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For Jeff

“Check this out, man,” said Rich, as


he and his best friend Toby entered the
garage. They carried their beers to the
work counter, where a long piece of thick
pipe rested.
“What’s that, dude?” Toby inquired,
motioning to the black pipe.
“That’s my blow dart gun,” Rich
replied, picking up the long object. “You
can shoot some shit down with this, dude.”
“What do you shoot, dude?” Toby
sipped his beer.
“You mean what do you shoot out, or
what do you shoot at?” Rich sipped back.
“Well,” Toby shrugged. “Both,
I guess.”
Rich set the pipe down and reached
into a drawer, withdrawing three pointed
contraptions, which he handed to Toby.
Toby studied the darts: three thick,
shiny nails with tails made of electrical
tape, which wrapped around their heads
and formed a neat cone behind them.
They looked quite aerodynamic.
“As for what you shoot them at,” Rich
paused, considering. “Well, whatever the
fuck you want to shoot I guess.”

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Toby handed the darts back to Rich, The possum was still moving, slowly
and turned his attention back to his beer, flailing its feet desperately into the air.
which he drank from thoroughly. The movement gradually slowed as Toby
“Here, check it out,” Rich said, as he stepped up to it and examined the suffer-
picked the weapon back up and walked ing animal at his feet. He looked into its
out of the open garage door. eyes, which looked more like ebony mar-
Toby followed him down the drive- bles in the dim streetlight, and the slight
way into the warm night, looking up at sparkle within the darkness seemed to
the tiny sliver of sunlight that cracked plead with him for help. Even when the
through the impending darkness. In creature’s flapping legs finally stopped
this scant light, Toby’s eyes struggled their sad dance, there was the same empty
to adjust, and when they did, he life in those eyes looking up at him.
noticed something sliding across the “Dude, I feel kind of bad,” said Toby,
top of the wall across the street. As he glancing over at Rich next to him.
walked closer, he clarified that it was a “Yeah, that was kind of too much,
possum scurrying through the night. huh?” agreed Rich. He walked away,
Rich saw it too, and exclaimed, “Yeah! retrieving his beer where he had left it in
Perfect timing!” the street.
Toby caught up to Rich in the middle Toby considered this for a moment.
of the street, and they stood side by side “Aw, fuck it, dude. Possums are pretty
watching the marsupial as it glided across much worthless animals. I mean, what
the wall. Then, the creature stopped, sens- purpose do possums serve anyway?”
ing them. It cocked its head to the street “Yeah, seriously, dude,” harmonized
as if surveying the territory. Rich. “All they do is steal cat food, and
“They can’t see very good, but they make dogs bark.”
sense movement, so go slow,” explained “Yeah, dude,” continued Toby.
Rich, as he tiptoed closer to the possum, “They’re pretty much just big
lining up his shot. fucking rats.”
As Toby followed, and they drew They both laughed, and each took a
closer, he looked into the eyes of the crea- big swallow of their respective beers.
ture. Its black hollow optics seemed to be “Still,” mused Toby, “that was kind of
directly aimed at them, but the possum fucked up, dude.”
did not move as they approached. Toby “Yeah, well, it’s dead now,” snapped
guessed that it did not sense them, or the Rich. “You can try giving it mouth to
animal did not think they were a threat. mouth if you want. Fucking hippie.”
Rich stopped a few feet from the possum “Fuck you, bitch,” Toby cut back.
and slowly raised his blower into firing posi- “That is your name, right? Bitch?”
tion. He loaded a nail dart in the chamber of Both laughed, and made their way
the gun, and put the device to his mouth. back up the driveway for a round of pool,
Still, the beast did not stir on the wall, either merrily forgetting the deceased possum
unaware of its fate, or not fearing it. on the sidewalk across the street.
As Rich blew into the end of the pipe, And after a few more beers, neither
the dart whirred from the barrel, speed- one of them even noticed when the ani-
ing toward the unyielding possum. The mal carcass was quietly dragged into the
animal jerked its head as the tip of the nail night and out of memory.
plunged into its neck. It arched its back
up unsteadily a few times, then toppled •••
off the edge of the wall, landing loudly on
the sidewalk. Rich strode over to the Rich awoke suddenly that night. His
rodent, now lying on its side. head was groggy from the beers earlier
Toby approached the possum slowly, that evening, and he hesitated to open his
and immediately felt pity for the creature. eyes, feeling a dizziness overcoming him.
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The room swayed just a little, and there down, the dozens of possums that stood
was a sickness in Rich’s stomach that he on him, their weight hindering his weak
feared might overtake him. movements. He felt their long prickly
He was scared to move at all, in fact, and tails slither across him as the beasts scur-
that’s when he realized that he couldn’t. ried on him playfully.
Rich was confused for a moment, He could not breathe to scream, still
wondering if the alcohol was immobiliz- choking on his own vomit and the snout
ing him, but through his drunken, half- down his throat, but that was when the
awake stupor, he felt something else. A pain began. As endless tiny teeth began
slight tingling sensation on his skin ran their systematic chewing, Rich became
across his entire body, and he sensed acquainted with an agony more intense
something: than any he had ever experienced. He felt
Prickly? every part of his body disappear: each of
That’s when Rich decided to let his his fingers as they were slowly ravaged off
drunken eyes begin to flitter their way at the knuckles, all of his toes, his ears, and
open. As his vision dizzily adjusted to the his penis, which several of the marsupials
darkness, he tried to focus on the ceiling, maliciously gnawed at. Rich was still
hoping it would stop moving. He slowly unable to move, held down by several of
lifted his head, the only part of his body the creatures who were not chewing, but
that he could move, and he attempted to he twitched as best as he could, his muf-
study himself. His eyes refused to focus fled screams trapped in his throat with his
however, and it was hard to determine vomit. Tears began to flow heavily out of
anything through the darkness of his his wide open screaming eyes, and then
room, but for a moment he chuckled, those, too, were chewed through by the
because he thought he saw something deceptively piercing teeth. As Rich’s last
staring back at him through the dim, and breaths stuttered from his body, he felt the
it kind of looked like.... possums invade their final target. Several
He laughed again, letting his head began to chew into his stomach, and his
rest back down on the pillow, then made last realization before his inevitable death
another attempt at movement. He lifted was that the creatures were feistily
his head once more, and gradually his disemboweling him.
eyes began to adjust to their intoxication
and the darkness. •••
And then, Rich did not want to chuck-
le anymore, because as he struggled for Toby sat up in his bed quickly, then
coherence, his eyes attempted to tell his cursed himself for doing so. His head was
mind that there was a possum standing pounding and the next morning’s hang-
on his chest, its snout inches from his over had already begun to settle in. His
face, with a pair of black beads glaring mouth was dry and chapped, and he
directly at him. Slowly, he registered this shook through his haze long enough to
twisted reality, and it was the last jolt his realize that he desperately needed a glass
body needed to induce vomiting. He of water. He convinced himself to his feet,
gagged, and when his mouth opened, he and carefully carried himself down the
felt the animal’s snout fill the hole, form- hall to the bathroom.
ing a solid wall, which stopped his vomit He filled a glass from the sink, and
on its way up his throat. retrieved two aspirin from his medicine
As he began to suffocate on the bile, cabinet, pounding them down greedily.
he quickly became aware that the warmth He muttered “fuck it” to himself, and
that enveloped him in his bed was not his retrieved two more, swallowing those
blanket, because the softness became with equal zest.
hundreds of little finger nails skittering He carried the glass back to his bed-
across his body. It was they who held him room, and it was quickly shattered when
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Toby entered the room and noticed what
he had failed to see in bed. The sight
almost knocked him over, and his hand
quickly forgot about the glass, which top-
pled to the hardwood floor.
In the corner of Toby’s room, Rich
hung from a ceiling beam. Closer inspec-
tion revealed that it was not rope that
held him swaying gently, but his own
large intestine, which was lovingly
wrapped around his throat. His chest cav-
ity was torn open, and his organs unfold-
ed in a grisly tendril that almost reached
the floor, the gory insides still connected
by various tissues. Neither the blood that
covered what was left of the body, nor the
large pool of it on the floor below the
swaying corpse, was nearly as sickening
to Toby as the meticulous deconstruction
of humanity that had shed the fluid.
Rich’s severed fingers and toes were
spread merrily across the floor, and as
Toby staggered back into the opposite
corner of his room, shaking with heavy
breaths, he felt some squish beneath his
feet. He looked into the eyes of his friend
and saw the same glaring, empty, black
pits that he had seen on the possum earli-
er that evening, and the eyeballs that once
filled them were floating in the pool
beneath Rich’s hanging body.
As Toby began to shriek, a cry that
echoed agony, fear, and horror, he slunk
to the floor in the corner, unable to take
his eyes off the terrible sight. Only then,
sitting on the floor, could he see the
bloodstains that dotted the lower sec-
tion of wall behind Rich’s body. Then,
disbelief entered the tone of his scream-
ing when he realized that the crude
smears formed a clear pattern. He
struggled to comprehend how the
markings had been formed, but the
swirls of blood on the wall comprised
two clearly visible words:

worthless animals

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