Metamorphosis

A mutated child was born prematurely in a small town called Wormwood. Located in Michigan. It was pouring rain, which was beating against the roof like one hundred steady drums. Thunder and lightning clapped in the most unexpected moments. “This is like one of those cliche, but none the less frightening movies.” Sophia thought to herself as she looked out the window. Barely making out the view of their farm that she’s enjoyed most nights.

Josef her husband playfully sneaks behind her putting his farmers grip to work. Massaging her shoulders. Sophia jumps not knowing he was behind her. Then sighs in relief. Josef has a big child like grin. The idea of scaring his wife then giving her instantaneous pleasure so she couldn’t get mad pleases him like a child with a get out of jail free card. She turns around and reciprocates with a long passionate kiss. He places his hand on her seven month pregnant belly. Josef is hoping for a boy someone to take over the farm. Sophia a girl, though she dares not say to her husband.

“I hate these nights. They make me nervous… superstitious almost.” Sophia turns around starring out the window again. “Why?” He asks with a hint of a condescending tone. “Nature is unpredictable, and there’s nothing man can make to protect ourselves when nature is at its most destructive.” She says with folded arms.

Josef rubs her shoulders once more to relieve his wife of her worries. “Your letting your imagination get the best of you. These things rarely happen. When they do we’re given advance notice from the news. The worst that happens in this town is someone loses control of their vehicle in a snow storm. I think maybe we’ve lost… three people in the last two years because of weather related incidence.”

Sophia whips around. “Are you mocking me?” She teasingly suggests. Josef puts his hands up. “I’m simply implying that for someone who has lived through 29 Michigan winters. You’re coming off very west cost. Like a hurricane is going to sweep through Michigan.” He chuckles. “Hilarious.” Sophia says facetiously. “I admit, it’s hardly weather that makes this town so… unbearable at times.” Sophia turns back to the rain. “Unbearable?” He asks in a tone that indicates he’s hurt. “Generations of families have grown up in this town. The sun seldom shines with the exception for summer but that’s not necessarily a con. Rain helps when you’re a farmer.”

Sophia lacking her wry humor turns her gaze directly into Josef’s light brown eye’s. “Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. If this town didn’t have so much bad luck, it wouldn’t have any luck at all. Isn’t that our town motto these days.”

Josef steps back from his wife. He sighs in annoyance. “This is a fine town. Just because it’s had hardship doesn’t mean it can’t get better.” A timer goes off in the kitchen. “Dinners ready.” Josef walks away to pull the food out of the oven. “The people in Wormwood are good people.” He says. She replies. “That doesn’t change the fact since my great grandmothers time Wormwood has had unexplained events.” Sophia explains trying to sheath her bitter tone towards a town she secretly resents.

“Superstitious nonsense.” Josef grumbles. He sets the lasagna on the counter. The melted cheese and tomato sauce bubbles and steams. An Italian sausage dangling off the side by a strand of cheese gets plucked. Josef blows on it to cool it down, then pops it into Sophia’s mouth. “Isn’t that good? Tried a different kind this time.” He sucks the tomato sauce and grease from his fingers. She smiles. “mm-hmm.” Sophia kisses him.

After dinner Josef finished some stuff up in the garage then they went to bed early. Josef never understood why he got so drowsy and unproductive on rainy days.

One in the morning Sophia’s awakened by a sudden kick from her unborn child. She puts her hand on her stomach rubbing it, hoping it would sooth her child. Another kick, this one with more pain. She goes to the toilet. She’s sweating and her hearts pounding. When she’s stands she see’s blood and the kicking stopped. She shoves her husband awake. “What’s wrong?” Sophia is sweating profusely, and her bottom lip quivers. “Th-the b-babies not kicking anymore.” She places his hand on her stomach. They both wait with angst. Standing so still, so focused. Then both of their eye’s light up. His hand felt the baby squirming. “You see? It’s fine. Did you have a nightmare?” She takes a deep breath. “No I felt pain from it’s kicking. I went to the restroom and… The kicking stopped.” He tilts his head. “Doesn’t seem that bad to me.”

“Maybe it was just a nightmare. You’re probably right.” She says looking at her belly, caressing it. A strong gust of wind beats against the house. Making them both tighten up. Sophia put’s her hand over her eye’s. “Goddamn it! I wish this storm would end.” Josef sits up. He kisses her belly three times cupping the back of her neck bringing her lips to his level. He whispers in her ear. I’ll stay up with you if you want?” She kisses him once more. “You’ll have a lot of work to do tomorrow.” Sophia lies back in bed pulling the covers over both of them. She breathes deeply and after an hour or two falls a sleep.

Amid sunrise there’s a sharp pain writhing in her abdominal region. She looks down between her thigh’s a pint of blood covered the sheets. “This can’t be… Jo!” He immediately sits up spotting the blood. “fuck!” He throws the comforter off the bed. Despite the anxiety inducing nausea he props her legs up and tells her to breathe. “It won’t survive. It’s too soon!” She cries.

“Positive thinking brings positive results. You’re crowning, so just breathe and push.” She let’s out a hard guttural yell. Afterwards she takes a gulp of air to fire at her husband. “Don’t quote book covers when you didn’t read the book!”

Smiling wide. “I can see his scalp…” As she continues to push his face sinks, and his eye’s widen in revolt. The child’s scalp slit’s open an inch. He pays no mind to his wife and her pain. The slit opens revealing a blue eye. It darts around the room until it meets his father’s. Suddenly the eye turns light brown like Josef’s. “Keep…. keep pushing.” He mumbles faintly under his breath. Josef holds out his palms. Panic creeps through his skin giving him goosebumps. Josef puts it in a blanket. “Jesus Christ.” Josef cuts the cord and wrapped what was suppose to be his precious son in a blanket.

His mother can’t hear the baby. “Jo… Jo is the baby okay?” He walks slowly to the middle of the room. His thoughts are blank. His face pale. His child, if one can even call such a disturbing sight a child. Sophia calls out. Josef here’s nothing as if under water. The baby had no body structure. Limbs missing or out of place. The eye creeps to the center starring at his father. Another slit forms above the other eye to the right. Working its way down along the left eye. A crumpled nose emerges below. Then a wide hole stretches outward. “Goddamn it Josef answer me!” Sophia blurts out. The panic attack has consumed him. Lips start to form around the hole. While the tongue slithers inside its mouth. The shape it takes isn’t a baby’s face, its an adults. “Jo…” she whispers. “Is the baby alive?”

“No.” Turning his palms vertical. What was suppose to be his child falls to the floor. It splats against the ground like dough or putty. Not a drop of blood.”No-no-no! H-how could you?” Sophia cries uncontrollably. He walks over it, slowly walking out of the room whispering repeatedly. “The devil is not welcome in our home. You’re unfit for human eyes.”

Sophia sits up. Attempting to creep towards the bottom of the bed rail. When lightening shoots through the sky tinting the room with a white-ish blue. Causing her to coil back.

It continues developing. It has a head and neck, with a face that appears melted. The veins and muscles expand and pulsate further onward. It’s the size of an infant but continues to grow. On the left is a shrunken arm with no bones, laying flopped on the ground inflating with muscle and bone. Opposite side appears to be a nub like tentacle. No hand, no bones. flailing about whipping placenta everywhere.

Sophia once more sits up. She creeps toward the lower bed rail grasping it tightly. “Jo?” She murmurs. A blanket lies on the floor covered in blood and placenta. Her brows furrow as she looks around the room. Silence lingers.

A slimy child’s hand grabs the rail. She looks down and gasps. Her pupils swell with fear. She stares into the eyes of this mutated child. “Un-un-f-fit for hu-hu-man eye, eyes.”

Sophia’s psyche shatters at that very moment. She leans back against the bed post crying. In a disturbing trance unable to look away. Her baby crawls towards her. Using it’s one hand grasping the sheets to pull itself toward her. Repeating the same phrase in broken fragments. “Unfit for human eyes.” Once it reaches her foot it stops, extends it’s hand waiting for Sophia to embrace it and give it affection.

Josef walks in hoping the child is dead. What he sees could be considered normal. If not for the context of the sinister happenings that transpired.

Sophia holding the child in the blanket that was on the floor, is now rocking her child to sleep with a hapless smile and glassy eyes. Singing lullabies. The floor board creeks as Josef walks slowly toward the bed. “Shhh… Shhh. You’ll wake him.” The baby shuffles around in the blanket. “You see?”

“Sophia, give me the child.” He says in a concerned tone. Fearing Sophia’s reaction. This isn’t his wife. The woman before him has no trait or mannerism of his Sophia. She has no sanity in her eyes. They’re glassy and blackened.

“Do you plan on putting our child down like that baby calf whose intestines were knotted?” Josef speaks very softly. “Give me…” Creeping ever so slowly along the bed side. “…the child, Sophia.” Her scowl is undone after clutching her child. It’s face is hidden by the blanket. Josef yanks him from Sophia. “Look at this grotesque thing you call your child! Look Sophia!” Holding him from the back of his neck. The sheet falls to the ground and his child hangs naked. He clenches her lower jaw and forces her face upward. Sophia closes her eye’s and screams. “I said…” Josef’s arm lowers from an increase in weight then his grip loosens. The child falls. It’s body thrashes around violently. Then the flesh appears to bubble.

Josef takes a step back. The bubbles rapidly turn to a red foam. It continues to grow. Josef and Sophia are frozen in bewilderment and fear. It starts to fizzle and take solid form. Josef pulls a .22 out of his pocket. Which grabbed from the garage. After leaving the room. The body has developed into what looks like a grown mans body. Though it’s not solid enough to stand. In an attempt it presses it’s palms against the wood floor and pushes it’s torso up. Josef aims the gun at this abomination. “What the fuck are you?” Josef shouts in a cracked pitch. It lifts it’s head peering at Josef with those light brown eyes, same as his. “Th-the d-devil is… is not welcome in m-m-my h-house.” The creature stretches his hand out. This wasn’t for affection like with his mother. There was aggression in it. Josef shot the creature between the eye’s. There was no blood and being a .22 the bullet didn’t pass straight through the creatures skull. Despite not becoming solid flesh.

“His name was going to be James.” Sophia whispers. She curls into fetal position both of her arms wrapped around her stomach. Josef lays out the comforter he through off the bed. To wrap James up.

The time is 5:11 am. The rain continues, but not nearly as bad. Josef digs a grave for James. This is not a grave to mourn. This type of grave is never forgotten, yet is never spoken about. For it is filled with shame.

Josef throws the shovel so he can use both hands to claw himself out of the muddy grave. Just as he was about to do so. James stands above his father. But his body is no longer shriveled. It looks identical to Josef’s. A full head of brown hair, large hands, and a farmers build. “The devil is not welcome in my house!” James shouts. Even his voice is the same as his fathers. James picks up the shovel and buries the scoop into his fathers skull. Splitting it between the eye’s. Blood and rain pour down Josef’s face. His jaw dangles flaccidly. His right eye bulges from the scoop of the shovel pushing it outward.

James brings his father closer by pulling the handle. Then placing his foot on the left side of Josef’s scalp. Pushing him back into the grave. James drops the shovel and walks toward the house.

Once at the door James pushes it but nothing happens. He see’s the nob and rattles it in an agitated manner accidentally turning it. The door swings forward. Naked and covered in mud he steps back inside the house. Where it is much warmer. After stumbling around the house. He eventually finds the room where his mother gave birth to him. He steps inside ever so slightly. He spots the trail of blood from his mother leading into the bathroom. The door is a jar and he pushes it further. Sophia is laying in the tub with no pants or underwear. Clutching the sheets that wrapped her son. Sophia turns her head toward James. Not even a little curious as to why he’s naked at this point.

“Leave me alone.” She groans tired and defeated. Turning her head back to the ceiling. James stands motionless. Suddenly the bridge between his brow rises and his face sinks. James cries hard like any new born would under such horrendous circumstances. Perplexed she raises her head. “Josef?” James drops to his knee’s. “U-un-un-fit f-f-for hu-human eye’s.”

“James? Baby come…” Sophia waves him on with a smile so forced it causes her face muscles to spasm. “Come here.” James crawls over extending out his hand to her. Sofia reaches out and intertwine their fingers together. “What are you?” Sophia asks in astonishment.

Despite being in physical pain. Sophia finished burying her husband in a grave reserved for their son. Cleaned the house of mud and birthing fluids, then set fire to the bed, along with the shovel.

Sofia had to come up with a ruse for why her son who is disguised as her husband has the mental capacity of a toddler. Along with why she has no child. All within the short time span of her medical leave.

Sophia told people who stopped by congratulating her that she sadly had a miscarriage. Drunk from despair Josef tried to end his own life, but the gun back fired. Sophia made sure to give James a beanie to where at all times to hide the fact he had no scar. For a premature infant in a grown man’s body he caught on fairly quickly to things. She was teaching him how to talk and do chores around the farm.

Sophia would continue to teach and he would help out around the farm. In a few years time he would have the mind of a high school student. That’s when their charade turned to chaos.

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