Swarm

For 2022, I’ve been wanting to write more ‘creature features’ and generally improve my short story writing. My partner got me a Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual for my birthday so I came up with the idea of writing a story every week based on a different creature from that – All There in the (Monster) Manual. Hope you enjoy!

This Week’s Inspiration: Swarm of Insects

Trigger Warning: Gore

They killed him. They killed him just about as dead as a person could be killed. So how is that sick sadist Marty Vigotti taking his revenge from beyond the grave? What dark powers are allowing him to kill in such horrible ways? And can he even be stopped?

======

They killed him. They killed him just about as dead as a person could be killed. But somehow he’d come back and now he was killing them. That hate, that evil, that terrible willpower had somehow brought him back from the dead.

Vinnie staggered down the stairs from Richman’s apartment and onto the street. He’d left Richman’s door open and it wouldn’t take long for his body to be discovered. Mary and Joseph, his body. Those horrified eyes staring out of the swollen and discoloured mass of his face. Limbs all twisted like a dead insect. Vinnie had never seen anything like it. From what he understood, Tony Black and Martinez’s bodies had been in the same kind of condition. They’d all died horrible, and Vinnie was the last one left. It was him, Vinnie knew it was him even as impossible as it was.

A couple of flies buzzed orbits around Vinnie’s head until he shooed them away. They must have followed him from the apartment, although rot hadn’t had time to set in on Richman’s body. Sunlight faded to the west of the city as Vinnie’s feet hit the sidewalk. The road lay empty and only a few pedestrians milled around besides him. Vinnie groped for the gun in the back of his waistband, reassuring himself it was there.

“Got to stay on the street,” Vinnie muttered to himself. “Stay around other people, he can’t hit  me if I’m around people.”

Atop the roof of another building, a large raven cawed loud enough to make Vinnie jump. He looked and saw its beady eyes watching him. He’d felt watched for days, even before the killings started with Tony Black. Even when he was totally alone, he felt watched and somehow he’d know it was him. Marty Vigotti. That psycho fuck. Dead and haunting him.

Vinnie hurried down the sidewalk in the direction of light, sound and people. It wasn’t guilt haunting him either, he’d killed people before. Vinnie had killed his first man at the age of eighteen, the same age he’d stepped up to pulling real jobs instead of juvenile bullshit. He’d had to choke the guy out. Wrapped his hands around the man’s throat and squeezed until the light faded out of his eyes, and Vinnie hadn’t lost a single night’s sleep over it.

And no man had needed killing like Marty Vigotti. The man was a psycho, a butcher. Sure, Vinnie killed people but he was a professional. Marty wouldn’t just kill a man, he’d kill his wife and kids too. It was rumoured he was behind a nightclub fire that killed twelve people, and he had tortured more than one person to death not for information but for fun. Marty wasn’t a big man. He was average to look at, but no one wanted to mess with his psycho reputation. Still, maybe they shouldn’t have killed him the way they did. Maybe the ugliness of it had opened some kind of doorway to allow Marty to come back from Hell.

Reaching a dive bar on the corner, Vinnie slipped inside. All the clientele looked like factory workers and they ignored Vinnie in his cheap grey suit. Stopping at the counter, Vinnie signalled to the bartender.

“Scotch rocks, and a beer,” Vinnie said.

Maybe he should tell someone, Vinnie thought. Tell them about Richman. But who the fuck would believe him? Tony and Martinez were the only ones who might have believed and they were dead, anyone else would think he was crazy. Vinnie drained the scotch before the ice had a chance to melt and started on the beer.

“Eugh, what the fuck?” The bartender suddenly smacked the bar, holding a dish towel in his hand.

Another large fly buzzed around Vinnie’s head. The bartender raised the towel to reveal a gooey mess that had been a fat cockroach waddling across the bar. By the look on his face, the bartender was surprised to see one crawling around so blatantly. The sight of guts repulsed Vinnie. His mind went back to the condition of Richman’s body in the apartment. Pressure built up behind Vinnie’s eyeballs at the fear and impossibility of it all, and he felt like his head was going to explode.

Vinnie got up and staggered to the bathroom, down a hallway plastered in stickers and graffiti. Pale fluorescents flickered in the bathroom ceiling, giving the room a sickly glow. Vinnie was alone. He stumbled to one of the stalls and locked it, pulling out his handgun. Sitting on the toilet seat, he checked the gun. An old Browning Hi-Power in 9mm. It held thirteen rounds but that was all he had, no backup magazines.

“Shit, how do you whack a dead guy? Is thirteen bullets enough?” Vinnie said.

Richman’s body had been laying in the middle of the living room, curled up like he was trying to protect himself but his limbs were all knotted. He’d died thrashing in agony. His clothes were ripped and covered in blood, with more blood splattered around the room. Cuts and tiny chunks, like little bites, had been taken out of the flesh all over his arms and face and body. Patches of his skin were bruised and discoloured. His face looked distorted as well, covered in swollen marks. Vinnie had noticed needlelike punctures in the sides of Richman’s throat and on his hands. Vinnie had no idea how Richman had died but it matched the description of Black Tony and Martinez’s deaths. Vinnie didn’t want to die like that.

Flies buzzed around the fluorescent lighting. Vinnie caught movement in the corner of his eye and automatically jerked away. A cockroach, big and greasy, crawled onto the toilet paper dispenser. Vinnie sneered, and spotted another bug crawling over the top of the stall. He didn’t know why the bartender looked so surprised, this place was obviously disgusting.

“I’m coming for you, Vinnie,” a voice whispered.

“Jesus!” Vinnie jumped and looked around.

No one had entered the bathroom, Vinnie would have heard the door open. The voice seemed to come from everywhere. It buzzed right in Vinnie’s ear and rippled through the whole room. More insects battered against the ceiling.

“The devil has come among you with great wrath,” the voice buzzed as if from a dozen different places. “For he knows his time is short.”

Vinne stood up, clutching his gun. “Where the fuck are you?”

A rat ran by the base of Vinnie’s stall, squealing. Vinnie yelped and threw himself into the side of the stall, making it shake. He clawed at the lock on the door.

“I’m coming for you last, Vinnie, you fat fuck,” Marty’s voice whispered, totally alien.

As Vinnie barrelled out of the stall, he saw the bathroom mirror crawling with bugs. Cockroaches and beetles and ants, they seemed to be appearing from the walls. Flies and a black and yellow wasp buzzed overhead. Shielding his face, Vinnie ran from the bathroom.

From the hallway, Vinnie could see across the bar. All the patrons buried themselves in their drinks, and the bartender wasn’t looking up. Framed in the doorway leading off the street was a silhouette. A human shape, but shifting, blurring, and dark, a spectre. Light showed through it in places. Marty Vigotti, Vinnie knew it. He turned and ran past the bathrooms again. At the end of the hallway was a rear exit and Vinnie slammed through it.

Another couple of rats squealed and sprinted away as Vinnie crashed into a dirty alley. Grime coated the walls and trash crunched underfoot. Breaking into a sprint, Vinnie ran to the end of the alley. Overhead, a bird, that same fucking raven, cawed again as if signaling someone.

Killing Marty, the way they killed him at least, had been a spur of the moment thing. He’d muscled his way into their latest job. None of them wanted to contradict him, not even Tony Black. But Marty had been doing too much coke, and drinking too much. On top of his sadistic tendencies he’d become more and more erratic, and sooner or later he’d bring the law down on their heads. Seeing no other way out, they’d ambushed him one night. They’d beat the hell out of him, tied him up, and bundled him into one of the cars they were meant to be using for the job. The plan was to take him to a graveyard on the desert outskirts of the city, pop him, and bury him in one of the fresh graves. But when they got there, Tony noticed the woodchipper parked on the edge of the graveyard by some landscaping company.

“Ain’t that a little much?” Vinnie asked.

“No less than what this fucking guy deserves,” Tony, who had a sadistic streak almost as wide as Marty, had said.

They’d fed Marty into the woodchipper alive. Somehow, as he was being bundled into the chute he’d broken free and fought back. Spit flying from his mouth, he’d punched and kicked and clawed.

“I’ll fucking kill you!” Marty yelled.

It had taken all four of them to shove Marty down the mouth of the woodchipper. Going in feet first, both of his feet and shins disappeared in snarls of churning meat. Blood sprayed from the machine’s nozzle. Marty didn’t even seem to notice. He was driven by hate rather than desperation, rage, as he tried to claw his way back out.

“I’ll kill you all!”

The four of them punched and pushed Marty down and the woodchipper chewed him to pieces, catching on some bones but then breaking them with gunshot snaps. A spray of gore and white flecks of bone vomited over the wall of the graveyard. The four of them hosed the woodchipper down as best they could and went home before dawn broke.

Vinnie threaded through the streets until he came to a strip club he knew. He still felt watched, and followed. Gun back in his waistband, Vinnie stumbled inside. He thrust a rumpled twenty dollar bill at the check-in girl. Did he think that would keep Marty out? The cover charge?

Since it was only early in the evening, hardly anybody was in the club. A gorilla of a bouncer watched Vinnie as he entered. A couple of young guys occupied one of the couches, and there was another guy behind the bar. Even the stage was empty for the moment as music thrummed from the speakers.

Panting, Vinnie sat down heavily at the bar. He was still surrounded by people, Marty couldn’t get him. He had to think through his next move. Maybe he could run, get far away from here. But could he ever run far enough to escape an angry spirit?

“Hey, buddy, two drink minimum,” the bartender said.

Vinnie signalled for a beer and nursed it as he kept wracking his brain. A dancer finally appeared from the back room, sauntering onto the stage wearing a pink outfit that made her look like an oversized Barbie. Swinging around the pole, she started her dance slowly. Vinnie turned to watch but got distracted as a large cockroach ran across the bar.

“What the hell?” Someone said near the doorway.

A loud buzz reached Vinnie’s ears and he whipped around. That same human shape, blurring and shifting, hovered in the doorway where Vinnie had just entered. The bouncer recoiled in shock.

“Told you I’m coming for you, Vinnie,” the dark mass buzzed.

Vinnie got his first good look at the spectre, which he’d only glimpsed back at the bar. It shifted and buzzed, he realised, because the mass as a whole was made up of hundreds, even thousands, of individual creatures. A hovering swarm of insects, flies and maggots, and cockroaches and spiders. Rats squirmed through the mass as if swimming, wormy tails dragging behind them. A couple of birds, ravens, cawed and flapped, twisting inside the unnatural shape. Vinnie even saw a rattlesnake winding across what passed for the swarm’s face, creating a kind of mouth and eyes.

Vinnie dropped his beer and fumbled for his gun. Flicking off the safety, he flung his arm up and around, and fired. Thunderous claps echoed through the room. Bullets punched through the mass without real harm. A few splattered cockroaches and dead maggots, and a dead rat, fell from the hovering shape but the man-sized whole remained. The two young patrons yelled in panic. On the stage, the dancer screamed.

Suddenly, the swarm broke over the bouncer beside it. Vinnie heard the man scream. Big as he was, the bouncer was slammed against the wall like a rag doll. When the swarm released him he was already covered in cuts and stings, and a tan rattlesnake wrapped itself around the man’s throat. It repeatedly struck the bouncer in the face, and then the hands as he tried to ward it off. The swarm poured across the room like a hurricane. Crashing into the two young men on the couch, it muffled their screams with a droning buzz. As it released them they were left covered in rats which hung off their flesh with their teeth, scrabbling with their clawed feet. Scorpions and wasps stung and buzzed and crawled over them.

Vinnie stared in astonishment as the swarm shot past him, to the head of the room. The stripper hadn’t moved either, covering her mouth and squealing. Marty picked her up and hurled her off the stage and into the wall. Vinnie heard a snap as the woman’s neck broke on impact.

“What the fuck is going on? What the fuck?” The bartender yelled.

The young man reached for a pump-action shotgun kept behind the bar. The swarm dropped the stripper’s lifeless body and hovered over the stage. With a bright flash and thunderous boom, the bartender fired. Buckshot ripped through Marty’s undead mass but left the whole intact. Marty descended and crashed into the bartender before he could get another shot off. Glasses and bottles smashed. The bartender shrieked as they disappeared behind the counter.

The bouncer and the club’s two young customers were dead. The rattlesnake uncoiled from the bouncer’s throat and wound across the carpet at Vinnie’s feet. Rats scampered over the couch, away from the ravaged bodies of the two young men. Reappearing from behind the bar, the swarm lashed out and destroyed the sound system near the stage. The club went silent.

Marty’s swarm reformed in front of Vinnie. The snake and rats, hornets and spiders and scorpions, birds, and all the other stray insects approximating themselves into a human shape with a torso and arms and a face, like loose clay being pushed around by invisible hands. Vinnie could vaguely see Marty’s features in the shifting face. Most of the swarm was dark, black and brown, buzzing, wriggling, flapping bodies with only a few splashes of colour.

“Home to every unclean bird, every serpent. Everything that crawls upon the earth, every foul and detestable beast.” Marty’s voice was legion, coming from a thousand vocal chords unpracticed at forming human syllables all speaking in unison.

“Marty, Mary and Joseph, how? How did you come back like this?” Vinnie said.

“Back? Back? I didn’t go anywhere,” Marty buzzed. “After you and the others fed me through that woodchipper I felt everything. I lay there, scattered, sliced apart, seething. Maybe that’s what death is for everyone. Maybe we never really leave, we just lie there in our coffins staring at the dark and feeling ourselves rot.”

Vinnie was still holding his handgun. His eyes searched, trying not to look at the dead bodies. Looking for a way out.

“But for me, laying there in the sun like roadkill, first the insects came for me. The flies and the maggots, and the rats. Eat of me, this is my body. Drink, this is my blood. And the birds came for the bugs and the snakes came for the rats, and in this earthly form I was resurrected like the Son of God.”

Looking around, Vinnie noticed a fire extinguisher beside the bar. Sprinklers dotted the roof as well. A plan started to come to Vinnie but suddenly Marty seized him. His many fingers were spider legs and scorpion pincers. Vinnie lashed out at Marty’s arm but his hand passed right through the stinging, slimy, nipping mass and it immediately reformed behind him. The swarm drew Vinnie in close, grinning with yellow and black bodies of wasps for teeth.

“At first, I couldn’t tell how long I had like this. I thought my righteous fury brought me back. My desire to kill the four of you. If I waste it, I might just disappear. But I feel I’ve mellowed a little killing the other three and yet I’m still here. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to kill you, Vinnie, and assuming I’m still around after that, I’m going to find and kill your family. Tony, Martinez, Richman, I’m going to kill all your families. I’m going to kill your friends, your neighbours. I’m going to kill everyone you ever talked to. I got no dick anymore, Vinnie. I can’t do shit else, this is all I’ve got. I’m going to kill them all and nobody can stop me.”

Vinnie aimed the gun at what passed for Marty’s face. The twisting snake passing through it formed a grin.

“Really, Vinnie?”

“I’m not aiming at you,” Vinnie choked.

Vinnie aimed the gun higher and fired. His shot took out one of the sprinklers directly overhead. A spray of water immediately hosed down on top of them. It rippled across Marty’s body, disrupting it like a bad television signal. Breaking free, Vinnie fired twice more into the swarm. He veered around Marty and lunged at the fire extinguisher he’d seen beside the bar.

“What the fuck, Vinnie?” Marty said.

Tucking the loaded gun under his armpit, Vinnie wrestled the extinguisher off the wall and quickly tried to figure out the handle. A zip tie looped through the trigger, which he ripped loose. Marty didn’t bother to turn. What passed for his chest and face simply disappeared on one side of the mass and reappeared on the other, facing Vinnie.

“Fucking eat it!” Vinnie unleashed a foamy spray from the fire extinguisher.

White powder filled the air. Aiming the nozzle, Vinnie knocked chunks out of Marty’s dark mass. Foam clogged his insects’ wings and tiny bodies, coating and blinding some of the larger creatures. Vinnie hosed it across Marty’s body and up into the swarm’s face as Marty shrieked with rage. Already damp and disrupted, the blasts of foam knocked him in different directions and weakened him. Marty’s voice became more distorted, buzzing and squeaking syllables falling out of sequence.

Vinnie kept squeezing until the fire extinguisher went dry. A wall of white mist veiled half the club. Dozens of choking bugs covered the carpet. The swarm hovered behind the powder, trying to realign itself.

One of Marty’s ravens exploded out of the drifting foam, squawking as it went straight for Vinnie’s eyes. Vinnie dropped the extinguisher. Snatching the Browning pistol, Vinnie whipped it around and fired twice. Bullets ripped the bird out of the air. Vinnie ran for the back of the club, passing through powder and bits of the swarm. A rat, part of Marty’s swarm, ran across the bar and launched itself at Vinnie. He fired and the rat burst, bits of intestine and bloody fur going everywhere as it came apart in mid-air.

Vinnie threw himself into the door to the back room where he’d seen the dancer emerge earlier. He slammed it closed behind him. He didn’t expect being scattered by the fire extinguisher, or the door, would hold Marty for long. Vinnie only had a few bullets left in his gun and they weren’t all that effective against the swarm anyway. He shoved it back into his waistband for the moment.

Behind the door was obviously the dressing room for the club’s dancers. Small and well lit, there was little room for a man of Vinnie’s size to move around given the row of dressing tables, mirrors, and racks of costumes and props crammed into the space. Fortunately it was empty. Any girls that had been getting ready in there must have heard the gunshots outside and fled. Vinnie needed to flee as well but something, Marty, slammed into the door behind him.

Vinnie’s eyes scanned across the cluttered dressers. He saw a packet of cigarettes and a lighter, and snatched the lighter. Looking around, he also grabbed a purple can of hairspray and turned on the door. With another couple of blows, the door splintered and burst open. Marty’s shifting mass filled the room, buzzing and chittering. Patches of the swarm were streaked in white powder and he looked slightly reduced. Still, the creature seemed unimpressed as he spotted Vinnie with his can of hairspray.

“Seriously, Vinnie? Getting desperate?” Marty said.

Vinnie flicked the lighter to life, held out in front of him, and sprayed the hairspray over the top of it like he and his friends used to do to make flamethrowers when they were kids. An orange blaze rose and streaked off the lighter. Vinnie felt the hairs on the backs of his fingers sizzle. Marty threw one twisting limb that passed for an arm over his face. Burnt and blackened spiders and bugs dropped away from the arm as Vinnie kept spraying. He could smell insects frying and hear their bodies pop but the damage was pretty minimal, especially since Marty was already damp and covered in fire extinguisher foam. Vinnie backed through the narrow room to the rear exit, continuing to use the hairspray flamethrower and ignoring his burning hand.

“Motherfucker!” Marty hissed.

The swarm shot out an arm toward Vinnie, and a rattlesnake was flung free. It flew into Vinnie’s arm and wrapped around it like a whip. The impact knocked the can of hairspray out of his hand. He dropped the lighter as well and grabbed for the snake. Rearing back, the rattlesnake bit Vinnie’s bicep. He felt its fangs pierce his sleeve and sink into his flesh. Venom pumped from the rattlesnake’s fangs. It released him, reared back, and bit him again.

Vinnie grabbed for his gun and pointed it at the snake. When it didn’t stop biting, Vinnie aimed carefully and fired. The shot tore the snake’s head from the rest of its body. Its fangs came free and the head dropped away. The rest of the body loosened and slithered off Vinnie’s arm. Under his sleeve though, the bites throbbed and some blood leaked through the material.

Marty’s swarm form filled the other side of the room. “I’m still coming for you, Vinnie!”

Vinnie staggered to the room’s rear exit and slammed it open. It delivered him into another alley, this one wider and less filled with trash than the one he’d seen when leaving the bar earlier. Vinnie stumbled toward the street. He could feel the rattlesnake venom start to work on him. A burning sensation spread up and down his left arm, and the bicep felt swollen and tender. Heat quickly reached his chest and the side of his throat. If he got to a hospital and got some antivenom he might still be okay, but that was unlikely with Marty following him.

Water, and the fire extinguisher foam, had disrupted Marty. Fire could kill him, but Vinnie needed a lot more than a little hairspray flamethrower. Closer to the mouth of the alley, a slab of light fell from an open doorway. Food smells and sounds of pots and pans bashing together made it clear the doorway led into the kitchen of a restaurant. Vinnie ran toward it and let himself inside, pushing past a surprised teenager in cook’s whites.

Half a dozen cooks and workers filled the kitchen Vinnie found himself in. A few of them gawked at the dishevelled man in the suit as he burst in through the back. Others were too engrossed in their tasks to notice. Vinnie’s eyes tracked to one man, the head chef, tossing a pan over one of the kitchen stoves. Blue flames burned bright under the pan, leaping and hissing.

“Everyone out!” Vinnie raised his pistol and fired just once into the ceiling with a deafening bang. “Go out the front, and take everyone out there with you!”

The gunshot immediately stole the kitchen’s attention. Crashing into counters and one another, the half a dozen staff rushed for the doors. In only seconds, Vinnie was alone. He could hear yelling from the front of the restaurant as the cooks told the waitstaff and their patrons to clear out.

Vinnie checked his gun, as he should have done before wasting a bullet on clearing out the kitchen he realised. Only one round was left in the Browning Hi-Power. He’d better make it count. The kitchen had plenty of other potential weapons but Vinnie crossed to the two large stovetops. Both were powered by gas, and cluttered with pots and pans. Vinnie swept the pan the head chef had been tossing to the floor, spilling its contents everywhere.

Vinnie’s left side burned. His throat felt swollen and he was starting to struggle to breathe properly. Maybe he could survive, but the venom was working fast. And his survival mattered less than Marty’s death. If the swarm survived, he’d keep on killing. Their families, friends, neighbours, whoever he wanted. Marty had already been a murderous psychopath when he was alive, Vinnie had to end it here.

Vinnie shut off all the operating gas burners on the stovetops, and then quickly began to turn them back on. As he did so, however, Vinnie blew out the pilot lights before they could catch. A sulphurous smell rose off the stoves. Vinnie could see a haze immediately start to build above the appliances, gas filling the air.

Buzzing came from the back door as Marty poured inside. His shifting face seemed to be smirking. Vinnie retreated away from the stovetops, removing his gun with its single bullet from his waistband. He wanted to delay until the room was filled with as much gas as possible.

“You done running?” Marty asked.

“You got me, just, please, my family, my mom and dad, my brother, my nieces, don’t hurt them, okay? Please,” Vinnie said.

The swarm let out a bark of sound that might have been a laugh. “What’s going to stop me? After what you did to me, you got no grounds to be asking for favours.”

“When, when it’s over, there was really nothing? You don’t remember nothing from the other side?”

“No Heaven, no Hell. No devils and no God. Just me, Vinnie, just me. But maybe that ain’t everyone. Maybe Hell is your next stop, Vinnie. Maybe you’re gonna burn.”

“Maybe you’re gonna burn, Marty.”

Vinnie’s breathing laboured, and every mouthful tasted thickly like sulphur. Marty finally seemed to sense something was wrong. The hollows of his eyes turned toward the hissing gas burners. A haze filled the room. Vinnie trained his gun at the stove.

“No, Vinnie! You fucking shit!”

The swarm started to break apart, insects, rats and birds scattering. Vinnie fired and his bullet sparked off the stovetop between the burners. A flash, and an orange fireball ripped the air open and filled the room with a thunderous roar. Flame engulfed both Vinnie and the swarm. The stoves burned and split the gas line that fed them open. A secondary explosion blew the wall apart, tearing down half the kitchen and most of the ceiling. The eruption sent flame and smoke billowing through the front and back of the building before dying down to a blazing inferno where nothing lived.

xXx

Strobing lights painted the alleyway and sides of the restaurant. Emergency vehicles parked at both ends of the alley and clogged the street in front of the restaurant and the strip club next door. Police officers held the crowds back, secured the club, and interviewed witnesses. Paramedics dealt with shocked patrons and staff while firefighters ran thick hoses through the restaurant. Filthy, sooty water pooled out the back exit and into the alley. The kitchen was a blackened ruin, the explosion having destroyed the entire rear of the building.

“We’ve got one body in the kitchen,” the lead firefighter told one of the cops, pulling the breathing mask down his face. “There’s not a lot left, but it sounds like it matches the description the guys from the kitchen gave of your man with the gun.”

“What the hell was he doing back there? Some elaborate suicide?”

“I don’t know, that’s your job, right?”

“With the state of the bodies next door, shit, something deeply fucking weird happened here. We thought it must’ve been a shooting at first but, well, I shouldn’t say nothing, but there’s another couple of open cases that match the look of what happened in there.”

“Yeah? Glad it’s not my mess to figure out.” The firefighter looked back at the burnt out restaurant. “You ever eat here?”

“Nah, I don’t think so,” the cop replied.

“Good, must’ve been filthy back there. Found a bunch of dead rats, all burned up in the blast. And it looked like bugs splattered all around the doorway, disgusting.”

“Speaking of which.”

The cop trailed off and started forward, sweeping around with one foot. A large, brown rat shrieked and went sprinting off down the alley. It was almost as if the creature had been eavesdropping on their conversation.

The rat shot past the blown out doorway of the kitchen and down the alley. Smoke wafted off the animal’s singed fur. Climbing the side of a dumpster, the rat turned and glared at the cop. A cockroach crawled along the rat’s side, and a couple of flies buzzed halos around its head.

=======

Sean: I fucking love swarms of stuff, who doesn’t like things that come in swarms? There’s a bunch of swarms in the back of the Monster Manual, I should do like a swarm every month.

Marty / The Swarm is based on a villain from a book I wrote a few years ago but have never done anything with because it’s pretty cheesy stuff, ‘The Ghoul, The Bad and The Ugly’. Marty’s equivalent in that story was The Ugly, if you’re wondering. They came into existence in a similar way, although slightly more complicated, and had the same kind of power.

Action-horror is probably my favourite thing to write but I did like the very slight touches of existential terror as Marty wonders just what is meant to happen after we die. Is he a special case, being trapped in his body after he died or is it what awaits all of us? Unable to move, unable to speak as our loved ones mourn around us. Feeling the lick of the flames as the crematorium consumes us and turns our bodies to cinder, or nailed into a box and buried, feeling our skin constrict and our flesh rot off our bones with nothing but the endless dark for company? Oh well, it’s only a story!

If you did enjoy this story it’s probably cutting closest to my published novels, particularly Tik. Might I humbly suggest checking them out on Amazon?

Next Week’s Inspiration: Merfolk

3 thoughts on “Swarm

  1. Pingback: Spiders-Man | Sean E. Britten

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