Prompt Day # 144: Using the terse language of the TV guide, write up a sitcom premise involving a wacky monstrosity. Then transform comedy into horror and write the story straight.
I owe this story to Keegan who made up a cute little creature called a Wooshboongle. Here’s what happened next….
Thursday 7pm: Where’s Wooshboongle? What happens when a new genetically modified pet escapes from its enclosure in the research facility? All manner of wackiness ensues as the scientists try to keep their crazy creation under wraps while finding it and getting it back into its cage!
“Wooshboongle is gone.” Dr. Ashton cried out. He stood there with the crate’s tarp in his fist. His knuckles white, his fist shaking.
“Well, I am sure he’s around here somewhere, Doctor.” Eliza, his first assistant assured him. She gently took the tarp away from him, allowing his hand to relax. “We’ll have everyone start looking immediately. I’m sure he hasn’t left the room.”
“Doc, don’t worry about it, I mean, what’s he gonna do? Cuddle someone to death?” This came from the intern, Shane who seemed to be doing most of his research on genetically modified cannabis. The doctor spun on his heels and marched over to Shane stopping within inches of the man’s face.
“Perhaps you have not been paying attention, Shane” he said, spittle flying into the kids face. “But just because we have managed to create a cute, cuddly creature that has finally shown the desired phenotype we have been seeking, it does not mean that we have yet conquered all the road blocks, shall I give you an example of what I mean or are you ‘catching my drift, man’?” the doctor said, sarcasm oozing from every pore.
“Uh, well, I mean, yeah, we gotta work on his biting but there are a lot of pets out there that bite. This guy’s gonna make you a billionaire. Every kid in the country’s gonna want one. It’s like that old movie, Gremlins.”
“Gremlins, yes. And was the Mogwai ready to sell to the general population? No. He was not, because he had some very dangerous issues, didn’t he, Einstein?” The doctor said, then without waiting for a response; “Our adorable little creation has several deadly traits such as his poison glands and the barbs he can shoot from the scruff of his neck. Or those damn claws. You did see him eviscerate that orangutan last week, did you not?” The doctor waved an impatient hand in Shane’s direction and turned around to face the rest of the researchers. “We have to find the Wooshboongle before he kills someone. We’re so close, we cannot be shut down because the damn thing managed to escape. We have to find him now.” The solemn nods among the group assured understanding. Ashton was about to give instructions when the lab alarm went off.
The alarm was typically was reserved for breeches involving deadly viruses, so there was a possibility that it had nothing to do with the Wooshboongle. Ashton hated the name, he felt ridiculous every time it crossed his lips, but he had asked his son to draw the perfect pet and name it one day and that is where the whole idea had come from. He owed it to Nicky to call it that. It was to be the “Perfect Pet” mass produced and sold to as many families as possible. The creature was damned cute. It clung like a koala, its big black eyes looked deep into your soul begging you to fall in love; and the children would. Oh yes, a pet that hugs you and begs for your love? What child wouldn’t want that?
“Doctor Ashton! You need to come see this right away!” Eliza interrupted his thoughts. He followed her down the hall.
A body lay sprawled in the hallway. He only knew it was a body by the clothing straining to cover it. Its black bloated form resembled the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s evil and very ill twin. A yellow pus oozed from every orifice. Where its eyes would be, were small folds in the swollen flesh. The location of its nostrils was mapped by the stream of exudate actively running in parallel rivulets down the face. The mouth was the worst though. Lips, each the size of a bicycle tire, stretched across the face in a morbid grin. The Wooshboongle had been here. That much was obvious.
“Get this body out of here, before the skin breaks open and you all have a mess to clean up.” Ashton ordered. “And find that Goddamn Wooshboongle!”
He started down the hall when his cell phone rang.
“Ashton” He answered.
“Hey Honey! Nicky and I thought we’d stop in and bring you some donuts. He got out of pre-school early today because his teacher got sick. He said he wanted to come see you.” His wife, Carley’s voice sang in his ear as chipper as ever. Any other day, he would have been ecstatic to hear from her but today was another story.
“Carley, listen, I need you to take Nicky and go home. It’s not safe here right now, we’ve had…uh, well a breach.” He was walking quickly towards the entrance.
“Honey! They let us in, it can’t be that bad. Besides we’re almost.” Her voice trailed off. Ashton could hear her talking to Nick.
“Just go home, Carley. Please, go home and take Nicky with you.” He said over top of her conversation with Nick. And then he heard;
“Oh, he is cute! Awe, he’s hugging you, He likes you Nicky!”
“Carley! Carley, put it down! Don’t let Nicky pick it up. It’s dangerous.” He yelled. He was running towards the entrance to his lab’s wing.
“Really, Bill! It is the sweetest thing. Probably escaped from one of the labs. Poor baby. Oh you should see him. He just loves Nicky.” She said.
“Put it down. Please Carley” His cell was cutting in and out as he sped down the hallway. He ran into a lab assistant and shoved her aside. She spun around before falling to the ground. He hesitated a second before leaving her holding her ankle on the floor.
“Carley! Can you hear me?” He yelled into the phone. Static and then a scream. He wasn’t sure if it was Carley screaming Nicky’s name or just screaming some inarticulate word (like Wooshboongle). He rounded the corner, Carley was on her knees on the ground. Where was Nicky? Her head in her hands, screaming in coherently.
Nicky was standing, wide eyed against the wall. The Wooshboongle clung to his neck as if its life depended on it. Ashton could see Carley’s hands swelling and turning purple.
“It’s my Wooshboongle, Daddy and he loves me, but he doesn’t like Mommy. He spit on her.” Nicky said, petting the Wooshboongle.
“Yes, I see that Nicky. I wonder if he likes Daddy, can I see?” Ashton knew what he needed to do and wondered if he would have enough time to do it. He shuffled up to the Wooshboongle and held his arms out. Its dark eyes stared into Ashton’s soul. He could smell the hatred; a musk excreted from its glands.
The thing tightened its grip on Nicky.
“Hey, Hey you hairy trash-pile” Ashton said and then quietly to Nicky; “I am going to grab him, Nicky and when I do, I need you to run. Run away and find Eliza. Tell her that Daddy has the Wooshboongle. Ok?” He grabbed the paws of the Wooshboongle, and peeled them away from Nicky’s shoulders. He felt its razor sharp claws severing the tendons in his fingers. He flipped it around and pulled it into himself as if carrying a football across the goal line.
The Wooshboongle squirmed and fought him. It scratched at his face. He felt his left eye go, its thick, warm liquid slid down his cheek. He grasped it pulling the thing back to his body. If only he could force it to bond with him (you can’t force it. It bonds with the first one to love it and that was Nicky). The barbs shot from its neck scruff and pierced his hand. His cheek was flapping haphazardly, hanging from his jaw line.
“Run Nick Run!” He yelled. The Wooshboongle spit then, directly into Ashton’s mouth. He choked.
“He doesn’t like you Daddy” Nick’s voiced echoed in his rapidly swelling brain. “He loves me.” Ashton felt Nicky taking the Wooshboongle back into his arms. “I’ll go find Eliza. She’ll come help you and Mommy. Come on Wooshie.” He heard Nicky’s voice and then his footsteps as they echoed down the hall and then there was nothing.