"Back World" is a serial thriller about a young couple facing an apocalyptic future.
A new episode will be published each week.
1 - Arrival
July 6, 2012
Dina could see Devin stretched out on a padded table, his shirt gone, surrounded by four of the amorphous beings. Around him, the room was stark white, devoid of windows or any other visible opening.
The one on Devin's left seized his arm just above the elbow with its metal appendage, the pincers biting deep into his skin until a fissure erupted, blood squirting out on both sides of the metal clamp from a violated vein. With its grip secure, the creature began twisting. The first pop was Devin's shoulder joint coming undone, followed by a scream. Dina wasn't sure if the sound was hers or his.
With further twisting, the skin began to tear and rend at the point where her husband's arm connected to the shoulder. Blood began leaking from the hair under his armpits, starting as a maroon trickle, then a stream that became an unabated waterfall across his ribs as the ripped flesh continued its separation.
The second pop came as ligaments snapped like overstretched rubber bands breaking inside a coat closet.
With another tick of an absent clock, the skin finally gave way, releasing Devin's intact arm from its former shoulder post, leaving a spraying dark cavern from which his collar bone protruded.
An unnaturally long purple tongue appeared from the being's face and jammed itself into the bloody end of the detached arm. A sucking sound then joined the legion of noises in the room, like a paper straw finding the bottom of an emptying milkshake glass.
On Devin's other side, another arm was ripped from his body by a second intruder. This time, after the shoulder was nothing but an open wound, the creature forced its tongue into Devin's torso through the savaged shoulder, worming its way through the ruptured muscles, ligaments, and cartilage. Once deeply implanted through the maze of bones into the chest cavity, the thing began pumping the blood out of Devin's body in silent gulps.
By this time, the first one had finished with the detached arm on which it was feeding, removing its tubular tongue and dropping the noticeably smaller and desiccated limb onto the floor. Instead of landing with a thud or plop, it sounded more like a broken and leafless twig dropped onto an indifferent sidewalk.
At Devin's feet, a third alien used both metal appendages and pincers to grasp his left leg. Using the foot like a lever, it twisted clockwise. The foot was pointing toward 5 o'clock before the first ligaments let loose, another sickening sound filling the room as the knee joint snapped.
The creature continued twisting over and over, as if unscrewing a table leg from its shelving, the foot making 11 circles before the skin and flesh finally gave way and allowed the calf to come loose. Blood gushed from the remaining stump of thigh.
The thing's purple tongue plunged into the moist meat of the upper leg, the tip of the tube seeking out and finding the femoral artery that was leaking the life juice and covering its ruptured end like a hose over a broken pipe.
With three of the beings feeding, a fourth extended and bent both metal arms, pincers open, until one was on each side of Devin's neck. This time, the creature didn't pull a limb off the human. Instead, it quickly squeezed the pincers shut on both sides of the man's throat, neatly slicing through skin, muscle, esophagus, windpipe, and finally cervical spine. The last gave way with an audible crunch that Dina could hear from across the room.
With nothing left to keep it attached to his body and no third appendage from the alien to grab it, Devin's head lazily rolled upward, then to the side, before finally toppling off the table and onto the floor. It landed neckside down, the pulpy meat making a "splat" sound as it hit the floor and bounced droplets of blood into an uneven arc around the final resting place.
The result was Devin's cranium sitting upright, as if mounted on the floor like a macabre trophy, surrounded by a necklace of wet crimson pearls.
"Devin!" Dina screamed, the only intelligible sound to have left her lips since her husband's dissection began. "Devin!"
The head's eyes were still moving in their sockets, spinning around the room as if in search of its now-detached body. Finally, the eyes looked directly at Dina and locked on.
"It's going to be okay," the mouth said, causing the head to shift up slightly every time the opened jaw pressed against the floor while forming the words. "I'm here. It's going to be alright."
Dina could feel her entire body shaking, muscles involuntarily flexing and unflexing in terror, rage, and heartache.
The shaking continued, become stronger, until she could feel her prostrate shoulders actually being lifted off the floor with the force of it.
"Dina, can you hear me?" Devin's voice asked, becoming louder and more insistent. "I'm here. It's going to be okay."
Dina's eyes popped open.
Hovering over her, his hands firmly grasping and shaking her from arms still very much attached, was her husband's face. Like his arms, his head and neck were connected to his shoulders and torso, without even a trace of blood marking the places where it had been cut off just seconds before.
Like the vision from just moments before, Devin's eyes found hers and locked on.
"You were having a bad dream," Devin said, looking deep into his wife's still-terrified face.