(with 5-minute sketches)
A shot rang out in the blackness. The lights went up slowly and I stood in a parking lot. There was a man lying dead in front of me, wearing oddly-shaped brown goggles and covered in blood. There was a neat bullet-hole in his forehead and an old camera by his side. I picked up the camera before the blood could pool over to it. I could hear the police coming in the distance.
An old man in a neat black suit approached me. He touched his long, hooked nose and sniffed derisively.
"You’ll do," he creaked out.
He attached a pair of odd brown goggles around my head with a grimace, his bony fingers fixing them precisely over my eyes as I tried to lean back in disgust, but I found myself glued to the spot.
"Just don’t," he said, gesturing to the corpse spilling out blood, "be like him and take a picture of my face…"
I nodded despite myself and followed him as we made our way from the scene, the police pulling up as we exited the parking lot.
We went past an alleyway first. There was a creature there, and I started back, afraid. The old man went forward, throwing his hand out.
"Picture, girl, picture!!"
His yell was enough for me to raise the camera to my goggles, taking the picture. The flash showed the creature in its full horror - a twisted not-man, more animal with a hunched back. The eyes were nonexistent and covered by thin flesh. The mouth had translucent strips of skin that stretched between the wide, long jaws — sharp teeth barely visible underneath as blood gushed forth from its maw. Long, bony remnants of twisted fingers dug into its prey, a young boy, as it devoured the stomach and entrails first with abandon, sewage spilling onto the concrete.
The old man walked on.
Next we came to a bench. From afar, it seemed a family sat on it, taking in the night air. Once closer, it was apparent that the bulbous group was attached - fat and stretch-marked skin pooling together in one continuous disgusting landslide until the carousel of faces, limbs and torsos was completely fused with each other. The breasts of the thing hung down like useless udders, red with feeding newly born fetus and half-grown babies. It cried into the night in a low rumble that was barely audible. I took a picture as the old man instructed. When I pushed up my goggles away from my line of vision, I couldn’t see the “family” anymore.
Finally, we came to a grocer’s stand. The vegetables and fruits had been long cleared away this time of night, leaving only an empty sarcophagus of a table, low and wooden with a beam splitting it in two. A woman, bereft of dignity, emaciated and with huge, bloodshot pleading eyes stared up from one side as I slipped the goggles back on. An infant, still rounded and pink, stared at her from the other side. They were divided. The infant had giant, red welts all over its skin from being attacked by bees, and cried and screamed in pain. The woman could only look upward and press her hand against the wooden barrier, cooing to the infant gently. Once the bees had stung, they would fall upon the woman’s side, dying and rotting there, turning into a million maggots that wiggled around and around her and then into her… into her mouth, nose, breasts… even eyes… And yet she still comforted the infant as best she could, never crying out in pain or anguish.
I asked her why. I asked her why she did this. Why stay here when it’s obvious she could go?
She looked at me with her bulging, ruddy eyes.
"The baby… it needs me… It has no one else…"
I lowered the camera and took the picture.
We walked on, the old man and I. Silently.