Saturday, 3 April 2010

Paper Lace by Lily Childs (c)

This was my entry to March 2010's One Word Challenge - a 200-word max flash fiction comp over at Writers Talkback, the online forum from Writing Magazine.
Paper Lace

Needles tottered from tubes, feeding into flesh that decayed by the second. Corey Beal sensed the panic rising in frantic conversations around him.

‘Can he hear us?’

‘We don’t know Mrs Beal, but it’s unlikely.’

‘I can. Mum, please – tell me what’s happening.’ Corey screamed in silence, his mouth still. His blind eyes stared at the ceiling. In and out of consciousness, tinny bells rang in Corey’s ears. Steel instruments jangled on the surgeon’s trolley, blade to blade. Sharp, stinging cuts brought oblivion.

‘Mrs Beal. The spider itself is rare. The bite, more so.’

‘This venom, you say it’s fighting his immune system for dominance?’

Without seeing, Corey knew the doctor was nodding, holding his mother’s hand.

‘What’s happening to him?’


‘We are so sorry. Your son… will be dead within 12 hours. I’m afraid we can do no more.’

Corey’s mother cried, she shouted, she begged. She got the answer she didn’t want.

‘You see his skin, Mrs Beal? It's turning to paper. The venom is eating Corey from the inside out. Tomorrow, he will be an empty chrysalis.’

Missing the doctor’s last words, Corey passed into the agony of his own demise.
Judge's comments:
Top story as usual from Lily, with a deft touch of the creeps for all arachnophobes out there.

Nice flashes of description as well, like ‘...instruments jangled on the surgeon’s trolley, blade to blade. Sharp, stinging cuts brought oblivion’ which made you feel Corey’s pain, and brought immediacy to the piece.
More from judge, A. J. Humpage on her blog
Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.