Monday, October 31, 2011

Maternal Instincts #CoffinHop


It's the last day of COFFIN HOP (boo hiss) and the last day to enter to win an illustrated ebook copy of "Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things". All you have to do is COMMENT with your EMAIL ADDRESS. I'll pick a winner using and post the result tomorrow! Also tomorrow, I start FauxPoWriMo since I'm too swamped to participate in NaNoWriMo. I'll be writing a poem a day, so make sure to stop by and check them out. 

Okay, onto today's offering. This selection is from my short story "Maternal Instincts", available in issue 14 of Sex & Murder Magazine. To read the full story, purchase a print copy HERE or read it online HERE. Make sure to check out all of the other fabulous stories as well!

           I heard a strange noise. At first, I thought it was some kind of music, but it was too abrasive. It sounded more like a whistle or a squeal. Then, slowly, it was accompanied by the sound of rushing wind, but it wasn't until I looked up that I recognized it as the sound of something plummeting from the sky. It was headed right for me, but I didn’t budge. I was awed by it and the wonder of what it would feel like to be crushed by something traveling at that speed. Would it drive me through the concrete porch or just bash me to bits? Would I feel it hit me or would my heart give out to shock seconds before the collision? The questions exhilarated me, but the biggest question of all was, what the hell was that thing? It wasn’t very important, but it would’ve been nice to know exactly what was about to kill me. As it fell faster and faster, I could tell that it was of metallic composition and that pieces of it were peeling away as it plunged down to earth. It squealed louder as it fell, but it also grew smaller and less menacing, and I dropped my arms in exasperation when I realized that the object was not going to hit me after all. For a split second, I thought that maybe it would at least hit the balcony stilts and send me crashing to my death, but that possibility was quickly dashed when the plummeting object changed course. When it crashed to the parking lot, pieces of debris were kicked up and smoke billowed into thick clouds that obstructed the object. I leaned over the railing and shakily smoked my cigarette, expecting a slew of dimwitted hillbilly neighbors to come running out to get a closer look at the silver thing that had fallen from heaven. I waited for the clamor and screams in gleeful, but no one came. They were too busy watching American Idol, perhaps. By the time I made my way down to the parking lot, the smoke had cleared, and the multi-hued lights from the window shone down upon me as well as the great metal beast lying defeated on the asphalt. But it was in much better shape than I expected after such an impact. The front end was a bit crumpled, but it was still at least seven feet long and nearly five feet wide and there were stumps on the sides of the object where wings might have been attached. I could make out the outline of a door but no handle or latch, and when I knelt next to the wreckage to inspect it, I heard a soft scuffling sound.
         Goddamn, I needed a smoke.
         I reached out to the door cautiously, afraid of the metal’s temperature, and when I finally touched it, I recoiled not from heat but from the extreme cold. The scuffling grew louder. When I gave the door a girly kick, I first heard the hollow reply of the innards, but I also heard a whimper, a small, sad moan that accompanied the sound of scratching from the other side of the door. Something was inside that metal shell, something scared and something too weak to open the door by itself. I stepped back a few paces, took a deep breath, and I shot forward with my right foot primed to punt. With all of my strength, I kicked the side of the shell and the door popped ajar. A satisfied grin broke across my face, but as soon as the door swung completely open, the smile quickly disappeared upon seeing the flaccid, reeking body of a dead woman tumble out onto the pavement. I screamed so loud that the whole complex could here, but still, no one came to investigate. Her face was stretched yet sunken and the grey skin was soggy, and appeared to be only loosely attached the muscle beneath. The fingertips were only bone and the bone was chipped and split, but most frightening of all was when the corpse slid out farther onto the asphalt, I saw the entirety of the woman's deteriorated body and the large holes punched in her stomach. There were jagged slashes and unnatural fissures farther south, but I didn't care to inspect that any more closely. It hit too close to home. The stench was so overpowering that tears began to well in my eyes. It was too much. I needed a cigarette. A cigarette and police. But what would I say to the police? I'd ramble on nonsensically about a spaceship and a dead, naked lady with her nether region torn apart. They'd think I was insane. Even I was starting to think I was insane, but just as I started to walk away, I heard the whimpers again. The small cooing sound caused me to look back, but I saw only death and deterioration and prayed silently that the corpse regained its power of speech, no matter how rudimentary. But it hadn’t been the dead throat that had cooed. The soft sounds and movement had come from inside the metal shell. Yes, I was sure of it; something was still inside. And though the sight and smell of rot made my stomach lurch as I moved closer to the ship, I knelt beside it and plunged my hand into the opening. At first, I felt nothing but dry air and the cold contours of the ship's interior, but when I delved deeper, something soft and warm squeezed my index finger. I pulled back slowly and towed the soft, warm something with me. The moonlight revealed its face: a cherubic rosy visage that grinned and giggled in a delightfully infantile way.
        "Buh,” the baby girl commented curiously and pointed a chubby finger at me.
        I lifted her out of the ship and held her tighter yet gentler than anything I'd held previously and she squealed in glee and clapped her hands fervently. For a moment that felt like an eternity of moments, I was lost in her. Never mind the fact that I'd pulled her out of a metal vessel that had plummeted from the sky, a vessel out of which a rotted, ravaged corpse had tumbled only minutes before. Never mind those lights that kept flashing brighter and brighter from the window and that no one in the complex but me seemed the slightest bit interested. And never mind the fact that although the baby’s mouth was open and unmoving in an endearing toothless grin, I could hear her childish attempt at speech in my mind. I hugged her to my chest and pulled my jacket closed around us, but as I walked toward my apartment, she began to whine and reached over my shoulder, opening and closing her tiny fist.
          “Na na bah na. Sasa,” she whimpered, but following the nonsense, I heard deep within my mind, “The ship, the ship. Hide the ship, Mommy.”
          Mommy. Something in my stomach turned to stone and shot up through my body, and when it smashed into my heart, it knocked down each icicle that hung from it.
         “I'll take care of it,” I assured her in a sappy voice and swayed her back and forth as I ascended the stairs and entered my apartment.
          The interior had been altered, but it hardly fazed me. The memory of disco ball lights had intensified and become magnified. It was no longer just a spattering of color; color was splashed across my walls. So very lovely, I thought, but I was looking at her when I thought it. Of the apartment, I simply shrugged my shoulders; it was about time for a change in décor anyway. I laid the baby down on the bed and wrapped a blanket snugly around her. I'd read somewhere that babies enjoyed the feeling of constriction, that it reminded them of the comforts of the womb. But this kid seemed to hate it.
         “Na! Na! The ship! The ship!” she cried to my mind as she thrashed in attempt to free herself from the blanket.
         “I hear you, I hear you. What a little brat,” I said affectionately.
        “What a little brat,” she said aloud, and I flinched in surprise.
I found her sudden speech far more impressive than the telepathy skill. She was a baby no more than two months out of the womb, and she was able to speak phrases on one hearing.
         “Can you say 'Mommy'?”
         “Mommy,” she cooed, but her voice resounded cleared in my head when she bellowed, “The ship! The ship!”
        “Fine,” I sighed. “Stay put.”
        “Stay put,” she said and giggled as she continued to squirm under the blanket.
        The vessel and the dead woman had remained untouched, but I had no idea where I was supposed to store them. I had a storage shed in the parking lot if I moved the ship into there, where the hell were my skis supposed to go?
It had started to rain, so I couldn't dawdle. I had to get the ship under cover before it rusted or warped, or for all I knew, melted. Not to mention the fact that I'd left an infant alone, bound in a blanket and thrashing around on the bed.
I'm such a good Mommy.
I kicked the soggy corpse aside and began the difficult task of pushing the ship to my shed. I cringed at each sparking squeal of the metal against the pavement, but finally, after ten minutes of wrestling with the ship, I was able to force it inside, even with the skis still in place. The fit was snug but acceptable, and I tromped reluctantly back to the lady who was giving the parking lot a thick, sickly perfume. As I reached for her arm, I felt a stream of bile burn up the back of my throat, and even though I was able to swallow it, as soon as my fingers wrapped around that wrinkled, sopping wrist, it jumped back up and erupted out of my mouth. But I couldn’t hold onto her for long. As quickly as one could peel the skin off of a fried chicken drumstick, the woman’s skin sloughed off into my hand. I shrieked as I tried to shake it off, but the soggy, gray flesh clung to my fingers by strings of sinewy mucus. There hadn’t been much in the way of hair on her head when she’d tumbled out of the ship, but what she’d had was now in a sloppy pile underneath her head. It appeared as if the rain was boring holes in her sallow face, and when I thought of how ridiculous my notion was of the ship melting in the rain, I saw there, before my eyes, the woman’s body breaking up, sloughing away, and falling to gray puddles of melted flesh; even her teeth were being dissolved by the downpour. It was the most disgusting yet most intriguing sight I’d ever beheld. I probably could’ve watched it until the puddles of rain because indistinguishable from the puddles of person, but the sudden screams of the baby took hold of my body and pulled me upstairs.

To read "Maternal Instincts" in full, purchase a print copy HERE or read it online HERE.
Don't forget to comment with your email address for a chance to win "Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things"!!
Enjoy the rest of your Coffin Hopping!!


  1. There's always such great imagery in your stories, Jessica! Happy Halloween to you!


  2. Wonderfully disgusting and creepy.
    Happy Halloween.

  3. Hee Hee Thanks! It's fun to be splatterpunk! >:)

  4. Hello. Fellow dark writer chick coffin hopping while extremely hungry right now. LOL

    Nice to meet you. Love your blog title. Very clever.

    nora at norabpeevy dot com


  5. Very intriguing! I know I'm kind of late for the Coffin Hop but I wanted you to know I was here none the less. I hope you had a great Halloween!

  6. Thank you, Gina! I really appreciate that! :)