Orphanage is a 500-word, horror flash fiction piece, published in Fright Find Magazine
Content Warnings: Death, death of a child, violence.
It was. Three times its head spun in a hellish ritual that conveyed the dark impositions of the thing. The room was without light. Its hollow plastic arms rolled in its shoulder joints and moved it forward like a demon wheel with teeth, pulling itself inch by inch across the center aisle between the dreaming children.
It stopped mechanically, and the sacrilegious sizzle of grinding plastic brought a few of the children to stir as it stared at their exposed feet with a dead contemplation in its painted glass eyes as to how their toes might be rearranged. Its arms rolled, and it dragged its bowed legs and rotten blue onesie like a pile of hanging bowels. With all of the ingenuity of some dark sage, it twisted itself in the animation of a deep-sea star and mounted the innocent padding of a child’s bed and waited. The child’s chest rose and fell. Foam dribbled from the tiny hole in the center of the thing’s plastic lips. Dead eyes stared.
It crept forward, and the bed maintained its shape despite the thing’s grotesque movements. A whistle like a punctured lung began as the thing neared the child’s skittering eyelids. The thing’s glass eyeballs rolled in their sunken sockets with a frenzy of corrupt excitement, and its own hinged eyelids bobbed up and down like a broken gyro that caused a constant winking as it moved closer and closer.
As the child breathed and the thing’s mouth came close, the air from the child’s lungs was intercepted in a blasphemy of pneumatics, and the fluttering of the child’s eyelids slowed. The child’s body sunk in a vile stasis. The thing continued to suck, and its eyes rolled faster. The whistling grew louder, and the child’s sleep movements became more lethargic and lifeless. A soft pop resounded as the thing’s face caved to the intensity of its own sucking, and it stood there like a jawless apparition of gluttony set to swallow itself whole.
The door of the orphanage burst open, and the lights turned on, and the whistling sound gave to a lifeless thud of hollow plastic on the ground between some of the children’s beds. The children all stirred and looked up to the scanning matron near the light switch in sleepy confusion and uncertainty, but the lights just as quickly went out and left the room dark again. The door closed. But the child in that bed next to the fallen thing just laid there motionless and was no longer receptive to light at all. The child was as dead and empty as the thing itself, and that thing stared at the ceiling now, with one broken eyelid full down and another gleaming glass eye fully open.