Remnants

Posted on December 30, 2016 in SM Fiction by

The last normal-sized person on Earth struggles with her humanity. Warning: for mature readers only.

The brisk autumn wind stirred up the litter at my feet as I stood there, shivering. I was wearing a hoodie, but it wasn’t enough to keep out the cold. The next time that I was in a department store, I’d have to find a decent coat. For now, I tried to ignore the chill in the air, glancing down the street.

It was deserted, just like all of the neighboring streets. Abandoned vehicles clogged the road, a thick layer of rotting leaves and grime coating their exteriors. Several car doors were left open, as if their owners had dashed out and forgotten to close them. As I passed by a black Mercedes, I peered in and saw that the keys were still in the ignition. For a brief moment, I thought about getting into the car and trying to start the engine. But honestly, where would I go? I had already spent the last month driving from town to town, trying to find another normal human being. But everywhere, it was the same: ghost towns, completely devoid of people. After I had made it to the city, I had given up hope.

But it could have been worse. At least I had food and shelter. In fact, I had my pick of any apartment in this city. Or any hotel room or condo. Hell, if I felt like strolling into the mayor’s office, I could do so and no one would say anything. The freedom had been exhilarating at first, although I was beginning to become accustomed to my new life. It now seemed normal to take what I needed, when I needed it.

Today was one of my errand days, when I went out searching for supplies. I had taken my backpack with me, although it technically wasn’t mine; it belonged to whomever had the initials “CEM,” the letters embroidered onto the faded red fabric. I figured that CEM wouldn’t miss the bag, wherever he or she was. The backpack was currently empty and I shifted it easily on my shoulders as I made my way down the street.

There was slight movement in the front pocket of my hoodie and I paused, slipping in one hand. I didn’t feel anything at first; then, as I wiggled my fingers, they brushed up against denim and soft hair.  Aha, there he was. My hand seized him, dragging him out of my pocket and into the fading sunlight. He blinked up at me, as tiny as a shrew but obviously human, his auburn hair tousled from being in my pocket.

“I wish you wouldn’t just grab me like that, Amelia,” he said in that shrill, squeaky voice that always made me snicker.

“Aw, stop being such a baby, Owen,” I teased, watching as he sat upright in my open palm. “It’s not like I’m going to hurt you, right?”

He glanced up at me, opened his mouth, and evidently decided not to answer that. It was simultaneously amusing and sad to think that at one time, he had been a head taller than me. Now he could fit in one of my hands.

“Where are we?” Owen asked, changing the subject.

“Downtown, somewhere.” We passed by the entrance to the subway station, a flock of pigeons strutting along the ground. I hated to think what one of them could do someone as small as my boyfriend. Owen watched them warily from between my curled fingers. As I felt a shiver tear through his body, I continued, “There’s got to be a convenience store around here.”

He tore his eyes away from the pigeons. “Have you seen anyone else?”

“What, someone normal-sized?”

“Yeah.”

I carefully stepped around a bicycle that was laying on the sidewalk, its chains rusted and its tires deflated. “No.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw sudden movement. But when I turned my head, there was nothing there except for trash blowing in the breeze. Rats, probably. I still stopped for a moment, squinting across the street. My heart galloped in my chest, the same sort of wild excitement that came from seeing the winning lottery numbers printed on your ticket.

An empty Starbucks coffee cup rolled down into the gutter and I finally gave up, continuing down the street until I finally spotted a small organic grocery store. Bingo, exactly what I had been trying to find. I kept my fingers crossed that the glass door wasn’t locked. It squeaked loudly in protest, but it opened easily.

I took a step inside, allowing my eyes to adjust to the gloom. The first thing that I searched for were animals, feral dogs in particular. There had been one instance when I had met up with a vicious pit bull mix in a supermarket, its yellowed teeth bared in a snarl. I had ended up heaving soup cans in the animal’s direction until it had backed away.

Luckily, there weren’t any stray dogs around. The air smelled faintly of decomposing food, and I  wrinkled my nose as I walked past the register at the front of the store.

“Hey, Amelia?” Owen called up to me.

“What?”

“I need to, uh, you know…go.”

I sighed. “Didn’t you go an hour ago? You’re worse than a little kid.”

Owen’s tiny face turned as crimson as my backpack, but I decided not to taunt him anymore. Instead, I propped open the door with a box of canned pears and set him down outside.

“Call me when you’re done, okay?” I said, turning away as soon as he had sheepishly wandered out of view. I unzipped my bag and moved my cell phone to the front pocket. Sure, it had been dead for several months, but having it around was strangely soothing. I think that a part of myself believed that it would turn on one day, that everything would miraculously return to the way that it was before.

It’s always good to have a little hope.

I made my way down the closest aisle, my sneakers slapping against the linoleum floor. Back when everything wasn’t completely insane and I was working as a secretary in a law office, I wore high heels all the time. But now that I was a nomad, I had traded in the pumps for unisex Chuck Taylors, and my feet were grateful for that. Eventually, I would need to grab a new pair, especially since these ones were becoming more and more worn each day. Not to mention the stains, including the brownish-red splotches that discolored the white tips of the shoes.

I added “Get New Shoes” to my mental checklist as I studied the food on the shelves. Unfortunately, I had to stick to non-perishable items, since things like fresh meat and vegetables had long since rotted away. One by one, I placed cans and jars and boxes into my backpack: a jar of all natural peanut butter, some vegetarian chili, a box of cereal. I couldn’t fit that much into the bag, but fortunately, Owen and I didn’t eat much. Especially Owen. Two pieces of cereal was an entire meal for him. It was funny, because I remember him being able to eat an entire small pizza once upon a time.

The zipper on the backpack was stuck and I fiddled with it, yanking and pulling. Fucking CEM and their shitty fucking backpack. Just as I finally managed to zip up the bag, I heard the high-pitched scream from outside.

***

The Event (because I had to call it something, right?) happened a few months back. I wish that I could say that there had been some sort of indication that it was going to happen, that locusts rained down from the clouds or the oceans turned to blood or something batshit crazy like that. But it had been a completely normal spring night, and I remember opening the bedroom windows before I laid down in the bed next to Owen. I had fallen asleep to the normal street sounds, but when I had woken up, everything had been so eerily quiet. For the longest time, I had remained motionless, overcome by a deep, instinctual dread. Then, when something had moved on Owen’s pillow, I had bolted upright.

You can imagine my surprise when I had realized that the tiny thing on the pillow was my boyfriend.

I hadn’t reacted that well. Mostly I had screamed and screamed, until my throat ached and I could only manage a hoarse little cry. Owen had stood there, his minuscule hands clapped over his ears. Thinking back, my shrieking had probably deafened him, and as frightened as I had been, his terror had been a million times worse. Eventually, I had calmed down enough to cautiously approach him. He had been naked (his clothing hadn’t shrank with him, although I’d later find doll clothes that were a suitable replacement), and he looked horrified and vulnerable as he cowered atop the pillow.

“Owen, what the hell happened?” I had asked him, still refusing to believe what I was seeing.

“I don’t know.” He had sounded completely lost.

So that had been it. One minute, Owen had been a normal-sized human being; the next, he was smaller than my pinkie. And he hadn’t been the only one. Everyone had either disappeared or been reduced to tiny homunculi. Well, except for me. I was still immune to whatever had shrank the rest of humanity, at least for now.

Outside, the frantic screams continued and I charged through the open door. My eyes immediately searched for Owen, who was on the sidewalk, surrounded by a group of other shrunken people. There were about a dozen or so, most of them scruffy-looking, their clothing assembled from scraps of fabric. They were slowly circling my boyfriend, and I spotted the minute slivers of wood and metal in their hands. Weapons, no doubt. Goddamn little bastards.

In unison, the group of thugs all glanced up as I strode toward them. Either they were too paralyzed with fear or too stupid to run, but they didn’t move as I towered over them, my hands clenched. They did crane their heads to look up at me, their eyes widening as they took in my size. To them, I was probably the size of a small skyscraper. That thought made me smile a bit.

“What’s going on here?” I demanded. Of course, no one answered. They continued to gawk up at me as Owen elbowed his way forward, looking dazed and frightened. I bent down, placing my hand on the concrete so that he could climb onto my palm.

“Hey, lady,” the leader of the thugs finally said. “We didn’t mean anything, I swear.”

I peered down at him. If he had been my height, he would have been impressive, the sort of ham-fisted bruiser who could have knocked me down with a single punch. As it stood now, I could easily push him over with a single finger. Or pop his head off. Just a little twist and pull and he’d be dead.

I shivered pleasantly at that thought.

The tiny man glanced up at me, except he was so small that I couldn’t make out much of his face besides the fact that it was tanned. It also seemed to be framed by some sort of dark blue fabric, either a crude bandage or a bandana, I wasn’t sure which. I did manage to make out the gleam of his little eyes, bulging with apprehension.

He was waiting for me to answer, I could tell. But I wanted to see him sweat, and so I didn’t say a word as I lifted Owen up. I transferred my little boyfriend into the pocket of my hoodie, still watching the gang at my feet. The remnants of humanity had gathered into groups like this one, and most of those groups tended to be violent toward one another. You’d think that people would work together, especially considering how terrible the world had become, but they hadn’t. They weren’t much better than that feral dog from the grocery store.

Fucking disgusting little monsters. The tiny man with the bandana disappeared from my view as I raised one foot over him, although I could still hear his choked gasp. I let my sneaker settle down atop him, and if I concentrated, I could feel the desperate pummeling of his fists against the sole. The scratching abruptly ended when I pressed his body against the sidewalk, allowing some of my weight to bear down on him.

“Does that hurt?” I asked him, grinning. His response was a strained “Umph,” followed by a piercing bleat as I stepped down. He was so soft, so fragile, and I felt something bend and then break beneath my foot. The shrieking increased, and it made me smile even wider. I noticed that none of his companions were helping him; they just stood there, watching with shocked expressions as I slowly ground their friend against the concrete.

The man was starting to plead with me, his squeaky voice muffled by my sneaker. “Jesus Christ, yes! It hurts! It hurts! Let me go! Let me goooo!”

I smiled down viciously at him. “I don’t think so.”

Ever so slowly, I applied more and more weight. The screams rose higher and higher, then ended all at once, replaced by a sharp, wet crunch. A thin stream of blood squirted out, bright red against the sidewalk. When I lifted my foot, I saw that the man was on his back, his limbs spread out as if he had been trying to make a snow angel. His right side had ruptured, intestines and other organs spilling out in a glistening, scarlet mess.

My eyes moved to his face, where his mouth gaped open, blood trickling from between his lips. Disdainfully, I brought my foot back down onto the corpse, this time grinding and smearing it across the sidewalk. By the time that I was finished, the thug was nothing more than mashed flesh and shards of bone, a small and pathetic stain on the pavement.

The other thugs finally reacted when they saw me scraping the mutilated remains of their leader onto the curb. They scattered in all directions, running for the safety of storm drains and other hiding places. Maybe they would have made it, if they had been bigger and faster. But at their reduced size, it was easy for me to catch them. One by one, I snatched them up, cupping them in my hand. Some of them fought me, but even those with weapons couldn’t do much more than annoy me. One man with a greasy blond ponytail tried to stab me near my thumb nail, and so I nudged him until he plummeted from my hand. He splattered near the flattened corpse of his friend, adding to the blood on the sidewalk. Just to be spiteful, I crushed his body underfoot as well, smashing him like a cigarette butt.

I placed the nine survivors, two women and seven men, into my backpack. They made faint scuffling sounds, probably clawing at the fabric. But there was no way that they were getting out, especially after I had zipped up the bag.

“I think we have everything that we need,” I told Owen as we headed back home.

***

Our current home was the penthouse of a billionaire, one of the most expensive residences in the city. Back when I was working as a secretary, I couldn’t even imagine living in such luxury. Owen and I had shared a tiny efficiency apartment with a bathtub that never drained properly and windows that often jammed. Now I could live anywhere I wanted, and so I chose the most opulent place that I could find.

It also happened to be on the top floor, and since the elevators didn’t work without electricity, I had to take the stairs. I was exhausted by the time that I stumbled through the doorway of the penthouse and dropped the backpack on the floor. I wasn’t particularly gentle when I put it down, but then again, I didn’t really care about the tiny captives inside.

Once I had closed the door, I collapsed onto one of the leather couches and gazed out through the huge floor-to-ceiling window at the setting sun. Soon it would be night, which meant that I would have to go around and light candles everywhere. Being able to flip a switch and turn on the lights was yet another thing that I sorely missed. Oh, and television. And the internet. Most nights, Owen and I kept ourselves entertained by reading or playing cards (which was hilarious, because it was a monumental task for him to flip a card over).

But tonight, I had other entertainment in mind.

I removed Owen from my pocket, wrapping my fingers around his little form and pulling him out. The first few times that I had picked him up, I had nearly broken his ribcage, but I had quickly learned how to hold his body so that I didn’t damage it. Other people I wasn’t so careful with; in fact, I purposely squeezed and pinched whenever I grabbed them, listening to the pained sounds that they made. They never sounded like people, more like frightened little animals, yipping and howling and squeaking.

“Are you okay?” I asked Owen, holding him up to my face so that I could inspect him. He looked shaken, but I didn’t see any bruises or other signs of injury.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he replied.

“I can’t believe those bastards had the balls to attack you.” I glanced over at the backpack, which was now half-hidden in shadow.  “I can’t believe that humanity’s been reduced to that. A bunch of subhuman degenerates.”

Owen was silent, and his expression was…sad? Angry? Disappointed? I couldn’t really tell.

“I’m going to get changed,” I said, putting him down on the couch and standing up. By that time, the sun was almost below the horizon, and I could barely see the silhouettes of the skyscrapers through the window. It was amazing how dark everything became when there wasn’t a single light in the city. Picking up a box of matches, I went around lighting an assortment of candles, scented candles and holiday candles and everything else that I had been able to find during my scavenger trips. Then I headed into the bathroom.

It was a beautiful bathroom, probably designed by a highly-paid interior decorator. It even had a jacuzzi tub, which, like so many other things in this world, was useless without electricity. So I had to use the buckets of rainwater that I had collected and stored in the tub. I stripped out of my dirty clothes, and using a rag and one of the buckets of water, I carefully washed the grime from my body. The sneakers came off last, and I could see the dried blood caked on the soles. There was a scrap of fabric there as well, a ragged piece of my victim’s clothing.

As I examined the bottoms of the shoes, I had to admit that crushing those tiny fuckers had felt good. Months ago, I never would have admitted that. Back when the Event had first happened, I had tried to convince myself that I hadn’t changed at all, that I still had the same moral compass as before. I had stolen what I had needed, but it wasn’t until the incident at the rest stop that I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t the same as I had been.

The incident had occurred six weeks after the Event. We had been moving from town to town in search of people. That particular day, I had found a motorcycle and we had driven down the highway for miles and miles, avoiding the abandoned cars that were all over the road. We probably would have kept going if Owen hadn’t said that he was hungry, and so we had stopped at the first rest area that came into view.

We had been lucky; there had been a row of fully-stocked vending machines in the rest stop. I had left Owen behind while I went in search of a crowbar or something else that was heavy enough to smash the machines open. I had eventually found a big rock outside, and I was carrying it back to the vending machine when I heard the strangled screeching sounds. Of course, I had been curious, and when I investigated the noises, I had spotted two shrunken men. There had been a tiny woman as well, sprawled out on the ground with her brightly-patterned dress hiked up around her hips. Everything about the scene had been wrong: the way that one man had held the woman down, the way that her mouth had been contorted into a grimace of suffering, the way that the other man had been trying to take off his pants.

It hadn’t taken a genius to figure out what they were doing to the woman, and my first thought had been to smash the men with the rock. But I hadn’t done that. Instead, I had dropped the rock, startling all three tiny people. One guy had tried to run for some overgrown grass, but I had pursued him with dogged determination. Without even slowing down, I had stepped on him, my foot landing on his little body with tremendous force. There had been a wet, disgusting crunch, and my sneaker had skidded slightly on the man’s blood and jellied flesh.

The other man had started to plead when I snatched him up, but I don’t even remember what he had said. I do remember the horrified look in his eyes, though. It had been the look of a small prey animal, one that understood that it was doomed. I had felt nothing but predatory satisfaction as I squeezed his minuscule head between my thumb and index finger, his brains exploding out through his face. At my feet, the shrunken woman had shrieked like a possessed thing. In retrospect, she probably had been more terrified of me than the men. I had ignored her, wiping my crimson fingers on the grass and retrieving the rock.

I should have experienced an intense, all-consuming guilt. But strangely, I had only felt a weird sense of longing, like a starving woman who had only been given a small nibble of bread. I replayed the memory over and over, always wanting to feel guilt, and always feeling none. The only thing that I felt was that grim and yet wonderful sort of satisfaction.

And now, standing in the bathroom, studying the blood-smeared sneakers, I experienced that satisfaction again.

***

By candlelight, I dressed in clean clothes and then stared at myself in the mirror. It was astonishing to see how much I had changed in just a few months. I had always kept my brownish-black hair short, but since I was too lazy to cut it, my hair was beginning to grow in an unruly sort of way. I had also lost a significant amount of weight, so my cheeks were sunken, my eye sockets cavernous. In other words, I didn’t look all that great. Did Owen notice the change? Possibly, although he had never said anything. He never said anything about the other changes, either.

Owen was still on the couch when I walked back into the living room. He started to say something, but I strode right by him.

“Amelia?” He asked as I bent down, unzipping the backpack.

“What?” I peered into the darkness of the backpack, and then dipped my hand in, pulling out the boxes and jars of food.

He hesitated for a second, then said, “What are you going to do with them?”

Good question. I could see movement in the bottom of the backpack, which meant that my captives were still alive. When I reached down, I felt tiny hands hitting my fingers, but the blows didn’t hurt at all. I must have used too much pressure when I tried to grab the first person, because I felt something squish against my palm. Warm, sticky wetness splashed over my fingers, and I released whatever was left of the shrunken person. That was too bad, but at least there were still several captives left. I snatched up another thug, this time making sure that I didn’t crush them by accident.

It was one of the women, her long tangles of raven hair dirty and unwashed. She was clearly terrified, quivering so hard in my hand that I thought that she was having a seizure at first. Even when I relaxed my grip, she continued to twitch and shiver, breathing hard through her mouth.

“Hello there.” I grinned at her, and she began to cry, her sobs loud and barking.

“I’m really sorry! I-I didn’t have anything to do with it! I was just there! D-don’t hurt me!”

I pretended to be concerned. “Did I say that I was going to hurt you?”

The tiny woman stopped crying and glanced up at me hopefully, her face slick with tears. “S-so you’re not going to hurt me?”

I didn’t say anything. Instead, I studied the tiny woman in my hand. She was so light, so small and inconsequential. It wasn’t like holding a living doll at all…I was keenly aware that she was a person, one with delicate bones and a frantically beating heart. When I moved my hand too quickly, she gasped, and that little noise filled me with wicked delight. I realized that I wanted her to scream until her throat was raw and her voice was hoarse.

“What’s your name?” I tried to make myself sound cool and aloof, but I was too excited to pull it off.

“Ph-Phoebe.” The tiny woman looked like she was about to faint. “L-listen, it-it was all Mike’s idea.”

“Uh-huh,” I replied, reaching for one of the candles with my free hand. I honestly didn’t care who this “Mike” person was. He may have been one of the captives in the backpack, or he may have been one of the corpses smeared all over the sidewalk. Moreover, I didn’t care whether he had coerced Phoebe into helping him or not. She had been there, she was guilty, she was going to be punished.

I held the candle near the small woman, illuminating her frightened features. To me, it was nothing more than a tiny flame; to her, it was as large as a roaring bonfire. Instinctively she pulled her head away, terrified of the fire.

“I’m s-s-sorry! Don’t huarrrgghhhh!” Phoebe’s pleas transformed into anguished howls as the flame touched her head. The tangled clumps of hair burst into flame, and she writhed spasmodically in my hand. I watched her batting at her fiery head for a few seconds; then I set her on the floor. Phoebe had managed to put out the fire, but her scalp was a blackened, hairless mess, and she didn’t move much when I put her down.

I prodded her with a fingertip, expecting her to turn her head or moan. When she didn’t react, I dismissed her and went for her companions in the backpack. I was only vaguely aware that Owen was observing everything. A year ago, I would have been horrified at the notion of committing such atrocities in front of him. But now I didn’t feel any shame, and it was powerfully liberating.

Once again, I peeked into the backpack. Several of the little captives were trying to climb up the sides of the bag, and failing miserably. They started to panic when they saw my face far above them. I reached in with both hands, plucking up two more thugs. They were young men, no more than nineteen or twenty years old, and I leered at them as they struggled feebly in my hands.

“Hey, put me down, you big bitch!” One of them shouted. I don’t know if he was trying to be brave, or if he was just stupid. His face blanched as I brought him eye level, my fingers constricting tighter and tighter until he couldn’t make a sound.

As he fought to breathe, I studied him. I briefly wondered who he had been before the Event; then I realized that I didn’t care very much. Whoever he had been was long gone, and he was now reduced to a pathetic, wiggling thing. I liked watching him slowly suffocate, and a tingle of pleasure coursed through me. Then another thought occurred to me, something dark and primal and awful, and I shivered as I considered it.

But I was free to do whatever I wanted, anything at all. So why not just do it?

I eased my grip, and the man gulped down breaths greedily. Tilting my head back, I lifted him over my head and opened my mouth wide. It must have dawned on him what I planned to do, because he started to shriek and protest, thrashing in my hand. His cries were driving me wild, and I savored them as I lowered him down toward my mouth The tiny man lashed out, drumming his legs against my lips, kicking with all of his strength.

Once I could feel him against my incisors, I bit down. Not hard, but with just enough pressure to sever his legs. Salty, coppery blood pattered down onto my teeth and tongue as he howled hysterically. I laughed at his anguish before I let him go, his body bouncing against my tongue and inner cheek.  He didn’t squirm as much as I thought that he would (probably because he was bleeding to death), although I did feel his tiny hands scratching against the roof of my mouth. I imagined that it was horrifying for him, to be trapped in a hot, humid prison of flesh, his legs reduced to ragged stumps.

With my tongue, I rolled him underneath my molars, positioning his body as if it were a morsel of food. I bit tentatively, then harder and harder, feeling the man’s soft squishiness as he exploded between my teeth. I had never been a fan of raw meat; dishes like sashimi had always disgusted me. But I didn’t care about the taste as I carefully chewed the man up. No, it was the sensation of ending him so brutally that delighted me.

I paused, deliberating whether or not I wanted to swallow his remains. But I had a better idea. I bent down over the backpack, where the shrunken captives huddled inside, their beady eyes gleaming in the candlelight. I looked down at them, smiled horribly. They flinched at the sight of my bloody teeth, and they shrieked when I spat the chum-like remains of their companion at them. Still smiling, I wiped my lips with the back of my hand.

Man, they looked like shit. For some reason, that cracked me up. I giggled as they frantically tried to wipe the pulverized chunks of flesh from their clothes and hair. One woman retched and dry-heaved, bent over double.

I turned my attention to the other man in my fist, who seemed completely shellshocked.

“Don’t worry…I haven’t forgotten about you,” I told him. He was too petrified to reply as I tore off his clothes, not bothering to be gentle. I flung the scraps of fabric aside, gazing down at the minuscule, naked body on my palm. He was athletically built, muscular without being overly buff, and he was too frightened to even bother to hide his nudity from me. I raised him to my lips, my tongue darting out to lick his entire body in one sweep. That must have dragged him out of his stupor, because he screeched something incoherently as I sucked him into my mouth.

His cries became muffled as I closed my lips, and I felt them more than heard them as they reverberated up through my skull. Working up a mouthful of saliva, I concentrated on what I was about to do next. It wasn’t easy swallowing an inch tall person, but I did it quickly, before he got a chance to fight too much. It was like gulping down a huge, living pill, and I felt a small burst of triumph as my tongue and throat muscles overwhelmed my victim.

The tiny body tumbled down the length of my esophagus, then into my stomach. To my amusement, I felt his struggles, although they were faint and fluttery. I tried to picture him, trapped in humid blackness, shrieking at the top of his lungs until he suffocated within me. When his movements ceased, I stretched, feeling oddly sated. There were still some captives in the backpack, but for now, I ignored them. I sat down on the couch, next to Owen.

Most of the time, he would come over to me and climb up onto my leg. But he remained where he was, staring up at me. I started to ask him what was wrong, then I noticed that his expression was identical to that of the shrunken woman at the rest area. The same disgust, the same terror, the same distrust. His lips were peeled away from his teeth in an awful rictus, and he cringed when I reached for him.

“Jesus, Owen, what’s your problem?” I demanded, annoyed. He said nothing, so I grabbed him. The piercing scream that he let out startled us both, and I almost dropped him. Fortunately, I managed to hold onto him.

Owen trembled between my fingers. “Amelia, please, don’t…”

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t kill me.”

“Kill you? What are you talking about?” I chuckled at the ridiculousness of the idea, but my laughter sounded forced. In my hand, Owen looked away, refusing to meet my eyes. It was worse than anything that he could said. My heart sank, but only for a moment. How dare he judge me? Those people were just vermin, nothing more. I was doing the world a favor by getting rid of them.

“Amelia—,” he began, and I jammed him into my pocket, not wanting to hear it. He was reduced to a small, squirming lump in my jeans as I sat there, watching the backpack. I thought about the tiny people in there, most likely whispering to one another, trying to devise an escape plan before I came back for them. What if I just let them go? That was certainly an option, but I realized that I didn’t want to let them go. No, I wanted to hear them scream like their companions.

I shifted on the couch, uncomfortable aroused.

Fuck it, I was going to do what I wanted. I stood up, Owen’s minuscule body pressed up against my thigh. He mumbled something, but I couldn’t make it out as I grabbed the backpack and a candle. The shrieking renewed in the bag, high-pitched trills that only sounded vaguely human.

I brought them into the bedroom, the blood rushing in my ears. The candle didn’t provide much light, but that was fine. I preferred the darkness as I removed my clothes, being careful not to squash Owen by accident. I left him in my jeans pocket, struggling under the weight of the denim. Once I was finished with this, I’d fish him out.

The screams intensified as I upended the backpack over the king-sized bed. Tiny figures tumbled down onto the bedspread, their expressions filled with horror. Two of my captives dashed for the edge of the bed, but I moved swiftly, cutting off their escape. They stared up the length of my body, although they didn’t dare to meet my eyes.

“Aren’t you guys gonna beg?” I slammed my hands down on either side of them, bouncing them violently. They didn’t make a sound, just stared up at me in shock. I leaned forward, and they quickly crawled backwards, toward the others. I climbed up onto the bed after them, moving with a slow deliberateness. Let the little bastards know that they were trapped, that I was coming for them. The futility of their situation thrilled me.

Feeling more aroused than I had in months, I bared my teeth at the thugs lustfully. Most of the time, I felt too uneasy to do anything sexual with Owen, afraid that I would break every bone in his little body. But since I didn’t care if I smashed these insects, I showed them the full brutality of my desire. I slowly lowered my torso down onto them, and one man didn’t get out of the way in time. He crunched beneath one of my breasts, his frail form unable to withstand my weight.

I laughed at the survivors dashing across the bed, and then I grabbed them, their limbs sticking out from between my fingers. Rolling over onto my back, I gave my captives a small squeeze to make them shriek. Every nerve in my body seemed to be hypersensitive, and my lower belly tightened with warm pleasure.

I clenched harder and harder, and blood sluggishly dribbled down my wrist, black in the candlelight. I saw it, and I saw myself, and I felt only delight. The orgasm tore through me a minute later, and I clung onto the pleasure for as long as I possibly could. Once it had faded, I was only left with an empty feeling and cold, tacky blood on my fingers and palms.

Rising up, I trudged to the bathroom, washed my hands in a bucket. I went to retrieve my clothes and Owen, although as soon as I pulled him from the jeans pocket, he began to wail.

“Stay away from me!” He screamed, punching at my fingers as I picked him up.

“What’s wrong with you, Owen?” I placed him on the bed and put my clothes back on.

“What’s wrong with me?! You should be asking what’s wrong with you!” His voice was strangled with almost crazed terror.

I narrowed my eyes. So this was how it was, huh? I had taken care of him, protected him, and he repaid me with this insolence. My hands balled up into tight fists, and I thought about how easy it would be to flatten him, just like I had with the others.

And then the thought passed, and I stared down into his fear-struck face. Jamming my hands into my hoodie, I spun around and stomped from the room, leaving Owen behind. Let the little fucker starve to death, or be eaten by rats. I was out of here, off to somewhere else.

It may have been my imagination, but I thought I heard him call out to me once last time. But I didn’t stop to listen; instead, I lowered my head and kept walking.