ISOLATION WARD – Gruesome Mud

GRUESOME MUD

A Flash Fiction Story
By Charles E.J. Moulton

Somewhere in the distance I saw that light glowing, unbelievably faint. Seeing it after crawling for hours on end through the mud felt like heaven.

I had no way of telling the time anymore. I just knew that once nightfall arrived over here, I had to be inside the light. If I wasn’t, I would see what those Fkozscji really looked like. Gruesome stories crisscrossed the asylum about what they looked like. No one had come out alive, but the munching noises were enough to scare anyone.

Crawling through the mud toward the light, I muttered about my ill fate, wondering why I had been locked in the asylum in the first place, never having killed those alien women. I told that horseshit judge so, but I had been close enough to be considered a suspect.
“The light,” I muttered. “I have to be in it before that door closes. If I’m not, I will be like Frank or Theo. Dead.”
Did they give up half way, shortly before finding the light?
Frank was weak, but Theo could bite and scratch himself out of anything. On the other hand, the Fkozscji had the reputation of killing even the strong ones.

Theo had also been the coward who pointed at me when the patrol arrived. Me, a stranger, watching two rapists violate alien women. Me, here, crawling the infamous pit, serving my time, the walls of the asylum closing in on me. Hell, I didn’t even know what damn planet I was on. Had I travelled out of the galaxy? I didn’t think so.

Still doomed to spend the night crawling through the mud, hoping for retribution, I cried, stopping, catching my breath.

Then, however, all of a sudden, it happened. The door was closed. That infamous noise I’d heard from inside my cell, metal doors clanking, steel against steel, sounded like death. We heard it every day, either hoping that our fellow inmates would make it or be munched.

Suddenly, neither the fact that I was unrecognizably covered in mud mattered, nor that I had lost my foot in the burning lava pit. I panted, swallowing gallons of mud in the process. My stump hurt and my skin felt like stung by a thousand wasps.
“Just hold your head above the mud,” I screamed to myself, “and scoot.”

Suddenly I was inside a blinding light, as bright as anything I’d ever seen. I clamped my eyes shut so tight that I couldn’t open them again from all the mud drying up my face.

Breathing, groaning, mumbles and a snigger made me open my eyes, cracks of mud falling from them. Theo and Frank sat there, chewing on something that looked like human bones, smiling.

I trembled, for in my horror I realized that I’d been let into the chamber of no return. Alas, only a glass wall separated us from the corridor that led back to the asylum. At that point, I would’ve given anything to get back to my cell. I banged on the glass like crazy, feeling like a damn dog, scratching with muddy paws on a brick wall.
“It’s no use, guy,” I heard a voice behind me say. “It’s scratchproof.”

The sensation I then felt on my heel was edgy, hard, knife-like. I turned my head around and saw Theo at my feet, opening his mouth wide.
I opened mine, as well.
And I screamed.

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