The Body Snatchers. Short Story.

Still sick, though doing better thankfully!

I went into college on Monday, though it took a lot more out of me than I expected it would. Still the class was good and it wasn’t that long, so it wasn’t that bad at least! It was also brought to my attention that there are only a few weeks of classes left. It’s insane! Seems like only a few weeks ago I began the course. Very unnerving. Sure we’re almost into April already.

I’ve been reading through the wheel of time series, I’m about mid-way through book 4 at the moment, it’s pretty good, some very intense bits and I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. I’m still having a little difficulty remembering characters names though. I think it’s because they are not based on real names, that it has been harder. One of the most annoying aspects of the books is that when a character is introduced, there is sometimes, but no always, a little background information so you can figure out who they are. Not all characters have this and it seems to be only the ones I don’t recognise. It’s done for major characters that have been in all four of the books so far at some point, but not for ones that only popped in for a few chapters and then went off again. At least I’m able to figure it out as I keep reading, either through some more information given or characters reactions to them.

On with the show!

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He stopped at the tree, breathing heavily. He slowed his gasps, he needed to listen, his heart thumped painfully, his lungs begged for more air. A bead of sweat formed and slowly rolled down his face. A gasp, quick and sudden then silence. His lungs continued to ache. There was no sound of pursuit. He started to breathe deeply, allowing the air to fill his lungs. He began to walk, carefully picking his way through the undergrowth. He didn’t think they were following him, but with the body snatchers, it was hard to tell. They were supposed to  be safe, they were camping, these woods were supposed to be safe. They even had permits but the body snatchers didn’t care. They had gotten Steve, while he was walking towards them with his disarming grin, permits held out to prove they were allowed be here, that they couldn’t be taken. They had shot a stun-bullet at Steve, just shot him then and there. He could still Steve shuddering on the ground, screaming. They had ran then. He didn’t know if the others had gotten away. One of them had to get out, if just one escaped, they could contact the police, get the others free. If it wasn’t too late by then. He had no permits with him either, no identification, if any of the patrols found him, he’d have a hard time convincing them he was telling the truth. Still his parents were connected, that should get them moving, even just to debunk his story.

He kept going, there was no other choice. When he had left the others he had heard someone scream, maybe it was Miranda, he wasn’t sure and he didn’t look back. He just kept going. He had abandoned them. He had to. They all had to look out for themselves now. At least for a little while. He had heard stories of the body snatchers, everyone had, but he didn’t know how many of them were true. Police and news outlets tried to diminish the fear that surrounded them. They were perfectly legal after all, but still, they were shady and everyone knew it. They claimed their stock came from a mixture of volunteers and criminals, though few people believed it. Only the naive and wilfully ignorant. Workers, that was the nice way of putting it. Slaves was more accurate. He had seen a few of them, their products. What used to be people, with everything that made them human stripped out. Sure they seemed to have memories and they could answer questions put to them, but they weren’t all there, they’d lost the spark of humanity. He didn’t want that happening to him, and that was if he was lucky. There were rumours, denied of course, that for a fee you could have your consciousness inserted into one of the bodies. New body, new you. There were other stories too, much worse. He couldn’t allow himself to be taken. There was a noise behind him, he started to run again. Hoping it was just an animal. Wild animals were plentiful here, it was a nature reserve and the animals seemed to be doing ok, though this was one of the largest reserves in the world. It used to have cities, until the wars broke out. The cities had chosen the wrong side. It was said that if you went deep enough, you could still find remains of them. It had all happened long before he was born though, history that held little appeal for him.

It had been Steve’s birthday, that’s why they all came out here. He was the one who suggested it too. He had wanted them to experience camping, apparently he had done it with his father when he was a child. They had wanted to go too, it seemed like such a novelty. They should have just gone out to a club somewhere, maybe a brief, weekend vacation somewhere. God damn, when they all got out of this he was gonna kill Steve. They should have known it was a bad idea, even getting the permits had been a giant hassle. A tree to his left exploded, he ducked and kept going. They were behind him, and they weren’t going to let him escape. Whatever they wanted, they didn’t care if he lived or died. Did that mean they had already killed the others?

Cassandra was back there, they were supposed to be wed soon. Arranged marriage, ever since they were children. He still remembered that day, his mother had been so happy that the deal had gone through, it looked as if it might not for a while. It would consolidate their companies, boost their power. That was probably gone now. Maybe it was his father’s enemies, he was an only child, well, the only biological child. None of the others could inherit anything. If he was gone, the company would be divided amongst the board members. His father intended to fill those positions with his adopted siblings, but they were still too young for it now. He didn’t know if there would be time for them to grow up. If he was right, and they were making a move against him, his father would be dead soon, as would his mother. That was the only explanation. Something whirred past his ear, a sudden warmth flooded down his neck, soaking his shirt. There was no pain, not yet, but he knew something had gotten him. He kept going.

Breathing seemed to become more difficult, the world started to spin, tilt, he stumbled, banging against a tree, then tripped and fell, the air driven from his lung. He struggled to get up again, to move, but his body wasn’t responding. There were there, standing above him, smiling. He was caught. He continued to try to move until everything went black.

He slowly drifted in and out of consciousness.

Flashing lights, the dull roar of an engine.

Darkness.

It was cold, so very cold, rain was falling on his face.

Darkness.

Someone yelling, “I told you not to hurt them I-“

Darkness.

Cassandra, lying across from him, blood staining her face.

Darkness.

He came to slowly, his head pounding, he was alone in a cell. It was small, only enough room for him to sit. He stood, using the wall for support. His muscles were sore, his chest burned with each breath. A voice, he looked around, trying to find its source, a speaker above him. He tried to focus on the words. “I’ve watched you now for a few years, and I do not believe you will ever be ready. You’re not responsible enough, you don’t take life seriously, going off on adventures with your friends. It isn’t the proper way to act.” He recognised the voice. It was his father. “So, your mother and I have decided that this will be the best course of action. Unfortunately, we were both killed you see, at least, that is what everyone will think and sole ownership shall fall to you and your new bride. Your mother didn’t want me to do this, but I felt I had to. Really, you forced us into doing this.” There was a slight hissing sound, the air smelled strange, a faint hint of chemicals and everything started to dim.

 

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
This entry was posted in Horror, Sci-Fi, Short Stories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Body Snatchers. Short Story.

  1. Hi,

    You seem to have posted the whole story twice. Was that deliberate?

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