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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)

TITLE: Smell of Fear
By Nathan Perkins


Pulling their faces above the surface of the pool and panting in the dark they spit. They both were reaching for something solid to place their hand against. The sides of the pit seemed to be missing and the floor maintained the consistency of a membrane.

“Do you have any idea where we’re at?” Jared’s voice was quivering and slow.

All that Matt said was “This is disgusting. Let’s get out of here.”

“Matt, what is this goo that we’re walking in?” Matt still didn’t answer.

This made Jared feel even more frightened. “Matt, where are we? You better speak up. This in not cool.”

Matt still would not say anything.

Jared started swinging in the darkness to find where Matt was standing. The swishing sound made him think that Matt was going somewhere. “Matt, are you there? Why aren’t you talking to me? You know something that you’re not telling me.” Jared was feeling frantic. “What are you not telling me?”

“I… aaah… it… appears that we’ve been… a… eeeen.”

“I can’t understand a word you’re saying. Spit it out.”

“Eaten, Jared, that’s what I said. We’ve been eaten!”

Jared was confused. He thought that Matt was joking with him.

“What are you saying? What is that smell? How do we get out of here?” Jared could hardly let one question out of his mouth before another one flooded in. There was no answer and the lack of light, the smell of acid, the warm flood made him feel lonely even though he knew that Matt was not far away.

“Talk to me Matt. Can we get out of here?”

There was a gurgling sound and the floor began to slant. It was clearly not earth that they were standing on.

Jared wanted to ask what was going on. He was stupefied that Matt would not respond to his questions. The angle to their floor was making it harder and harder for the men to keep their footing. They needed something to grasp on to.

They really had been eaten. Some creature beneath them had opened up its mouth swallowing them. It was now trying to force them to travel further into his stomach by making the surface that the men stood on shift.

With frantic motion Jared strove to oppose the grade. Instantly he fell on his knees into the goo. Part swimming and part crawling, he worked with full desperation. There was nothing physical to grasp.

The smell was all over his face. It disgusted him. He wanted to gasp and spit but it was to no avail. The liquid was warm and full of odor but had no taste.

Jared wondered why he could not hear Matt struggling next to him. “Where was Matt? Had he found some escape? Had he left me to die here on my own?” Jared ached from his effort to survive. But there seemed to be a deeper ache.

He was loosing his fight for continued existence within the retched beast. Many pictures of his life flew through his mind as he felt that his ebbing life. It seemed that his mind had dropped all of its barriers. It was as if his psyche knew that this was the end. He felt there was reason to shut certain thoughts out.

His body began to slide. It seemed like unrelated feelings rushed in on him. He felt angry at his dad for never being there for him and for never responding to his cries for attention when he was a child.

Jared knew that he was lost now: dead! His body and face fell beneath the warm sticky swell. Gurgling sounds and boiling was happening all around him.

He tried to swim but there seemed to be no use. The creature was sucking him in.

Having held his breath as long as he could he resolved himself to his fate and breathed the foul smelling substance into his lungs.

Instantly, he heard Matt’s voice.

“Jared? Jared, are you O.K.?”

Jared cried out and immediately discovered he could breathe whatever it was inside of the giant creature. This brought him several levels of relief.

He was alive. He could hear another person’s voice. Even stronger then both of those, he felt a sense that he was free from a beast that had been holding hurt in his own heart.

“Matt! We’re alive!”

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This article has been read 487 times
Member Comments
Member Date
patricia douglas05/17/07
Very creative idea...you had me from the beginning. Left me wanting more.
Benjamin Graber05/17/07
Very descriptive and dreative. Good job!
Shari Armstrong 05/17/07
An interesting story, wish there were more to the ending -what happens next??? :)
Esther Gellert05/17/07
This is very creative, with vivid descriptions. I had to force myself NOT to get too drawn in by the descriptions.... I didn't want to smell that smell!!! LOL.
Myrna Noyes05/18/07
Intriguing title and very interesting story! There were a few "mechanical" mistakes that proofreading would help, but your writing is nicely descriptive. I'm not sure I understand exactly what happened at the end, but I did catch the subtle message. :)
Denise Pienaar05/18/07
Very clever! I, too could almost smell the foul stench and definitely experienced a moment of claustrophobia! It brings it home how our sin must appear to God - foul smelling, slimy, evil. Great story.
Marilyn Schnepp 05/20/07
Is sci fi and horror stories one and the same? This was excruciatingly real...and I felt the smell of fear myself; the gunk and the oozy ick; now I know why I don't like sci fi OR horror stories. But very well written...I think(?)
Jacquelyn Horne05/22/07
Well written. Very good descriptions. The story doesn't seem complete, however. There's no hint of a solution here. A little more info will make this a great story.