The Fleshing (an excerpt)

Richard Van Camp

Dean stopped smacking his lips and grinding his teeth. He looked confused, blinked twice, realized the movie was over and then looked to us. I quit moving, my hand squeezing my belt so I could use it as a weapon.

Dean looked to the Brian and Norman before gripping his seat and rising slowly, claiming its space. Dean had grown. He was now taller than all of us. His arms did not fit his body. They were too long. His hands were so long they looked like feet. He began to look to us and shake. Tommy and Norman stood to face me but glanced at me for direction. They also readied their hands to cover their ears. That was when Dean spoke looking down at us. His body started shaking. “Will the cunt mouth bring us Smoke Eyes?”

Brian lowered his head and looked down as if not to instigate an attack. “He said he is honoured, Father. He will bring the enemy magician you speak of.”

Dean lowered his voice and started panting. He looked to me once, directly into my eyes. God, they were cold. They were the eyes of something dead staring at me. I lowered my eyes and got ready to strike with my belt. Aim for the nose, I thought.

“Bear is honoured to serve you,” Brian said.

“No,” I thought. Don’t say my name. It must not know my name.

Brian spoke. “He has brought you two hindquarters of caribou as a gift.”

Tommy agreed. “Bear will help us.”

I winced as Dean dismissed this. “He’s lying.” He looked to me fully. His eyes started to darken, his left eye dilated. His lips started to tremble as I heard a mewling inside of him rise in his chest as his jaw popped and began to unhinge itself.  He also raised his arms to his sides. My strength left me. I felt as if I’d been shot through the spine. Immediately, everyone in the room covered their ears, but I readied my belt. The wrap around muscles in Dean’s face started to stretch and ripple under his skin. He started moving his jaw back and forth, unhinging it so it could grow. His mewling started to turn into a growing call. The skin of my body tightened and I felt weak. I saw his body shake. He started to grow in the arms, neck and legs. Don’t, I thought. Don’t let it make that sound. Fight the fear. Break it.

© Richard Van Camp 2010

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