“How much do I owe you?”
“Oh, nothing at all,” he was beaming “everything’s been paid for already.” Lunette swallowed hard; he was too happy. It must be hard pretending to care about customers all day. “Shall we?” He opened the door then, and Lunette noticed he had never once let go of it.
She followed him outside and to the silver sedan that was parked on the street right next to the entrance pathway. He unlocked the doors with his key as they approached it, the mud that covered the rims and bumpers coming more into view. Lunette opened the back door of the sedan.
The inside smelt like wet earth and worms, presumably from the weather. She placed her backpack on the seat next to her and fastened herself in. The teenager got in the driver’s side of the car just as Lunette received a buzzing sensation from her phone. The engine started loudly before relaxing into a low hum, carrying their figures away. Lunette unzipped her jacket, now pleasantly warm from the heat of the air vents and pulled out the phone. It was just her aunt reminding her to dress comfortably. Lunette rolled her eyes and turned her attention to the window.
A prickling feeling urged at Lunette, and she felt compelled to focus on the rear-view mirror. The teenager’s blue eyes met hers for a moment and then returned to the road. Lunette forced a tiny smile and looked away to the passenger seat in front of her. A driving ID fit snuggly within a plastic organizer. The organizer was filled with various information cards and costs for riding on the back of the chair.
Lunette centered her eyes on the teenager’s picture and personal information. She tilted her head and her brows lowered, though blurry, the card read: Jason Hastings, 16, brown hair, blue eyes. A quick glance to the driver confirmed that it was Jason.
What was he doing this entire time? Was he just skipping school and his family to make more money?
Lunette opened her mouth to speak but the car suddenly jerked forward. The speedometer rose at an alarming rate, the car’s engine vibrating in response. She whipped her head to the window; the trees and rain were now just a grey jumbled blur. She felt her heart rate immediately increase and a cold chill emerge from the warm air “What are you doing?”
The young man remained silent against the groaning of the car. Lunette looked at his face in the mirror, bewildered to see that he was smiling. The hairs on her neck stood up in response and a swirling feeling took over her stomach. “T-that’s it. I want to walk!” She demanded. He didn’t reply. Instead, his grin widened.
It widened too much. So much so that the lips on his face started to stretch and meet at either side of cheeks. The once supple skin of his face began to stretch like plastic wrap, folding in at the seams and growing thin. The teeth in his mouth began to shift within his jaw, filling up the newly found space.
His center body started to convulse while his arms and hands stayed locked in place, guiding the steering wheel. Lunette could hear bones breaking like twigs beneath heavy pressure while various parts enlarged and tore apart in ways they shouldn’t. Her own eyes peeled back and shook as her breath staggered. She held a death grip on the door handle and tried to open it, her eyes glued to his figure, unable to move from her own seat. When Lunette swung it violently to no avail, she finally tore her attention away and looked to see that the lock was pushed in.
Lunette stopped her own fingers when they met the door lock. If she were to jump from the car at this speed, there might not be anything left of her. Lunette hesitated, panicking, and trying to determine which decision was the lesser of two evils. When she heard a sudden growling noise coming from the driver’s side she reluctantly looked over once again.
A high-pitched scream erupted from her own body and shook the car.
Jason was no longer Jason. Instead, it seemed like his skin was malleable clay that stretched and melted across dark blue scales. It was as if someone had combined themselves into a serpent but only succeeded half-way. Spikes jutted out from the body like horns and multiple sets of quills moved alongside what appeared to be limbs. In a split-second decision, Lunette made her choice. She’d rather test her luck with becoming roadkill.
She ripped the lock of the door up, but a sharp pain froze her movements. She let out another scream and her hand instinctively moved to her throat. Lunette felt something stick out from the muscles of her neck. Her hand felt a long, hard, and slimy thing. She gripped the thin, pencil-like object, and ripped it out, letting out a whimper. She brought the piece to her eye level and held the wound on her neck with the other hand. Panting heavily, Lunette gripped onto a quill from the monster. A feeling of disgust washed over her as she threw it on the floor and struggled to keep her breathing even.
The pain was dreadful. A burning sensation ripped through her veins down into her shoulders, and eventually her whole body. It felt as if someone had lit her insides on fire and her blood was the gasoline. Lunette struggled to keep her eyes open, trying to endure the pain. She removed her hand from her neck and saw a mixture of blood and a blackened goop smeared across her palm.
The creature let out a loud snarl and cut the wheel. Lunette cried out as her figure was forced into the door of the car, watching the scenery outside the window spin until it came to an abrupt stop. Once the sounds of the tires screeching left her mind, she unbuckled herself, taking the opportunity to flee. Lunette tried to avoid meeting the gaze of the monster as it began thrashing in the seat trying to face her. Compared to earlier, the creature had grown enough to display a protruding snout from its body.
It had the face of an alligator with sharpened, yellow teeth poking out every which way, and its red serpent eyes glared to her. It pounced then and she grabbed her bag and swung towards it. Somehow this confused it long enough for her to open the door. The first leap from the vehicle left her muscles and joints aching and burning. An intense heat started emerging from her chest as if it were filled with lit coal.
She made it a few feet away from the car before her weakened body collapsed onto the cool ground. But not even the rain could stop the scorching sensation that boiled in her blood. Lunette continued to crawl forward, not too sure where she was. She lifted her head, and past the downpour, she could faintly make out a building. The girl looked around to see she was in a vacated parking lot of some sort of warehouse. Lunette gripped the pavement with her forearms and hands, her fingernails catching on every little groove, begging to propel her forward.
The creature shook from within the car violently, the engine blowing out and metal breaking as it tried to escape the metal prison. Lunette continued to scramble across the ground, the burning sensation slowly being replaced with numbness that left her unable to move several muscles. She made it to the blue, bricked exterior of the warehouse but was unable to stand. She couldn’t feel or move her legs now. It was like her nerves and muscles had disintegrated. Lunette propped herself up against the wall, starting to lose functionality in her core.
The creature blew apart the top of the car and leaped out into the rain, splashing into the pavement where water had collected. The sound of mental colliding into the ground echoed about the empty lot. There, Lunette watched lamentably as it walked on all fours with the height of an over-sized Great Dane. It’s webbed feet slapped into the cement, spraying water while its claws scratched holes into the ground. The dark blue creature had a paddle-like tail that thrashed from side to side, slapping away rain droplets at an amazing speed. Red eyes glared to her as the monster then filled its lungs with her scent and growled lowly.
Lunette stared in horror; the most frightening part of the creature was that the skin from Jason was still mingled in through various parts of it. On the chest of the beast, Jason’s stretched face was screaming in agony, his mouth agape and two eyeholes elongating downwards. Lunette couldn’t move, her legs and arms had finally given out. The most she could produce was a light shaking of her head as she viewed the horrifying sight.
Despite her internal monologue, she couldn’t produce a single scream. Her lips drooped at the sudden loss of control, her throat tightened as it started to close, and her lids half covered her eyes. Though this didn’t seem to matter because her sight and hearing were now fading. Lunette could only feel her rapid heartbeat bounding through her chest at the pace of a stampede and the pressure from the rain pouring down on her numb body.
The creature roared louder than thunder, shaking everything in ears length, and started to run for her. This was it. Internally, Lunette was panicking and screaming, begging for help. But on the outside, she was as still as a doll. Her vision kept fading in and out, with frames of the beast getting closer and closer.
And then suddenly, everything was black.