The Outcast

by Matthew Wilson

Richard could hear the creatures move outside the cave. If he was quite, maybe they would leave him be. If he was quick, maybe they would only take an arm. He could manage with only one, but being small made running and two legs essential.

He knew he could not win against the monsters, they had already killed his mother and without her to look after him, he thought he would not live to see the morning. He had done as she asked and hid in the dark when the things with claws had come forward and dragged her to the clearing. Thrown wet wood around her feet, ensured it burned with two cans of gasoline.

And lit a match, he had clamped his hands over his ears, but knew if he outlived tonight he would never be rid of her awful screams. The things were still out there. Laughing. One said he had found children’s toys so widened the search.

He held himself into a tiny ball, willing no one find him. He bit down on his fist to stop his sobbing, the tears he had no defence against, so let come.  He heard the man before he saw him. He was a short squat thing with claws as mother had warned they carried.

The farmer turned at the weeping and raised his pitchfork. “Here, he’s in here!”

Richard drove his fist up into the mans ribcage and ripped out his heart before he could finish his warning. Mother said he must not make a mess in their home and he apologised to both of them.

The beating muscle he drew back in his hand was small but smelled wonderful. Richard realised his belly rumpled as he slid back to the dark of the cave.

He hoped more monsters did not come.

But with a rising hunger, almost wished they would.

The End