Vrinda Bathyal weighed the thin steel cord in the palm of her gloved hands.
She ran her thumb along the braided lightness of it. There was a heft of death in it. And feeling that, Vrinda wrapped her fingers tightly and resolutely around it. The power of a single skein of string.
Before her, in a wooden chair, was a man. An overlarge, grown man. Bound, gagged, head covered in a black burlap sack. Vrinda’s victim, her rite, her passage into womanhood.
Feigning grit, with eyes unswerving from her prey, she asked Merren, sœur l’aînée, eldest sister. “Who is he?”
But Vrinda’s soft, young watery voice echoed back from the recesses of the empty room weakly. Wavering.
They were in an abandoned apartment in Hautepierre. Strasbourg’s old ghetto. An unreasonably long way from home.
Blue moonlight flooded the small space and cast looming shadows. Broken street lamps thrummed from twenty floors below. Stray dogs ululated.
“It doesn’t matter,” Merren rasped, her voice hoarse from a gruelling day. She was shorter in stature, but straighter in posture. Merren had years beyond Vrinda, having achieved the rank of commandant, leading Bathyal’s fourth battalion.
She was also very much pregnant. Her thirteenth spawning and only a few weeks until term. But in this war, if you could stand, you fought. They will probably rush her bubbling, brimming and near bursting to a birthing tank at the very last possible moment. C’est la guerre.
“He is a swollen man,” Merren continued, “A parasite who has outgrown his use in this world. A freak show.”
Vrinda studied the captive mass of living flesh in front of her. He was doped up, so there wouldn’t be any struggle for Vrinda. This was a symbolic kill. An initiation ritual. After tonight, hopefully, she will execute many more men in a long career of population control.
“Does he have a name?” Vrinda asked.
“Vrinda, ma petite œuf chérie, I love you. But you’re asking really dumb questions right now.”
“I know, I’m sorry. But…”
“Vrinda, you can do this tonight or I can tell Maman you’re not ready for this. I have half-a-mind to.”
“Non. Non, non, non, non. Je suis prêt. I’m ready. Really, I am.”
“OK,” Merren stated. “You’ll do fine. Remember, wrap the cord once around the neck first. Make sure it’s crossed. Use the seat of the chair for leverage, just like we practiced.”
“Yes, I remember.”
“It takes ten to fifteen seconds for him to go unconscious. Nothing happens at first. But once you firmly cut off the blood supply to the brain, he’ll start to fight. Spasm. Kick. That’s when you really need to hold on tight.”
“It takes ten to fifteen minutes to fully finish the job. This one’s bigger. Could take up to twenty-one minutes. Just hold on. Don’t let go until he goes flaccid. Got it?”
“Oui, sœur l’aînée. I got it.”
Vrinda finally turned her eyes away from the bound man and towards her eldest sister. She had hoped for one last smile of encouragement or reassuring eyes. Instead, Merren gave her a cool blank look. Battle hardened. Indecipherable.
“Alright, sœur benjamine,” Merren said, “I’ll leave you to it then.”
Merren spun and headed for the door. Vrinda spied her sister’s exposed honeycombed back. Fifty, sixty pockets, each one distended with a bulging, bulbous sac. Gravid with Vrinda’s nieces and parasitic boys.
The females Vrinda will help feed, raise and teach until they reached puberty. The males will be mercifully murdered, unless an ovulating woman in the family needed a new husband.
Merren had a bit of a pregnant waddle. It was quite an amusing sight, Vrinda thought. Her intimidating sœur l’aînée, a fearsome commandant in charge of eight-hundred armed and dangerous soldates, a stern but loving mother of two-hundred and nineteen daughters at last count… waddling.
Vrinda also couldn’t help staring at the swollen lumps on the nape of Merren’s neck. She knew she’d find more on her older sister’s tummy, thighs and breasts. They were the carcasses of Merren’s ex-husbands. Small six-inch tumors forever fused with her body, the ungainly cost of motherhood.
The forty-or-so small, virgin holes on Vrinda’s back dilated and contracted. The rush of chilled air made her shiver. She had not taken her first husband yet.
Merren glanced back. “I’ll be outside if you need me. I also have lieutenants posted by the front entrance and patrolling the building’s perimeter. Take your time.”
“This is important. It is the Bathyal way,” Merren continued, “Thousands of sisters before you have done this, thousands will after you. I’m proud of you. I remember holding you in the palm of my hands when you came into this world. You were ferocious. You killed three of your brothers the moment you came out. It’s in you.”
She eyed the hulking male in the room. “Men were never supposed to mature to such a grotesque size. It’s unnatural. Those Wet‘Em cunts have it all wrong. It’s not about equality. It’s about the symbiotic relationship we’ve had since the beginning of time. Now look at what they’ve done. Look at this war they’ve started.”
Vrinda has heard this speech many times before. It inflamed a patriotic passion inside her belly, engulfing her. Yes, this is her duty. Her honor. Her purpose. To restore the order of things.
Merren left the room and closed the door behind her. Vrinda was alone with the man she was about to kill. The overgrown, adult male. An unnatural anomaly.
She imagined a WETM do-gooder, a spy within the ranks… how she would’ve snuck out a male spawn from the birthing tank facilities.
A little half-foot creature with a hundred tiny teeth.
Vrinda wondered how the WETM agent might have kept him from biting deep into her, from releasing his fusing enzyme, from merging with her circulatory system, from ejaculating into her…
How… this WETM extremist might then take care of this male, feeding it, forcing it to grow its own digestive system, separately, become independent, learn to walk and talk and fight. And then grow and grow and grow into a full sized being just like the female of the species.
How incredibly, utterly, absurd to defy the rules of evolution in the name of “equality”.
Vrinda considered the animal before her with a mixture of disgust, compassion and righteous indignation. How dare WETM do this? How dare they altered the very fabric of nature? How dare they mislead this creature into a miserable, pointless existence I will snuff out now?
The man shifted in his seat. It was waking up!
Vrinda’s breath quickened. Her honeycombed back swelled and fell rapidly. Gasping, she began.
Vrinda took the steel cord in her hands and moved behind the man. She threw the cable around his neck, took the right-end with her left hand, and vice-versa. Vrinda tightened the noose loosely. She planted her left leg firmly into the creaky hardwood and dug her right foot into the seat of the chair where the man’s asshole was. Just as Merren had shown her at home.
The man stirred, waking from its drowsy state.
Vrinda hurried. She was about to pull when she heard it, him, muffling incoherently. It sounded like begging. “Please,” perhaps? How much can a mature male say? Can they carry on a conversation?
Arrêtez, Vrinda! Just stop.
The outsized parasite moaned and whimpered through the linen gag. It made unbearably helpless sounds. Mmmmmmmffff. Pppppfff. Whaaaafff.
Vrinda tautened the cable, pressed her foot down and pulled up. Mille et un, mille et deux, mille et trois… The male began to shake violently, escalating to powerful spasms, the chair rearing on its hind legs. Mille et dix, mille et onze, mille et douze…
Vrinda held on. It was like riding a wild horse. Mille et vignt-quartre, mille et vignt-cinq, mille et vignt-six…
Her biceps, shoulders and thighs stretched and tensed. Mille et quadrante-sept…. mille et quadrante-huit, mille et quadrante-neuf… She held on. The male bucked and jerked. The chair hopped.
Quatre-vingt-douze, quatre-vingt-treize, quatre-vingt-quatorze…
Vrinda held on and on and on. She grimaced intensely and squeezed her eyelids shut and yanked harder and harder.
She didn’t look at him. She tilted her head back. But then, she saw an unusual glow in her peripheral.
Suddenly, two fiery orange globes seared through the burlap. It grew brighter and brighter. Vrinda, taken aback, bewildered by the unknown burning light, released the steel cord.
The male came crashing down along with the chair, hacking furiously, coughing and wheezing, sucking in precious oxygen through his gag.
Vrinda fell on her buttocks, and crab-walked away, swiftly into a corner.
Cough, cough, koff koff koff. Huuuuuhhh… cough, cough, cough. Huuuuuuuuhhh… aaaaaaaahhhhh
The bedroom door flew open. Merren rushed in with two lieutenants, their FN P90s drawn, surveying the scene. “What happened?!” Merren barked.
Vrinda couldn’t speak. With one hand covering her mouth, she pointed her free hand at the choking, gasping mass in the center of the room.
Merren pussyfooted towards him. When she came upon him, looming over, she saw the strange radiance too.
“What the fuck?” Merren mumbled.
She crouched down gingerly. Vrinda got up and slowly approached as well.
Merren removed the burlap from his head. Where the male’s eyes ought to be were two bioluminescent globes, glowing with a terrible warmth.
They were enchanting. Engrossing. Enthralling. The two sisters could not look away.
And then it faded, flickered and failed. His face eased into a stupid grin of a hundred teeth. ☣
This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by Dogwood Daniels…
Wanderer Above The Sea of Fog painted by Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project codenamed “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Nicholas Brack, Dogwood Daniels and I) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Mondays via podcast.