Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence.
White light glared into the dark living room from the old box TV. An old rerun of National Geographic about fireflies played on the screen, lulling Amelia to sleep on the couch. Getting up, she did not turn the TV off as she shuffled to her room. The fireflies danced as she went to bed.
The quiet voice of the narrator on the program and the skittering of rodents’ feet did not keep Amelia awake; it was the silence. Somehow, despite the murmur of background noise, it felt all too quiet. Perhaps because the only sound coming from a human was the sound of her own breathing.
Light streamed in from the broken blinds at an unearthly time. Groaning, Amelia turned away from the window and wiped the crust from her eyes. She kicked off the sheets and slid, boneless, from her bed. She sat limply on the floor, leaning against the mattress for a few minutes, barely able to convince herself to get up. She sighed. It was her day off; better not to waste it.
Methodically, she showered, dressed, and brushed her teeth. While combing out her hair, she took a moment to inspect her face in the mirror. Noticing the sickly pallor to her already pale skin, and the bluish purple, sunken circles under her eyes, she sucked in a breath. She really ought to take better care of herself, she thought like she did every single morning; she never bothered to actually eat well or sleep enough.
It was cold outside; the kind of cold that chilled Amelia to the bone, and after a while out, it turned numb, but there was a sort of stiffness that it gave you even after you became numb to it. The wind blasted Amelia in the face as soon as she stepped outside, pinking her pale cheeks.
Collar pulled up to her chin, she began to walk, shoulders hunched, hands thrust deep into her pockets. She didn’t know where she was going, but somehow she knew she had a destination. It seemed that her feet knew where to take her, and it was all she could do to not trip over them as they pulled her their own way. Before she could gain her bearings, she took a sharp turn, grays and browns blurring in her vision.
Suddenly, she stopped.
Head spinning, she gazed blearily around herself, not really seeing where she was. She closed her eyes and willed the dizziness to go away.
When the dizziness ebbed away, and she was finally able to see her surroundings, she was utterly confused. Why had her feet taken her to the park? But it seemed that her feet were not quite done. And in that gray and brown park, her feet walked her down the cement sidewalk, and Amelia resigned herself to wherever they were taking her.
Time seemed to skip.
She fell. Feet first.
She wasn’t scared; she didn’t know the hole was there before she fell. Covered with long dead, crumbling leaves from fall, but leaves give way beneath feet. So Amelia fell.
She felt the thud from inside her bones. A solid hit that vibrated from the outside in, rattling her ribs. Softly glowing stars floated in her vision as it went from dark to bright and back again. Just before it went black for the final time, she noticed a flash of yellow-white.
She awoke to a strange sound. A sort of juicy squish. A metallic scent teased her nose. The pain was a delayed reaction, and she only really felt it when she saw the creatures. Ugly gray things, all long, gangly limbs with sagging skin and craggy yellow-white teeth smeared with red.
It simultaneously excruciating and numb. The creatures crowded around her, hunch-backed and hideous. She gazed at them, eyes glazing over. The creatures flickered to something different: golden, beautiful, ethereal. She blinked and they were monsters again.
Her vision began to flicker back and forth. The beautiful creature smiled at her. Its teeth were the same craggy teeth as the hideous creatures’. Amelia smiled back.
Her vision stopped flickering, and the creatures were beautiful, even with faces stained red. Her body no longer hurt. They fed on her; belly ripped open with crimson blood spilling out. Her intestines mixing with her fluids to make a bright red soup with her body as the bowl.
Slowly, her surroundings began to change, and they, too, became beautiful. The dank floor became sparkling marble, the walls seemed to grow intricate tapestries, and warmly glowing lights appeared. One of them landed on Amelia: a firefly.
Amelia began to feel sleepy. The creatures had slowed in their feeding. Her vision began blur and darken.
The fireflies danced as she went to sleep.