The Last Confession

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The Last Confession

By

David Pucsek

Stanley was lying on the bed, sometimes letting out a little cough. He was wealthy, focused, kind to others, 89 years old, and suffered from lung cancer. He wanted to spend his final day with his wife, Billie White. A beautiful young girl, with a degree in economics, they’ve met at a charity auction, and dated for a year before getting married. Stanley didn’t know he had cancer back then.

“I’ve never told you about my 4 previous wives, did I, Honey?”, asked Stanley in a fragile voice. Billie’s eyes filled with tears as she shook her head. “I have to get this off my chest before I’m gone”, he said and coughed again. “I’ll listen to you, just try not to strain yourself”, she replied through her tears. “You’re right, I might die if I try too hard”, Stanley laughed, then motioned to Billie to give him some water. He swallowed it and began to tell the tale.

“You may know that I was very happy with all of them, but as if I was cursed, they all died well before their time. My first one was Mary. I was still just a young man with bold ambitions and not much to my name. We were married for 5 years until one day I went home and found her brains plastered all over the pavement”, as Stanley said the last words, Billie shivered. A sinister, cold hand gripped her heart. “I was devastated, of course, my life was in ruins, I often imagine the fear in her eyes as she approached the moment of the impact. But this was a decisive moment in my career, I had to focus solely on my work, so I didn’t lose my mind. I was a stockbroker, but you already know that”. Billie was not feeling well, the cold measured tone that Stanley was speaking in really didn’t fit the story. But she had to listen, it was her husband’s dying wish.

“My marriage with Sandra only lasted a year. I founded my first company, and she was one of my employees. We quickly took a liking to each other and started dating. We married just after a couple of months. One day when I went home, I found her in our bathtub, apparently, she fell asleep and drowned”. Billie never heard such a thing and mumbled something about waking up if you go underwater if you are asleep. Stanley frowned and looked discontented, so she decided not to interrupt further. He continued, “Anyway, I had lost someone important to me before, it was easier to pick up the pieces.”. Stanley looked noticeable livelier as he kept talking, and Billie was glad, but after finishing this story he broke out in a heavy cough and was shaking between each cough. He leaned back after Billie gave him some water and continued.

“Where was I? I wanted to tell you about Ann. I was in my forties by then, she too. She was a businesswoman; we’ve met at a conference. Almost twenty years together, it was my longest relationship. She was the perfect woman for me, in a cruel twist of fate, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We had just left the doctor’s office, we decided to go and take a walk. On the sidewalk, she was closer to the road. A car came and hit her, tearing her hand from mine. They didn’t even slow down or stop. She died in my arms. Her frail body was completely destroyed by the impact. Her legs broken, jaw hanging loose, pieces of bone piercing the skin on her arm…”. Billie just noticed that Stanley had sat up in the bed like he found some new source of life that he could reach into. And the fact that he kept the stories short and only focused on the deaths felt especially cruel of him. Like he was only interested in their demise and not the people they were. She started to feel like she didn’t really know this man. “Are you all right, love?”, he asked gently, Billie was not all right, she took a glimpse behind the mask and couldn’t look at him like she did, just that morning. He was so kind and generous, to a fault. She replied “Yes”, as she was too afraid to say anything else.

“And there was Wendy, the most horrible case of all. She was young, just like you, we were together for 6 years, from which we spent 4 in wedlock. It happened in this house, in this very bed in which I’m lying right now”, his calm mannerism started to dissolve as he was nearing his end. He was passionate now, a flame burned in his eyes, one that Billie never saw before. She was not sure if it was anger, fear, or something else, that caused this change in him. It was a frightening transformation. But Stanley was always so good to her before, she didn’t want to leave him in his last hours. “She was cut into pieces that were arranged on this bed like she was still whole. The only problem was the 2-inch gaps where her joints used to be”, he wore demonic expression, which was not like him at all. “Sit next to me”, he commanded, and Billie didn’t have the strength to resist. She was ready to cry again, but not because of the fear of him dying, it was the fear of him staying alive. She couldn’t wait for death to exorcise this devil that has claimed her husband.

Stanley’s grasp was never this strong and cruel before. It felt like a shackle was placed on her wrist, as she took a seat next to him. “It was fun. Throwing her out the window, holding her underwater, tasking the driver with the hit and run and disassembling her into little pieces. It was all me. Did you ever suspect me of being able to do such things?”, he inquired in a hushed voice. He smiled. “Of course you didn’t, none of you did”, he creaked out a rusty laugh, as tears ran down her pale face. Billie tried to break free, but his hold was unbreakable. He reached for a little pen knife just under his sheets, it gleamed in the orange light of the afternoon as he raised it. Billie instinctively reached for a pillow, and placed it on his face, shoving all her weight unto the pillow. Stanley struggled to stab her. After a while, his grip loosened up on Billie’s wrist and the knife fell out of his other hand. Billie didn’t dare remove the pillow, afraid that the man under it had Stanley’s face again. She couldn’t discern which face was the mask.

Insects

Photo by Specna Arms on Unsplash

Insects

By

Dylan Goodwin

Quietly, the soldiers held the rifles aloft their shoulders, ready for any sudden movement. They slowly and silently placed one foot in front of the other; discerning a path through the oversized webbed sacks. These sacks covered the ceiling, walls and floor. They were about the size of a baseball and were covered in a thick viscus slime. These sacks were used as hibernation pods for ‘Flyers’, as the soldiers called them. The slime, as the scientists put it, acted as a blanket to keep the Flyers at the perfect temperature, while hibernating. The soldiers were aware of the horrors they contained; this wasn’t their first encounter.

They were occupying a dilapidated house, on the outskirts of a small town. This residence homed a small colony of these creatures and was said to have a weapon capable of killing hordes en masse.

This mission was set to eradicate the swarm of Flyers that had infested the western side of Australia for the last two years. It was a new breed of spider; Tarantula sized, with wings and an abnormally large abdomen. This was used to wrap the victims head in strong webbing, so the Flyers can forcefully lay their eggs in the victims mouth.

They mutated from a botched ‘vaccine’ for the Great Plague of 2020.

The team had received reports of a potential weapon which interacted with the Flyers hive-mind, cutting the brainwaves, resulting in instant death.

“On me.” Their Commanding Officer whispered into his throat mic.

One by one, the following soldiers huddled closer to him, placing their feet in his footprints, careful not to disturb the creatures slumber.

They reached a staircase, their CO made hand gestures, indicating their path and for two men to scout.

The scout soldiers, Henry and Enri, Identical twin brothers, crept up the steps, rifles raised. The steps creaked quietly, however, not enough to wake the sleeping Flyers. Once reaching the top, Henry indicated for Enri to search the right side and he would search the left.

They split up.

Henry creaked open the first door as quietly as possible. He muzzled his silenced weapon through the door and swept the room with the attached flashlight. Nothing of note or value in this room. He quietly relayed the information to his CO. He was told to move to the next room.

Enri, on the other hand had made the discovery that they were all hoping for. A dead soldier, whose face was wrapped in silky web, clasped the weapon so tightly, that Enri had an extremely difficult time prying it from his cold dead fingers. Enri thought about how ironic it would have been if that cliché phrase was the last thing this soldier had uttered. He chuckled at the thought.

Finally prying it free, he noted the find to his CO and relayed his intent to retreat.

Taking his first step, while looking at the majesty of the weapon, he heard a sickening crunch. The blood drained from his face and all feeling left him. He looked down at four of the eight legs, which were sticking out from under his boot. He gulped.

The hive mind buzzed with activity.

The sacks began to squelch open.

Enri’s last word was “fuck”.

Every sack in the house started to squelch and split open. Henry looked around himself, realised what was happening, turned tail and ran to Enri. He swept past the stairs and reached the door that he had seen Enri enter. He looked through the frame and saw the scared look on Enri’s face.

“It’ll all be okay.” Henry assured.

Enri opened his mouth to speak, only to feel a Flyer scurry up his leg lightning fast, across his torso, and to his face. He shrieked an unholy scream as the Flyer wound its way around his head, spinning strong web behind it; covering his head and spitting paralysing venom into Enri’s still open mouth.

Henry cried out in anguish as he watched his brother be consumed by this creature. The Flyer finished the web, and sat where Enri’s mouth was situated. The Flyer pierced its large abdomen through the web and eject eggs into the Enri’s mouth.

Henry saw the weapon, still in Enri’s hands. His mission came back to him and he sprinted toward the now lifeless, yet rigid, body and took the weapon from his brothers hands. The Flyer looked at him, through its many deep black eyes, and gave a snarl. Henry had never heard this sound before and never wanted to again. It sent a bone chilling shudder down his back. He turned and bolted out the door.

Downstairs, their CO had immediately recognised the worst and ordered his men to retreat from the house. He knew Enri had located the weapon, so he pushed up the stairs. He met Henry carrying the weapon.

“Enri is dead.” He said.

“I’m sorry mate, but we need to go.” Rushing back down the stairs, they dodged Flyers and crushed sacks under their boots. No longer treading with caution.

At the base of the stairs, Henry tripped on a split sack and tumbled to the floor. His CO raced to scoop him under the arm and help him up. Henry cried in pain, there was a lump of timber sticking out of his thigh. He knew he wouldn’t get out of this alive. As his CO shot the advancing Flyers, Henry pushed the weapon into his open hand.

“Take it and eviscerate these fuckers. I’m done for.” He lifted his leg, exposing the bloody wound.

“Oh fuck. I’ll get you out” His CO assured. “I need assistance.” He shouted into his throat mic.

After giving the weapon back to Henry, his CO picked him up and they hobbled across the floor, both firing at advancing Flyers.

The door burst open, and Private Drite unleased a turret of fire from his Flame Thrower.

The house lit up.

Two more men rushed in from behind Drite to help Henry. They picked him up by the shoulders and moved out, He hopped on one foot to maintain balance.

Drite burned everything he could see; while their CO rushed out behind the two carrying Henry.

Private Drite followed them, pacing backward as he set fire to the Flyers and surroundings, making sure he scorched every last bug.

Outside, Henry was sat on the ground and the medic set to work patching him up. He watched the house burn to the ground, as he thought about his brother.

Tears burned his eyes. He never said goodbye.

Private Drite exited the house and turned to face his CO. He pulled out his handgun and shot him in the face. The entire company was shocked. Drite took this advantage and shot them all except for Henry.

“What the fuck?!” Henry said, reaching for his gun. Drite quick stepped to him and whacked him with the butt of his pistol, kicking away the gun.

“Nah mate.” He said.

“Why?” Henry asked, shock, awe and confusion set on his face.

“We need these creatures to wipe out humanity.” Drite admitted. “I was hoping the 2020 plague would have done it, but evidently not.” He looked into Henry’s confused face. “I am hiding the hive queen to build an army big enough to wipe out humanity. This colony was just a blip on how many I have nestled away.”

“Why kill everyone?” Henry finally asked.

“What do you mean, ‘why’?” Can’t you see humanity for what it is? Diseased, decadent, hedonistic, power and money hungry. We don’t deserve to live, and this will be our next mass extinction.” He caught a sign of pity in Henry’s eyes. He pistol whipped him again. Henry fell on top of one of his fallen comrades.

Dazed, all he could feel was a crushing headache. He could taste metal and spat out blood.

“Enri deserved to live.” He said, still facing the ground.

“What?” Drite angrily asked, getting closer to hear Henry’s pitiful last words.

Henry rolled over to face him. He found a gun under the body he fell onto. The same gun that was now pointed at Drites face.

“Enri, deserved to live.” He repeated before exploding Drites face out the back of his skull.

With half a head, Drite collapsed to the ground.

Henry dropped the gun and sighed. Wincing in pain, he watched the remains of the house burn.