, and we stopped, looking at this piteous thing sinking deeper into the darkness of the not-waters. To the poison-silted bottom. To rest. We stared, victorious, grinning madly like Kings meting out punishment to the unworthy, our bellies full, cocks soft again.

 

We stared at those bones descending, and returned our attention to the banks of the drowning pool, knowing that the sacrificial lamb which had sated us would return.

 

As one of Us.

 

“For you! For your own good! To save you from evil!” We susurated into unhearing ears, grasping the other’s skin in Our talons, strips of shredded, tattered flesh hanging like streamers from bones we’d marrow-gnawed, and fucked and chewed. All while gutting our prize.

 

For a moment the bones floated clean, and we stopped, looking at this piteous thing sinking deeper into the darkness of the not-waters. To the poison-silted bottom. To rest. We stared, victorious, grinning madly like Kings meting out punishment to the unworthy, our bellies full, cocks soft again.

 

We stared at those bones descending, and returned our attention to the banks of the drowning pool, knowing that the sacrificial lamb which had sated us would return.

 

As one of Us.

 

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