“I still can’t believe we’re in Paris!” Rhonda exclaimed, gushing over how fantastic her honeymoon was starting. She and Mike had been together for years, with no plans on marriage. Somehow that had changed a few months earlier, and now Rhonda was living the dream of officially being the wife of Scott Marche.
Scott was walking alongside her, holding her mitten-clad hand with his own, enjoying the strings of lights and the warm feeling the city gave off, even though it was winter. Paris was never cold, it seemed.
“Well you said you wanted a break from everything, and how often do you get married, you know?” Scott joked, earning a swat turning into a soft embrace. The two-continued walking along the lone street towards their small hotel, snuggling to fight off the cold, when Scott’s ears first heard it.
He stopped the both, shushing Rhonda when she began to ask what was wrong. He looked around the old French quarter, the old buildings lined with a thin frosting of snow and ice, straining his ears to try and hear it once more.
There it was again!
The small whimper of a child, echoing from… somewhere.
“Hello?” He called out, knowing how horrible his American accent ruined what little French he knew.
Scott grabbed Rhonda’s arm to stop her, pointing down a narrow alley to where a small form was huddled, swathed in dirty rags and covered by a threadbare blanket. The minute frame leaned against a mound of garbage bags.
“Hello?” Scott called down the alley, frowning as the tiny figure flinched upon hearing his voice. “Do you need help?”
“Please… it hurts…” The tiny voice, a young boy, sobbed.
“Oh my god…” Rhonda muttered as she rushed to the child’s side, pulling the blanket back to look at him.
“It hurts… please…” The boy said, coughing and once again falling into a series of sobs.
“Scott, we need to take him to the hospital.” Rhonda said, feeling the child’s forehead. “He’s freezing, and he feels so strange… like wet meat.”
Scott reached into his jacket to grab his cell phone, quickly scrolling through the options to find the saved number for emergency services. As he pressed the button, he nearly dropped the phone as Rhonda moved to scoop the child up.
As the blanket fell away, one could see the child bore no legs, only a thick coil of veiny, translucent skin stemming from where his hips should be. With his hood pulled back, his face was as pale as death, his eyes glassy and dull. Black, dead veins stood stark along the boy’s temples and face, even as his mouth continued to move, and his hands moved to loop around Rhonda’s neck for support.
Before he could say anything, the coil of flesh whipped up, revealing that it went deep beneath the trash bags at the boy’s side, which surged up like a great worm, a tooth lined maw dangling beneath the shimmering black plastic.
“It hurts…” The boy said one final time, before the strange coil of flesh rose, dragging Rhonda by the boy’s vice grip around her throat closer to the drooling maw of the strange beast. Rhonda began screaming, a gurgling, half-choked shout as the “boy” bit into the side of her neck, a thick spray of blood spouting from her throat as the lamprey like mouth of the garbage beast descended upon her, shredding her arm to ribbons as she tried to battle it away.
“Rhonda!” Scott shouted, rushing to tackle the side of the garbage beast, tearing into its elastic flesh only to reveal a hardened shell beneath, glimmering yellow eyes staring back at him with malevolence. A tearing sound wrenched through the night as the plastic bag tore of its own accord, a sharpened scythe-like limb cutting its way free and burying itself deep into Scott’s stomach.
The alley went silent save for the wet sucking sounds one draining juice from a carton, the crunching of bones and pulpy, wet smacking of meat being chewed. The creature, the fleshy tendril extending from its forehead, began reburying itself within the garbage bags as its puppet began pulling the blanket back over itself. The alley was clean of any remains save for a discarded phone with a cracked face plate.
And so, the snow continued to fall, the alley growing cold and silent once more, save for the silent sobs of a little homeless boy, wrapped up against the cold with a threadbare blanket.