I’m working now on the second draft of my new novel, a literary horror ‘He, Of the House.’ Take a look:
Jill the possum needed to feed. The six little naked Joes in her pouch, their mouths fused permanently with her tits, were hungry, and her milk was running thin.
She stuck out of the grass, pointed her narrow snout toward the gabled, weathered building, and sniffed at the faint, teasing odor coming from the right side of the monstrosity.
Beef and vegetables… Not too fresh but still edible.
Her small, tenacious brain brought forth a hazy memory: She and her brother had sneaked in once, as yearlings, with disastrous result. Ever since, Jill never dared to approach even as far as the boundary of old, gnarly apple trees. Neither she ever crossed the grassy swath separating the property from the forest, but on some listless nights when she remembered and missed her sibling, hate and fear would bring her out and she’d watch the place from the bushes.
The house had been alive then. Now it lay quiet, dark, and unguarded. It was dying, and so did the formerly thriving garden. And most importantly, Jill hadn’t seen the old lady outside for weeks. Still, that awful memory…
The possum faltered in indecision. She was hungry and her babies grew weak. She had to risk it… But she’d make sure first…
The marsupial dashed to the shingled wall and to the left. Once on the opposite side from the kitchen, she pricked her ears: in the quiet of the night, snatches of a conversation drifted from above, spoken in a strange tongue. There were two voices: one low and rumbling that made the fur on her spine bristle, and another- weak, old, and female. It consoled, saying in Ukrainian, the language Jill was not familiar with: “You don’t need to die with me… No, no, listen!.. I took care… A long time ago… She was just a girl, remember? We share blood – more than blood… She must be the one… She can save you… “
Jill’s whiskers trembled at a different odor coming from the second floor window – a sickly sweet stench of death, of a still living body rotted by a disease. The possum herself was near two years old, weakened by parasites, her pouch weighted down by what could be her last litter, and so her resolve grew: The old woman and her evil companion were indisposed and distracted – a perfect time to make her move.
She streaked past the locked back door and around the corner, climbed like a monkey the splinting and cracked cedar shingles to the double-hung kitchen window, and squeezed in through a few inches wide opening at the bottom formed by a raised sash.
The good smell was strong inside. She ran along the messy tiled counters and to the stove—
Where she found nothing but a drying puddle of the spilled soup.
Her stomach grumbling, and the little Joes pulling hungrily on her empty mammaries, Jill slipped to the floor.
She was halfway to the sink and the smelly garbage can underneath it when a gust of cold air whooshed into the kitchen. She hissed in terror as the shadowy, foggy mass swirled from the door, condensed into a swarm, and hurtled toward her.
The possum flew up the counter and slid out, dislodging the pane with the jerk of her arched back. It dropped, rattling the multipane sash above and nearly cutting her tail off, but there was a furious cawing behind her and a loud smack as whatever pursued Jill smashed into the glass. The end of her tail tingling, the unlucky thief scurried through the garden.
She almost reached the apple trees, famished and weakened but sure of her escape, when a sound of breaking window came from behind, and a moment later, a sharp shard pierced her neck like a well-aimed javelin. The possum whimpered, staggered ahead and fell into a soft heap. Writhing on her back, Jill saw the black mass puff into the open from the attic.
Jill’s wide, quickly turning milky eyes stared as something swooped at her and hovered above, soaking the steam rising from the growing pool of her blood that was, in turn, soaked by the dirt. The little Joes stirred in Jill’s pouch and the cloud pounced lower until their puny life force was extinguished as well.
After a while, there was a satiated sigh. The cloud grew a shade denser and seemed to gain in substance. Out of it, a few black feathers fell to the ground like ashes, and melted.
But then a pitiful groan of pain came from the second floor window, and the grass and leaves rustled, ruffled by the faithful caretaker on His way back.
Up to the second floor… In through the open window of the old woman’s bedroom… A second or two, and the moans subsided as the pain causing them was palliated.
A breeze carried out a tired, sleepy whisper: “Go, fly, taste her, try her…”
The black cloud lingered in the opening, as if hesitating, thinking. Then a shadowy tentacle stretched and dispersed into nothingness, spreading further and further through the night, away from the house- and not long after, hundreds miles away, a young woman broke into a cold sweat in her sleep.
On the edge of the untended garden, Jill’s flesh sunk speedily into her bones and disintegrated into a carrion.