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Phantasm

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Have to get out.

The gaping hole in his chest dripped gore to the waiting floor below. I was afraid the creature would come back, but I heard no more of its pitiful squeaks or cat-like hisses. It hadn’t looked dangerous, but I knew the thing it turned into would be.

Static and cotton filled my head, blurring my thoughts together. He’d given me advice, told me how to escape, but there was only one thing on my mind. He was dead.

His rib-cage had snapped open like brittle twigs.

He was still twitching next to me on the wall. The coppery tint of his blood mixed with the pungent scent of mildew.

My lungs refused to take in oxygen.

Have to get out.

Unable to focus, my eyes darted unseeing about the room. I drew in ragged breath after ragged breath, always on the cusp of hyperventilating. The danger was ever-present in the back of my mind no matter how panic threatened to drown me—eggs. There were so many of them, and each held a single parasitic organism. Each was ready to latch onto my face, much like the ones obscuring the features of those around me.

Why hadn’t I listened?

The lieutenant visiting school to warn us away.

Military trucks driving toward the forest.

Park rangers and hikers going missing hours after the crash.

My friends were all gone.

My  fault.

Why hadn’t we listened? This wasn’t a game. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t any of the things we thought it was going to be. Had we really been so delusional to think we’d be able to find and rescue anyone? Yeah, sure, we were going to be internet famous. Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Now they were dead—my fault—and I was going to be soon, as well.

Have to get out.

I hadn’t known anything in life to be more real than the situation I was in. The eggs—real. An alien ship had crash-landed, not any airplane. The monsters that had chased me and my friends through the woods were real.

Those dead men and women, each missing a section of their chest. . .all real.

And the egg in front of me was real.

Even the spindly creature writhing inside was real.

So much did I want it all to be part of a horrible nightmare. I couldn't deny the reality of my situation any longer, and my heart threatened to explode. The flaps atop the pulsating ova’s crest peeled back. Emaciated limbs mounted the top.

This was it.

This was how I was going to die.

Fuck.