The Triangles were moving on their own.
THE HATCHING Perry sat on the couch, transfixed by Fatty Patty’s ordeal.
The y ar e hatching!Hatching!Hatching!
The Triangles twitched under her skin, slowly picking up speed, jittering faster and faster. Her convulsions stopped suddenly; she rolled onto her back, fingers sticking into the air, locked like skeletal claws. Her face wrinkled in a wide-eyed blast of panic and a teeth-baring, breathless scream. It was a look of such utter, unbearable agony that Perry couldn’t suppress a shudder.
And he was next.
He felt sick, as if a gnarled hand squeezed and twisted his intestines. It was a physical reaction to a mind pulled in opposite directions. On one side he felt hopelessness, far worse than anything he’d known since this ordeal began. He watched this fat woman writhe with terror, watched her face contort and scrunch as she tried to scream but couldn’t find the air to do so. Her body shuddered in agony, making her flesh jiggle endlessly.
Despite this horror show, which held the promise of a painful death for him as well, he felt an impossible level of euphoria, a feeling that this was the beginning of something great and something wonderful. Joy and ecstasy ripped through his mind, better than any drug, vastly superior to sex — this was clearly an overflow emotion, but it was so strong, so clear, so vivid and so pure he was no longer able to separate it from his own. At that moment, the Triangle feelings saturated his very being.
He thought of killing her, slicing her throat with the butcher knife, ending her misery. But he couldn’t bring himself to stand up, to reach for the blade, because he had to know what would happen. Besides — she was dying anyway, and wasn’t a birth always a happy occasion?
A wave of fresh pain washed across her body, making her jerk like an electric-chair victim. She rolled a little from side to side, but mostly stayed on her back, that wide-eyed death stare fixed on some interesting
detail of the stucco ceiling. Perry watched, surprised and disgusted, as she suddenly pissed all over the floor.
The Triangles picked up speed; they seemed to pulse as they sought to break free. Their large heads pushed out against her pliant, stretching skin, then sank back for another try. With each thrust, Perry saw the Triangles’ outlines, saw that their bodies had grown to a shallow pyramid shape.
It reminded Perry of the good old days of Jiffy Pop on the kitchen stove, the swelling volume of popcorn slowly expanding the tinfoil covering. The Triangles weren’t going to stop — they were clearly intent on popping out of her skin like a champagne cork, celebrating their new life in the new world.
Blisters burst one by one, coating her skin with thick, yellowish pus. Blood trickled from the edges of the Triangles, shooting out in thin jets each time they thrust outward.
The y ar e hatching .
Is it beautiful? Let us see! The y ar e hatching. Hatching!
Perry ignored his own Triangles, his attention locked on those of Fatty Patty. Her Triangles thrust out farther, her skin started to tear. They pushed their way out like little turkey timers at Thanksgiving, the red pop-up button telling everyone when the big bird was done and it was time to eat. The three on her stomach were the worst to watch — they had started by only pushing up a quarter of an inch or so, a minor throbbing, a pulsating blister in her gut. Each throbbed up at a slightly different rate, now picking up steam, pushing out almost six inches in a quick jump, stretching the skin on her stomach like little triangular penises becoming erect and flaccid, erect and flaccid, erect and flaccid, spurting blood-threads in every direction.
He couldn’t see the ones trapped underneath her wide ass, but he imagined they struggled, pinned by the weight of her body.
There were noises. Not just the pathetic little whines escaping the weak-willed woman, but faint clicking noises as well. They grew a bit louder every few seconds and seemed to coincide with the Triangles’ outward thrusts. With each click he felt his happiness and euphoria spike upward like a heartbeat pulse on an EKG machine.
The one on her hip, the one that had stared so malevolently, so inso
lently, was the first to break free. It ripped out of her, not with a tearing sound but rather with a loud splurt followed by a splat as it hit the far wall, right where Perry’s Sports Illustrated cover would have hung had they been in his apartment. The hateful creature stuck, wriggling and weak, temporarily trapped in its own slime.
It bore little resemblance to the Triangles that remained locked inside his own body. It still had the unmistakable Triangle head and the black eyes, but there any similarity ended. It looked no more like the larva lurking under his own skin than a butterfly looks like a caterpillar.
The black things he’d seen snaking under her skin were tentacles of some sort, more than a foot long, and thick. They looked very strong and solid. The Triangle shape had grown into a shallow three-inch-high pyramid, each side of which held one black eye. The eyes no longer stared up — now they looked out, so that if the thing walked on those tentacles, it would be able to see in all directions.
The creature’s wriggling freed it from the wall. It fell to the carpet, where it struggled to right itself.
Perry’s emotions flickered back and forth from fear and disgust to elation and indescribable joy, like a strobe light on a dance floor, leaving each alternating emotion a freeze-frame picture in his mind’s eye. This shit could drive a guy crazy. Somewhere an emotion of his own called to him to get up and kill this thing, but he remained fixed on the couch, too overwhelmed to move.